m. abt 1824
- Zerelda Elizabeth Cole1825 - 1911
Facts and Events
||Zerelda Elizabeth Cole
||29 Jan 1825
||Woodford County, Kentucky
||28 Dec 1841
||Stamping Ground, Scott County, Kentucky(her 1st husband) Married at home of Judge James Madison Lindsay.
to Rev Robert Sallee James
||30 Sep 1852
||(her 2nd husband)
to Benjamin Simms
||25 Sep 1855
||Clay County, Missouri(her 3rd husband) They were introduced by her brother/law, Rev. William James.
to Dr Reuben Samuel
||26 Jan 1875
||Clay County, MissouriLost her right arm in the same bomb explosion that killed her youngest son during the Pinkerton raid on the family farm.
||10 Feb 1911
||Oklahoma(on a train near Oklahoma City, while traveling to San Francisco)
||11 Feb 1911
||Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri
||13 Feb 1911
||Kansas City, Jackson County, MissouriObituary
||Mount Olivet Cemetery, Kearney, Clay County, Missouri
- the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
Zerelda Elizabeth Cole James Simms Samuel (January 29, 1825 – February 10, 1911) was the mother of Frank James and Jesse James.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Zeralda Cole James, in Find A Grave.
- ↑ Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri, United States. Kansas City Journal, Saturday, February 11, 1911.
[Note that throughout, the surname "Samuel" is misspelled "Samuels."]
MOTHER OF JAMES BOYS DIES ON TRAIN
Aged Woman Expires on Way to Kansas City from Frank's Farm
HEART DISEASE CAUSE
Will Be Buried by Side of Jesse at Old Home at Kearney, Mo.
Oklahoma City, Feb. 10. --- Mrs. Zerelda James Samuels, 86 years old, mother of Jesse and Frank James, the ex-bandits, died in the stateroom of a Pullman car of the Frisco train as it was entering the city limits here this evening. Heart trouble was the cause of death, being almost instant. Mrs. Samuels was in company with her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Frank James of Fletcher, Ok. They were en route to Excelsior Springs, Mo., where the aged woman expected to spend the rest of the winter with her two daughters, before returning to the old James homestead near Kearney, Mo.
"Oh, I'm so sick," exclaimed the aged woman as she dropped over on a couch on which she was seated. These were her last words.
The body of Mrs. Samuels was embalmed here this evening and taken on the evening train to Kansas City, and from there
will be transferred to the old home at Kearney, Mo., where it will be laid by the side of her son, Jesse.
Jesse James, Jr., in Kansas City, was notified of the death of his grandmother. Mrs. Samuels is survived by John Samuels, a son, and two daughters, Mrs. Sallie Nicholson and Mrs. Fannie Hall, all of Excelsior Springs, Mo. She was the widow of Dr. Samuels, whom she married after the death of her husband, the father of Jesse and Frank James. She had spent most of her life on the old homestead at Kearney, Mo.
Mrs. Samuels's maiden name was Zerelda Cole, and she was born in Kentucky. Early in life she was married to Rev. Robert James, a Baptist minister of good education. In 1850, Rev. Mr. James went to California with a party of goldseekers and died shortly after his arrival there, leaving his young wife with three small children, Alexander Franklin, Jesse Woodson, and Susie, the latter now the wife of a Texas ranchman.
In 1851, the young widow of 26 was married to a farmer named Simms. He was a widower with children, and the union proved unhappy, being terminated by separation in less than a year. Mrs. Simms alleged that the chief trouble arose from the fact that her three children, whom she had always humored and indulged, gave the stepfather, who was 52 years old, no end of annoyance.
Simms died shortly afterward, and a few years later, Mrs. Simms became the wife of Dr. Reuben Samuel, with whom she lived at the old home place near Kearney for many years.
During the Civil war Mrs. Samuels endured many hardships. Her son, Frank, was being sought by federal soldiers, after a career in the brush, and threats and violence were resorted to secure information from the family. In May, 1863, Samuels was taken out and hung by the neck until nearly exhausted and Jesse, then 16 years of age, who was plowing in the field, was whipped severely.
A few weeks later, Mr. and Mrs. Samuels were arrested and taken to St. Joseph. Mrs. Samuels was accused of feeding and harboring bushwhackers, but no charge was preferred against Dr. Samuels. Susie James was not arrested. Both children remained in prison with Mrs. Samuels. A few months later, another child was born, John Samuels, a former alderman of Excelsior Springs.
Dr. Samuels was a familiar figure at the James farm to visitors until his death a few years ago.
Northwest Missouri during Mrs. Samuels' early residence was a hotbed of sectional feelings. Freebooters and plunderers roamed the country, robbing, slaying, laying waste, with not the slightest regard for either law or decency. It was in the midst of this lawlessness that Mrs. Samuels made her home. The two sons, always wild and unmanageable identified themselves with one of the guerrilla bands, Quantrill's, and left their mother's house.
When the boys returned home at the close of the war, they were the lions of the day. Everybody in that section supposed that they had been serving in the Confederate army, and nothing was too good for them. The sons were very careful to foster this impression, and were aided by their mother who was very proud of them.
It was this feeling among the people that permitted the James boys in their later operations to go so long without being either killed or captured. Their mother believed they were objects of Northern hatred and did everything in her power to protect them. In these exploits of the James boys, when they attained a total of $285,000 by robbing banks in Independence, Lexington, Richmond, Liberty and Gallatin, Mo., Mrs. Samuels lived in exactly the same style. It always was a mystery to the people of Clay county what the James boys did with their money. Their mother never dressed any better and there never was an acre added to their homestead.
The hanging of Whicher, a Pinkerton man, sent to capture the outlaws, which took place in the yard of the James homestead, led to the death of the youngest son, Archie, and the maiming of Mrs. Samuels, who lost an arm when a dynamite bomb was exploded in the house.
For twenty years the body of Jesse James, who was killed at St. Joseph April 3, 1882, by Bob Ford, a treacherous member of the James gang, was buried in the back yard of the Samuels homestead, near Kearney. The old farm became a mecca for thousands of curiosity seekers attracted by the glamour of adventure and the recklessness and lawlessness displayed by the James boys during the years of their outlawry in the West. Mrs. Samuels made her home in the same cabin, where she had lived since coming from Kentucky and took much interest in telling these thousands of sightseers the story of her life and of her two sons.
The grave where the body of Jesse rested for so many years was the last point of interest to which the white-haired mother took her visitors. It was her shrine and she guarded it zealously from all dangers which menaced it. Some of these were real as well as fancied, for when the outlaw was first buried there, there were numerous attempts to steal the body. In June, 1902, the body was removed, and reinterred at Kearney.
Mrs. Samuels never lost faith in her two boys, and during the years that detectives drawn by offers of large rewards scoured the country for them, she considered that they were hounded and unjustly treated.
"Will these detectives never let us alone?" she said one day at the home of her son Frank, then at 3402 Tracy avenue, and as she spoke she raised the stump of her right arm in the air.
"Look on their work," she continued, "my arm torn off, my little boy murdered, my son shot, and my husband strung up by the neck because he would not tell something he did not know. I am an old woman, and I have suffered enough to make me 100. I do know that I often pleaded with the boys not to kill anyone, but the people will believe anything.
"There is a little grave down at Kearney that holds the baby victim of the detectives. They stole up to my house at midnight, and set it on fire and threw a hand grenade in at the window. Not one of the miserable cowards showed his face, but they skulked in the brush, waiting for their murderous instrument to do its work. I waked my little boy, and told him the house was on fire and we must get out, but he begged me to save his old black nurse first. A few minutes later he lay a mangled corpse, and the villains who had done the work were fleeing from the scene of their crime."
"The only clew was a revolver dropped by one of them in their flight. It was marked to show that it belonged to the Pinkertons."
Frank James, now 66 years old, her eldest son, lives on a farm near Fletcher, Ok. Jesse James, Jr., a grandson, is an attorney of Kansas City.
- ↑ Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri, United States. Kansas City Journal, Monday, February 13, 1911.
BODY RESTS BY HER SONS.
Kearney, Mo., Feb. 12 --- The funeral of Mrs. Zerelda Samuels, mother of the James boys, was held from the Kearney Baptist church this afternoon at 2 o'clock, the whole countryside attending. Six grandchildren, including Jesse James, Jr., acted as pallbearers, and interment was made in the Kearney cemetery, where her son Jesse, and Archie, the 9-year-old son killed by a hand grenade thrown through a window, are buried. Rev. J. D. Evans and Rev. Asa N. Bird, the latter an old Baptist minister long associated with the James family, made remarks bringing out the devotion she had always exhibited toward her family, and her Spartan motherhood.
The Rev. Mr. Bird received Mrs. Samuels into the membership of New Hope church after she had withdrawn her alliance because of trouble with her family over the marriage contracted with Mr. Simms after the death of her first husband, Rev. Robert James, who went to California with the goldseekers in 1850. He recalls her as a remarkably beautiful woman at that time, and of a religious turn of mind.