Sunday, July 02, 2023

Jesse's Dark Turn

July 2, 2023

   One of the stranger developments in the Jesse James story is how he came home from the Civil War, seriously wounded, not once but twice, in the same lung, and, after a long and painful recuperation he settled down on the family farm north of Centerville, soon to be replaced by the new township of Kearney.

Jesse's Dark Turn

  He joined the local Baptist church and a parishioner, Dr. W. H. Price, remembered him: "Jesse joined the Baptist church in this place, after he came out of the army, in 1866. I think he was baptized, and for a year or two acted as if he was a sincere and true Christian. In his early years, and after he came out of the army, he was quiet, affable, and gentle in his actions. He was liked by every one who knew him."

Daily Whip Out: "Jesse's Dark Turn"

   In September of 1869, he resigned from the church. Was he bored? Was he nursing a deeper wound? Or, was it something else? It's hard to say, but at least he was forthright and honest enough about what he and his brother were about to do. Who else would formally resign from their church to go commit a terrible deed? It's not entirely clear what was going on his his head, but it appeared to have something to do with revenging the death of his commander, William T. Anderson. It was a very dark and tragic turn. One that offered no return, at least for Jesse. 

"It ain't no murder, killing beasts like that."

—H.G. Wells

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