Frank James was the brother who lived. The older brother of Jesse James was born in 1843 in Clay County; Jesse was born two years later. In the decade after the Civil War, the James gang robbed banks and trains, though things went bad for the James-Younger gang in a daylight bank robbery attempt in Northfield, Minn., in 1877. Most in the gang were caught or killed. Jesse was fatally shot in the back by a friend in 1882.
Frank lived another quarter century, and he had many ties to Independence. His wife, Ann Ralston, was from here. He was for a time held in what is now the 1859 Jail on the Independence Square before his acquittal in 1883 when he was tried for murder stemming from a train robbery. He worked a variety of jobs – outside of crime – over the last 30 years of his life. He died at age 72 in 1915, and his ashes were kept in a bank vault until his wife’s death in 1944.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW ... he is buried in a small private cemetery in Hill Park in Independence alongside his wife.
– Jeff Fox