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Ancestors of Jesse Woodson James

Second Generation


2. Rev. Robert Sallee James was born 1 17 Jul 1818 in Logan Co., KY. He died 2 18 Aug 1850 in Gold fields near Placerville, El Dorado Co., CA. Robert married 1 Zerelda Elizabeth Cole on 28 Dec 1841 in Stamping Ground, Scott Co., KY. [Parents]

BIOGRAPHY: [Broderbund WFT Vol. 15, Ed. 1, Tree #1589]
After Robert and Mary married they moved to Kentucky and settled near Adairville, Logan County. They bought a 275-acre farm and this is where Jesse was born as well as Susan. Robert graduated from Georgetown College in Kentucky in June 1843 and received a Master of Arts Degree in 1847. He was an ordained Baptist minister in 1839. Two years before he graduated, he met and married Zerelda Cole, who was a student in a Catholic convent in Lexington, Kentucky. Robert worked his farm during the week with seven faithful Negro servants and served God on Sunday as a preacher, but was never paid for preaching. Two of the churches he founded are still inexistence today. They are the Providence Baptist Church in Clay Co. and the Pisgah Baptist Church near Excelsior Springs, Mo. Robert was also one of the founders of the William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. His wife, Zerelda, told she saw her husband baptize as many as 65 people on one occasion. Jesse was baptized near the same place years later after returning from the Civil War. It was said by Zerelda, that had not Robert gone to the gold fields of California in 1850 to preach to the miners for a year that Frank and Jesse would not have had their violent history. Jesse pleaded with his father not to go. It took four months to get there and just three weeks later Robert died.

BIOGRAPHY: [Broderbund WFT Vol. 5, Ed. 1, Tree #2180]
Graduated from Georgetown College, Kentucky, and became a Baptist preacher. Moved to Clay Co., MO, and became pastor of New Hope Baptist Church there. Was a co-founder and trustee of William Jewell College. Went to California to look for gold in 1850 and died shortly thereafter. Was buried in an unmarked grave in California. (K. G. Lindsay)

3. Zerelda Elizabeth Cole "Zee" was born 1, 2 29 Jan 1825 in Black Horse Tavern, Woodford Co., KY. She died 1 10 Feb 1911 in Oklahoma City, Cleveland Co., OK and was buried 3 after 10 Feb 1911 in Mt Olivet Cemetery, Kearney, Clay Co., MO. [Parents]

BIOGRAPHY: [Broderbund WFT Vol. 15, Ed. 1, Tree #1589]
After Robert died in 1850 Zerelda Cole James remarried to a Dr. Reuben Samuel. She had four children by Reuben, but before she married Reuben she had married Benjamin Simms.
Zeralda had died while returning from a visit to Frank in Oklahoma. They took her off the train in OK City and later transferred to Kearney.
The James farm is located near Excelsior Springs, Clay, MO.
From this marriage came several notes of interest. Frances Peters Inskeep, niece of Simms, married Coleman Purcell Younger of Clay County and moved to San Jose, California. A nephew, named for the Younger, was the outlaw Cole Younger. Mary, the younger sister of Frances married Martin Ringo and also went to California. Their son, John Peters, was the "Johnny Ringo" of Tombstone, Arizona fame. Zerelda was therefore, by marriage, the great aunt of the Youngers and Ringo and hers sons cousins, but only by marriage. Also, another strange marriage was another distant relationship. Adaline Younger, who married James Lewis Dalton, became the mother of Bob, Grant and Emmett, the core of the famous Dalton Gang, was the half-sister of Coleman Purcell Younger. This made the James boys, the Youngers, Ringo and the Daltons distant cousins. And further coincidence is revealed that Bruce Younger, half-brother of Coleman, married Maybelle Reed, better known as Belle Starr.
Zerelda's hand was blown off and her youngest child (Archie-8 years old)was killed by a bomb that was thrown into her home at night by Pinkerton detectives who were seeking to kill or capture her "outlaw" sons. For this cowardly deed, Zerelda and her family were given a lifetime pass on the railroad. She made good use of the pass. When she couldn't find enough of her family she would "adopt" neighbors as family. They said she had a comic spirit always at hand. She had attended St. Catherine's Academy in Lexington, Kentucky and met Robert James there.

BIOGRAPHY: [Broderbund WFT Vol. 11, Ed. 1, Tree #0789]
At the age of fourteen (1839) Zerelda entered St. Catherine's Academy for women in Lexington, Ky. She met her husband, Robert, at a religious revival. Strong, domineering, outspoken, and fiercely protective of her surviving children (4 of eight), Zerelda had the size to back it up--5'8" and over 200 lbs. She married and buried three husbands to boot!

They had the following children:

M i
Alexander Franklin James "Frank" 1 was born 1 10 Jan 1843 in Kearney, Clay Co., MO. He died 2 15 Feb 1915 in Fletcher, OK and was buried 3 after 6 Jul 1944 in Hill Park Cemetery, Independence, Jackson Co., MO.

BIOGRAPHY: [Broderbund WFT Vol. 15, Ed. 1, Tree #1589
Frank and his wife, Anna, lived in St. Louis at the time of Jesse's wedding and later moved to Fletcher, Oklahoma, until the time of his mother's death. He then moved back to Kearney, Mo. to take over the family farm that Zerelda had maintained all those years. Jesse Jr. knew Frank as "Ben Woodson" just as Jesse's name was "Tim Woodson", as a child.

BIOGRAPHY: [Broderbund WFT Vol. 7, Ed. 1, Tree #4693
When the Civil War broke out 18 year old Frank enlisted in the MO State Guards on 4 May 1861. The Confederate force was commanded by Gen. Sterling Price (1809-1867) and was in the fierce battle on Wilson's Creek near Springfield, MO on 10 Aug 1867. Defeated Union forces also had a noted gun fighter, Wild Bill Hickock, captured and released on oath. He joined the infamous band headed by William Clark Quantrell, 1837-1865. Future partners, Cole and Jim Younger also rode with Quantrell. Was aquitted of all charges in three states and spent 28 months in jail between 1885 and 1892. He sold shoes for a living latter.
M ii
Robert R. James 1 was born 2 19 Jul 1845 in Kearney, Clay Co., MO. He died 1 21 Aug 1845 in Kearney, Clay Co., MO.
1 M iii Jesse Woodson James was born 5 Sep 1847 and died 3 Apr 1882.
F iv
Susan Lavinia James 1 was born 1 25 Nov 1849 in Kearney, Clay Co., MO. She died 3 Mar 1889 in Wichita Falls, Wichita Co., TX and was buried after 3 Mar 1889 in Riverside Cemetery, Wichita Falls, Wichita Co., TX.

BIOGRAPHY: [Broderbund WFT Vol. 15, Ed. 1, Tree #1589]
Susan was three years old when her father was killed. She attended school in Kansas City, Mo. and married Henry L. Barr in 1901. They lived in a small farm opposite the James farm.

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