I put it to a vote and Jesse James won for next stop on the Highway 70 Tour. As many of you already know, Jesse James and his brother Frank James, along with the Younger brothers and various others, formed the James-Younger Gang and were responsible for stagecoach, bank, and train robberies all over the Midwest and South in the late 1800s. Later, the band of outlaws rearranged the ranks somewhat and then it was just the James Gang. Numerous locations in Missouri (and probably other states as well), including Meramec Caverns and Mark Twain Cave, claim to have been hideouts for the James-Younger or James Gang at one time or another.
This house, though, is where Jesse James was killed in 1882. The house has actually been moved twice. It was originally located at 1318 Lafayette, and then in 1939 it was moved to a location on Belt Highway, which is a much busier street. In 1977 it was moved to it's current location at 12th and Mitchell, 2 blocks south of its original location.
Jesse lived here with his wife and two children. He had said that the only way he could be killed was by someone from Missouri, in whom he had placed his trust, and even then his back would have to be turned. He was shot from behind by Bob Ford, a member of the James Gang, in 1882, while Jesse was straightening a picture on the wall.
The museum advertises "Come see the bullet hole!" The bullet hole itself was originally much smaller, but souvenir hunters enlarged it over the years. That's why it is now protected behind glass.
Also pillaged was splinters of the bloodstained floor.
You may remember from my post about the Jesse James Wax Museum in Stanton, MO that there was some dispute as to whether or not it was ACTUALLY Jesse James who was shot that day. Some maintain that it was an elaborate hoax and that Jesse lived out his life as J. Frank Dalton in Texas.
This is one of the reasons that Jesse's grave in Kearny, MO was exhumed in 1997. The picture below contains some of the artifacts that were recovered, including the coffin handles, a pin he was wearing in the death photo, and a bullet recovered from his lung area (from an earlier shooting).
Of course, if there is any kind of diorama in motion, we have to have the action cam. This is a cast of Jesse's skull taken from the exhumation that shows the fatal bullet trajectory.
But wait! That skull has no exit wound! If the bullet didn't exit, what made the famous bullet hole in the wall? Well, now they think that Charley Ford, Bob's brother, also took a shot at Jesse, and that's where the bullet hole in the wall came from. That's one, theory, anyway. There are as many variations on the James Gang stories as there are rumored hideouts.
The Jesse James Home is located on the grounds of the Patee House Museum at 12th and Penn in St Joseph, MO. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, and $1.50 for students.