The Great Outlaw Killed at His Home in St. Joseph at Eight O'Clock Yesterday Morning.
Bob Ford, a Mere Youth, Who Lived With Him and Watched His Opportunity Does the Deed.
Stealing Behind Him While He is Unconsciously at Work, He Puts a Bullet Through His Brain,
And Joining His Brother Goes in Search of Officers Exulting and Boasting of the Bloody Deed.
Pausing to Listen a Moment to the Denunciation and Curses of the Wife of His Victim.
Tremendous Excitement of the Citizens at the Announcement that the Outlaw Had Lived Among Them.
The House Besieged by Hundreds, All Anxious to See the Dead Bandit and His Plucky Wife.
Mrs. James at First Denies Her Identity but Subsequently Confesses and Extols Her Husband.
A Talk With the Fords---Who They Are, Where They are from and What Was the Motive in the Killing.
Mrs. Samuels Interviewed --- Her Desire to Sell Her Views --- Her Pathetic Grief at her Bereavement.
The News in Kansas City --- Interviews With Prominent Officials --- The Direct Approach to the Tragedy.
Complete History of the James Boys --- Their Exploits and Prowess --- Honor to Whom Honor Is Due.
DATE OF EVENT: Monday, April 3, 1882
DATE PUBLISHED: Tuesday, April 4, 1882, in The Kansas City Times
Editor's note: Jesse James was a living legend, and his death in St. Joseph was of huge local and national interest. On the evening of the day James was killed, April 3, 1882, The Star wrote in an editorial that the fugitive "died like a gentleman ... in time for the evening papers." The Star's breaking news account of the murder, however, is missing. That famous front page was cut out of a bound volume before a microfilm copy was made more than 50 years ago. The Kansas City Times told the story dramatically the next morning, April 4, with so many headlines decks of headline that reading the story was almost unnecessary. The Star that afternoon reported how James's death was already the talk of the town.
In those days The Star and The Times were rivals. The Star would buy The Times in 1901 for the sake of its morning position and its Associated Press franchise.
"Jesse was killed this morning." Such was the intimation that flew over the wires from the wife of the notorious bandit to her relatives in this city yesterday, and shortly after came to Henry Craig the, to him, lucid dispatch: "I have got my man." The causes and the effects of this memorable tragedy are duly set forth in THE TIMES dispatches, together with the minutest particulars bearing on the event, the rise and progress of train robbing, sketches of the bandits, and the life of the famous outlaw from the moment of his first achievement up until the time he fell at the hands of Bob Ford. Jesse James is dead, and the greatest motive power of outlawry in Missouri is broken
About 10 o'clock this morning a hurried report was made in (St. Joseph) that Jesse James had been shot and killed. ... In a few minutes an immense throng was on its way to the place designated, and on arrival there, found the report verified, and Jesse James dead, he having been assassinated by two members of the gang ...
Walking into the room and passing around the dead man's body we (the reporters) opened the door leading into the front room, a man was found upon the floor cold in death, with blood oozing from his wounds ...
Jesse James was about five feet eight inches in height, of a rather solid, firm and compact build, yet rather on the slender type. His hair was black, not overly long; blue eyes well shaded with dark lashes, and the entire lower portion of the face was covered by a full growth of dark brown or sun browned whiskers, which are not long and shaggy, but are trimmed and bear evidence of careful attention. His complexion was fair, and he was not sun burned to any considerable extent, as the reader is generally led to suppose ...
When the first rumor of the killing of Jesse James, the most notorious bandit, train robber and outlaw in America, became street talk, the residents of St. Joseph could hardly believe them, and not until the act was finally admitted by the wife of the dead man, would they accept them as facts ...
Editor's note: This story, which ran in The Star later that day, described the excitement in Kansas City before revisiting the scene of James's death.
LATEST ABOUT THE KILLING OF JESSE JAMES.
Full Particulars of the Deed --- How the Gang was Followed Up and Brought to Grief --- Its Recent Movements --- Sensational Proceedings at St. Joseph This Morning --- The Body Positively Identified by Mrs. Samuels, Mrs. James and Dick Liddle --- Thrilling Scenes Between Dick Liddle and the Mother and Widow of Jesse James --- The Jury Returns a Verdict of Murder in the First Degree Against Robert Ford --- A Midnight Interview With Dick Liddle --- What Mattie Collins and George Shepherd Say.
The news of the killing of Jesse James at St. Joseph created the most intense excitement in this city yesterday, and for a time seemed to have driven all thoughts, even of the election, out of men's minds. The demand for The Evening Star containing the full details was almost unprecedented, the sales being the largest in the history of the paper with one exception.
The circumstances of the killing were substantially as related yesterday. The two Ford boys had been members had been members of the James gang. Jesse was in the Winston robbery, and Charles was in the Blue Cut robbery, and was the one that hit the expressman in the head. They hailed from Ray Co., near Richmond, and had been living with Jesse for some time under the name of Johnson. Mrs. James was VERY MUCH PROSTRATED ... and called loudly for vengeance. She said he was in the Blue Cut robbery, but not the Winston affair, and that he had wanted to live a peaceful and honorable life, but wherever he went was hounded down by a lot of scoundrels no better than himself. Their intention had been, she said, to settle down quietly on a farm near St. Joe. At the time of the shooting, the two Ford boys and Jesse were fixing a stove. Jesse laid down his revolvers, when Robert shot and killed him. The two boys immediately surrendered, saying they had killed Jesse James and wanted the reward ...
September 18, 2005 3:01 AM