FRANK JAMES - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 02/29/1884 - HFSID 314408
Sale Price $4,037.50
Awaiting his second trial in a year, the famous outlaw writes to his wife and son, expressing (well founded) optimism about the outcome.
Autograph Letter signed: "Frank James", 2 pages, 8½x14. Hand addressed envelope included (toned and torn from opening). Huntsville, Alabama, 1884 February 29. To "My dear Wife and Rob", in full: "This being my lucky day I will write you a brief. Although the situation has not changed materially since I last wrote you I am feeling real well today, much better than for some time. It may be from the fact I got up much earlier than common. I arose this morning before seven, three hours earlier than I usually get up. I had a long conference with General Walker yesterday and you may hear some good news in the next week. I am spending my time as usual. As Rob would say 'the same old thing' each and every day. Tell Rob I heard someone singing his song this morning, 'Goodbye my love, goodbye'. Who do you think I wrote today I bet you can't guess in twenty guesses. See if you can. I will tell you in the last of this who it was. As yet I have not heard from any of my 'Mo' friends. I guess they are waiting until the weather gets warm. I am going to live on eggs from this on. They are only 13¢ and the prospects are they will be less in a short time. This is a lovely day, the sun is shining beautiful and you bet your boots I feel as I would like to enjoy its exhilarating rays and hope I will before many months. I hope Fannie recovered sufficiently to be out of danger. Tell them also I am anxious for the time to assure when I can have the pleasure of seeing them. Tell me all about my little man What he does every day and if he is a good boy. There has been quite a number of deaths in town since my arrival Marshall Hinds lost a bright little boy eight years old this week. I hope you are enjoying the best of health I would be very much distressed to hear of you or Robie being ill. I am looking for a letter from you this evening when the mail arrives which is at 4pm, I hope it will come I must now say good by. Love to all, Your affectionate husband." FRANK JAMES (1843-1915) and his brother Jesse James fought as Confederate guerrillas in Missouri ("Quantrill's Raiders") during the Civil War. They joined Cole Younger and others in 1866 to form a gang led by Jesse, robbing banks and trains. Frank and Jesse survived and escaped the failed Northfield, Minnesota bank heist of 1876, forming a new gang. Several months after the murder of his brother Jesse (April 3, 1882), Frank James traveled to Jefferson City and surrendered to Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden. Standing trial in Gallatin, Missouri for murder and armed robbery in 1883, he was acquitted by a sympathetic jury, but sent on to Alabama for trial in another armed robbery case. His meeting cited in this letter with his defense attorney, former Confederate General and Secretary of War Leroy Frank Walker, obviously cheered James' spirits, and this optimism proved justified when another sympathetic southern jury found him not guilty. Frank James had eloped with schoolteacher Annie Ralston (1853-1944) in 1875, in defiance of her parents. The parents did not see Annie again until she showed up on their doorstep with 5-year old son Robert after James's surrender in Missouri. After James' acquittals, he thereafter lived a respectable, law abiding life. He died at his farm in Clay County, Missouri in 1915, but his ashes remained in a vault until he could be buried with Annie, who lived for another three decades. Their only child, Robert Frank James (1878-1958) became a clerk and farmer, and served as a cavalry trooper in the Spanish-American War. Normal mailing folds. Toned. Top edge lightly worn. Light tears from folds. Otherwise, fine condition.
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