The Life and

Trial

of

Frank James

 

Chapter 7

The seventh day of the trial:

Frank Tutt testified: I reside at Kansas City. Prior to living there I lived at Lexington, Mo. I am a coal-oil inspector. I know Dick Liddell. I remember meeting him in front of Gardner's saloon at Kansas City just after the Ford boys had been pardoned, after the trial at St. Joe. Mr. James M. Crowder was present at the time. On that occasion Liddell, when asked where Frank James was, said he didn't know the whereabouts of Frank, and that he and Jesse didn't get along well together, and he hadn't seen him for years.

Cross-examined: I had been pursuing the James boys for a couple of months, but never caught any of them.

James S. Demastus testified for the defense, as follows: I reside in Richmond, Mo.; am a Justice of the Peace there. I remember the testimony of Mrs. Bolton at the Wood Hite inquest. I understood her to testify that she had not seen Frank James for about two years, and then at her father's. She was then living at the Harbison Place, and had been there about two years.

Cross-examined: She named Wood Hite, Dick Liddell, Clarence Hite and Jesse James as members of the gang. The answer as to how long since she had seen Frank James was given in an examination conducted by Mr. Farris, a juror, after the formal examination, and as much for curiosity as anything else.

Here Mr. Phillips said that Gen. Shelby was at the door, and desired to make a statement.

The Court's permission being given, Gen. Shelby said "Before I say any thing more I desire to say that if anything I said offended the dignity of the Court yesterday, I regret it exceedingly. As to other parties, I have no regrets to make."

Here ensued a running colloquy between witness and the Court, in which the Court severely censured witness for coming into court yesterday in a condition unfit to testify, and fined him for that offense $10, which the witness paid and left the court.

James C. Mason testified: I reside in Ray County; remember Captain Ford stating to me that he didn't think Frank James was at Winston or Blue Cut; that he had settled down and left the boys; remember also a conversation with Mrs. Bolton, when she said that Frank James was trying to lead an honest life, and was a different man from Jesse; that Frank would go away and try to settle down, when Jesse would come to live with him, and the detectives would come and be would have to leave. Here a wrangle came up over a question said to have been propounded to little Willie Bolton by the defense. A reference to the official report showed no such question had been asked, whereupon Willie Bolton was recalled in order that the defense might bring their impeachment battery to bear. W. Bolton being recalled denied ever telling James C. Mason shortly after Jesse James' death that he had never seen Frank James, or that the others had been at his mother's house, and had said that Frank James had quit them. He didn't remember ever telling Mason anything at all about the outlaws.

James C. Mason, resuming the stand, testified that Willie Bolton had made at the time and place stated the statement which he just now denied having made.

Annanias Duval testified: I live in Ray County and know Mr. J. T. Ford. I know all of the family. Know Willie Bolton. Had a conversation with John T. Ford, in which he said he never saw and didn't know Frank James, and did not know that he was anywhere in this country.

Cross-examined: Never heard the Fords say that any of the gang were there.

W. D. Rice testified: I reside three miles south of Richmond, Mo., and half a mile from J. T. Ford. I remember a conversation with Willie Bolton a day or two after the Wood Hite inquest, in which he said he had told a story before the Coroner's Jury, and that his mother had made him do it.

Cross-examined: Believe this was before Frank James had given himself up.

James Duval, recalled for the State, testified in answer to Mr. Wallace: The horse my brother lost was a sorrel. We got him from Mr. Sawyer, and I found him in February, 1883, in charge of Bob Hall, at Samuels' Station, in Nelson County, Ky. The horse was lost November 10, 1880.

John T. Samuels, called for the defense, testified: I am a farmer. I am a half brother to defendant. I live three miles northeast of Kearney with Mrs. Samuels. Have lived there with her twenty-two years continuously. It was in 1876 that I last saw the defendant before the Winston robbery: He was married then. Last saw him in January last. Never saw him from 1876 up to that time. I was at home in the summer of 1881. Was not absent at any time during that summer. Saw Jesse James during that summer about the first of May at my mother's. He was in company with Dick Liddell. He told me he came from Kentucky. My mother and father were home when Dick and Jesse arrived. I heard my mother ask Jesse where was Frank, and he replied he had left him in Kentucky, and that he was in bad health and was talking of going South. She then asked Liddell the same question and received a similar answer. Jesse James was at our house two or three months that summer off and on. I last saw him there about the last of July or first of August that summer. During that time I saw at our house Dick Liddell, Clarence and Wood Hite, and Charley Ford, and no one else. The James boys and Wood Hite are cousins. Continuing, the witness said: Wood Hite was rather tall, with high forehead, long nose, fair complexion, and beard on his face about one and a half inches long, also a mustache. Jesse was a large man, full faced, with beard all over his face--a sandy beard, which I don't think was darker than Wood Hite's. Clarence was square built, delicate, and fair complexioned, with bad front teeth, so decayed that they would be quickly noticed. There was a striking family resemblance between Frank James and Wood Hite. I saw Jim Cummings at my mother's house that summer in the last of June, 1881. His sister lives two and a half miles from my mother's. I next saw him July 1 at the same place. He came there the first time with Jesse and Dick Liddell. He was by himself the last time. These parties were there several times that summer. I did not know of my own knowledge where the defendant was that summer. Cummings was rather tall and slim, with light hair--as tall as Frank James, and about 36 years old. Last saw him in July, 1881.

Cross-examined: I heard that all these men were outlaws. Saw in the papers that they had robbed trains and killed. men. They came and went armed. We fed Dick Liddell, though not related to him or Cummings. I knew that Cummings was charged with horse-stealing in Clay County. Never told of his presence there. Kept his presence here and that of the others a secret. In 1876 I saw him in company with Jesse and their two wives. Saw him in 1876 and 1874. When I first saw Jim Cummings in 1881 he was on the porch of Mrs. Samuels. The other time he came to my window at night. I tended a crop that summer. Charley Ford first carne there in July, 1881. He was there also immediately before the Blue Cut robbery, when they left in a wagon, to which Charley Ford's black pony and another horse was hitched. I was there then. The other horse was Dick Liddell's. I don't remember whether that wagon left in July or August. Think Charley Ford's first visit was in the last of July. He was never here until after the Winston robbery. First saw Jim Cummings there the last of June. First told Mr. Johnson from this stand that Cummings was there in 1881. I talked to Messrs. Johnson and Phillips, of the defense, day before yesterday. Mr. Phillips asked me about Jim Cumings. I had also told Mr. Garner, of the defense, about Cummings. I have heard Wood Hite called Father Grimes because of his stoop shoulders and old ways. He had whiskers all over his face--dark whiskers, darker than Jesse's. Jim Cummings had a complexion perhaps as red as mine, with little eyes. I don't know anything about his education. He could carry on a conversation as well as some other men. Never heard him quote any Shakespeare. There was left in the wagon Dick Liddell, Charley Ford, Clarence Hite, Wood Hite and Jesse James. There were not six men, and the sixth man was not Frank James, as far as I know. They were armed with revolvers. They had guns at the house, two Winchesters and a shotgun. Liddell had a shotgun and Jesse a Winchester. I don't know whether there was a suit of woman's clothes there. They got a woman's dress from my mother. I don't know what it was for.

Mrs. Zerelda Samuels, a gray-haired lady of 55, with a shortened right arm, and dressed in black, testified: I have lived for forty years in Clay County. I am the mother of Jesse and Frank James. Frank was 40 years old last January. I have lived three miles from Kearney. I have other children--Mrs. Palmer, Mrs. Nicholson, Mrs. Hall and John T. Samuels. Jesse was killed two years ago next April (this with tears). I was home during the summer of 1881. Jesse was at my house during 1881. He came there either in May or June--in May, I think. Before that he had not been home for some time. The last time he came Jim Cummings and Dick Liddell were with him--no, only Dick Liddell. I asked Jesse where "Buck," or Frank was, and he said he had left him in Kentucky in bad health. I said, "Son, you know he is dead," and I turned to Liddell and he said they had left him in Kentucky. They left my house after the Winston robbery. I don't know the time. During that summer the parties that met at my house were Charley Ford, Dick Liddell, Clarence and Wood Hite and Jesse James. My son Frank was not there that summer. I have not seen Frank for seven years till I saw him at Independence. The last time before that I saw him was when Mr. Broome was Sheriff of Clay County, and they came to my house and shot at him. I saw Jim Cummings that summer. His relations live three or four miles from my house. One of his sisters married Bill Ford, uncle of the Ford boys. Lidell and the Hites were often at my house that summer previous to the Winston robbery. I. did not know that summer where Frank James was. I thought he was dead. I am 55 years old. Was 50 years old when I lost my hand.

Cross-examined: I remember the wagon leaving There were in it Jesse James, Charley Ford, Wood Hite, Clarence Hite and Dick Liddell. Jim Cummings was there in June. I didn't see him but that once Johnny Samuels told me he was there one night at his window. The party that left in the wagon took food and clothing, and a dress, apron and bonnet that I furnished, so they could pass off one of the gentlemen for a lady, so you couldn't catch them. Allen H. Palmer testified: I live in Wichita County, Texas. Am a cattle man. Have lived in Texas twenty years. First lived in Grayson County. The last years in Wichita County. I married Frank James' sister about thirteen years ago. I was not home all the time of the summer of 1881. I think I left home in May, between the 1st and 10th. I was down below Fort Worth working on a railroad, freighting. I had three children then. I returned about August 1st, or not far from the lot, When I got home the 1st of August I found Frank James home with my family. I don't know what time he came there. I could not state how he was dressed at the time. I only stayed at home but a few days, and I left him there. It was September before I was home any more. When I got back he had gone. I next saw him yesterday.

Cross examined: Wichita Falls is on Wichita River, terminus of the Fort Worth and Denver. In 1881 there was no road nearer than Gainesville. In 1881 I lived in Clay County, eighteen miles northwest of Henrietta, on a ranch. My closest neighbor was a widow lady named Bogar, about half a mile off. She visited my family occasionally. She had two daughters and a son, a young man grown, who was attending to a bunch of cattle and visiting at my house. Wichita Falls is ten miles from the ranch I had then. A family named Wicker lived two miles from me. The family consisted of three boys and one married daughter, and her husband, Beckler. My next neighbor was six or seven miles off, called Harness, W. T. and I. H. They are now at Henrietta. Frank James had a horse when I got to my place--a dark bay horse. I didn't ask him when he came or where from. I don't know any Clarence, or Wood Hite, or Dick Liddell. I didn't ask where he came from or where he was going. I hadn't seen Mrs. Samuels since 1879, when I was in Kansas City in jail, and she came to see me. The last time I saw Jesse James was the year of the railroad strike (1877). In 1881, in the summer, I worked on the roads in Texas hauling from Fort Worth. Hauled on the Missouri Pacific, which was building there from Fort Worth to Cleburne, and from Cleburne to Alvaredo. My name was not on any of the rolls, but we were paid in money every few days. Don't remember who I worked for, or with, or whom I loaded with. We were working between Cleburne and Alvaredo, on the Missouri Pacific, I think it was called. Frank White, at my house, stayed mostly up-stairs. He ate with the family. I think he was unwell at the time. He said that his lungs were affected.

Re-direct: He was talking of surrendering if it could be fixed up in Missouri. When I was in jail at Kansas City I had been arrested in Texas for the Glendale robbery.

Re-cross: I think it was to Governor Crittenden that he talked of surrendering. The Court at this point took a recess till 1:30 p. m.

The first witness called after recess was Mrs. Allen H. Palmer, who testified: I live at Wichita Falls, Tex.: I am the wife of the last witness; have been living in Texas about ten years continuously; have lived in Sherman, Clay, and Wichita Counties; lived in Wichita County since last fall; the defendant is my brother; he is older than I am; in the year 1881 I saw the defendant at my house in Clay County; he came there in June, in the first part of the month; he spoke of coming from Tennessee, and of having lived there. My family consists of a husband and two children. He stayed there till the lst of July. He was gone and came back again by the lst of August, and was gone off and on till September. The first time he was gone three or four weeks. My husband came back the 1st of August. My brother was there at that time. I don't know where my brother went while he was gone. He remained in Texas a little over three months. I saw him off and on. He was there all of June. He went away the latter part of June or 1st of July, and was gone until the latter part of July, and from then off and on until some time in September he was at my house. I remember talking about him being anxious to have his friends negotiate his surrender to the Governor of Missouri. When he left Texas he started for California. I didn't then know where his wife was. Since that I never heard of him until the surrender. During this three months he was in Texas his health was not very good. While Frank was there my husband. was home once. I cannot say for how long-say four or five days. At that time my husband was working on the railroad near Fort Worth. He returned August 1st, and Frank was still there. I heard Frank speak of Jesse; that they got scared and left where they were living. When they left Tennessee, Frank came to my house.

Cross-examined: Frank got to my house the lst of June. He told me he came from Tennessee. Of my own certain knowledge I don't know where he came from. He went away in June and stayed away all of July till the latter part. After he came back he stayed off and on till September. I don't know where he was in July. He finally left in September. I couldn't give the date, but it was along in the first of the month. I think the negotiations for the surrender were spoken of in the early portion of his visit. He spoke of friends, but didn't say friends in Missouri. He said he would like to have his friends negotiate his surrender, as he would like to be pardoned. I don't know anything about Jesse wanting to surrender. I never saw Dick Liddell till this week. I know nothing of Clarence or Wood Hite. Frank came to my house on horseback on a bay horse. He hobbled it and turned it out on the range. He didn't tell me where he got the horse. He stayed at my house in all of the three rooms at different times. If any one came he would go up-stairs or out of the room. We lived in a remote part of the country where there are few visitors. We had a few visitors during the time. Mrs. Bogar was there visiting once. She didn't see Frank that I know of. When she was there Frank would sometimes be upstairs or sometimes down cellar. Mr. Harness, a stock man, now living at Henrietta, was also a visitor while Frank was there. He was originally from Cooper County, Mo. We saw him coming and Frank went into another room. In speaking of the surrender, he said he wanted to surrender; wanted a trial and to become a common, peaceable citizen. Question. Wanted a trial for what? For the Winston robbery? Answer. No, sir. Witness continued: I don't know of his mentioning the name of any one who had been negotiating with Governor Crittenden.

Re-direct: He told me that he left Tennessee because Bill Ryan had been captured; that he got frightened; that his health was bad, and he came to my place to see if it would improve his health, and he wanted to try and negotiate with the Governor for surrender.

Bud Harbison testified: I reside in Richmond, Ray County, Mo. In coming from Richmond to the Harbison Place, where Mrs. Bolton lived, the road passes right in front of my house without any fork or division, till the town is nearly reached. I was home and farming in 1881. Have frequently seen men passing my house on the road. Remember meeting a party of two or four at the creek on the road. Never saw defendant until I saw him in the Court-house yard. Could not say that I recognized him as one of the many parties passing my house in the summer of 1881. Saw Dick Liddell or Mr. Anderson at Mrs. Bolton's in February, 1882. I remember being at the house on Sunday early in December from 10 to 11 a. m. I talked with Bob and Wilbur Ford and Mrs. Bolton. I believe I saw nothing and heard nothing unusual that day.

Cross-examined: I couldn't identify any one of the four men whom I met at the creek on the road. I don't pretend to identify Dick Liddell as one of them. Did not recognize Wood Hite as one of them. I saw him after the exhumation of his body. He might have been stoop-shouldered. Had short whiskers and a little mustache, and would weigh 140 or 160 pounds. I don't know whether defendant is one of the men I saw at the creek or not. I was on the Wood Hite jury of inquest. If Mrs. Bolton said anything about Frank James I don't remember. I remember telling you that if she said anything about Frank James being there that he was there in May, though I could not be positive as to whether she said anything about it or not. I believe she said that he might have been there twice. She spoke of him as going by the name of Hall. She was asked about the James boys, and she said that she knew them, but when or where she had seen them, or what year I don't remember.

Samuel Venagle testified: In 1881 I was working as a carpenter for Mr. Weston till July. I know where Mrs. Hamilton's is, about a mile north of Gallatin. I remember the circumstance of the Winston robbery. I remember that Mrs. Hamilton's house was raised after I quit Mr. Weston, which was a few days before the Winston robbery. This testimony was evidently introduced to contradict Liddell where he speaks of a house in the locality indicated as having two stories, he thought, though he couldn't swear to it.

At this point the defense announced that if they were given fifteen minutes' recess they could probably get along with one more witness. The Court ordered the recess asked for. At 3 o'clock the defendant, Frank .James, took the stand in his own behalf, and was duly sworn.

The examination was as follows: By Mr. Phillips: "Mr. James, you are the defendant in this case?"

"Yes."

"Begin your statement of the history of this case, where the prosecution began, with the time of your departure from Missouri for Tennessee some years ago. Just state when that was ?"

"That was in the winter of 1876, if I remember it correctly."

"State where you went and where you stayed."

"Well, sir, it is quite a route to follow it all round. I ranged across Southeast Missouri directly into Tennessee, crossing the Mississippi River, I think, perhaps about between the 1st and 6th of January, if I am not mistaken."

"State what time you arrived at Nashville."

"I didn't arrive at Nashville until July, 1876. I think I went directly then from Nashville out into what is known as the White's Creek neighborhood. The first place I went to there was the widow Harriet Ledbetter's, who lives over on White's Creek. In the meantime I rented a farm, which, however, I could not get possession of until January 1, 1878. I remained at Mrs. Ledbetter's during that fall. I put in a crop of wheat and moved there and lived in the place known as the Jesse Walton place. I lived on this place one year, that was up to 1878. Next year I rented a place from Felix Smith, on White's Creek also, but nearer to White's Creek than the place I have just mentioned.  I remained there a year, and made a crop in the meantime--a general crop, as farmers raise--corn, oats and wheat. The next year I lived on what is known as the Jeff Hyde place, on Hyde's Ferry, about three and a half miles from Nashville. I remained there a year. During that year I didn't farm any. I was working for the Indiana Lumber Company. That I think was in 1879."

"What kind of work did you do for the Indiana Lumber Company!"

"I was working in the woods, logging, as the term it, and I worked off and on all that summer at that business, driving a four-mule team, and over that time, I don't remember just what month, I think it was in 1880, I moved into Nashville. During that time, as it was very hard work logging, I got several strains and my health became impaired, and I found I would have to go at some other business. Thinking I could not stand working ten hours a day for three years as I had, I concluded to move into Nashville and go into some other business. During that time this gentleman who has been spoken of before, Mr. Ryan, was captured. Well, of course, I was apprehensive, and not knowing what sort of a man he was and only having a short acquaintance with him, I concluded that perhaps for the sake of his liberty he would be willing to sacrifice my life. So I concluded to leave, and did so."

"When and where was the first time you met your brother Jesse and the man Ryan?"

"My first meeting with my brother Jesse was entirely accidental; I was farming, as I stated, on the Walton place, and I had gone into the store of B. S. Rhea & Son, and while I was sampling oats and talking to one of the clerks, Jesse James walked out of the office, came up to me and says: "Why, how do you do?" I spoke to him; didn't call any name of course. He was going by; he asked me where I was living, and I told him; he went out home with me, and told me be was living in Humphreys County, which is, I suppose, 100 miles west of Nashville, if I am not mistaken. I am not positive about the distance. He had been buying grain for this firm of B. S. Rhea and Son. That is where I first met him. That, I think, was in the spring of 1878--perhaps in February or March. We generally sow oats there in February--in the latter part of February or first of March."

"Where did you first meet Ryan in Tennessee?"

"The first time I ever met William Ryan, I think, perhaps, was in the fall or winter of 1879. I am not positive as to that date, but it occurs to me now, as well as I recollect it, that it was in 187--no, it must have been in 1879. I am pretty certain it was."

"Where did you meet?"

"I met him at my house. He had returned there with Jesse James, my brother, I suppose, though I cannot state that of my own knowledge. However, he came there one Sabbath with Jesse James, but his wife and children were boarding in Nashville at that time. He had gone to Jesse James'. Previous to this Dick Liddell had arrived at my house."

"What time did he come down there?"

"What I mentioned about being apprehensive was the second time. The first time I ever met Dick Liddell in Tennessee was, I think, in 1879. I am not positive what month. He and Jesse James came in together. No one was with them when they arrived at my house. Liddell was there off and on until that fall. He was then making trips to and fro, but where I have no idea. I never saw Ryan, Jesse James and Liddell together any great deal in Nashville. When they were out of my sight my impression is they were together, but of course when they were out of my sight I could not state what became of them.

[Frank James continues] "When I left Nashville, in consequence of Ryan's arrest, my first purpose was to protect my life so as to be able to support my family, and secondly to get shut of those parties who were around me. I could not prevent it. Of course I had no control of things, and that was the reason I left there and went to Logan County, Ky., to George B. Hite's, who had married a sister of my father's for his first wife. I could not state when his first wife died. I do not remember the date we arrived there nor just how long we stayed. I think, however, we arrived in the latter part of March, or the 1st of April, as well as I recollect the circumstance now. As to the officers coming there, if my memory serves me right it was on a Sunday that it was reported there were at Adairsville, one and a half or two miles from the Hite's place, detectives looking for us, and they had followed us from Nashville. That Sunday morning three men were noticed coming toward the house. Our lane ran for quite a distance south of the house past the farm, and there was a little lane came up directly to the house. Some one saw them coming from a distance and said: 'Yonder come three men.' My brother, being a somewhat excitable man, said: ' No doubt those are the men that were in Adairsville.' The detectives, as they supposed. I said, ' I reckoned not; that I could not see what any body could be following us for.' 'Oh, yes,' Dick says, 'you know Jesse and I borrowed a couple of horses, and I expect these men are from back down in Nashville.' I said, 'I guess they won't come here.' We went down-stairs, and I said, 'Don't shoot anybody; for heaven's sake, don't kill anybody!' They came down and went I don't know where. I went into the parlor and looked out of the window to see if they came up the lane directly in front of the house. I kept looking, but they didn't come, but went off. I thought perhaps it was some one going to church--neighbors, perhaps--so I went back up-stairs. However, the men went on by, and Wood Hite followed them on a mule, and reported that they had gone in a roundabout way to Adairsville, and they were the same men that we suspected of being detectives. I could not state positively whether I remained at Mrs. Hite's ten days or ten weeks, but it was in the neighborhood of that time. The Hite family was composed of George B. Hite, Mrs. Sarah Hite, her daughter Maud, old Mr. Norris and his wife. That is all who were there then. Of course, he had other children who were not there at that time.

Wood Hite's name was Woodson Hite. I would suppose him to be between 33 and 35 years of age. I think I was perhaps 2 years older than he. He was 5 feet 9 1-2 or 10 inches high. Cannot say whether his eyes were black or gray. His hair was light and his whiskers darker; rather dark sandy. He was a little stoop-shouldered, had a large, prominent nose and high forehead, and would weigh 150 pounds whereas I only weigh 140. There was very little difference in our height. There was a striking family resemblance between us. My attention was first called to it the first time Dick Liddell and Jesse James came to our house. The next morning after breakfast Jesse looked at me anal says, 'Why, Dick,' he says, 'he looks like old Father Grimes.' I said: 'Who is old Father Grimes?' He says: 'He is your cousin, Wood Hite,' and Dick laughed and said: 'Yes; he is.' Clarence Hite was slender. You would call him a stripling, very loose in his movements, light complexioned, and, I believe, light-haired, with no whiskers at all. When I saw him in Kentucky he looked just like a green boy. I suppose he would be 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high. From the Hite's we went to Nelson County, Ky., the county which has Bardstown for its county seat. We first arrived at Richard Hoskin's; an old gentleman who lived in the ' knobs,' for it is a very broken country. There I separated from Jesse James and Dick Liddell, and cannot tell where they went. I know a man in Nelson County named Robert Hall. I was not at his place in company with Dick Liddell and Jesse James. There was no agreement entered into between Jesse James, Dick Liddell and myself, or myself with any other parties, to go to Missouri for the purpose of robbing the express at the Kansas City ferry; but, on the other hand, I tried to persuade them not to come to Missouri. Jesse and Dick had been talking of coming to Missouri ever since we left Nashville. Liddell had left his wife here and seemed very anxious to get back. I am not certain who was his reputed wife, but I believe it was Miss Mattie Collins. That is what I heard. I told Jesse and Dick not to come to Missouri, because it would endanger the life of our mother. I said: 'You know already what has been done there. You know there is no protection for my mother and family in the state of Missouri, let alone for you, and I would never go there.' My advice to Dick Liddil was to go to work somewhere and then he would have much more money at the end of the year than if he put in his time galloping around the country. But Jesse said they would go anyway. So I separated from them in Nelson county, Kentucky. As a matter of fact I was not at Hall's in connection with Liddil and Jesse James. I remained there perhaps till the tenth or fifteenth of May, though I don't just remember the date. I then went to Louisville. Robert Hall took me in a buggy.

[Frank James continues] "From there I went to Texas. On the trip from Nashville to Hite's I rode a horse I got from Dick Liddell in 1879, as well as I can recollect. That is the horse he speaks of having sold to me, and its description corresponds with that of the horse referred to by the witness Duval. I gave that horse to Mr. Hall for his services in driving me in a buggy to Louisville. From Louisville I went to Texas by rail, going to Memphis over the L. and N. From there I went to Little Rock, where I think I changed cars and went to Texarkana on the Iron Mountain. Thence I went to Dallas by a road whose name I don't remember. It occurs to me like the International. From Dallas I went up into Northern Texas, Mrs. Palmer is my sister. I got to her house about the 1st of June, 1881. I remained there five or six weeks. I don't remember exactly where I learned of the death of President Garfield. I think I heard of it while I was there, and I left my sister's between that time and the 10th of July. The nearest Post Office to my sister's place was Henrietta, and that was eighteen miles away. After leaving my sister's I went into the Indian Nation, and I think I was gone ten or fifteen days. I went on horseback. My sister's place is about thirty miles from the line of the Indian Nation, but the way I went I reckon it was about 120 miles. I know I got down in that country about the time I heard of the Winston robbery, so I talked round and went to Denison. I cannot state whether I read of the Wisconsin robbery in a paper or whether somebody told me. After that I went back to my sister's in Clay County, and remained there through August and a part of September, I left my sister's I am satisfied between the 10th and 15th of September, 1881. I know as I returned on that trip I heard of the Blue Cut robbery.

[Frank James continues] "When I left Tennessee I gave my wife directions to go to Gen. Joe Shelby's, in the State of Missouri, and see if there could be any arrangements made with the Governor for my surrender. If I could have a fair and impartial trial accorded me I felt perfectly satisfied I could be cleared beyond a doubt. I told her if anything could be done in this behalf to communicate with me in Northern Texas, otherwise to go to her brother, Samuel Ralston, in California. I think he resided in Sonora, Tuolumna County. She went there. I didn't do much in Texas, as I felt the need of rest, for the three and a half years of hard work in Tennessee had told on my health. I would sit and read or lounge about the house. I was not engaged in anything while I was there. When I left my sister's in September I returned to the neighborhood of Denison and the Chickasaw Nation, and remained there perhaps two or three weeks. Then I returned to Kentucky, going by way of the M. K. and T. to St. Louis, and the K. and O. to St. Louis and on to Samuel's Depot. I received no answers in 1881 to my petition for leave to surrender. Otherwise my wife would not have gone to California. On my return to Kentucky my wife met me in Nelson County. She arrived there some time in the latter part of October, 1881, with one child, now five years old. From Samuels' Depot we went across to Georgetown, in Scott County, Ky. There we took the Cincinnati Southern train to Chattanooga, and stopped at the Stanton House, where I registered as J. Ed. Warren and wife. From there we went over the E. T. V. and G. Railway to Bristol. Changed cars there for the Norfolk and Northwestern, which carried us to Lynchburg. I remained there a couple of weeks, detained by the miscarriage of a trunk which I had expressed from Louisville to Georgetown when I had gone across country in a buggy. At Lynchburg we stopped at the Arlington on Seventh and Clark streets, if I am not mistaken. My intention was to go into North Carolina somewhere, and remain there. I went from Lynchburg over the Virginia, Midland, to Danville, and then over the Richmond and Danville to Jonesboro, N. C., where I stopped at the McAdoo House, registering as before. Then there was a little town called Salem, thirty or forty miles from Jonesboro, at the foot of the mountains. That seemed to be a secluded place, and I thought I would go into business there, as I had experience in mill work, and there were any number of mills there, but the place seemed full of diphtheria. There was a great deal of sickness there. They had just been putting in water-pipes, which a great many people supposed to be the cause of the sickness So I went back to Jonesboro, the place, by the way. where, I think, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered, and I got my family and went from there to Raleigh, N. C. As soon as I got into the town I saw it was dead. There wasn't a manufacturing establishment in it to amount to anything, although it had 15,000 or 16,000 inhabitants. I saw that was no place to stop, and I went to Norfolk, stopping at the Purcell house, and registering as Warren. I didn't like that place, so my wife says, 'Suppose we take a trip up the James River?' 'I says, 'very well, all right.' We went up the James River with Capt. Gifford, on the Ariel, and, arriving at Richmond, stopped at the Ford House. There I found the town all yellow-flagged for the small-pox, which scared me, as I didn't want to lose my wife and child. So we went to Lynchburg, which was a healthy place, and rented a house there. I was quite feeble all winter and very sick. I stayed. there until about the 10th of May.

[Frank James continues] "While at Lynchburg I noticed the assassination of Jesse James. I was taking the New York Daily Herald at the time. I had been out walking, and when I got back to the house I saw my wife was excited, and she came rushing to me with the paper and says, 'Jesse James is killed.' I says, 'My God, where and how and who killed him?' That was the 3d of April. After that I paid close attention to my papers. I remember reading in the New York Herald how Governor Crittenden, when asked what hope there was for Frank James, had replied, 'wherein as none of his friends have ever asked anything, I will not state anything about it.' That gave me hope. I said to my wife, 'Possibly if you return to Missouri and avow a willingness on my part to let the past be buried, and that I am willing to surrender myself up, and be tried and meet every charge they can bring against me, I may have a fair and impartial trial.' So he went. I left Lynchburg, May 10, 1882, returning as I went to Nelson County, Ky. I remained there until I effected my surrender, and came to Missouri, October 5, 1882. I shipped no arms from Samuels' Station to Missouri. As to what Jesse James and Dick Liddell did I am not able to speak. I was not in Missouri from 1876 to the time I passed through going from Texas to Kentucky." The cross-examination of this witness may be summed up very briefly. He told how he went to Tennessee in 1877 in a wagon with Tyler Burns, separating from Jesse James somewhere in Southeast Missouri "I had about $200 when I left Nashville, and my wife had between $600 and $700 more, the proceeds of the sale of a wagon, four mills and a wheat drill, plows, barrows and general farm implements. I recollect different statements made to Mr. O'Neill of the Republican, in my interview with him, but then I was talking only to a reporter, whereas I am now testifying under oath. I had known Dick Liddell quite a number of years; had seen him at Hudspeth's before he went to Nashville. The sorrel or strawberry roan horse I got from Liddell I rode to Mrs. Hite's, and left at Bob Hall's."

Here, starting from Nelson County, Ky., in October, 1881, Mr. Wallace took the witness with great minuteness over his path of travel up to his surrender, and witness gave fluent and full replies. These travels were all subsequent to the Winston and Blue Cut robberies.

Presently Mr. Wallace elicited the fact that after leaving Nashville in March, 1881, witness was armed with two pistols, but not a Winchester, though he had a Winchester that he carried on the Texas frontier. Almost before any one saw it Mr. Wallace had witness in a corner. He could not tell the name of any person in Texas outside of his sister, her husband and neighbors who had been previously named by his sister, except that he testified to going near Denison and to near Colbet's station, on the M. K. and T., in the Nation, to meet a friend through whom he expected to hear touching negotiations for a surrender in July, 1881. He refused to give the name of this friend, and, as he was already a full prisoner, the Court saw no means of compelling an answer. In the Chickasaw Nation, defendant had stayed all night with an Indian, but could not give his name. He was of opinion, too, that he had met a cowboy named Hines. He could not describe town, or places where he had stopped during a ten weeks' stay. The contrast between witness' ability to describe his movements after the Winston robbery, and his inability to tell just where he had been for the four months preceding October 1, 1881, was marked in the extreme.

At 5:50 o'clock the cross-examination ended. The defense here rested their case, and Court adjourned for the day.  

 

 

Return to the Life and Trial of Frank James, Chapter 1

Return to the Life and Trial of Frank James, Chapter 2

Return to the Life and Trial of Frank James, Chapter 3

Return to the Life and Trial of Frank James, Chapter 4

Return to the Life and Trial of Frank James, Chapter 5

Return to the Life and Trial of Frank James, Chapter 6

Go to Chapter 8


 

 


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