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Paul Sawyier Library Gathers Kentucky Authors & Some Jesse James Family History

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

I’ve accepted the invitation of the PAUL SAWYIER LIBRARY in Frankfort, Ky., to join its GATHERING OF AUTHORS.

Original Frankfort Kentucky Courthouse
Original Frankfort Courthouse on Wapping Street, Frankfort, Kentucky

The Sawyier Public Library building, located on Wapping St., was the first courthouse built in the Kentucky capitol of Frankfort. In this building, Andrew Jackson James began his career as a country lawyer who became citified. His early success there soon led to his becoming the esteemed A. J. James, Kentucky’s attorney general, then secretary of state, and almost its governor of the Commonwealth.

Paul Sawyier and finace Mayme Bull
Paul Sawyier & Mayme Bull

Paul Sawyier, the library’s namesake, was a local artist, whose art remains highly collectible today. Sawyier was a friend of A.J.’s son, Dr. Samuel Evans James. Dr. Sam kept a yacht, berthed in back of the courthouse on the Kentucky River. He often took Frankfort society aboard The Wanderer on river excursions. Once, he took Paul Sawyier aboard as his guest. They traveled upstream to the Drennon Springs resort. There, Paul met Mayme Bull. The Bull family worshiped at the First Presbyterian Church of Frankfort, where Dr. Sam was a deacon for 17 years.

Samuel E. James
Dr. Samuel Evans James
First Presbyterian Church in Frankfort, KY
First Presbyterian Church of Frankfort, Kentucky

Paul was instantly attracted to Mayme. Together they set up housekeeping on a barge moored in the river, from which Paul proceeded to paint his sentimental landscapes. The women of Frankfort were outraged that Mayme would be forced to live on a river barge.

Painting of Mayme Bull by Paul Sawyier
Mayme Bull by Paul Sawyier

But society found much more about the couple to be enraged about. The couple said they were married, but without any witnesses the attractive young couple became the scandal of Frankfort Society.

There will be a lot more of this scandalous history surrounding the James family to appear on Volume II of Jesse James Soul Liberty, This Bloody Ground, to be published later this year.

Wapping Street, Frankfort, KY
Wapping Street, Frankfort, Kentucky. The First Presbyterian Church on the left.

For now, come meet with me at the PAUL SAWYIER PUBLIC LIBRARY. Join us at its GATHERING OF AUTHORS on Saturday, August 24, 2013 from 10 am to 3 pm, and learn more of the James family’s history in Kentucky. I’ll be signing books, too.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone with whom you can create some scandal of your own.

Paul Sawyier Public Library

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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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