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Wilbur Allen Zink – In Memoriam

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Eric James & Wilbur Zink

The James family has lost a dear and treasured friend. Wilbur Allen Zink passed away September 26, 2010. He was born April 30, 1926.

Wilbur was a pallbearer at the re-internment of Jesse James on October 28, 1995. He was co-founder of the James-Younger Gang, and an honorary board member of the Friends of James Farm. He was a member of a number of organizations including the Kansas City Posse of Westerners, The National Association for Outlaw & Lawmen History, and the Wild West History Association.

Prior to his passing, Wilbur was preparing to write a book, based on a collection of letters he had acquired that were written by Frank James. His title for this book was Burn These Letters. Wilbur was the author of several previous books. It All Started with a Tornado recounted his home town of Appleton City, Missouri, where Wilbur inherited and operated his Ford dealership that was three generations old. He recounted his days in World War II aboard the U.S.S. Nassau in a book titled The Little Princess.

An avid collector of Western artifacts, antiques, and memorabilia, Wilbur put his historical knowledge to pen an additional book, writing The Roscoe Gun Battle, Younger Brothers Versus Pinkerton Detectives.  

In addition to his interests and occupation, Wilbur A. Zink also was an ordained minister. A Memorial service will be at the Missouri Christian Church in Appleton City, Missouri, at 2:30 pm, October 2, 2010. Lunch will be served at 11:30 am.

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The funeral home has just posted an official obituary & funeral arrangements for Wilbur Zink.

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Wilbur Zink’s Frank James Collection Goes to Auction


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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

☞Today in Old-West History — On today’s date 119 years ago, Sunday, October 19, 1902, notorious Old-West outlaw & fiddle player James Hardin “Uncle Jim” Younger (1848-1902) met his earthly demise at the age of 54 when he committed suicide by gunshot whilst on parole at Saint Paul, Minnesota.

☞Requiéscant In Pace, Jim Younger.

☞Jim Younger was one of the central figures of a band of the most desperate outlaws the Old West ever knew — the infamous James-Younger Gang, which was formed by Jim’s brother Cole Younger along with Frank & Jesse James.

☞Jim Younger joined the Confederate Army during the War Between the States (1861-1865) & served with Quantrill’s Raiders. In 1864, he was captured by Union troops & was imprisoned until the end of the War.

☞After the War, Younger worked on various ranches until he joined the James-Younger Gang in 1873. When his brother John was killed at Roscoe, Missouri in 1874, Jim left the gang & went out west where he worked on a ranch in San Luis Obispo, California.

☞In 1876, Jim returned to the gang, & on September 7 he participated in a bank robbery that became known as the Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. During that robbery he was shot & captured. The James brothers escaped, but Cole, Jim, & Bob Younger were shot up by a posse, arrested, & sentenced to long terms in the state penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota, where they were afforded celebrity status.

☞Jim Younger’s fiddle was one of the few possessions that he was allowed to have with him in prison, & he played it often. As time passed, Jim noticed that a little bird would appear most every day in the window of his jail cell. It seemed as though the bird came to listen whenever Jim played his fiddle. Jim was lonely & he befriended the bird which he named “Swipsy.” The bird would fly into the prison cell & Jim would always try to have crumbs to feed Swipsy. One day, a fellow prisoner killed the little bird just for spite. Jim then painted a picture of Swipsy on the back of his violin to remember his little feathered friend.

☞In 1898, the prison warden allowed the prisoners to throw a Christmas party at his own home, with Cole Younger portraying Santa Claus & Jim Younger playing his fiddle.

☞Paroled in 1901, Jim became engaged to his long-time lover Alix Mueller; however, because of the terms of his parole he couldn’t marry her.

☞On October 19, 1902, after a failed attempt to sell tombstones & then insurance, Jim Younger locked himself in his room, wrote a suicide note to Alix, picked up his revolver, & blew his brains out.

☞In 2013, Jim Younger’s fiddle, which was played by him at the famous 1898 Christmas party at Stillwater Prison, was sold at a Dallas, Texas auction for over $11,000.

☞The left-hand photograph depicts the image of Swipsy the Bird that Jim Younger painted on the back of his fiddle. The right-hand photograph depicts an undated studio portrait of Jim Younger.
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Tuesday October 5th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

For Drury Woodson James, founder of Paso Robles, CA., and all his descendants, PASO ROBLES FOUNDERS’ DAY 2021. See MoreSee Less

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