Person:Alexander James (4)

Alexander Franklin James
d.18 Feb 1915 Clay County, Missouri
m. 28 Dec 1841
  1. Alexander Franklin James1843 - 1915
  2. Frank James1843 - 1915
  3. Robert R. James1845 - 1845
  4. Jesse Woodson James1847 - 1882
  5. Susan Lavenia James1849 - 1889
  • HAlexander Franklin James1843 - 1915
  • WAnn Ralston1853 - 1944
m. 6 Jun 1874
  1. Robert Franklin James1877 - 1959
Facts and Events
Name[1] Alexander Franklin James
Alt Name[2] Frank James
Gender Male
Birth[1] 10 Jan 1843 Kearney, Clay County, Missouri
Military? 1861 MissouriJoined the pro-CSA Missouri State Guard, then returned home because of an injury.
Military? 1862 MissouriJoined Quantrill's Raiders. When the war ended, the U.S. government pardoned Confederate troops, but irregular guerrilla bands like Quantrill's Raiders were still regarded as outlaws.
Military? 1865 MissouriFrank turned himself in as a Confederate soldier and signed all the paperwork declaring his allegiance to the U.S., but used his given name of "Alexander" so the militia kept up the hunt. Frank James, Jesse James, Cole Younger and other "Raiders" attempted to surrender at Lexington, Missouri but federal soldiers opened fire. Those that escaped hid in the woods and the result was the formation of the James-Younger gang.
Marriage 6 Jun 1874 Nebraska(eloped; probably married at or near Omaha)
to Ann Ralston
Occupation? 1896 St. Louis, MissouriWorked as a doorman & bouncer at Pope's (Polk's?) Theatre.
Census? 1900 St. Louis, MissouriHe may have been living with William & Anna Smith, but this is unclear.
Census[2] 1910 Delaware Twp, Caddo County, Oklahoma
Death[1] 18 Feb 1915 Clay County, Missouri
Obituary[3] 19 Feb 1915 Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri
Obituary[4] 21 Feb 1915 Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri
Burial[1] Hill Park Cemetery, Independence, Jackson County, Missouri

Caddo County, Oklahoma, 1910 census:[2]

James, Frank Head 68 yrs (marr. 35 yrs) b. Missouri (parents, b. Kentucky) Farmer (Gen. Farm)
      Anna Wife 58 yrs (1 child, 1 living) b. Missouri (parents, b. Ireland/Kentucky)


All the following is taken from a series of articles in The Kansas City Times of 19 Feb 1915 which obviously had been prepared in advance of his death and which ran the same day as his obituary.


Frank James and his mother, too, always did say he was driven to be an outlaw. It is certain that both Frank and Jesse James, his brother, were driven to join the Quantrell guerrillas, who raided Lawrence, Kas., and which was the most terrible band of shooting and killing rough riders that ever existed anywhere.

The mother of Frank James told the writer of this, not long before she died, the story of how her two boys were persecuted and hounded by Federal soldiers and sympathizers until, in fear for their lives, they had to run away from home. This part of Missouri was then "The Red Border." There were bands of Federal soldiers riding this way and that, harrying sympathizers with the Southern cause, shooting and hanging all who took part in aiding the soldiers of the Confederacy. Aiding them were the "Home Guards," composed of Federal sympathizers who had not gone to war.

The James farm was in Clay County, a few miles east of Kearney, and a few miles west of Excelsior Springs. The elder James was a preacher who moved with his wife and boys from Kentucky and settled there. He died and his widow married Doctor Samuels.

Samuels and his wife and the two James boys were intense in their sympathy for the Southern cause, and this was well known in the community, where there were many Unionists. One day a company of Federals went to the Samuels farm and hanged Doctor Samuels until he was nearly dead and prodded the two James boys, Frank and Jesse, with bayonets until blood soaked their clothing. Later those outrages were repeated, and, driven to desperation, Frank went from home.

At that time Quantrell, the raider, was camped near Independence, and Frank went to him, and was welcomed. A few months later Jesse joined the band too.

They became the two most daring raiders of the band. Their hearts were filled with hate of the Northern cause and its soldiers and friends, and they slew and reeked in blood. They lived only to kill and to avenge. They learned how to ride a horse at full speed, the bridle in their teeth, a revolver in each hand, which was the way of the guerrillas. They learned to shoot from the back of a galloping horse and never miss the mark. Their lives were spent in the brush, hiding, or riding on long raids at night to be early in the morning at the massacre of some band of Federals. They hunted and were hunted. They knew no fear. They had great adventures and narrow escapes. They did daring things. They laughed at death and rode into the very face of it, screaming the Quantrell yell, which froze the blood of those that heard it.

The story of their adventures in this wild time has never been written, nor never will.

It is known that Frank James was in the Lawrence raid and that there he was ferocious and merciless as a mad wolf. He was in the Centralia massacre, too. He was in a thousand mad raids in which quarter was not given and was never accepted.

Frank James was with Quantrell when he [Quantrill, that is] died in Kentucky.

Then came the surrender of Lee and peace. Frank and Jesse James returned to their home in Missouri. They always contended that they were driven by persecution into the career of outlawry that made them notorious as no other bandits have ever been. But others of the Quantrell band who returned had no such trouble in settling down.

More than likely it is nearer the truth to say that after their years of exciting adventure as rough riders, accustomed to know no law but that of the pistol, used to take by force whatever they needed, in love with the wild, roving life, they found existence on a farm too tame and monotonous.

They needed money. They robbed a bank in Liberty, got $70,000 and escaped with it. That outlawed them. Thereafter there was no rest for them. When that money was gone they robbed and got more. They were ingenious as they were unafraid. They invented the daylight bank robbery, the riding into town at midday, revolvers cracking, the old rebel screech of guerrilla days rending the air, the halt at the bank door, one man to hold the horses, two or three to stand in front and shoot at every head that showed, two to go in the bank and scoop the treasure into sacks. And then the mad ride out and away.

They invented the train robbery. A silent, lonely spot at night, a red lantern waving across the track, the train slowly grinding to full stop, then the wild, demoniacal screaming of masked men in the darkness, and the fusillade of revolver shots while one man guards the engineer and two overawe the express messenger, rob his safe and away again, to melt into the blackness of the night.

Their training in night riding and night hiding, in sleeping anywhere, in knowing how to make cover through a whole day for men and horses in a patch of hazel brush, learned in the guerrilla days, made escape easy for them.

For seventeen years they rode and robbed, and sometimes killed. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars their loot amounted to no one will ever know.


The James boys robbed from the Mississippi to the Rio Grande, and no one could catch them.

But in the late seventies the lines were tightening about them all the time. The country was filling up. It became more difficult to escape, to hide. Big rewards offered by states and corporations bred treachery in their camps.

It was this that brought the death of Jesse James , shot down from behind by the Ford boys, in his own home in St. Joseph, in sight of his wife and two children, for a reward of $50,000 offered by the state of Missouri. So many robberies within the state by a band of her own, had made Missouri infamous. It injured business. Travelers were afraid to pass this way. Hence the big reward; the treachery, the death of Jesse James.

Frank James told the writer of this that long before the death of his brother, Jesse, he, Frank, had given up out-lawry, foreseeing the end that was sure to be, and that then he was living peacefully in a Southern state, with his wife and family, under an assumed name.

Frank denied that he was at the robbery of the train at Winston, Mo., one night in July, 1879, when the conductor, William Westfall, and John McMillen were killed by the bandits.

But Frank was under suspicion of having been there and a grand jury had named him in an indictment for the murder. He was a fugitive from justice.

The system of train robbery invented by him was yet being practiced and for each one Frank was blamed. He decided to surrender and take his chances.

T. T. Crittenden was governor of Missouri. October 6, 1882, Frank James, accompanied by a few faithful friends, went to the office of the governor in Jefferson City. What occurred is described as follows in Leonard’s History of Missouri:

Maj. John N. Edwards advanced to the governor, shook hands with him and in an easy, matter-of –fact way introduced "My friend, Mr. Frank James." They took one another by the hand, the chief magistrate and the brigand, and then the unlooked-for visitor unbuttoned his coat and, unbuckling his belt, handed it, with the pistol in it, to the governor as a token of surrender and delivery.

"Governor Crittenden," he said, as he proffered the butt of the revolver -- a .44 caliber Remington -- which had been presented, muzzle foremost, on many a critical occasion, and made to do its part in many a fierce combat, "I want to hand over to you that which no man living, except myself, has ever been permitted to touch since 1861, and to say that I am your prisoner. I have taken all the cartridges out of the weapon and you can handle it with safety."

Governor Crittenden took the revolver by its butt and, turning to the company in the room, who had not understood what was going on, said: "Gentlemen, this is Frank James, and I take pleasure in introducing him to you."

There was a look of surprise at the announcement, and then the party came forward and, one by one, shook hands with the outlaw.

"I came to Missouri last week," he said, addressing the party. "I have come in the hope that you, gentlemen, will let me prove that I am not nearly so bad a man as I have been represented. I have come back to Missouri to try and regain a home and standing among her people. I have been outside her laws for twenty-one years. I have been hunted like a wild animal from one state to another. I have known no home. I have slept in all sorts of places; here today, there tomorrow. I have been charged with nearly every crime committed either in Missouri or her neighboring states. I have been taught to suspect my dearest and nearest friend of treachery, and where’s the end to be?

"I am tired of this life of night riding and day hiding; of constant listening for footfalls, cracking twigs, rustling leaves and creaking doors; tired of the saddle, the revolver and the cartridge belt. The one desire of my life is to regain the citizenship which I lost in the dark days, when, in Western Missouri, every man’s hand was against his neighbor, and to prove that I am not unworthy of it by submitting to the most rigid tests that the law may require."

Frank was taken to Independence, lodged in jail and in due time tried for the murder of Westfall, the train conductor, in the court in Gallatin, Mo., and acquitted.

It was a famous trial. John F. Philips, afterward United States judge, now a practicing lawyer in this city, defended James. William Wallace, now a lawyer in this city and widely known as prohibition candidate for governor in several elections, prosecuted James.


After his acquittal Frank James went to St. Louis to live and for several years was doorkeeper of the Standard Theater there. He was acting in that capacity some ten years ago, when the writer of this, accompanied by a publisher of books, went to see him to try and induce him to agree to the publication of a book about his life and adventures.

"I promised the governor of Missouri when I surrendered that I would never write a book about myself or permit it to be done if I could prevent it. I am going to keep that promise," said Frank.

The publisher tried to get his consent, offered to pay him an enormous sum in cash outright, but Frank said:

"Gentlemen, if you should give me a million dollars in gold, I would not do it. I have got a lot to live down, and I can’t help do that by writing books about myself." And that was the end of it.

Frank James never wrote a word of his adventures and would not be interviewed about them.

He was living in rather poor circumstances at the time the publisher made that offer to him, and $10,000 would have been a fortune to him, but it did not even tempt him to break his promise.

He did add to his income by acting as starter at horse races in county fairs in many places in the Southwest, and for a brief period he appeared with Cole Younger in a tent show, but he gave that up when he found that he was expected to pose as an actor in a border drama.

After the death of his mother, Mrs. Samuel, a few years ago, Frank James inherited the farm near Kearney, and he went there to live quietly.

He was a quiet, unassuming man, of irreproachable habits and character in his later years. He was devoted to his family, never drank, talked little, and kept in the background. There was much that was pathetic and impelling of sympathy in him as he went quietly about his way, with one deep aim always uppermost -- the yearning, as he expressed it to the governor when he surrendered, "to regain the citizenship which I lost in the dark days, to prove that I am not unworthy of it."

Surely he did prove that, and no matter what he may have been and what he may have done in what he called the "dark days," no one will deny him the honor that is due him for his striving to make amends.

Image Gallery
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Find A Grave.

    (cremated because of his fear of grave robbers) Find a Grave

  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Caddo, Oklahoma, United States. 1910 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration Publication T624), ED 58, p. 1A, dwelling/family 9/9.
  3. The Kansas City Times. (Kansas City, Missouri), Friday, February 19, 1915.


    Kearney, Mo., Feb. 18. --- Frank James died at the old Samuels home, three miles from Kearney, at 3:40 o'clock this afternoon, following a final stroke of apoplexy at 10 o'clock this morning. He was 73 years old. He had been ill all winter, suffering a first stroke last November.

    The funeral will be held Saturday with burial in the family lot here, beside the graves of his mother, Mrs. Zerelda Samuels, and his 8-years-old half-brother, Archie, who was killed by a bomb tossed into the Samuels home by Pinkerton detectives searching for the James brothers. The body of Jesse James, which now rests under the sod of the Samuels farm yard, probably will be disinterred and buried with the rest of the family.

    Mr. James is survived by his wife, Mrs. Anna James, 62 years old; his son, Robert, who lives on a part of the old place; a half-brother, John Samuels of Excelsior Springs; two half-sisters: Mrs. Fannie Hall of Kearney and Mrs. Sarah Louisa Nicholson, who lives on a part of the old farm; a nephew, Jesse James, Jr., of Kansas City and three nieces, one of whom, Mrs. Mary S. Barr, lives on the old place.

    Frank James owned all but six acres of the old Samuels farm, bequeathed him by his mother at her death, which occurred on a train between Chickasha and Oklahoma City, Ok., in 1911. Mrs. Samuels was returning to Clay County from a visit with Frank at his farm nine miles northwest of Fletcher, Ok. Frank James rented the Oklahoma farm shortly afterwards and returned to the old home to live the year around, but continued to own the Oklahoma property.

  4. The Kansas City Star. (Kansas City, Missouri), Sunday, February 21, 1915.


    A handful of ashes and a name engraved upon a copper urn is all that will remain tonight of Frank James, Missouri's Robin Hood.

    Last night his body was taken to St. Louis. Today it will be cremated. Tomorrow the ashes of the former bandit will come to Kansas City and go into a box in a safety deposit vault in a bank, and there they will rest, behind great locked doors of armor plate, until -- well no one can tell; maybe until resurrection day.

    Yesterday the relatives and friends of Frank James gathered on the James farm, near Kearney, Clay County, for the funeral.

    A strange funeral! Not a prayer. Not a song. No word from a minister. Just a short speech from a man who saved him from the gallows, and was his intimate friend -- that, and tears of real love and affection.

    Maybe, after all, those tears coursing down the cheeks of old men who had fought with him, who had seen his loyalty and friendship tested in the "dark days," who knew of his struggles to "beat back" to good citizenship, held greater promise for his soul than all the prayers, that might have been said, or hymns sung.

    Frank James was one guerrilla beloved and looked up to by all the others. Those veterans of the days of the "red border" went long distances to be at his funeral yesterday. One came all the way from Oklahoma. One got up from a sick bed to go, and as he helped carry the body of his old comrade, he staggered under the weight.

    When Judge John F. Philips, in his funeral speech, standing beside the coffin, half turned and laid his hand upon it and said:

    "Since his surrender he acquitted himself always as a man of high honor," a dozen voices, tremulous under the weight of years, answered: "Amen."

    "From my many conversations with him I learned that he believed in the divine authenticity of the Bible," the judge said, "He believed in the divinity of Jesus and had sublime faith that his sins were forgiven and that he was the recipient of God's mercy and that his soul was saved. He told me that he did not join a church because that act would be misconstrued; the world would look upon it as some sort of hypocrisy, as being done for show. He did not believe that it was necessary to join a church. Knowing that he had been saved by grace, believing that this was a matter between his own heart and God alone, he did not think that religious services were necessary at his funeral. He met death serene and unafraid, confident of the future.

    The whole countryside went to the funeral. The buggies line the fence for a long distance each side of the road gate. Not one-fifth of the crowd could get into the house. And the country roads were thick with black, sticky mud, and there was promise of rain in the lowering clouds. Those who went by train had to go three miles from Kearney to the James farm and there they waited for hours, walking about the farm, standing in groups on the wet sod under the bare trees, talking of the old times.

    There was Morgan Mattox who was a comrade of Frank James under Quantrell, the raider. He came all the way from Bartlesville, Ok., to be at the funeral, and, out under the big coffee bean tree, besides the grave of Jesse James, he told stories that made the blood tingle, more thrilling than you'll find in any story book, and the hero of them all the man lying dead within the little cottage.

    "Ah, he was the fighter for you --- never afraid, true always to his comrades, a fine soldier" said Mattox.

    There was William Gregg, Quantrell's lieutenant. who received Frank James into the band when he was a beardless boy, his heart aflame with hate of the "blue bellied Yankee soldiers." Gregg is old and feeble now and it was a great effort for him to go from his home in Kansas City to the funeral.

    "The last time I saw Frank James was last spring when I was down with pneumonia," said Gregg. "He came out to my house to see me, and, as he was leaving he came up to me and laid a 10-dollar bill in my hand and said:

    "Bill, take it, you need it, I know; and when you want more let me know and it will come to you." And the tears rolled down the sunken cheeks of William Gregg as he told it, and his voice choked.

    The pallbearers were:

    Ben Morrow of Eastern Jackson County
    George Shepard of Lees Summit
    John Workman of Independence
    George Wiggleton of Independence
    William Gregg of Kansas City

    all old Quantrell men;

    T. T. Crittenden, whose father, while governor of Missouri, received the surrender of Frank James.

    Among those from Kansas City at the funeral were Judge Ralph Latshaw, Charles Polk, Lynn S. Banks, William M. Corbett, Hal Gaylord and "Dusty" Rhoades.

    Immediate relatives of Frank James who were present were:
    Mrs. Betty Patton, his aunt
    Mrs. J. C. Hall, half-sister
    Mrs. William NICHOLSON, half-sister
    John SAMUELS, half brother
    Jesse JAMES, Jr., nephew

    and his family, and his sister.