Zerelda Elizabeth James

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Zerelda Elizabeth James (Cole)

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Midway, Woodford, Kentucky, USA
Death: Died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, OK, USA
Cause of death: HEART DISEASE
Immediate Family:

Daughter of James Cole and Sarah Sallie Cole
Wife of Rev. Robert Sallee James; Benjamin Simms and Dr. Reuben Samuel
Mother of Frank James; Frank James; Joseph "Joe" F. Vaughn (claimed to be Frank James); Robert R. James, Jr.; Jesse James, American outlaw and 6 others
Sister of NN Mimms / Younger and John Younger Cole

Managed by: Michael Legh Waddell
Last Updated:

About Zerelda Elizabeth James

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zerelda_James http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Simms

Daily Oklahoman, The

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

February 11, 1911, page 1

Zerelda Elizabeth (Cole) James Simms Samuel

1825- 1911

was the mother of Frank James and Jesse James

Jesse James's mother Zerelda Samuel. Note the missing arm which was amputated at the elbow after the raid on the James Farm in January 1875.

Zerelda died in 1911 in the Burlington carriage on a train traveling to San Francisco,California, when 20 miles outside of Oklahoma City of a heart aliment which had been affecting her for some time. She was 86 years old and was buried next to Rueben Samuel (not Samuels) her third husband and sons Jesse and Archie at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Clay County, Missouri.

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Daily Oklahoman, The

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

February 11, 1911, page 1

Mother of James Boys Passes Away

Mrs. Zerelda Samuel Dies on Frisco Train Near Oklahoma City.

A Prominent Figure

Mrs. Zedrelda Samuel, 86 years old, mother of Jesse and Frank James, died friday afternoon on a Frisco train while enroute to Oklahoma City after a visit with her son, Frank, at his home near Fletcher, Oklahoma. Mrs. Frank James, was with Mrs. Samuel at the time of her death. Mrs. Samuel died at three o'clock, about twenty miles west of Oklahoma City. The body was brought here, and immediately prepared for burial, and shipped on the seven o'clock train for Kansas City.

Mrs. Samuel and her daughter-in-law were going to Kansas City to visit Jesse James, Jr. a grandson. They were in the sleeping car, when Mrs. Samuel became suddenly ill and died before medical aid could be given.

She was born in Kentucky and for several years has been living with her son, John Samuel, a half-brother of Jesse and Frank James, in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. She is survived by Frank James, a son, of Fletcher, Oklahoma; Jesse James, Jr., a grandson of Kansas City; John Samuel, a son of Excelsior Springs, Missouri; Mrs. Sallie Nicholson, a daughter of Kearney, Missouri and Mrs. Fannie Hall a daughter of Kearney, Missouri.

Mrs. Samuel has been visiting her son Frank at his home near Fletcher, Oklahoma, for the last two months.

Mrs. Zerelda Samuel was one of the prominent figures of this section of the country during the latter part of the Civil War. As mother of the James boys, she later acquired, notoriety, but through it all she remained true to her sons.

Mrs. Samuel was born in Kentucky in 1821 and was educated at a convent in Lexington, Jy. Her father was a soldier in the revolutionary war and her mother was the daughter of a prominent Kentucky family.

In 1841 Zelrelda Cole was married to the Rev. Robert James, a Baptist minister and a short time later they moved to Clay county, Missouri.

The Rev. Mr. James went to California during the gold rush, and soon after arriving theree died. In 1855 his widow was married to Dr. Reuben Samuel and until the opening of the civil war they continued to live on the James farm. During the war, what was known as the "home guard" visited the home and their treatment of Dr. Samuel later caused him to become insane. A visit from detectives of a private agency caused the loss of one of Mrs. Samuel's arms when the men in their anxiety to capture Jesse James threw a bomb into the house.

Later on the late Mrs. Samuel took advantage of the fame of the old homestead and charged each visitor 25 cents to visit the home. From this she received a comfortable income.

Three years ago her second husband died in a state hospital for the insame at St. Joseph, Mo., and since that time his widow has divided hedre time between the homestead and the farm of her son, Frank, in Oklahoma.

During the civil war Mrs. Samuel won admiration by her bravery. She was nearly six feet tall and of powerful build.

Will of Zerelda Cole James Samuel

Page 1.

In the name of God_Amen.

I, Zerelda Samuel, of the County of Clay in the State of Missouri , being in good bodily health and of a disposing mind and memory and being desirous of settling my worldly affairs whilst I have strength and capacity to do so. Therefore, do make, publish, and declare this to be my last will and testament herein expressly revoking and making null and void all last will and testaments by me at any time heretofore made: And first, and principally, I commend my soul to God, who gave it, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Savior, to be made Partaker Of life everlasting: My body I commit to the earth to be buried by my Executor, hereinafter named , in the Baptist Cemetery at Kearney, in Said County of Clay, between my two dead sons, Archibald Peyton Samuel and Jesse W. James in such decent manner as shall befit my condition and circumstances in life: And as to all of the worldly estate, real, person, and mixed, and wheresoever situate, whereof I shall be the owner at the time of my death, I dispose thereof in manner and forms the following, to wit: -

First: It is my will that all of my just debts, funeral expenses, and the costs and charges of the execution of this last will and testament be paid by my Executor as soon as practicable after my death.

Second: I have heretofore given to my daughter Sarah Louisa Nicholson what I regard as a full, adequate, and liberal share of my property: I therefore give and bequeath to said Sarah Louisa Nicholson, in and by this last will and testament, the sum of one dollar_and no more_and I direct my Executor to pay said Sarah Louisa Nicholson said sum of one dollar in full of all gifts, bequests, and devises to her from me.

Third: I have heretofore given to my grand-daughter

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Mary S. Barr, and done for her that which is a full and adequate expression of my bounty to her and of my love and affection for her_wherefore, I give and bequeath to said Mary S. Barr, in and by this will and testament, the sum of one dollar_and no more_and I direct my Executor to pay said Mary S. Barr said sum of one dollar in full of all gifts, bequests, and devises to her from me.

Fourth: I give and bequeath all of the rest, residue, and remainder of my person estate, absolutely, to my son, Alexander F. James, usually known as Frank James.

Fifth: I have during all the years that my husband Dr. Reuben Samuel has been a patient in the insane asylum at St Joseph, Missouri, at my own costs and charges, maintained and provided for him therein and this is as ample and faithful a manner as my circumstances permitted and inasmuch as, if he survives me, he will be tenant By the curtesy of the real estate that I shall own at the time of my death it is not necessary that I should_ nor do I hereby_make for him in this last will and testament specific or other provision, or make him any bequest or devise.

Sixth: I give and bequeath to my grandson Jesse E. James_son of my dead son, Jesse W. James_the sum of seven hundred dollars ($700) and I charge him the payment of said sum, so given and bequeathed to said Jesse E. James, on the following described real estate belonging to me, (Subject to the tenancy by the curtesy therein of my said husband, and if he survives me) situate in said County of Clay and thus described, to_wit: A part of the North-West quarter of Section No. 19 in Township No.53 of Range No.30, and a part of the East half of the North-East quarter of Section No. 24 in Township No. 53 of Range No. 31, containing in the aggregate 40 acres_and the whole bounded as follows: to_wit: Beginning at a point on the South line of said North West quarter of said Section No. 19 which is 6 and 86/100 chains East from East from the South_West corner of said quarter section, _said point of beginning to South-East corner of J. B. Crook’s two acres on March 2, 1902,_Thence running East to a point which is distant 80 poles from said South-West corner of said quarter section, thence running North 31 ½ degrees West 68 poles from to a point thence running North 14 degrees West 12 poles to a point, thence running North 34 degrees East 18 poles to a spring, thence running North 33 degrees West 43 & 4/100 poles to a point, thence running South 59 & 24/100 poles to a point, thence running East 11 & 8/100 poles to a point thence running East 54 links to a point, thence running South 12 & 4/100 chains to the North West corner of said J. B. Crook’s two acres on March 29th 1902 thence running East 6 & 32/100 chains to North East corner of said J. B. Crook’s two acres on March 29th 1902, and thence running South three & 16/100 chains to the point of beginning. And at said real estate, containing forty acres, subject to said claim in the sum of Seven hundred Dollars ($700) and subject to the tenancy by the curtesy of said husband also, if he survive me, I give and devise to my said son, Alexander F. James, and I direct him to pay said sum, so charged or said real estate within six months after my death to said Jesse E. James.

Seventh: I give and bequeath, also, so my said grandson, Jesse E. James, the further sum of three Hundred Dollars ($300) and I charge the payment of said sum so bequeathed and given to said Jesse E. James on all of the rest, residue, and remainder of

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my real estate, situate in Said County of Clay containing about 36 acres: and the said rest, residue, and remainder of my real estate situate in said County of Clay, containing about 36 acres, subject to said charge in the sum of three hundred dollars, and subject also to the tenancy of to by the curtesy thein of my said husband if he survive me. I give and devise to my son John T. Samuel and my daughter Fannie Q. Hall, equally share and share alike: And I direct said John T. Samuel and Fannie Q. Hall to pay said sum, so charged on the rest, residual, and remainder of my real estate to said Jesse E. James within six months after my death.

Eighth: I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my son, Alexander F. James, Executor of this, my last will and testament, and expressly request that he be not required to give any bond as such Executor.

In testimony whereof, I, Zerelda Samuel, the said testatrix, have to this my last will and testament set my hand and affixed my seal on this the 17th day of October 1907.

s/Z Samuel (SEAL)

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said testatrix Zerelda Sameul as and for her last will and testament, in the presence of us and of each of us, who, at her request, and in her presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereto set our hand as witnesses thereunto this 17th day of October 1907.

Signed Frank Crowley

George Riley

[KANSAS CITY STAR, FEB 11, 1911.]

They sat on the veranda of the queer little rambling James homestead near Excelsior Springs one summer's day a year ago, Mrs. Zerelda Samuels and a visitor. He was a young man--the visitor--one who had been lured over the hills from the pleasure resort by the stories of this mother of bandits and by a curiosity to see the woman. He had seen the sign at the gate; he had paid his twenty-five cents to hear the stereotyped story of the happenings in the life of the James Boys, and after it was over, he had lingered to chat just a little while longer, to talk of some of the things that were not included with the admission price. Usually Mrs. Samuels didn't "take to" visitors. She declared that this one had had "good raisin'" and that he was filled with "the true blood of the South." That with Mrs. Zerelda Samuels was the strongest possible declaration of friendship, and it was that, perhaps, that gave the visitor the courage to ask somewhat personal questions. "Mrs. Samuels," he said, "why do you do it?" "Do what?", came in the strong voice of the woman who sat in the big wicker rocker. "Why run a sort of summer amusement park--and sell your heartaches. That's all it is--you're simply making a living from your heartaches." "And haven't I a right to?" the mother of the bandits asked. "Haven't I had enough trouble to dull me to them? Indeed I have. But I haven't let them crush me--they've just dried up my tears, that's all. "You see, mine has been a mighty hard life. This country was young and wild when Mr. James and I came out here when we were first married. The country looks a bit wild around here yet. It was a whole lot worse when we first came. But we worked hard. And we fought Indians once or twice. We lived in that old log cabin you can see just around the corner of the new house. That's where Jesse James was born. "Well, things went along all right for awhile. Then Mr. James began to think of the West and gold. I didn't want him to go; I didn't want him to leave me all alone out here in the wilderness with the boys. They were small then. Jesse, I believe, was just about 5 years old. But Mr. James would go. "I remember just as well--just as well if it were yesterday. Mr. James and I came out to the porch and he kissed me goodbye. Then he started out to the stile to mount his horse. As he walked down the yard little Jesse come out of the house and ran after him. He caught his dad just as they reached the stile, and clinging to him, he cried and begged of him not to go. I was crying too, I guess. "Finally it was all over, and Jesse and I stood on the porch, watching my husband as far as we could see him, when little Jesse turned to me, 'Mammy,' he said, 'Mammy, I just know wa'rn ever going to see pappy again.' "I tried to be brave. A year went by. Then came the news that my husband had died of fever on the plains without medical aid, without me near him--he had been dead two months when I got the letter. "That's one tragedy, isn't it? But that wasn't all that came to me. After I married Doctor Samuels and our little boy, Archie, was born, the war came. Soldiers ransacked our place and stole our food. Then one night a hand grenade was thrown through the window. It killed Archie. It tore off this arm--and no doctor was near. "The night it happened I sat up all night, with a cord tied around the place where the grenade had torn off my arm, grieving for my little boy and waiting while the boys sought a doctor. It was forty-eight hours before he came, forty-eight hours of suffering. Is it any wonder sometimes that my voice gets hard? "There was more to the war. The Union men thought Doctor Samuels knew something. They came to the house one night and told him that they wanted to see him. Then they took him down in the orchard and after a while I heard him pleading. Then there came silence. "I hurried down to the orchard. The soldiers--they called themselves that--had hanged my husband. I hurried for a knife. I cut the rope, dragged him to the house and revived him. But he was never fully recovered. There had been too much torture that night for him. His mind gave way. They took him to an asylum, and there he died. "The boys had grown up. They were in the war just like anybody else would have been who saw the right of things. And because they fought and fought hard, the detectives after the war began to blame things on them. That's why they hounded them and said they were bandits and robbers. My boys never did a wrong thing in their lives. Why, they even had Jesse charged with stealing a man's watch down South, when he proved absolutely that he didn't take it. And Frank--well, they let Frank go just because he beat everything they tried to trump up on him. "Then they killed my boy Jesse, the best boy that ever loved a mother. I remember the night he got killed up there in St. Joe. I thought of everything that night, and there was more hate in me than ever could be expressed. I had been able to bear the other things. I didn't know whether or not I could bear this--but I did." There came a defiant smile to Mrs. Samuel's face as she left the porch and led the way around the house to what had been a grave under a great tree. "He's not here anymore," she said, "we had his body taken up to the cemetery at Kearney. But I still keep this little place green and pretty with flowers, and I sit out here under the tree lots of times, hour after hour trying to fool myself into thinking that Jesse's just sleeping there and that I'm staying around to be near him when he wakes." The body of Mrs. Zerelda Samuels, who died yesterday on a train twenty miles from Oklahoma City, passed through Kansas City on the way to Kearney, Mo., this morning, accompanied by a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Frank James, who was making the trip with her at the time of her death. "Although mother had been in ill health for some time, her death came quite without warning," Mrs. James said when she stopped at the Union Depot early this morning. "She had been in the best of spirits for several days before we started, very happy at the thought of seeing her old home again. She died at 3 o' clock yesterday afternoon. Very suddenly. I think the immediate cause was heart disease." Mrs. Frank James was joined here by Jesse James, Jr., John Samuels of Excelsior Springs, a son of Mrs. Samuels, and Joseph Hall, a son-in-law, at whose home in Kearney the funeral will be. The arrangements had not yet been finished this morning, but the funeral probably will be tomorrow afternoon, if the relatives arrive in time. Frank James is expected to reach Kansas City tonight. Burial will be at Kearney Cemetery. -------------------- Zerelda Elizabeth Cole James Simms Samuel (January 29, 1825 – February 10, 1911) was the mother of Frank James and Jesse James.

Born as Zerelda Elizabeth Cole in Woodford County, Kentucky her parents were James and Sarah Lindsay Cole; she had one younger brother, Jesse Richard Cole. One year younger than she, her brother committed suicide in 1895 for undisclosed reasons.

When Zerelda was a small child, her father broke his neck in a riding accident leaving her mother with two small children; they were taken in by her paternal grandfather who owned a saloon. Later her mother re-married (to a farmer surnamed Thompson). Zerelda, by all accounts, did not get along with her new stepfather so she went to live with some of her mother's relatives in Kentucky where she attended a Catholic girls school.


First marriage

At the age of 16 Zerelda Cole married Robert Sallee James on December 28, 1841, at the home of her uncle, James Madison Lindsay, in Stamping Ground, Kentucky. A college friend of Robert's officiated as the best man and tobacco was given in bond. The two moved to the vicinity of Centerville (later Kearney, Missouri).

Robert James was a commercial hemp farmer, a slave owner, and a popular evangelical minister in the Baptist Church. Zerelda bore him four children.

Alexander Franklin James (b. January 10, 1843 - d. February 18, 1915)

Robert B. James (b. July 19, 1845 – d. August 21, 1845)

Jesse Woodson James (b. September 5, 1847 - d. April 3, 1882)

Susan Lavenia James (b. November 25, 1849 - d. March 3, 1889)

Shortly after the birth of his daughter, Susan, Robert James moved to California to preach to the gold miners, where he contracted either pneumonia, cholera or typhoid, and died on (according to tradition) August 18, 1850. His grave has never been officially identified and no marker exists for him today. There is a much disputed story that in later years Jesse went looking for the grave of his father.

Second marriage

Benjamin Simms (born circa 1830 – d. January 2, 1854) was a wealthy farmer who married widow Zerelda James on September 30, 1852. The marriage proved to be an unhappy one, largely because of Simms' dislike of Frank James and Jesse James, to whom he was reportedly cruel.[citation needed] Zerelda left Simms, who died on January 2, 1854, when he was thrown by his horse.

Third marriage

Zerelda married a third time, to Dr. Reuben Samuel (b. January 1829 – d. March 1, 1908), on September 25, 1855. Samuel has been described as "a quiet, passive man, was widely described as standing in the shadow of his outspoken, forceful wife". Dr. Reuben Samuel and Zerelda Samuel had four children:

Sarah Louisa Samuel (b. April 7, 1858 - d. July 14, 1921)

John Thomas Samuel (b. December 25, 1861 - d. March 15, 1934)

Fanny Quantrill Samuel (b. October 18, 1863 - d. May 3, 1922)

Archie Peyton Samuel (b. July 26, 1866 - d. January 26, 1875)

There has been some dispute as to the spelling of the surname "Samuel". Sometimes it is spelled "Samuels". However, the spelling "Samuel" is attested by birth records, family gravestones, and neighbour Homer Croy.

With all the press circulating of the famous James brothers of Missouri, the hysteria of the Frank James trial and all the dime novels of which the family did not approve, it was inevitable that people would turn up at the farm wanting to see the place where the infamous Jesse James had grown up.

Zerelda charged a dollar for the tour, and the visitors were taken on a tour of the farmhouse including a vivid account of the Pinkerton Raid in January from which the fireplace still bears the burn marks.

The tour culminated at the grave of Jesse, who was originally buried in the front yard under Zerelda’s watchful eye. Zerelda was tormented by the thought that someone would come and take him so she had him buried an extra few feet down than the standard six, for an extra few coins visitors were allowed to scoop up the “authentic” pebbles from the grave. Unbeknownst to them, Zerelda had replenished from the stream where the boys used to play and had probably only been sitting there since that morning.

Zerelda died in 1911 in the Burlington carriage on a train traveling to San Francisco, California of a heart ailment (some 20 miles outside of Oklahoma City). She was 86 years old and was buried next to Rueben Samuel (not Samuels) her third husband and sons Jesse and Archie at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Clay County, Missouri. The actress Ann Doran portrayed Zerelda in the ABC television series The Legend of Jesse James (1965-1966). Christopher Jones and Allen Case played Jesse and Frank James, respectively.

Timeline

1825 Birth on January 29

1850 Death of Robert Sallee James, her first husband

1854 Death of Benjamin Simms, her second husband

1875 Death of son Archie Samuel

1882 Death of son Jesse James

1900 US Census in Washington, Missouri

1908 Death of Reuben Samuel, her third husband

1911 Death in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on February 10

1915 Death of son Frank James

References

Settle, William A., Jr.: Jesse James Was His Name, or, Fact and Fiction Concerning the Careers of the Notorious James Brothers of Missouri, University of Nebraska Press, 1977

Yeatman, Ted P.: Frank and Jesse James: The Story Behind the Legend, Cumberland House, 2001

Stiles, T.J.: Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War, Alfred A. Knopf, 2002

Obituary from the Washington Post; February 11, 1911

Jesse and Frank James: The Family History by Phillip Steele

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Daily Oklahoman, The

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

February 11, 1911, page 1

Zerelda Elizabeth (Cole) James Simms Samuel

1825- 1911

was the mother of Frank James and Jesse James

Jesse James's mother Zerelda Samuel. Note the missing arm which was amputated at the elbow after the raid on the James Farm in January 1875.

Zerelda died in 1911 in the Burlington carriage on a train traveling to San Francisco,California, when 20 miles outside of Oklahoma City of a heart aliment which had been affecting her for some time. She was 86 years old and was buried next to Rueben Samuel (not Samuels) her third husband and sons Jesse and Archie at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Clay County, Missouri.

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Daily Oklahoman, The

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

February 11, 1911, page 1

Mother of James Boys Passes Away

Mrs. Zerelda Samuel Dies on Frisco Train Near Oklahoma City.

A Prominent Figure

Mrs. Zedrelda Samuel, 86 years old, mother of Jesse and Frank James, died friday afternoon on a Frisco train while enroute to Oklahoma City after a visit with her son, Frank, at his home near Fletcher, Oklahoma. Mrs. Frank James, was with Mrs. Samuel at the time of her death. Mrs. Samuel died at three o'clock, about twenty miles west of Oklahoma City. The body was brought here, and immediately prepared for burial, and shipped on the seven o'clock train for Kansas City.

Mrs. Samuel and her daughter-in-law were going to Kansas City to visit Jesse James, Jr. a grandson. They were in the sleeping car, when Mrs. Samuel became suddenly ill and died before medical aid could be given.

She was born in Kentucky and for several years has been living with her son, John Samuel, a half-brother of Jesse and Frank James, in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. She is survived by Frank James, a son, of Fletcher, Oklahoma; Jesse James, Jr., a grandson of Kansas City; John Samuel, a son of Excelsior Springs, Missouri; Mrs. Sallie Nicholson, a daughter of Kearney, Missouri and Mrs. Fannie Hall a daughter of Kearney, Missouri.

Mrs. Samuel has been visiting her son Frank at his home near Fletcher, Oklahoma, for the last two months.

Mrs. Zerelda Samuel was one of the prominent figures of this section of the country during the latter part of the Civil War. As mother of the James boys, she later acquired, notoriety, but through it all she remained true to her sons.

Mrs. Samuel was born in Kentucky in 1821 and was educated at a convent in Lexington, Jy. Her father was a soldier in the revolutionary war and her mother was the daughter of a prominent Kentucky family.

In 1841 Zelrelda Cole was married to the Rev. Robert James, a Baptist minister and a short time later they moved to Clay county, Missouri.

The Rev. Mr. James went to California during the gold rush, and soon after arriving theree died. In 1855 his widow was married to Dr. Reuben Samuel and until the opening of the civil war they continued to live on the James farm. During the war, what was known as the "home guard" visited the home and their treatment of Dr. Samuel later caused him to become insane. A visit from detectives of a private agency caused the loss of one of Mrs. Samuel's arms when the men in their anxiety to capture Jesse James threw a bomb into the house.

Later on the late Mrs. Samuel took advantage of the fame of the old homestead and charged each visitor 25 cents to visit the home. From this she received a comfortable income.

Three years ago her second husband died in a state hospital for the insame at St. Joseph, Mo., and since that time his widow has divided hedre time between the homestead and the farm of her son, Frank, in Oklahoma.

During the civil war Mrs. Samuel won admiration by her bravery. She was nearly six feet tall and of powerful build.

Will of Zerelda Cole James Samuel

Page 1.

In the name of God_Amen.

I, Zerelda Samuel, of the County of Clay in the State of Missouri , being in good bodily health and of a disposing mind and memory and being desirous of settling my worldly affairs whilst I have strength and capacity to do so. Therefore, do make, publish, and declare this to be my last will and testament herein expressly revoking and making null and void all last will and testaments by me at any time heretofore made: And first, and principally, I commend my soul to God, who gave it, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Savior, to be made Partaker Of life everlasting: My body I commit to the earth to be buried by my Executor, hereinafter named , in the Baptist Cemetery at Kearney, in Said County of Clay, between my two dead sons, Archibald Peyton Samuel and Jesse W. James in such decent manner as shall befit my condition and circumstances in life: And as to all of the worldly estate, real, person, and mixed, and wheresoever situate, whereof I shall be the owner at the time of my death, I dispose thereof in manner and forms the following, to wit: -

First: It is my will that all of my just debts, funeral expenses, and the costs and charges of the execution of this last will and testament be paid by my Executor as soon as practicable after my death.

Second: I have heretofore given to my daughter Sarah Louisa Nicholson what I regard as a full, adequate, and liberal share of my property: I therefore give and bequeath to said Sarah Louisa Nicholson, in and by this last will and testament, the sum of one dollar_and no more_and I direct my Executor to pay said Sarah Louisa Nicholson said sum of one dollar in full of all gifts, bequests, and devises to her from me.

Third: I have heretofore given to my grand-daughter

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Mary S. Barr, and done for her that which is a full and adequate expression of my bounty to her and of my love and affection for her_wherefore, I give and bequeath to said Mary S. Barr, in and by this will and testament, the sum of one dollar_and no more_and I direct my Executor to pay said Mary S. Barr said sum of one dollar in full of all gifts, bequests, and devises to her from me.

Fourth: I give and bequeath all of the rest, residue, and remainder of my person estate, absolutely, to my son, Alexander F. James, usually known as Frank James.

Fifth: I have during all the years that my husband Dr. Reuben Samuel has been a patient in the insane asylum at St Joseph, Missouri, at my own costs and charges, maintained and provided for him therein and this is as ample and faithful a manner as my circumstances permitted and inasmuch as, if he survives me, he will be tenant By the curtesy of the real estate that I shall own at the time of my death it is not necessary that I should_ nor do I hereby_make for him in this last will and testament specific or other provision, or make him any bequest or devise.

Sixth: I give and bequeath to my grandson Jesse E. James_son of my dead son, Jesse W. James_the sum of seven hundred dollars ($700) and I charge him the payment of said sum, so given and bequeathed to said Jesse E. James, on the following described real estate belonging to me, (Subject to the tenancy by the curtesy therein of my said husband, and if he survives me) situate in said County of Clay and thus described, to_wit: A part of the North-West quarter of Section No. 19 in Township No.53 of Range No.30, and a part of the East half of the North-East quarter of Section No. 24 in Township No. 53 of Range No. 31, containing in the aggregate 40 acres_and the whole bounded as follows: to_wit: Beginning at a point on the South line of said North West quarter of said Section No. 19 which is 6 and 86/100 chains East from East from the South_West corner of said quarter section, _said point of beginning to South-East corner of J. B. Crook’s two acres on March 2, 1902,_Thence running East to a point which is distant 80 poles from said South-West corner of said quarter section, thence running North 31 ½ degrees West 68 poles from to a point thence running North 14 degrees West 12 poles to a point, thence running North 34 degrees East 18 poles to a spring, thence running North 33 degrees West 43 & 4/100 poles to a point, thence running South 59 & 24/100 poles to a point, thence running East 11 & 8/100 poles to a point thence running East 54 links to a point, thence running South 12 & 4/100 chains to the North West corner of said J. B. Crook’s two acres on March 29th 1902 thence running East 6 & 32/100 chains to North East corner of said J. B. Crook’s two acres on March 29th 1902, and thence running South three & 16/100 chains to the point of beginning. And at said real estate, containing forty acres, subject to said claim in the sum of Seven hundred Dollars ($700) and subject to the tenancy by the curtesy of said husband also, if he survive me, I give and devise to my said son, Alexander F. James, and I direct him to pay said sum, so charged or said real estate within six months after my death to said Jesse E. James.

Seventh: I give and bequeath, also, so my said grandson, Jesse E. James, the further sum of three Hundred Dollars ($300) and I charge the payment of said sum so bequeathed and given to said Jesse E. James on all of the rest, residue, and remainder of

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my real estate, situate in Said County of Clay containing about 36 acres: and the said rest, residue, and remainder of my real estate situate in said County of Clay, containing about 36 acres, subject to said charge in the sum of three hundred dollars, and subject also to the tenancy of to by the curtesy thein of my said husband if he survive me. I give and devise to my son John T. Samuel and my daughter Fannie Q. Hall, equally share and share alike: And I direct said John T. Samuel and Fannie Q. Hall to pay said sum, so charged on the rest, residual, and remainder of my real estate to said Jesse E. James within six months after my death.

Eighth: I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my son, Alexander F. James, Executor of this, my last will and testament, and expressly request that he be not required to give any bond as such Executor.

In testimony whereof, I, Zerelda Samuel, the said testatrix, have to this my last will and testament set my hand and affixed my seal on this the 17th day of October 1907.

s/Z Samuel (SEAL)

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said testatrix Zerelda Sameul as and for her last will and testament, in the presence of us and of each of us, who, at her request, and in her presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereto set our hand as witnesses thereunto this 17th day of October 1907.

Signed Frank Crowley

George Riley

[KANSAS CITY STAR, FEB 11, 1911.]

They sat on the veranda of the queer little rambling James homestead near Excelsior Springs one summer's day a year ago, Mrs. Zerelda Samuels and a visitor. He was a young man--the visitor--one who had been lured over the hills from the pleasure resort by the stories of this mother of bandits and by a curiosity to see the woman. He had seen the sign at the gate; he had paid his twenty-five cents to hear the stereotyped story of the happenings in the life of the James Boys, and after it was over, he had lingered to chat just a little while longer, to talk of some of the things that were not included with the admission price. Usually Mrs. Samuels didn't "take to" visitors. She declared that this one had had "good raisin'" and that he was filled with "the true blood of the South." That with Mrs. Zerelda Samuels was the strongest possible declaration of friendship, and it was that, perhaps, that gave the visitor the courage to ask somewhat personal questions. "Mrs. Samuels," he said, "why do you do it?" "Do what?", came in the strong voice of the woman who sat in the big wicker rocker. "Why run a sort of summer amusement park--and sell your heartaches. That's all it is--you're simply making a living from your heartaches." "And haven't I a right to?" the mother of the bandits asked. "Haven't I had enough trouble to dull me to them? Indeed I have. But I haven't let them crush me--they've just dried up my tears, that's all. "You see, mine has been a mighty hard life. This country was young and wild when Mr. James and I came out here when we were first married. The country looks a bit wild around here yet. It was a whole lot worse when we first came. But we worked hard. And we fought Indians once or twice. We lived in that old log cabin you can see just around the corner of the new house. That's where Jesse James was born. "Well, things went along all right for awhile. Then Mr. James began to think of the West and gold. I didn't want him to go; I didn't want him to leave me all alone out here in the wilderness with the boys. They were small then. Jesse, I believe, was just about 5 years old. But Mr. James would go. "I remember just as well--just as well if it were yesterday. Mr. James and I came out to the porch and he kissed me goodbye. Then he started out to the stile to mount his horse. As he walked down the yard little Jesse come out of the house and ran after him. He caught his dad just as they reached the stile, and clinging to him, he cried and begged of him not to go. I was crying too, I guess. "Finally it was all over, and Jesse and I stood on the porch, watching my husband as far as we could see him, when little Jesse turned to me, 'Mammy,' he said, 'Mammy, I just know wa'rn ever going to see pappy again.' "I tried to be brave. A year went by. Then came the news that my husband had died of fever on the plains without medical aid, without me near him--he had been dead two months when I got the letter. "That's one tragedy, isn't it? But that wasn't all that came to me. After I married Doctor Samuels and our little boy, Archie, was born, the war came. Soldiers ransacked our place and stole our food. Then one night a hand grenade was thrown through the window. It killed Archie. It tore off this arm--and no doctor was near. "The night it happened I sat up all night, with a cord tied around the place where the grenade had torn off my arm, grieving for my little boy and waiting while the boys sought a doctor. It was forty-eight hours before he came, forty-eight hours of suffering. Is it any wonder sometimes that my voice gets hard? "There was more to the war. The Union men thought Doctor Samuels knew something. They came to the house one night and told him that they wanted to see him. Then they took him down in the orchard and after a while I heard him pleading. Then there came silence. "I hurried down to the orchard. The soldiers--they called themselves that--had hanged my husband. I hurried for a knife. I cut the rope, dragged him to the house and revived him. But he was never fully recovered. There had been too much torture that night for him. His mind gave way. They took him to an asylum, and there he died. "The boys had grown up. They were in the war just like anybody else would have been who saw the right of things. And because they fought and fought hard, the detectives after the war began to blame things on them. That's why they hounded them and said they were bandits and robbers. My boys never did a wrong thing in their lives. Why, they even had Jesse charged with stealing a man's watch down South, when he proved absolutely that he didn't take it. And Frank--well, they let Frank go just because he beat everything they tried to trump up on him. "Then they killed my boy Jesse, the best boy that ever loved a mother. I remember the night he got killed up there in St. Joe. I thought of everything that night, and there was more hate in me than ever could be expressed. I had been able to bear the other things. I didn't know whether or not I could bear this--but I did." There came a defiant smile to Mrs. Samuel's face as she left the porch and led the way around the house to what had been a grave under a great tree. "He's not here anymore," she said, "we had his body taken up to the cemetery at Kearney. But I still keep this little place green and pretty with flowers, and I sit out here under the tree lots of times, hour after hour trying to fool myself into thinking that Jesse's just sleeping there and that I'm staying around to be near him when he wakes." The body of Mrs. Zerelda Samuels, who died yesterday on a train twenty miles from Oklahoma City, passed through Kansas City on the way to Kearney, Mo., this morning, accompanied by a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Frank James, who was making the trip with her at the time of her death. "Although mother had been in ill health for some time, her death came quite without warning," Mrs. James said when she stopped at the Union Depot early this morning. "She had been in the best of spirits for several days before we started, very happy at the thought of seeing her old home again. She died at 3 o' clock yesterday afternoon. Very suddenly. I think the immediate cause was heart disease." Mrs. Frank James was joined here by Jesse James, Jr., John Samuels of Excelsior Springs, a son of Mrs. Samuels, and Joseph Hall, a son-in-law, at whose home in Kearney the funeral will be. The arrangements had not yet been finished this morning, but the funeral probably will be tomorrow afternoon, if the relatives arrive in time. Frank James is expected to reach Kansas City tonight. Burial will be at Kearney Cemetery.

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Zerelda Elizabeth James's Timeline

1825
January 29, 1825
Midway, Woodford, Kentucky, USA
1841
December 28, 1841
Age 16
Scott, KY, USA
1843
January 10, 1843
Age 17
Clay County, Missouri, United States
January 10, 1843
Age 17
Kearney, Clay County, MO, United States
1844
July 1844
Age 19
MO, United States
1845
July 19, 1845
Age 20
Clay County, MO, United States
1847
September 5, 1847
Age 22
Kearney, Clay, Missouri, USA
1849
November 25, 1849
Age 24
Clay, Missouri, United States
1850
1850
Age 24
1853
September 30, 1853
Age 28
Clay, Missouri, USA