It’s not a dream vacation, but I toured the Jesse James Farm near Kearney last week. Roll your eyes if you will, but I’m kind of a nerd sucker for these local historical sites that I have never visited. I think it is a mental disease called “Long Covid.”
I’ll spare you all the typical Jesse James stories that are legend.
Here’s what I learned. I think Jesse James was a pain in the rear for his family. Maybe you knew this, but I did not. Seems the sheriff’s department from Daviess County came down to Kearney to arrest young Jesse after he had allegedly robbed a bank in Gallatin. The lawmen used a “flash” device to rustle him out of the house. Apparently, it worked because Jesse and his brother escaped on horse.
The problem is that the “flash” device cost Jesse’s mom her arm and his stepbrother died from shrapnel. Pictures of his poor old mother without an arm are on display and the look on her face is almost laughable if not so sad. I can almost hear her say, “Damn Jesse, got my arm blown clear off and my boy killed, but he’s just got a wild streak. He’ll grow out of it.”
Makes me think that the relatives sighed deeply and hid the hooch when Jesse showed up at the cousin’s picnic.
Happy Mother’s Day to the good mom’s out there, past and present. Good moms are a special breed. If you’re a bad mom, sad day for you. You probably deserve to be sad.
Special wishes to those one-armed mothers that had an outlaw son, yet persevered.
If poor Jesse James could have lived a little longer, he would not have had to worry about robbing banks. He had 100-acre spread by Kearney. He’d be worth a couple million bucks by now. Some things just don’t work out.
Jesse’s grandchildren and nephew ended up with the farm. They sold tours, before tours were state-sanctioned by Clay County. According to the museum people, you could walk through the house for a quarter and if you tossed in another quarter you could take a piece of Jesse’s tombstone. Capitalism did not escape the James family tree. Have to believe they would be conservatives in the modern cultural divide.
If my heirs can sell pieces of my tombstone for a quarter, I say go for it. I hope I’m not infamous at the time of my death, but if I am, it will probably be a decent income generator. Maybe I’m already infamous. That would be sad, being infamous and not even being able to enjoy it.
Infamous is defined as “having a reputation of the worst kind.” I don’t need your assessment of my status on the “infamous” scale. Let’s allow history to take its natural course, you worry about you!
Again, Happy Mother’s Day, get your mom some flowers and let her get a little tipsy, but don’t let her lose any limbs. That would be bad.
(Guy Speckman can be reached at email@example.com or researching one armed mothers of famous outlaws)