Tag Archives: Robbery

Frank James – Scholar with a Gun

From Phil Stewart’s Archive, first published on Stray Leaves in 1999. 

Frank James – Scholar with a Gun

By Phil Stewart

Frank James received more education as a young man than did most rural Missouri farm boys of the 1850s and 60s. The James farm was just a mile from Somersette school. Frank attended regularly…almost enthusiastically…until he was eighteen years old.

Frank James
Frank James

In addition to “The Three Rs,” Frank developed a love for classic literature. He would sit for hours with the works of Shakespeare and other famous writers of the time. His father, the Rev. Robert Sallee James, had been a scholarly man himself. Frank had his father’s collection of books readily available. Frank’s love for literature would remain with him throughout the dark years of the Civil War, and even through the outlaw years to come.

Many researchers believe that Frank James desired to further his education by attending William Jewell College in nearby Liberty. There is no doubt Frank had the intellectual capacity. His acceptance into the college was a given. His father had been a major influence in the founding of the school, and had been a member of the first Board of Trustees. Any such plans were dashed, though, with the coming of the Civil War. Frank James was 18 years old in 1861, and like most young men, left home to serve “the cause.”

Henry IV
Henry IV, Tomb Effigy, Canterbury Cathedral

The blood, death, and brutality of the border war could not extinguish the love Frank James had for reading, knowledge, and for classic works of literature. They became his passion. It is difficult to imagine one member of Quantrill’s Raiders sitting around a campfire reading anything, let alone reading English literature like Frank.

If Frank desired to further his education, the circumstance had changed. Like most schools of the area, William Jewell College closed shortly after the opening shots of the war. The college would not reopen for nearly three years. Frank still had his father’s library. Shakespeare had become his favorite works. He read and reread the plays until he could snap out a quote for almost any situation. During the war, Frank and been tabbed with the nickname “Buck.” “Professor” might have been more appropriate afterward.

If more education was out of the question, Frank certainly could put Shakespeare to work on behalf of the James Gang…which is exactly what he did at Gad’s Hill, Missouri. Frank James lifted the script of Shakespeare’s HENRY IV for a train robbery, during which Frank performed Shakespeare for a captive audience.

Henry IV-Pt 1

ANALYSIS by Drew Fracher

So, what about this play?

Although called HENRY IV, I believe that this is the story and journey of his son Hal, the Prince of Wales, who will go on to become Henry V.

Here we have a young man who knows in his heart that he will inherit a huge job…and who is trying his best to have some fun before the fact. I realize that much of what Hal I doing is not avoiding responsibility, but trying to learn as much as possible about the job to come. Trying to experience the society that he will eventually be in charge of from all levels, figuring out what fairness and justice are all about, who you can trust and what realis is important in his own world. A journey all of us must go through.

Hal clings to his life and friends in the tavern as substitutes for the things that are lacking in his relationship with his father. Hal and his dad are having trouble communicating. We witness Hal’s coming of age, his growth to manhood and an acceptance of huge responsibility, all the steps on his rocky road.

The good news is that he not only survives, but flourishes. There are no true villains or heroes here, only different sorts of people trying their best to figure out how to make it in the world. That is perhaps what I like best, that no one is clearly in the right and politics is politics, then and now.

DREW FRACHER,  Director, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, 1999

*************

COMMENTARY by Eric F. James

As a former actor myself, I perceive Frank James as Prince Hal…an eldest son, a carefree and boisterous youth, distinguished in war, a “wild prince” given to audacity and rebellion.

Henry IV expelled and banished his son, Hal. Did Frank James spiritually experience a similar disapproval by his deceased father?

Frank James was 27 years old at the time of the Gad’s Hill train robbery. His performance from HENRY IV in the middle of the robbery intentionally may have been foreshadowing his expected retirement.

_______________________________________________________________________________

RELATED:   More from Phil Stewart’s 1999 Archive

The Plot to Capture Jesse James

The Plot to Assassinate Jesse James

The Gad’s Hill Train Robbery

School Time for Jesse James – Part I

School Time for Jesse James – Part II

Jesse James & Half-Brother Perry Samuel

Jesse James Family – Slaves & Servants

Robert Sallee James – Father of Jesse James

Jesse James Myths & Facts

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Monday October 19th, 2020

Stray Leaves

NOT SURPRISING TO US. Jesse James is known to visit Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, Ky. Just when Jesse was there is unknown. Louis Bourbon, the 3rd Duke of Orleans who became the last king of France known as the Citizen King, also visited Talbott Tavern, as the story below by Sam Terry writes. Louis was traveling America while waiting for the French Revolution to remove Napoleon. Probably only known to the James family's community of Stray Leaves is the fact that Jesse and the Citizen King are 9th cousins, 6 times removed. The Leaf Blower of Stray Leaves is a 10th cousin of Louis, 8 times removed. ... See MoreSee Less

Monday October 12th, 2020

Stray Leaves

What it's like in the office of Stray Leaves. ... See MoreSee Less

What its like in the office of Stray Leaves.

Comment on Facebook

Oh my, that is a lot of files.

Amen lot of history there

Sunday October 11th, 2020

Stray Leaves

Haydon Calvert "Bud" Cooper passed last night in his 93rd year. Bud's kinship spanned many lines of the James family. He was a 6th cousin of Frank & Jesse James, as well as a 6th cousin of Frank's cohort Col. John Pendleton "Black Jack" Chinn. He also shared kinship with numerous James relatives.
Bud's ancestors arrived from England and Wales to the Virginia Colony in the early 1600s. They followed identical migration paths as our James from Virginia into the Kentucky frontier, then into the American heartland.
Bud's grandparents descended from the same Calvert & Dorsey families as Frank & Jesse, and the same Morgan family as Col. Chinn. They migrated from Harrodsburg, Ky. into the Far West. They settled in Utah and founded the town of Myton, where Bud was Myton's City Councilman, museum founder, docent, virtually all his life. His daughter Kathleen Cooper followed as Mayor of Myton in Bud's footsteps.
You can find videos of Bud at his Myton museum on YouTube. He loved telling history as much as being history.
... See MoreSee Less

Haydon Calvert Bud Cooper passed last night in his 93rd year. Buds kinship spanned many lines of the James family. He was a 6th cousin of Frank & Jesse James, as well as a 6th cousin of Franks cohort Col. John Pendleton Black Jack Chinn. He also shared kinship with numerous James relatives. 
Buds ancestors arrived from England and Wales to the Virginia Colony in the early 1600s. They followed identical migration paths as our James from Virginia into the Kentucky frontier, then into the American heartland.  
Buds grandparents descended from the same Calvert & Dorsey families as Frank & Jesse, and the same Morgan family as Col. Chinn. They migrated from Harrodsburg, Ky. into the Far West. They settled in Utah and founded the town of Myton, where Bud was Mytons City Councilman, museum founder, docent, virtually all his life. His daughter Kathleen Cooper followed as Mayor of Myton in Buds footsteps.
You can find videos of Bud at his Myton museum on YouTube. He loved telling history as much as being history.

Thursday September 24th, 2020

Stray Leaves

WELCOME NEWS. Regarding our recent genealogy discovery of our James family lines of Choctaw & Chickasaw lineage, now comes news that the Choctaw & Chickasaw Nations are now displayed on Google Maps.The Choctaw Nation's reservation boundaries are now mapped on Google Maps! This will make it easier for people to search and view our reservation boundaries with just a few clicks. Check out our reservation on Google Maps at the following link >> bit.ly/363xszw. ... See MoreSee Less

WELCOME NEWS. Regarding our recent genealogy discovery of our James family lines of Choctaw & Chickasaw lineage, now comes news that the Choctaw & Chickasaw Nations are now displayed on Google Maps.
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