Family Tree Tuesday – Jesse James

Posted April 26, 2011 by Amanda | 13 Comments

Jesse James

Jesse James was an infamous American outlaw of the Wild West. He is portrayed in American folklore as a Robin Hood-like figure, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. During the Civil War, Jesse and his brother Frank fought as Confederate guerrilla soldiers. After the war, they joined up with Cole Younger and his brothers to form the James-Younger Gang. The gang carried out a string of robberies, robbing banks, stagecoaches and trains.

Jesse James was born on September 5, 1847 in Clay County, Missouri. His father, Robert James, was a commercial hemp farmer and a Baptist minister. During the Gold Rush, he traveled to California to minister to the gold prospectors. He died shortly after his arrival. Jesse was only three years old at the time of his father’s death. His mother, Zerelda, would later remarry twice, once to Benjamin Simms and again in 1855 to Dr. Reuben Samuel. She was the daughter of James Cole, a soldier in the American Revolutionary War, and Sarah Lindsay.

In 1874, Jesse married his first cousin Zee, who had nursed him back to health after being badly wounded. They had two children who survived to adulthood, Jesse Jr. and a daughter, Mary. In 1921, both Jesse Jr. and Mary appeared in the film Jesse James Under the Black Flag, which supposedly told the true story of Jesse James.

Check out Jesse James’ family tree and see how you’re related!

Jesse James' Family Tree


Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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