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tv   The Civil War Civil War Origins of Frontier Outlaws  CSPAN  August 20, 2021 6:01pm-6:58pm EDT

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history that has yet to be played out. you can watch this and other "american artifacts" programs by visiting our website, ♪♪ american civil war museum interpretation specialist karissa marken talks about the civil war guerilla fighters who later became outlaws in the west
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including jesse james, his brother frank, and their gang. this event was recorded by the american civil war museum in june 2016. now, i will start off with a word of warning. when i compiled all the information i wanted to share with you all this evening, the first time i went through it and timed it, i spoke for an hour and a half. so i hope you all are comfortable, we might be here a while. i'm just kidding, josie, don't get mad at me. yeah, so, last year when josie was compiling this topics for this year, she called me into her office one day and pitched me this idea, as she mentioned. she ended up, when i told her that -- and i agreed that i probably did know somebody who might be interested in doing this topic, she said, well, you know, when i think about scalawags, renegades, and scoundrels, there's only one
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person that comes immediately to mind. i said, i'm so touched, that's exactly the type of characters a girl longs to be associated with. before we can really start looking at the outlaws that the civil war -- the outlaw gangs that the civil war spun off, you kind of have to take a flip back and see, kind of understand the guerilla warfare that was going on during the civil war to kind of understand how that same mindset continued on after the war and kind of manifested itself in the wild west. so in regular warfare, in the civil war, you have those who are somewhat associated with the organized military. and calvary raiders are probably in the border land area, kentucky and everything, were probably most closely associated and then you had partisan rangers who were free and independent enough to act on their own but they still kind of answered to the organized
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military, they were at least -- they kind of had the blessing of the government. and john mosby would fall under those. those were kind of the more civilized version of irregular warfare. under that you had guerilla warfare and really that was all across the south. and when i say guerilla warfare, i mean -- when i say guerilla warfare, i mean it's more people taking up arms for themselves and just kind of fighting. now, some of them may have done it because they were in a kill other be killed situation. others just kind of used the chaos of the war as an opportunity to do whatever the heck they wanted to, just kind of like, you know what, cool, nobody's here to stop me so i'm going to go and i'm going to take this from you or maybe i've never liked you, i'm just going to go shoot you and be done with you. so there's a lot of that going on. and then there were some who did kind of fight with a political
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cause in mind. they didn't want to join the organized army because that would mean leaving home, they wanted to stay home and protect their family so in their minds they were fighting for a political cause, they were just kind of doing it on their own. so all of those fell into that category of guerilla warfare. while you did see that all across the south, it was mostly concentrated in a couple of areas. you see it in the mountain area here, appalachia, western virginia down into georgia. you also saw it in the ozark mountains, missouri to arkansas. it was really prevalent and concentrated on the front tier, missouri, kansas, where it had existed even before the war, obviously. but -- and again, that was just -- it's -- if you research the topic, it's just an absolute mess. it really was a free for all. and some of those ways that they fought continued on until after the war.
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but before you can understand what it morphed into after the war you have to understand this mindset actually existed even before the war when the british army and the revolutionary war landed in south carolina and started marching north to virginia. they encountered guerilla warfare and guerilla fighter after guerilla fighter. the most known of those would be the swamp fox, francis marion. but he was not the only one they encountered. they basically dealt with guerillas on the way up to virginia. on the frontier, you had bleeding kansas, you've got the whole fight over the settlements, making the states between kansas and missouri and the fight over whether it should be a slave state or not and then you have people like brown who kill people who disagree with him just because he can. appalachia had been settled by those with scotch/irish roots so that created a culture filled with endemic violence and rhett
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retributive justice. that's the mindset and culture they're coming from. the war presented an opportunity for that concept to multiply unrestrained. law and order started breaking down and suddenly what's already there is now bubbling up to the surface. additionally you have a bunch of weapons in circulation that were manufactured for the war so it's easier to get your hand on a weapon or multiple weapons and so all of that went into it as well. now, an historian wrote a book about something a little bit later than what we're discussing tonight but he noted that shock value always has a longer shelf life than tedious detail. and that is really true about the guerilla warfare during the war and the outlaw stories after the war because these stories were so violent and just kind of
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shocking to people that they're passed down from generation to generation and many of them grew legendary. and eventually local amateur historians would be the ones to capture these accounts but they just captured and did very little to actually verify their accuracy or curb the mythology that had been woven into them so it's tricky to sort facts from fiction, the guerilla warfare during the war and what it morphed into in the outlaw stories. that's something to keep in mind as you hear information about these things, okay, how much of it is actually true and how much of it is just speculation or grew out of that truth. many of these outlaw stories have become legends. and these outlaws have taken on a larger than life persona and a lot of the stories have really been romanticized as well. as kind of an example of this, you can see it's kind of hard to find fact from fiction, in arkansas, in stone county,
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there's a legend about the hess brothers who they say robbed the u.s. mint and made their way to stone county where a posse caught up with them and a shootout occurred. the hess brothers will killed. when their bodies were examined, there was no gold on them. there is a legend that somewhere in the hills, all this gold that was robbed is hidden. it can be kind of hard to know sometimes what exactly is true and what isn't. in appalachia after the war, champ ferguson was probably the most well-known guerilla after during the war. he fought some with the organized troops but he was really cruel and really murdered more than simply fighting in war. and after the war, he became only one of two former confederates who were executed for war crimes. but he however was definitely not the only person fighting the guerilla warfare in that area. i actually wrote a 150-page
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master's thesis on guerilla warfare in western virginia during the civil war. so if you need some reading material, feel free to google my name and guerilla warfare. if you need to fall asleep at night, start reading it, guaranteed to put you right to sleep or your money back. now, what's interesting to me is that if you start reading about appalachia in the late 19th century, early 20th century, the moonshiners fighting the law enforcement officers sound eerily like stories of guerillas fighting in the war. it seems to me this mindset of the guerillas during the war started manifesting once the moonshiners were going and tried to be clamped down. another thing that happened after the war in appalachia is
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familiar feuds started. so many bush whackers had operated around the town where they were from so they were known, everybody knew who they were so their descendants were feared and hated in the family lore of their opponents because they never left the area. richard curry and gerald hamm were historians who constituted appalachia and the guerilla warfare there and they concluded that it intensified the spirit of lawlessness and partisan vindictiveness that characterized the reconstruction era in that region. now, across the south, you also had vigilante groups springing up after the war and that same mindset that had given rise to do what you need to do in the war that manifested itself, now became manifested in the vigilante group. democrats would use them for widespread systematic violence if they felt an immediate threat
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to their grasp of power. once they regained the power following when reconstruction kind of fizzled out and the republicans lost the political power there in the south. in arkansas especially, the guerilla warfare had been pretty brutal and it kind of spilled over into post-war politics and also very clearly into race relations. and it kind of culminated in 1888 election which was one of the most corrupt in arkansas history. john clayton, who you can see here on the screen, was a republican candidate for the second congressional district and he ended up losing the election by 846 votes out of over 34,000 cast. now, you can say, oh, that's just terrible luck. but it was more than luck. in plumerville in conway county, as the votes were being counted in the ballot box, four masked and armed men broke in and stole
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the votes at gunpoint. most of those votes would have been for clayton and probably would have been enough to push him over and win the general election. clayton hired the pinkerton detective agency from chicago to investigate this. in that town, there was a deputy sheriff named oliver bentley and he had a brother who threatened to talk to the pinkertons. now, this would have been very awkward for deputy bentley considering it was probably him who stole the ballot box and his brother would have known that. and so bentley killed his brother. and he invented a story saying, oh, there's an accidental discharge of the gun. it's a pretty bad accident when somebody is shot five times. the death was officially ruled an accident. clayton decided to go to plumerville himself to investigate even though he was warned it's dangerous for you there, he went anyway. on january 29 of 1889 he was seated at a table in a boarding house getting ready to write a letter to his children when somebody shot him through the
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window with a shotgun and it was described as it hit him so squarely that his brains were burst around the room, it blew his head off, is what it said. it was more than likely either deputy bentley or bob pate, a local saloon owner. bentley was the one who headed the investigation of the murder, lucky for them, and bob pate was on the coroner's jury. unsurprisingly, they concluded that clayton had been murdered, quote, at the hands of unknown persons. there was a man who lived in california who will be bitter enemies with clayton over the last 20 years, we think he might have traveled and killed him. that sounds good, right? unfortunately by this point he was crippled. there was a hint that jack the ripper traveled from london and did this murder. to add insult to injury, the
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lady who ran the boarding house were clayton was murdered actually presented clayton's family with a bill for the damages her boarding house sustained because she said that his blood stained her carpet and she took a loss on that so republicans weren't given any sympathy whatsoever in arkansas. interestingly enough, clayton was later declared the winner of the election so they had to do another election because the seat was left vacant and his assassin was never found. bentley, deputy bentley later became the justice of the peace and he presided over a trial in which they put a man on trial for the murder from minnesota. by that point the man had been dead for two years and bentley found him guilty and said case closed, they didn't look into it further. that's kind of one story of how this idea of we can just take matters into our own hands manifested itself in arkansas but in arkansas where it was tied to organized politics, out west it was more of the men who made their own law or they
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disregarded the laws that were in place. michael fellman is an historian who wrote "inside war" which is the definitive work on guerilla warfare during the civil war and he concluded that most rural white missourians lost a great deal during the war. male kin, property, security, decent relations, all building blocks of a normal life. they had to lie, cheat, and bear false witness just to survive. how do you move on once the war is over? it's not easy. there are some people who tried. there were others who had lost everything and they ended up moving away. a great many missourians moved down to texas immediately after the civil war ended. and then there were those who didn't even try. they just decided to take the law into their own hands and keep doing what they had been doing and many of those who went that route had fought under one of two men during the war. william quantrill was one of the most notorious guerillas of the
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civil war, slaughtering hundreds of innocent civilians simply because it was a union-backed town and a union senator liked to go there a lot. he and his men killed union soldiers and unionists without distinction. they did not distinguish between civilian or combat, they just kind of killed anyone they wanted to. quantrill was killed himself before the war ended but his band did not disband. bloody bill anderson was one of the most brutal guerillas of the war. he broke off and had his own group. he was also killed before the war ended. and following the war, many of anderson's men kind of banded together with quantrill's men and they kept their own groups. one of those men was archie clement, known as anderson's head devil or anderson's head demon. he was five feet tall and
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weighed 130 pounds so he was known as little archie but he was a consummate killer who was ferocious and he liked to scout his victims. he was only 17 years old when he became a lieutenant in anderson's company and after anderson's death he was the one who took command of the band. he didn't even try to surrender at the end of the war, he just had no interest in doing so and he began robbing banks. in fact he joined the james gaining which we'll get to later and he helped them on their first robbery and as well as frank and jesse james are known, authorities suspected clement and didn't turn their attention to the james brothers until a while later. at the election of 1866 clement took a gang of 100 members of quantrill and anderson's former gangs and attacked the town of lexington, missouri on election day and intimidated the town enough that the republican party was defeated in the general election. when the missouri state militia came to counter them clement
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faded into the hills which is exactly the same type of strategy that was used in guerilla warfare all the time during the war. on december 13 of that year for some recent clement decided it would be a funny, a big joke to try to enlist his own money in the missouri state militia so he goes back into lexington and the head of the militia allowed him to come in because they didn't want to start out this fight in the city streets so he signed up his men and peacefully leaves. he circles back to the city hotel, having a drink, the militia sent men to arrest him for a bank robbery. he tried to make it out of town on a horse but was shot off the horse, mortally wounded. when the soldiers approached, he was still trying to cock his revolver with his mouth so he could get off one last shout. he said, i've done what i always said what i would do, die before surrender, and that he did.
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quantrill's group as well didn't disperse. the men were denied the general amnesty that was given to the confederate army after the war ended. so many of the gangs stayed together for means of force and protection. and some like frank and jesse james took this as an excuse to become criminals and bank robbers. you have the james brothers up there on the left. frank is on the left and jesse is to the right of him. the james younger gang became the most notorious in american history and members of that gang came and went but the james and younger brothers remained the central power structure that have gang. frank and jesse had a very normal childhood. their parents met at a revival in kentucky. their father later became a baptist minister in missouri and frank was the oldest child. their next child died as an infant and then jesse was born and then they had a younger sister. when she was an infant and jesse was 3, their father was invited
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to go to california with a wagon train leaving from that area, men who wanted to go to california to look for gold and they invited their father to go along as the chaplain so he accepted but he never made it home. he contracted a fever in california and died of cholera. their mother remarried to a well to do doctor whose last name was samuel and dr. samuel taught both boys how to ride and shoot horses. frank was said to be withdrawn and a bible reading boy who had a great interest in his late father's sizable library particularly shakespeare. jesse was known to be assertive. they had a normal family life, nothing that you would guess what this would later become. frank was looking forward to going to college but when he turned 18 the civil war broke out and so he enlisted in the missouri state guard which was a confederate unit because he supported the confederacy. he fought with that guard in a couple of battles. then he returned home either due
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to injury or illness but while he was home he was arrested by the local militia who were union sympathizers and they refused to let him go until he signed an oath of allegiance which meant he could no longer fight in the organized forces of the confederacy. he however did not want to let the war pass him by without doing his part so he joined quantrill's men. three months after the raid on lawrence, kansas that i mentioned earlier, union soldiers invaded the family farm, wanting to know information about quantrill's location. they questioned jesse, who was 15. they refused to tell him anything and they horse whipped him. they took dr. samuel and hung him from a tree in the backyard. the doctor actually survived the ordeal but the whole experience left jesse very embittered, very angry, and so he joined anderson's guerilla forces the next year when he was 16 years old. after the war, jesse actually tried to ride into lexington, kansas with a white flag to
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surrender but the union soldiers shot at him. they wounded him so he actually went to nebraska for a little while while he recovered before he was able to come back. interestingly enough, those who knew him at that time described him as a very reliable man who always dressed well and read his bible. they said he never swore or took the lord's name in vain. when he was angry he preferred to make his own words up, such as dingus. after the war, he turned to outlawing. then you have the four of the 14 younger siblings pictured there on the right. cole younger was the seventh of the 14 younger children. he supported the confederacy even though their father supported the union. cole actually became part of
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quantrill's men and served in the confederate army later and was captain there. when he returned home he found the family home in ruins. he was very embittered over that. very quickly he joined with the james brothers and began what he called -- what he claimed was taking revenge against yankee capitalist banks and railroads. his brother jim was a bush whacker the entire war under quantrill and after the war he had a number of jobs including being the deputy sheriff in dallas county, texas from 1870 to 187 by 1873 he had joined the james gang. bob younger was too young to fight with quantrill which meant he was at home and witnessed firsthand his father killed by union soldiers and his home burned to the ground and as soon as cole joined the james brothers after the war he joined as well. the first bank robbery occurred
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in 1866. they robbed the clay county savings association in liberty, missouri and made off with $60,000 in cash and bonds, by far their most lucrative bank robbery of their career. this robbery was the first daylight peacetime armed bank robbery in u.s. history. now, during their escape, gunfire erupted and an innocent 17-year-old bystander was killed and this actually kind of set a precedent for the james/younger gang because innocent bystanders were often killed during their bank robberies. soon, however, they tired of robbing only banks. part of that was that banks had started to install time lock vaults so it was a lot harder to rob them so they began turning their focus to railroads and stage coaches because those carried large shipments of money. their first train heist was july 21 of 1873 when they robbed the chicago rock island and pacific railroad while it was traveling in iowa. five members of the gang pulled
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some track up and when the train hit that it derailed and overturned and the locomotive engineer was killed in that. it was said the james/younger gang lived by the horse and died by the horse. those who had fought with quantrill during the war had learned the importance of having a good horse and jesse james especially had developed into an excellent horseman. he believed the best mounted man often won because it allowed them to easily outmaneuver and outrun anyone who was pursuing them. william cody or buffalo bill allegedly told authorities, quote, that's why the james brothers are making fools of you, they ride superior horses. jesse actually imported many of his from kentucky because he wanted thoroughbred horses. they had great stamina and they were very well schooled so they remained calm even if gunfire broke out. one of his favorite horses, actually his favorite horse, named for stonewall jackson, he took a picture with it in 1875,
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the only picture of jesse james with a horse that exists. in 1874, both jesse and frank got married and they retired from their outlaw life for a while, lived near nashville, tennessee. jesse became a respected citizen of the area and got involved in horse racing there and rode in many of the races. however, there is no national network at the time so catching the outlaws proved to be a very hard task since they were so hard to track. the missouri governor had hired the pinkerton detective agency to look for them. and the pinkertons were pretty upset they had not been able to arrest even a single member of the gang so even though the gang had kind of stopped, they continued hunting for them. and they thought they had tracked jesse and frank to the home of their mother and stepfather. the james brothers, however, were not there. thepinkertons did not know that. they surrounded the cabin, tossed in a smoke device, those
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inside the cabin saw it smoking and tossed it into the fire. the device exploded, it killed their half brother and blew the arm off their mother and she had to have it amputated, her arm was so mangled. this made the james brothers absolutely livid. they took revenge on the neighbor who had allowed the pinkertons to stay on their farm. this also made them return to outl outlawry full-time. their demise occurred when they attempted to rob a bank on september 7 of 1876. jesse and frank james with bob younger went inside the bank while cole and jim younger stayed outside with three other members of the gang, bill chadwell, millmiller, and charl pitts. the clerk refused to give them the money so they shot and
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killed him. that turned out to be their demise because the gunshot alerted citizens of the town and they all rushed and took up their arms and started shooting at the outlaws who were outside of the bank. miller and chadwell were killed and cole younger was wounded, he was hit in the thigh. by this point frank and jesse and bob younger had fled from the bank and bob as he was running was shot in the elbow so the gang took off. they were pursued by posses and eventually split up. the james brothers went in one direction and the younger brothers the other direction. the posse caught the younger brothers on december 21, over 400 miles away from where the robbed the bank. gunfire erupted and charlie pitts was killed and the brothers were wounded and finally surrendered. the three men killed, miller was only 14 years old when he joined
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anderson's band during the civil war. his only time in combat was in the skirmish where anderson was killed. he was captured but not killed due to his young age. he was sent to prison. his father claimed his family had supported the union. he was accused of being a part of a robbery which he wasn't and he was acquitted on it. he later said he might as well just join them because his reputation had been ruined by the trial. then there was bill chadwell from minnesota. he was the one who had suggested the gang go up to minnesota to rob the banks because he said he could easily get them in and out of the state. he clearly had miscalculated. and the final one was charlie pitts whose real name was sam wells. he had been a childhood friend of the james brothers and fought with quantrill. he was 28 years old when he was killed. he was married and had two
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children. during the shootout when the posse cornered them he said he had told charlie they should surrender and charlie had replied, i won't go, i can die as well you can, and was shot through the heart. the younger brothers were tried and found guilty of murder and sentenced to 25 years in state prison. bob younger died in prison in 1889. jim was pardoned in 1901 but the next year committed suicide. the reason he did that was he had fallen in love with a newspaper writer, alice miller, but his parole terms were so strict, he was not permitted to marry. cole was also pardoned in 1901 and he lived until 1916. he actually received an official pardon in 1903 at which point he was reunited with frank james and they toured with a wild west show for a while. after that he went on the lecture circuit preaching the evils of crime. in 1903 he published an ought
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autobiography where he portrayed himself as a soldier rather than an outlaw. during their 15-year crime spree, the gang had committed 26 holdups and made off with more than $200,000 and killed at least 17 men. now, meanwhile the james brothers had escaped and made their way back to missouri where they eventually moved to nashville, tennessee and lived peacefully for the next three years however jesse got a new gang in 1879 and they committed robberies throughout missouri, kentucky, iowa, kansas, even into west virginia. the governor of missouri eventually stepped outside of the law and put together a large reward to try to stop this. he couldn't use state funds so he actually got the railroad companies to put up the money since it would help benefit them to catch jesse james. and the reward was large enough,
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it made one of the gang members turn traitor. when jesse was 34 years old his wife, he's there on the right, his wife pleaded with him to live a more normal life and he agreed that sounded good. first he wanted to commit one last robbery because he said that would permit him to retire and live the life of a gentleman farmer after he got this money so he began planning it with bob and charles ford. bob ford is here on the right. on april 3, 1882, they were in jesse's cabin planning this robbery when jesse noticed that a needlework on the wall was crooked. it was one his mother was made and stitched. so pulled the chair over and stood on the chair to straighten it and he heard a cocking of a pistol. bob ford had cocked his pistol. jesse turned his head to look at him and bob shot him, the bullet entered below his right ear. he was killed instantly. his wife and children were in the next room. they came rushing into the room to see what happened. bob fled immediately. his brother charles stuck around for a minute or two trying to
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convince them the pistol had gone off accidentally and he eventually turned and ran as well. interestingly enough, the picture here in the middle shows bob ford and jesse james together. last october, a woman came forward and said that her grandmother had -- this was a family picture that they were handing down and she claims that this was a real picture. somebody from the houston police department who does all their facial recognition analyzing took a look at it and said it was an authentic photo. historians don't really like the idea and are claiming it's a fraud. so there's a lot of uproar over whether this is a real picture and it's going on right now. so it's kind of interesting. i wanted to show that to you all. after rob ford murdered jesse james the ford brothers expected to be treated as heroes but instead they got public abuse because it seemed like such a cowardly way to kill jesse james.
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they killed him for two reasons. the first one was the $10,000 reward, that sounded pretty good to them and the second one was bob ford had actually been accused of murder and goff the governor of missouri said he would pardon him if he killed jesse james. ford was charged with the murder but true to his word, the governor pardoned him of both murders. the brothers only ended up getting a fraction of the reward money. three months later frank james surrendered to the governor. he had tired of the outlaw life and wanted to try to settle down and live a normal life. the public offered such universal sympathy that even though frank underwent several long trials, he was acquitted of all crimes. he returned to the james farm, worked as a horse trainer and started a racetrack. he lived to 72 when he died of natural causes. the james brothers' most outspoken defender allowed them to have such a long career.
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this is newspaper editor john newman editors, general shelby's ajunct after the war. he helped found "the kansas city times" and served as its editor. he wrote editorials to persuade confederates to return to politics. he used his newspaper to provide alibis and excuses for the james brothers. he made them out to be symbols of ex-confederates and created a folk status for them. he wrote a flattering obituary and he was the one who arranged for frank james to surrender to the governor. he didn't know he was going to fully acquitted but without too much backlash there. his flattering treatment of jesse james undoubtedly formed the basis of the heroic legend
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still associated with the outlaw. part of that obituary reads, no one among all the hired cowards hard on the hunt for blood money dared face this wonderful outlaw. one even against 20 until he had disarmed himself and turned his back to his assassin, the first and only time in a career which has passed from the realms of an almost fabulous romance into that of history. we call him outlaw and he was but fate made him so. later he continued, when the war closed jesse james had no home. proscribed, hunted, shot, driven away from among his people, a price put upon his head, what else could a man do with such a nature? he had to live. it was his country. the graves of his kindred were there. he refused to be banished from his birth right and when he was hunted he turned savagely about and hunted his hunters. would to god he were alive today to make a righteous butchery of more of them. this was an editorial in a newspaper. it kind of shows you how times
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have changed. this claim that the james brothers were forced to become outlaws to me doesn't hold water. there are numerous examples of those who fought in the war under quantrill even who chose not to become an outlaw after the war. alan parmer joined the gang when he was 15, wounded five times after the war. after the war he attended a business college in st. louis. he married in 1970, he married susan james, younger sister of frank and jesse. and they had four children. he was a farmer and a stock razor and he wandered around a bit and dabbled in business a bit. you would think if somebody had to become an outlaw, it would be somebody who fought with quantrill after the war and married into the james family but he died in 1927 of a heart attack. certainly he lived a life on the right side of the law following the war. then there was also captain william greg who also fought under quantrill. he became a prominent farmer and
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deputy sheriff of jackson county, missouri. he served as will pallbearers for john and cole younger. but for the rest of his life he was a law abiding citizen and deputy sheriff. were they forced to become one? i would call that into question a little bit. some of the other outlaws, though, who became famous at the time, there was jim cummings clark who i think has an interesting story. the encyclopedia of western gun fighters lists his occupations as thief, soldier, laborer, and law officer. because why not? when he was 17, he stole a mule from his stepfather and fled to texas where he and i friend sold the mule, stole $1,400 from a rancher and return to missouri. he became a trusted lieutenant for quantrill during the war. after the war his surrender was not honored so he returned to thievery and wandering. he joined the james gang.
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in 1887 he moved to telluride, colorado, where he found work digging a pipeline into town. he then secured an appointment as a city marshal and enforced the law by clubbing ruffians with his fist. he was rumored to continue his criminal activities from time to time and in 1889 butch cassidy and his band robbed the bank in that town of $20,000 and rumors spread that clark had agreed to, for part of the loot, he would conveniently be out of town when they tried to rob the bank. this was never proven. but he was fired nonetheless and he promptly offered to kill a member of the city council for 15 cents or two for 25 cents, whichever you prefer. he remained in that town until he was shot to death on august 7 of 1895. he had been walking down main street. he was shot in the back. no real investigation ever took place. the killer was never discovered. rumor said that several prominent businessmen wanted him
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gone and therefore he was gone. and that was that. was this really the man who had fought under quantrill and done some raids under frank and jesse james? frank james allegedly said the man killed could not be jim cummings. one, he was too smart to be a city marshal, and two, quote, you see, jim was one of those men who won't let nobody shoot him. so there you have it. arthur mccoy was another outlaw. he became known as the wild irish men under joe shelby. he had been born in ireland and when he came to america he went to california for the gold fields. he married louisa gibson, youngest daughter of a well to do st. louis family. they had two sons, one of whom died during the war, and a daughter, elizabeth, in 1861. after the war his life and his career get a little bit more hazy. he was supposedly a member of the james/younger gang although he was a city boy so didn't fit.
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he had a james connection, that's probably who made that connection there. he was believed to have been one of those involved in the killing of a pinkerton agent who was investigating the jameses and participated in numerous robberies. he and his wife in the 1870s had a farm in missouri and two more sons were born at the beginning of that decade to the family. according to family history, though, arthur didn't like farming so he went to texas to see go getting into cattle and living there, potentially. a legend now takes over where history has ended and legends say he was arrested for stage robbery near austin, texas. by 1874, '75, he effectively vanished. by 1880 his wife had listed herself by a widow, presumably he died at that point. the only reason i bring him up is to point out that not all
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outlaws had been guerilla fighters because mccoy was a city boy, a family man, and had fought in the organized forces during the war yet he was a drifter so that kind of personality with the james brothers had started kind of just really appealed to him. and so he turned to that type of life after the war. and then there is belle starr. she was one ferocious woman. she was born myra mabel shirley in 1848. her nicknames were the outlaw queen or the bandit queen. her family supported the confederacy. she had been educated at a girls' academy and trained to be a pianist and appeared to be on her way to a respectable middle class life. her older brother, though, john addison, nicknamed bud, taught her to use guns and ride horses and some believe she unofficially joined him on raids during the war. he died by 1864. by that as an inn keeper was
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ended. she at least associated with outlaws if not an outlaw herself. she married jim reed in 1886 and they had two children, pearl and eddie. jim reed had grown up in missouri and knew the shirleys. he fled to texas following the war where he and belle got married. by the time of pearl's birth he had become involved in the tom starr gang, they were cattle rusters. he allegedly murdered somebody and fled with his family to california. shortly after eddie's birth in 1871, they returned to missouri and jim reed fought or rode off and on with both the james/younger gang and the tom starr gang. in april of 1874 he robbed the austin, san antonio stage. incidentally enough belle was named as an accessory on the indictment but there was no evidence against her so they dropped the charge. jim however was on the rough and a deputy sheriff cornered him and killed him in paris, texas
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in august of 1874. belle sent her children to live with their grandparents. and again, legend is taking over here. where we have no history. traditionally it's believed she herself was on the run from the law and drifted into oklahoma indian territory where she began to lead her own band of cattle and horsethieves and therefore we have the belle starr gang. tom starr's son, they married in 1880, although legend says it might have only been a common-law marriage. who actually knows? they lived on cherokee land and built a house where they would harbor outlaws often. in 1883, both belle and sam were convicted of stealing horses and they spent nine months in jail in detroit. belle was known as a felon. she wore gold earrings and a man's hat with feathers and
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velvet skirts and rode a mare named venus. she was arrested but never convicted for lack of evidence. in 1886, sam was killed in a gun fight and she married for the third time with bill july. she started calling him july starr. i don't know if he officially took that name but that's what she called him. he shortly after they were married was summoned to ft. smith, arkansas because he had been accused of stealing a horse and she accompanied him part of the way then decided to turn back. and on her way home, as she was still right outside of ft. smith on february 3, 1889, she was just shy of her 41st birthday, she was shot in the back with a shotgun blast. by this point they shareholder -- she had many enemies including her two children. bill july believed it was a
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fugitive who was wanted for murder and belle kicked him out of her house and sent him on his way. he was arrested but there were no witnesses and they couldn't prove anything and he was released and it's still a mystery as to who actually killed belle starr. a couple of more i wanted to highlight are the farrington brothers, hillary and levi. they had both been confederate guerillas before the war and like the james brothers they decided robbing banks seemed to be a good post-war occupation so they also robbed trains and they robbed the mobile and ohio railroad in union, tennessee in 1870. while the pinker tons were hot on their tail, hillary farrington shot william pinkerton in the side when the detective had him cornered in a kentucky farm. pinkerton however was not killed. he managed to subdue hillary and cuff him. the next day they were en route to columbus, kentucky on a paddle boat when hillary broke loose and grabbed pinkerton's
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shotgun. the gun discharged and grazed pinkerton's skull but again did not kill him. before hillary could aim at the detective, he delivered an uppercut. he landed on the paddle wheel. i bet you can guess what happened next, he was chopped to pieces. his brother meantime had been captured in farmingdale, illinois. he had been returned to union city, tennessee for the trial. however, there were many angry people in the town that this had happened and while he was in prison awaiting his trial a mob formed, broke into the prison, and took him out and lynched him. these are some of the most notorious of the wild west gangs. now, outlaw gangs had existed before the war because the frontier was hard to police and so those who liked to operate outside the boundaries of the law tended to be attracted to that area however those who had fought in the civil war that we just covered and looked at really set a precedent for many who came later that really created the wild west stories that we hear about. i'm just going to briefly
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highlight a couple of them. the duel and dalton gang. the dalton brothers had been u.s. deputy marshals but then turned to a life of crime because they discovered robbing trains and banks was actually an easier way to make a living than living on the right side of the law. however the gang attempted a robny in coffeeville, kansas in october of 1892. the gang members involved in that robbery were all killed. this picture was proof that they were killed. some members of the gang weren't there, including a man named bill duelen. he took the remaining members and formed the oklahoma hombres. he held something of a robin hood image and was well liked by many people so it was those people who actually helped him and his gang evade the law.
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the gang was dissolved when bill was tracked down and killed in 1896. kid curry whose real name was harvey alexander logan. he was known as the wildest in butch cassidy's outlaw gang known as the wild bunch. that gang also included the sundance kid, will carver and many others. some of them, including kid curry, posed for a photo in 1901 which i have put on the screen for you. funnily enough, the pinkertons learned about the photo, got a copy of it and put it on wanted posters all over america. kid curry during his lifetime was wanted on warrants for 15 murders why it was generally believed he had murdered at least twice that number and william pinkerton called him the most vicious outlaw in america and said, quote, he has not one single redeeming feature. he is the only criminal i know of who does not have one single good point. i am not sure. it's a good question.
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i tried to find the identities but i just kept running into lists that all gave me different information so i'm not positive and i did not spend enough time looking into it to truly be able to answer that question. then there was cherokee bill, whose real name was crawford goldsby. he and his gang terrorized the indian territory for two years. he was 18 when he became his life of outlawing and he and his group called the cook group robbed stage coaches and stores and were willing to shoot anybody who got in their way. he was 19 at the time he was caught. he was taken to ft. smith, arkansas, he was put on trial for three days but the result was predetermined. he was sentenced to hang on march 17 of 1896. he had just turned 20 at the time. he was scheduled to be hung at 11:00. but that was delayed because his sister wanted to see him one last time and her train was not due in until 1:00 p.m.
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he was hanged shortly after 2:00. he was asked if he had any last words. he said, i came here to die, not to make a speech. and that's exactly what he did. henry starr's uncle was tom starr who was married to belle. he found belle to be crude and reprehensible and would quickly inform anybody who asked about the relationship that she was his aunt by marriage only. so you know you've got to be a pretty interesting woman to be reviled like that by an outlaw like henry starr. he spent 32 years in crime. he claimed to have robbed more banks than the james/younger gang and the duelen gang together. he robbed his last in a car in 1921. he made off with nearly $80,000 all on his own. now, the legend has really romanticized many outlaws
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especially the james brothers. through originally dime novels and editorials like we heard earlier. and then later, i think through tv shows and movies, it's really how most people in the public know about these men. and a lot of them have become these robin hood type figures versus the evil lawmen. we did hear about a few evil lawmen, it's interesting, that's kind of the typical way that wild west outlaws have been characterized. so i want to leave you with this thought. the encyclopedia of western gun fighters noted that though the history of these old west gangs is often row the man advertised it should not be forgotten that they were in fact nothing more than thugs. i want to thank you guys again for coming out this evening. we've got a few minutes for some questions and answers, if anybody needs to slip out, feel free to do so, but if anybody has any questions i would be happy to answer them. [ applause ]
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walking from washington, d.c. to new york city, former wall street journal reporter neal king reflects on his nearly 300-mile journey. >> doing it a year later with all that had happened, all of us being shut in, all of us being, you know, walking around behind masks, that long covid winter as we call it, which was a pretty horrific stretch, the events we saw play out of january 6 at the capitol, which i live right nearby, the contested election, there is a lot of bad blood in the air overall. so it made my desire to go out really i think it was the fifth day of spring, and just walk through a spring, see it unfold, and look up close and very slowly at the country i was going through and meeting people along the way and trying to kind of understand where are we as a country at the moment. >> neal king, his 300-mile
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journey, walking from washington, d.c. to new york city, sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's "q&a." you can find "q&a" interviews wherever you get your podcasts. weekends on c-span2, bringing you the best in american history and nonfiction books. saturday on american history tv at 2:00 p.m. eastern on the presidency, a 1988 oval office conversation between president ronald reagan and the bbc's godfrey hodgson on restoring the economy, u.s./soviet relations, arms control and iran-contra. at 4:40 p.m., as the u.s. continues to withdraw from afghanistan, we look back nearly 40 years at the country's history with two u.s. information agency films. "the struggle for freedom continues" chronicles the aftermath of the soviet invasion
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of afghanistan. and afghanistan: the new generation, on the challenges faced by afghan children. dwayne evans talks about his book "foxtrot in kandahar" about his tour of duty in afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. book tv features leading authors discussing their latest nonfiction books. on sunday, at 12:45 eastern, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell shares what's on his reading list. then at 2:00 p.m. eastern, author discussions on afghanistan including wesley morgan with his book "the hardest place: the american military adrift." national security analyst peter bergen talks about his book. and scott horton argues that the war on terror has been counterproductive and too costly to continue in his book "enough already: time to end the war on terrorism." watch american history tv and
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book tv every weekend on c-span2 and find a full schedule on your program guide or visit sitting bull's great grandson ernie lapointe speaks about his lakota heritage and the influence of his great-grandfather. he also talks about the repatriation of some of sitting bull's artifacts to his family and his work to teach the lakota language to the next generation. the buffalo bill center of the west in cody, wyoming hosted this event in 2012 and provided the video. >> it's an honor to introduce ernie. it's been a privilege and having him here in cody to speak. over the last three


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