You know who was an American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber and train robber? If you thought of Jesse James you’d be correct. Already fighting for the Confederate Guerillas in the Civil war as a teenager, Jesse Woodson James became famous for his time very fast. One attack from the Union soldiers sent a spark that fueled the flame of Jesses hate and was probably the switch that started him into his crime way of lifestyle. After the Civil War Missouri’s society was ripped apart, he was forever changed. Jesse James was the most notorious outlaw in the American West and his legend will never be forgotten. Clay County, Missouri on September 5th, 1847 the racketeer hero of the mid 1800’s was born. One could assume Jesse James would have had a troubled childhood because of all the mayhem he caused. However, he was born to Robert S. James and Zerelda Cole James normal hardworking citizens of America. Robert and Zerelda moved from Kentucky to Missouri in Jesse and his brother grew up educated to a family of very prestigious farmers. His dad was a reverend, a Baptist minister and even moved out to California during the gold rush to minister those seeking gold. Although Jesses father died when he was only three years old, his mother remarried and he had a great stepfather. Being brought up during the Civil War time and Missouri being a split state definitely had an effect on Jesse. He watched his older brother Frank march to go fight for the Rebels. Jesse seeing himself too young to fight stayed home on the farm. Frank being involved with a Pro Confederate Guerrilla group, put his family endanger. The James farm got brutally attacked by Union Militiamen in the summer of 1863. Just at fifteen when he refused to answer there questions he was whipped and roughed up quite a bit by the soldiers. His stepfather got tortured for not giving up the raiders camp location. He was dragged from his house hung on a tree in his yard, he managed to survive somehow. After that ..expeirence.. something happened to the little blue eyed Jesse James. A spark of anger and hatred had been set off, that could have been the start of the flame that burns inside of him now. Some people think it was cruel treatment from Union soldiers that turned Frank and Jesse to a life of crime during the Civil War (“Jesse James” St.Joesph Missouri). For the next spring at just 16 years old he joined “Bloody Bill” Anderson’s Guerilla force where they terrorized pro-union enemies in Missouri’s countryside. Jesse still being a young addition to this group, and being a susceptible teenager became apart of a lot of atrocities including the Centralia Massacre. Where they robbed the passengers of an incoming train and ended up murdering 24 Union soldiers. Federal Infantry followed them and ended up with more than 100 soldiers were butchered. Young Jesse even killed seven men one being a Union Major. Those experiences helped define the man that he would become. Only 3 of the guerilla forces died in battle that day. However, later in Independence, Mo the guerillas got ambushed. Bloody Bill the leader, was killed himself, Jesse and a couple others escaped. Franks band of Quantrill raiders led by William Quantrill got ambushed too, Franks leader got shot twice and ended up dying. Toward the end of the civil war, Jesse, carrying a white flag, rode into Lexington and was shot in the chest while he was attempting to surrender. Surviving the attack a crawled to safety, the 17 year old had seen a lot for his time. His hatred grew even more.
“Just able barely to mount a horse and ride about a little in the spring of 1866, my life was threatened daily, and I was forced to go heavily armed. The