FRANK JAMES - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 07/13/1883 - HFSID 346673
FRANK JAMES The brother of Jesse James pens this letter to this wife while awaiting trial for murder and armed robbery, signing with his outlaw alias, "Ben". Very rare! Autograph Letter Signed: "Ben" in black ink, 1p, 5x8. Castle St.
Sale Price $8,500.00
FRANK JAMES The brother of Jesse James pens this letter to this wife while awaiting trial for murder and armed robbery, signing with his outlaw alias, "Ben". Very rare! Autograph Letter Signed: "Ben" in black ink, 1p, 5x8. Castle St. James in Gallatin, Missouri, 1883 July 13. To "My dear Wife". In full: "I just this moment received your letter as I have also one from Allen which explains itself. Write them as I have just done. May God watch over and protect you and our dear little boy are my earnest prayers. I will write Monday again./ Your true husband". Frank James (1843-1915) and his brother Jesse James fought as Confederate guerrillas in Missouri ("Quantrill's Raiders"), and in the pro-Southern state militia 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 on April 3, 1882, Frank James traveled to Jefferson City and surrendered to Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden. He was held for nearly a year awaiting trial. Standing trial in Gallatin, Missouri in 1883, he was acquitted by a sympathetic jury. He then was sent to Alabama for trial in another armed robbery case. Once again, he was acquitted by the Southern jury. 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 Frank's surrender in Missouri. During his years as an outlaw, James employed the alias Benjamin J. Woodson. He has signed here with that pseudonym. In 1866, he was accused of taking part in a bank robbery with the James-Younger Gang, but was able to prove his innocence. He did serve time for acts committed during the war, however. Aside from his confinement awaiting trial, Frank James never served a day in prison. Following these trials, Frank James led a respectable, law-abiding life, touring in shows with former partner in crime Cole Younger, but also farming. He died at his home 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. Edges lightly frayed from binding. Normal mailing folds. Lightly toned on verso. Otherwise, fine condition.
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