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Are you SURE that your Bill Ryan rode with Jesse James?
Posted by: Julie Ganis (ID *****5724) Date: December 13, 2003 at 22:11:06
In Reply to: Re: Jessee James and Bill Ryan,1870 s by Christine Giles of 6226

Are you SURE that your Bill Ryan rode with Jesse James? I am doing research on James Gang member Bill Ryan strictly for historical reasons. I'm not related.

I find some discrepancies with your information which I'm trying to sort out. I will identify the two men below as "William Ryan" (your ancestor) and "Bill Ryan" (Gang Member).

First, Bill Ryan was known as "That damned Irishman..." (from Horan, Desperate Men). William Ryan was born in Kentucky or TN.

Bill Ryan had a brother named Ed Ryan. I can't find where William Ryan had a brother named Ed.

Bill Ryan was supposedly living as an outlaw in Nashville about 1880-1881. William Ryan was listed as a farm laborer in Page Co, Iowa in 1880. His children were all born in the 1870's in IL. Bill Ryan was with the James Gang in MO in the 1870's.
1880 Census, Shenandoah, Page, Iowa p. 383D
W. M. RYAN Self M Male W 34 KY F. Laborer father b.TN, mother b. PA
S. C. RYAN Wife M Female W 29 KY Keeping House
Alice RYAN Dau S Female W 8 IL
Albert RYAN Son S Male W 7 IL
W. M. RYAN Son S Male W 5 IL
Nettie RYAN Dau S Female W 2 IL

Here are some facts on Bill Ryan:
-A fearless braggart, heavy drinker.
-Aft. Sep 7, 1876, Joined the gang after Northfield
-Oct 8, 1879, Recruited Tucker Bassham for the Glendale Robbery
-Sep 3, 1880, Credited as a member at the Mammoth Cave Robbery by Dick Liddle
-Mar 11, 1881, Credited as a member at the Muscle Shoals Robbery by Dick Liddle
-Mar 25, 1881, Arrested in Nashville for the Glendale, Mo. Train Robbery
-Oct 15, 1881, Tried for Glendale train robbery, convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison October 15, 1881 based on testimony of Tucker Bassham.
-Oct 16, 1881, Began serving sentence in prison at Jefferson City, MO
-Apr 15, 1889, Released from prison
-Aft. Apr 15, 1889, Returned to area of Independence, MO, and stayed with an uncle, John McCloskey.
-Had a brother named Ed Ryan.
-Lived in Jackson County, Missouri

Trial of Frank James:
William Earthman was recalled, and testified: At Nashville Frank James wore whiskers long all over his face, the whiskers being a little darker than his hair. I arrested Bill Ryan, not because he was drunk and carried a pistol, but because he said he was a robber and an outlaw
against the State and country.

Rumor of his death:
After some heavy drinking, he borrowed a friend's horse and rode off along the road to Blue Springs, which runs through some woods. The horse returned home without the rider. Ryan found later with his head smashed. It is not known if it was an accident.

I am not trying to discredit your family history, just trying to get the facts straight! Any help would be appreciated!

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