July 10, 2023
Here's another take on Jesse in deep shadow.
Daily Whip Out: "Jesse In Pain"
I wanted to portray him a little more conflicted, a little more paranoid and in some severe pain. And, frankly, if you were carrying around two bullet wounds in the same lung, you would be a little pained yourself.
Two Bullets for One Lung
In July or August of 1864, the James brothers were riding with Bloody Bill Anderson and the Bushwhackers across Ray County, Missouri when Jesse saw a saddle on a fence in front of a house and stopped to purloin it. Unfortunately, the owner of the saddle—a German immigrant named George Heisinger—was watching from his house as the ragtag troops rode by and as Jesse dismounted and reached for the saddle, he heard a loud pop and a pain in his chest. Heisinger had let loose with his big bore rifle and caught Jesse in the right lung. Chest wounds are normally fatal, but Jesse managed to remount and rode several miles with his brother Frank holding him in the saddle. The rebels commandeered a wagon and drove Jesse to the home of a sympathetic doctor who determined a large-caliber bullet had struck Jesse outside the right nipple and passed clear through his chest (through and through). Jesse spent many months in rehab, before returning to the fight.
Then in mid-May of 1865, Jesse and a handful of guerrillas were riding towards Lexington, Missouri to surrender when they were fired on by Union troops (reportedly the 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry). Jesse later said, "My horse was killed and I was shot through the breast. I was running through the woods pursued by two men on horseback. . .I was near a creek. I lay in the water all night, it seemed that my body was on fire. The next morning I crawled up the bank and a man was plowing nearby and he helped me get to my friends." He was however, captured and it took a month before he could be moved. This bullet was lodged in his right lung, mere inches from the first wound, and couldn't be removed. He survived, barely, carrying the bullet for the rest of his life. This bullet was recovered during the 1995 exhumation of Jesse James and it was discovered that the bullet was a .36 caliber ball, fired from an 1851 Colt Navy revolver.
Another Bullet Another Fight
Later, in 1876, Jesse was shot in the leg at the botched Northfield bank raid and that bullet was recovered as well from a 1978 archeological dig of his original grave at the James-Samuel homestead. That bullet was determined to be from a .38 Smith & Wesson. His son later claimed Jesse sometimes used a cane. This new info is from Chuck Rabas. Thank you! As incredible as this is, one of Jesse's partners in crime carried 11 bullets in his body and outlived all of his outlaw compadres. That story will be covered in the book.
Here's another dude who loves hats as much as I do.
"How many hats do I have? Probably a few hundred. You're either a hat person or you're not."