MISC. NOTES ON THE LIVES OF ROBERT SALLEE JAMES AND ZERELDA ELIZABETH COLE:
1.-After her father's death (James Cole), her mother Sally Cole, brother Jesse Richard Cole and Zerelda Elizabeth Cole went to live with her grandfather, Richard Cole in Midway, Kentucky, at his home in the Black Horse Tavern Inn, which had been in the Cole family for many generations. The family remained there until Sally married Robert Thomason in 1838.
2.-St. Catherine's Academy, a girls Catholic school, was located on Limestone Street in Lexington, Kentucky. It consisted of eight rooms, on the ground floor, being the parlor, music room and diningroom, which the girls shared with the Sisters. Upstairs were the dorm rooms and chapel.
3.-Zerelda became a ward of her uncle, James M. Lindsay because she did not choose to go to Missouri with the Thomasons. While attending the Stamping Ground Baptist Church which she had joined in 1839 at the age of fourteen, Zerelda met Robert James of Russellville, a ministerial student at Georgetown College. On 28 December 1841, at the Lindsay home, the twenty-three-year-old college junior and seventeen-year-old bride were married.
4.-Robert had to place a bond of fifty pounds of tobacco, and secure a co-guarantor before the uncle would permit the marriage to take place. After the 1842 college term had ended, they moved to Missouri.
5.-From 1842-1843 Zerelda lived with her mother and step-father, in Missouri.
6.-On 10 June 1843, Frank James was born to the couple, Jesse James was born 5 September 1847. During the early years of their marriage, the couple returned to Georgetown where Robert intermittently continued his education, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1843 and his master's degree in 1847. Before his death in 1850, Robert James had become respected as a minister and as a father of education in Missouri.
7.-The Black Horse Gallery & Studios, at the corner of Old Frankfort Pike and US-62, is a center for art and handmade gifts. More than 90 artists are represented in the seven galleries. The gallery is located in a late 18th-century building that has been a tavern, inn, stagecoach stop and toll-gate house. It is believed to be the oldest log structure in Kentucky. One of its most famous occupants was Zeralda Cole James, the mother of Frank and Jesse James. She was born in the building and lived there with her grandfather who ran a tavern called the Black Horse Inn (606/846-5682).
The college was near Lexington, Kentucky, and his education was partially funded by the Bethel Baptist Church. On 1 May 1839, received his license to preach, by the Union Baptist Church, Logan Couny, Ky, signed by his uncle, Drury Woodson Poor. On 6 Oct 1841, he joined Adelphi Society. The 24th of Dec 1841 he gave a speech, as part of exhibition of sophomore and junior class. In June of 1842 the newlyweds visited the Robert Thomason Farm in Clay county, Missouri. By 1843 Robert returned to Kentucky to further his college activities. On 29 Jun 1843, Robert James received his B. A. Degree in Theology, tied third place honors in the class, though he was living in Missouri at that time. In 1847 he received his Masters Degree from Georgetown College.
9.-OBITUARY #1: 11 Feb 1911, "The Daily Oklahoman."
Mother of James Boys Passes Away; A Prominent Figure
Through All Notoriety She Remained Steadfast True to Sons
Mrs. Zerelda 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 3:00pm, about 20 miles West of Oklahoma City. The body was brought here and immediately prepared for burial, and shipped on the 7:00pm 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 summoned.
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 had 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 1824 and was educated at a convent in Lexington, Kentucky. Her father was a soldier in the revolutionary war and her mother was the daughter of a prominent Kentucky family.
In 1841 Zerelda 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 there, 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 insane in St. Joseph, Missouri and since that time his widow has divided her 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.
10.-OBITUARY #2: 11 Feb 1911, "The Kansas City Star."
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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