Alexander Franklin James was a Confederate soldier, guerrilla and outlaw. he was the older brother of outlaw Jesse James and was also part of the James-Younger Gang. Take a look below for 27 more interesting and weird facts about Frank James.
1. James was born Alexander Franklin James in Kearney, Missouri, to Baptist minister Reverend Robert Sallee James and his wife Zerelda James, who had moved from Kentucky.
2. He was the oldest of three children.
3. His father died in 1851 and his mother remarried Benjamin Simms in 1852.
4. After his death, she married a third time to Dr. Reuben Samuel in 1855, when Frank was 13 years old.
5. As a child, James showed interest in his late father’s sizable library, especially the works of William Shakespeare.
6. Census records show that James attended school regularly, and he reportedly wanted to become a teacher.
7. In 1861, he joined the Confederate Home Guard unit of Centerville, Missouri. He was captured by Union soldiers the following year and forced to take an oath not to reenlist in the Confederate army.
8. In 1863, he joined the Quantrill’s guerrillas fighters who supported the Confederate army during the American Civil War.
9. In 1863, Union soldiers roughed up his mother, and almost hanged her husband to death, and beat up Jesse James for not giving them the location of Quantrill’s guerrillas.
10. In August, 1863, the Quantrill Raiders committed one of the worst atrocities of the Civil War when they attacked the town of Lawrence and killed 150 inhabitants and set fire to over 180 buildings.
11. With the end of the Civil War, the James brothers became outlaws. They established a gang that included Bob Younger, Cole Younger, James Younger, Bill Chadwell, Clell Miller and Charlie Pitts.
12. In 1866, along with Cole Younger, John Jarrette, George and Oliver Sheppard, and Little Arch Clements, he robbed a bank at Liberty, Missouri, of Yankee money, which resulted in the killing of a citizen.
13. Over the next few years, the brothers took part in 12 bank robberies, 7 train robberies, 4 stage-coach robberies and other criminal acts, which resulted in at least 11 citizens getting killed.
14. In 1873, they robbed their first train, the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad at Adair, Iowa, hoping to get the $75,000 in gold, but the money wasn’t on the train.
15. After escaping from Minnesota, in 1877, he began living with his wife, Annie, on rented accommodation near Nashville, Tennessee, under assumed names. Hoping to give up the outlaw life, he started a family.
16. Jesse James moved his family to St. Joseph, where he passed himself off as a cattle buyer. Eventually, a gang member killed Jesse in April, 1882, and in return was pardoned by the governor.
17. Frank James was in Lynchburg, Virginia, at the time of Jesse’s death.
18. In May, 1882, he decided to surrender with the help of friend and newspaper man John Newman Edwards directly to the governor.
19. In 1883, he was acquitted of participating in the Winston train robbery and of murdering McMillan after the defense pointed out that Liddil himself was a robber and not to be trusted.
20. He attempted to make a living working on the stage and in the circus.
21. He also turned the family farm into a museum and charged visitors .30 cents to see his brother’s grave.
22. In 1876, the gang attempted to rob the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota, and killed the cashier. Members of the town opened first, wounding Frank, who escaped and went into hiding.
23. In 1881, the brothers with Wood, Clarence Hite, and Dick Liddil, robbed a Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad owned train at Winston, Missouri, of $650 and passenger Frank McMillan was shot dead by Frank.
24. James married Annie Ralston and their only child, Robert Franklin James, was born in 1878, in Nashville.
25. James died at his family home in Kearney following a heart attack.
26. In 1980, country singer Johnny Cash portrayed James in the album, The Legend of Jesse James, and played Frank in the movie “The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James,” six years later.
27. The James brothers stole gold what is equivalent to $1 billion today, gave some in charity while the rest of that is buried all over Missouri, never recovered by the federal authorities.