Sunday, May 14, 2023

Tracking Jesse James With A Master Tracker

 May 14, 2023

   Hot on the trail of Jesse James. My guide is the noted author and musician Mark Lee Gardner. If you travel with him, you are going to see a lot of graveyards and historic battle sites. 

Mark and me at the Centralia Battlefield site

   This was the Civil War battle about three miles south of Centralia, Missouri, where 125 green federal troops tried to attack William "Bloody" Bill Anderson's Bushwhacker troops across this ground near a river bottom. The rebels, including Frank and Jesse James, came out of the trees on horseback 400 strong and annihilated the Union force in about three minutes. Most historians believe Frank James' account that Jesse killed the Union commander, Major A.V.E. Johnston. This is invaluable to me as an illustrator to walk the ground, see the actual landscape, hear the birds and feel the humidity. It will hopefully inform my paintings for the book.

Mark Lee Gardner at the Missouri State Capitol

   Earlier in the day, we visited the state capital in Jeff City (what the locals call Jefferson City). Mark wanted to show me the wonderful paintings in the rotunda and I wasn't disappointed. 

The Battle of Sacramento

   So many of my painting heroes are represented including N.C. Wyeth and several of the Taos 7, including Victor Higgins!

   Of course, Mark knows all the good BBQ joints and we had lunch at a good one.

   One of the paintings in the rotunda is this one of Washington Irving Meeting Kit Carson at Arrow Rock.

   For starters, Washington Irving never met Kit Carson (although he was asked to do Carson's bio) and they were never in Arrow Rock, but thanks to Mark, we ate dinner last night at the building in the background. So that was some sweet serendipity.

"When in Missouri do as the Missourians do."

—Old Razz Saying

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:59 PM

    From Prairie Home Missouri here….not far from Arrow Rock. A couple months ago I visited the spot near Otterville you had mentioned, the site of James gang train robbery (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) that financed their trip up to Minnesota. Anyway, welcome to Missouri!


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