Jesse James (1847)
Jesse Woodson James was born in Kearney, Missouri, the son of a Baptist minister. Some believe that cruel treatment by Union soldiers during the Civil War was what turned Jesse and his brother Frank to a life of crime after the war. Their first bank robbery got them $60,000 from a bank in Liberty, Missouri. For 15 years, Frank and Jesse robbed trains and banks throughout the US. In 1876, Jesse and Frank were involved in a robbery along with another gang, and Pinkerton detectives killed or wounded all of them except the James brothers. From that point, Jesse, his wife, and children went into hiding, but the $10,000 price on Jesse's head led Bob Ford to shoot Jesse to collect the reward.
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Looking for a famous American?
This page presents short biographies of more than 200 famous Americans drawn from our unit, "The 50 States." These personalities are arranged by theme.
Just click a theme at the top of the page to view a selection list for that theme.
|Gutzon Borglum||Walt Disney||Jabez Gorham|
|Matt Groening||William Hanna||Marsden Hartley|
|Winslow Homer||Peter Hurd||Hank Ketcham|
|Bill Mauldin||Jackson Pollock||Howard Pyle|
|Norman Rockwell||Charles Schulz||Gilbert Stuart|
|Frank Lloyd Wright||Andrew Wyeth|
|Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum||Clyde Barrow||John Wilkes Booth|
|Butch Cassidy||William "Buffalo Bill" Cody||Davy Crockett|
|Jesse James||Evel Knievel||Harland David "Colonel" Sanders|
|Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith|
|Benny Benson||Sitting Bull||Cesar Chavez|
|John Dewey||Geronimo||Crazy Horse|
|Jesse Jackson||Chief Joseph||Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|Queen Lydia Liliuokalani||Russell Means||Osceola|
|Elizabeth Peratrovich||Sacagawea||Chief Washakie|
|Booker T. Washington||Jack Wilson Wovoka|
Pioneers and "Firsts":
Politicians & Activists:
|Hank Aaron||Andre Agassi||Danny Ainge|
|Johnny Bench||Yogi Berra||Paul "Bear" Bryant|
|Dale Earnhart||Lou Gehrig||Eric Heiden|
|Michael Jordan||Evel Knievel||Phil Knight|
|Joe Reddington||Mary Lou Retton||Picabo Street|
|Jesse Ventura||Jerry West|
Writers & Poets: