Local James Gang Events in Context

Three significant events occurred in Daviess County, MO, which dramatically plays into the lore and legend of outlaws Frank and Jesse James. When considering these dates, also consider what other newsworthy events of significance were underway at that particular time:

1869 — James Boys accused of robbery and murder at the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin, MO

    • Union Pacific Railroad working westward from Nebraska links up with the Central Pacific working eastward from California meet at Promontory Point, Utah — the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.
    • The Cincinnati Red Stockings became baseball’s first professional team in 1869. They began with a 45-9 thumping of a team called the Great Western of Cincinnati, then proceeded to win nearly every one of its more than 70 games against overmatched amateur teams in the Midwest.
    • Suez Canal was completed on Aug. 18, 1869, and the inauguration ceremony on Nov. 17, 1869. Between 1859 and 1869, Egyptian khedive Saʿīd Pasha partnered with France’s Suez Canal Company to build the present canal connecting the Mediterranean and Red seas.

1881 — James Gang train robbery and murder near Winston, MO

  • President James Garfield was assassinated, just five months into his term of office
  • Billy the Kid escaped from the Lincoln County, New Mexico jail house on April 28, 1881, killing two deputies on guard
  • U.S. Supreme Court rules that the income tax is constitutional since it is not a direct tax prohibited by the Constitution

1883 — the trial of Frank James at Gallatin, MO

  • Buffalo Bill Cody organizes the first Wild West Show
  • Mark Twain publishes “Life on the Mississippi”
  • The Brooklyn Bridge is completed in New York City, NY, connecting Manhattan and Long Island