Trial Moves to Opera House Venue

The poor condition of the wooden courthouse at Gallatin, MO, prompted officials to move the 1883 trial of outlaw Frank James into rented space in an opera house on the west side of the business square. The following, published on the back page of the Jamesport Gazette (Vol. 5, No. 43), was circulated as the Frank James trial was set to begin on the third Monday in December:

“The grand jury condemned the old shell of a court house and also the jail before they adjourned. It is a burning shame that the people of as wealthy a county as this should have such a dilapidated old structure as our present court house and not make an effort to have a better one. Emigrants passing through our county naturally stop at the county seat and they will judge the county by the appearance of the county town. A stranger would naturally conclude from the appearance of our county buildings that Daviess county was a very poor county or that her people were sadly lacking in enterprise. As a matter of dollars and cents our people cannot afford to let our present court house stand much longer. We virtually have no court house, as the old building will not be used for that purpose any longer, and the money paid for rent of another building might be applied in building a new house to better advantage.”