Seen by some as a vicious murderer and by others as a gallant Robin Hood, the famous outlaw Jesse James was born on this day in 1847, in Clay County, Missouri. But today’s trivia question is about Jesse’s lesser-known brother Frank James.
Jesse and his older brother Frank were among the most notorious outlaws of the Old West. Jesse and Frank began their outlaw career with eight other men by robbing a bank in Liberty, Mo., on Feb. 13, 1866. It was the first daylight bank robbery in U.S. history, netted the gang about $60,000, and killed a 17 year old innocent bystander. The James Gang continued robbing banks, stores individuals, stagecoaches and trains for more than a decade, killing many people along the way.
Jesse James was killed by one of his own gang members for a $5,000 reward in 1882. Frank turned himself in a few months after his brother was murdered. How much prison time did Frank James serve for his crimes?
Had Frank suffered the same fate as his brother Jesse, he no doubt he too would have achieved martyrdom and been the subject of popular songs. However, Frank wisely preferred long life to martyrdom, and he turned himself in a few months after his brother was murdered. Prosecutors were unable to convince juries that Frank was a criminal, and he was declared a free man after avoiding conviction at three separate trials in Missouri and Alabama.
Entering middle age and having grown weary of the criminal life, Frank James was not so foolish as to tempt fate and the watchful eyes of Missouri law officers by resuming his old ways. For the next 30 years, he lived an honest and peaceful existence, working as a race starter at county fairs, a theater doorman, and a star attraction in traveling theater companies. In 1903, he joined forces with his old criminal partner Cole Younger to form the James-Younger Wild West Show. Frank retired to his family’s old farm in Missouri, where he died at the age of 72 in 1915.
He served no time in prison for any of the crimes he “allegedly” committed.
NET CHECK IN’s:
Tonight we had a total of 29 people check in to the Net and, of those, 12 had the correct answer to tonight’s Trivia Question. Congratulations to:
- Bill – KG6DBL
- Khalil – K6FCC
- Anthony – KI6GVY
- John – KD6JEV
- Roger – K6LMN
- Steve – KI6LOV
- Al – KJ6LPE
- David – KA6LUI
- Kelly – KF6QQM
- Leon – AF6TT
- Bob – KB6YVA
- Harry – KF6ZQM
Thank you to everyone who participated in tonight’s Net.