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Profile of the Day: Jesse James

On this day in 1847, American outlaw Jesse James was born. The leader of the infamous James-Younger Gang, James is remembered to day as one of the most iconic figures of the American Old West.

Profile of the Day: Jesse James

Image: Jesse James / Library of Congress

James was born on September 5, 1847 in Clay County, Missouri to Robert James, a Baptist minister, and Zerelda Elizabeth Cole. When he was young, his father left the family to journey west to preach in the gold mining camps in California and died shortly after his arrival. During the Civil War, James and his brother, Frank, joined a band of Confederate guerrillas, also known as bushwhackers.

After the war, the brothers formed the infamous James-Younger Gang with Cole Younger and his brothers. The notorious gang committed a series of bank and train robberies, which were romanticized in dime novels. The novels helped to create a Robin Hood-like image of James. Although the image is considered to be a myth, James has remained an iconic figure in American folklore.

Explore Jesse James’ family tree to discover how you’re connected to the American outlaw.

View Jesse James’ Geni Profile


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