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December 28, 1841

Robert James and Zerelda Elizabeth Cole were married in Stamping Ground, Kentucky.

January 10, 1843

Alexander Franklin "Frank" James is born at the family form near Centerville (Kearney), Missouri.

July 19, 1845

Robert James Jr. was born on the James family farm. However, the baby died just 33 days later.

September 5, 1847

Jesse Woodson James is born at the James Farm in Kearney, Missouri.

November 25, 1849

Susan Lavenia James is born.

August 18, 1850

Reverend Robert James dies of cholera in a Placerville, California gold camp. The Reverend had been asked to serve as chaplain on a wagon train heading to California during the Gold Rush.

September 30, 1852

Zerelda marries Benjamin Simms, a neighboring farmer.

January 2, 1854

Benjamin Simms is killed in a horse accident.

September 25, 1855

Zerelda marries her third husband Dr. Archie Reuben Samuel.

December 26, 1858

Sarah (Sallie) Louisa Samuel born to Zerelda and Rueben.

May 4, 1861

Frank James joins the Confederate Army at 18. Later he is discharged and joins William Clark Quantrill's Raiders.

December 25, 1861

John Thomas Samuel born to Zerelda and Rueben.


Perry Samuel, the illegitimate son of Dr. Archie Reuban Samuel is born out of wedlock by one of the slaves. The mulatto boy was raised as part of the Samuel family.

July, 1862

Frank joins William Clark Quantrill's Raiders.

August 21, 1863

William Clark Quantrill led a massacre of Lawrence, Kansas in the early morning hours . His raiders tore through the Free-State town, robbing two banks, looting other buildings before setting them on fire, and killed more than 180 men, women, and children. Frank was a member of the Raiders and was part of the barbaric attack. There is some doubt as to whether Jesse was involved; however, he was said to have bragged about it later.

October 18, 1863

Fannie Quantrill Samuel born to Zerelda and Rueben.

Late, 1863

A party of Union soldiers invaded the Samuel farm looking for information about the location of Quantrill's camp. Jesse, who was just fifteen at the time, was questioned, then horse-whipped when he refused to answer the soldiers’ questions. Dr. Samuel, who also denied knowing where the raider’s camp was located, was dragged from his house and was repeatedly hanged from a tree in the yard. Somehow, the doctor managed to survive the interrogation and torture.


Jesse joins "Bloody" Bill Anderson's guerilla forces at the age of sixteen.

September 27, 1864

William "Bloody Bill" Anderson led a raid on Centralia, Missouri where a gang of more than 100 guerillas robbed the passengers of an incoming train. Twenty-four unarmed and wounded Union soldiers were dragged from the train by the frenzied ruffians and were murdered. The band of guerrillas was followed by an experienced Federal Infantry. About three miles south of Centralia, the Union forces were bushwhacked by the band and were nearly annihilated. Over 120 federal troops were killed. Only three of the guerrilla forces were reported to have been killed in the battle. Both Frank and Jesse were part of battle. Jesse is said to have killed Union Major A.V. Johnson, and is "credited” with taking the lives of seven other men on that tragic day. It is disputed that Frank and Jesse took part in the massacre of the unarmed Union soldiers earlier in the day.

October, 1864

"Bloody" Bill Anderson's guerrillas are ambushed by Union soldiers at Independence, Missouri . Several guerrillas are killed. Bill Anderson is killed himself and is decapitated later that day. Jesse James and a few other guerrillas escape.

May 10, 1865

Quantrill's Raiders are ambushed by Union soldiers, where many are killed and captured. Quantrill is shot twice, one of which is ends up fatal when he dies in June. One of the captured guerrillas is Jim Younger, who recently joined the guerrillas.

May, 1865

Jesse rode into Lexington, Missouri carrying a white flag. He was shot in the chest when he attempted to surrender by occupying Union troops. Surviving the attack, he crawled to safety.

Early February, 1866

Jesse and Frank James meet with Cole Younger to plan their first bank robbery.

February 13, 1866

Frank James, Cole and Jim Younger and nine more members of the gang robbed the Clay County Savings Bank in Liberty, Missouri of $62,000. Upon their retreat from the bank a 17 year-old boy was killed. This was the first robbery of the gang and the first daytime robbery of any U.S. bank during peacetime.

July 26, 1866

Archie Peyton Samuel born to Zerelda and Rueben.

October 30, 1866

Five members of the James-Younger Gang robbed The Alexander Mitchell and Co. Bank in Lexington, Missouri making of with $2,000. No one was injured. Though Frank andJesse were said to have part of the robbery, other report place them out of the state at the time.


John Newman Edward contributes to the fame of Jesse James and his gang by writing glorifying articles and "dime novels."

March 2, 1867

The James-Younger Gang robbed the Judge John McClain Banking House of Savannah, Missouri

May 22, 1867

With 12 members, the James-Younger Gang made off with $4,000 from the Hughes and Wasson Bank of Richmond, Missouri. Three men were shot and killed.

March 20, 1868

Credited with getting away with approximately $14,000, the gang hit the Nimrod Long Banking Co. of Russellville, Kentucky. One person was wounded but there were no fatalities.

December 7, 1869

The James-Younger Gang hold up Davies County Savings Bank of Gallatin, Missouri, killing cashier John W. Sheets and wounding clerk William McDowell as he ran for the door. Making off with only $700, a $3,000 reward is offered for their capture.

June 3, 1871

Four members of the James-Younger Gang the Ocobock Brothers' Bank of Corydon, Iowa taking $6,000. No one was injured.

April 29, 1872

The James-Younger Gang, including 5 riders, robbed the Bank of Columbia in Columbia, Kentucky, killing cashier R.A.C. Martin in the process. The gang made off with $6,000.

September 26, 1872

Jesse, Frank, and one other member of their gang robbed the Kansas City Exposition Ticket Office at the fair of $8,000. One girl was shot.

May 27, 1873

Four members of the James-Younger Gang stole $4,100 from the Ste. Genevieve Savings Bank of St. Genevieve, Missouri. There were no injuries.

July 21, 1873

The James-Younger Gang robbed their first train near Adair, Iowa. During the robbery, they wrecked the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Train and overturned the engine. The train engineer died in the accident and the gang made off with $3,000 from passengers and funds retrieved from the express car.

January 15, 1874

Jesse James and four members of the gang robbed their first stagecoach near Hot Springs, Arkansas, taking cash and jewels valued at approximately $3,000. No one was injured. After Jesse's death, a good watch taken from one of the stage passengers was found among his effects.

January 31, 1874

Five to seven members of the gang held up the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad train at Gads Hill, Missouri making off with $12,000. No one was injured.

March 10, 1874

Pinkerton agent Joseph Whicher arrives in Clay County, Missouri. He plans to go to the James farm and become acquainted with Jesse and Frank; then capture them. He is advised not to do this, but attempts it anyway. The next day, his body is discovered, shot three times.

April 23, 1874

Jesse married first cousin Zerelda Amanda Mimms in Kansas City, Missouri. The newlyweds honeymooned in Galveston, Texas.

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