FRANK JAMES - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED CIRCA 1884 - HFSID 314407
Sale Price $4,037.50
Awaiting his second trial in a year, the famous outlaw writes a loving letter to his 7 year old son Robert ("My Dear Little Man")
Autograph Letter signed: "Your Father/Frank James" in pencil, 1 pages, 5½x8½. No place, 1884 February 29. Written in block letters to "My Dear Little Man", in full: "I want you to hurry up and learn to ride so you can get you a new saddle. I want you to learn to write and write me a letter. Addressed in verso to "Robert F. James/at home". This letter was enclosed with a letter James wrote to his wife Annie. Accompanied by printed chart titled "The Deaf and Dumb Alphabet", showing the appropriate hand signals. Notation in Frank James' hand: "For Rob". 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 James (April 3, 1882), Frank James traveled to Jefferson City and surrendered to Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden. Standing trial in Gallatin, Missouri in 1883 on train robbery and murder charges, he was acquitted by a sympathetic jury, but sent on to Alabama for trial in another (payroll robbery) case. Again, with legal aid and testimony from former Confederate leaders, a 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 Frank's surrender in Missouri. 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. If he had a hearing impairment, it did not prevent him from serving as a US Cavalry trooper in the Spanish-American War. Toned. Top edge lightly worn. Normal mailing folds. Lightly stained near "Frank" (not affecting signature) and at edges. Pencil note (in unknown hand) on verso. Alphabet page worn at edges, toned, with tear corrected by adhesive through center. Otherwise, fine condition.
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