Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Fistfight at The Assisted Living Corral

 May 23, 2023

   Proof you can't make up anything funnier than the historic truth.

Jim Cummins In His Fighting Years

Fistfight at The Assisted Living Corral
   The late, great Ted Yeatman, in his fine book, "Frank And Jesse James: The Story Behind The Legend," relates how, in 1909, a former James Gang member, Jim Cummins, by then a resident of the Confederate Soldiers Home in Higginsville, southeast of Lexington, got into a lethal fistfight with J.R. McCormick an 85-year-old veteran of the Mexican and Civil War. Apparently McCormick called Cummins a name and tried to strike him, but the old James Gang fighter got in a good hook, and killed the old coot. Crazy. Or perhaps, staying with the Paul Simon theme, that should be, still lethal after all these years. 

After the breakup of the James Gang, Jim Cummins became a farmer in Arkansas and actually tried to turn himself in several times, but no one believed he was really Jim Cummins.

   Ted Yeatman also has the goods on Frank James in Oklahoma which I'll use to good effect in the book. I didn't know Cole continued on the show circuit with Cole Younger's Coliseum. In June of 1908 when his carnival played Richmond, Missouri, Cole learned about "Bloody Bill's" potters field grave and went there with the carnival band and said a few words and had a pastor speak. Some newspaper in the area reported, "He is advertised as the last of the famous Younger brothers, which, it seems to us, is going in the right direction."

Mark Lee Gardner at the memorial sign at the Richmond, Missouri cemetery (actually a small park and Anderson is one of the few graves there)

Bloody Bill's bloody grave

Reports of Frank's Death Have Been Exaggerated

"My friend, Greg Higginbotham, has portrayed Frank James for years and a few years ago we were walking the streets of St. Joe and Greg was walking up to folks, shaking hands, welcoming them to St. Joe. 'Howdy, I'm Frank James.' As we walked away, I heard a couple of ladies behind me whispering, 'I thought he was dead.'"

—Deb Goodrich

"If it's the sizzle and not the steak, then the outlaw name Jesse James takes the cake."

—Old Ad Man Saying

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