Investigate Jesse James at the Library
May 19, 2011
This year is the beginning of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, and right in the middle of the history of the Civil War in this area is Jesse James. His farm in Excelsior Springs is just a short way from Dearborn, and many other historical sites like Fort Leavenworth and Westport are just a daytrip from here.
There are many resources to investigate Jesse James' life at the Mid-Continent Public Library. Our Branch alone has 29 items in the catalog that come up in a search of Jesse James' name. Some are non-fiction books, but there are novels also. Mid-Continent also has videos about Jesse James and audiobooks to listen to. Our publication, Beyond the Books, lists a number of presentations and programs on the Civil War period for you to enjoy.
One book that we have here is called The James Farm by Martin McGranne. It is a short, bound book put together in 1982. It has a history of the James family and the activities on the farm beginning when the first of the James family came to Missouri in 1842. In 1850, the farm was 275 acres, and there was a family of seven slaves working on the farm and in the house. There are many historical pictures in the book.
The story goes that Jesse died not far from Dearborn in the county seat of Platte City at the hand of a newcomer to his gang named Robert Ford. Jesse was living under an alias at the time, and was regularly working in the area between the James farm, Kansas City, and St. Joseph. Few people in American history have had so much written about them. Many facts of the lives of the James family are well established. They make an interesting framework for the legends that still are being created as the years go by.
Drop by your local Mid-Continent branch, and check out the story!