May 15, 2023
It's day four of the Mark Lee Gardner Missouri (he pronounces it Missour-ah) Jesse James Related Grave & Battle Tour. A few highlights.
A Typical Small Town Missouri Home
The houses in the small towns and in the countryside have been nothing short of amazing to see. I would have come here just to see them. I thought the farm houses and homes in Iowa and Minnesota had Victorian grandeur but Missouri really takes the cake.
Yes, they moved Jesse's body into Kearny a while back but the gravestone remains at the farm. Yes, this is the famous grave that Frank James sold pebbles off of when he lived on the place.
Up ahead of me, at the curve, is the famous cut near Otterville, where the James Younger Gang robbed the Missouri Pacific Railroad on July 17, 1876. The boys got away with $15,000 and used the proceeds to fund their ill-fated jaunt to Northfield, Minnesota.
The legendary Santa Fe Trail began at Franklin, Missouri and the highway follows the famous path along the Missouri River. In some small towns you can still see the wagon ruts, like here running right through the local cemetery.
Mark has been studying and visiting all these out of the way cemeteries and here we are at the James Gang's Number One PR agent's grave near Dover, Missouri.
In Richmond we found the two meager and unkept grave markers for the Ford Brothers.
Some have visited and left pennies on their meager headstones. Bob even got a dime. Rather ironic considering the song.
"And the dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard and laid poor Jesse in his grave."
—Missouri Folk Song