Jesse James: Famous Outlaw and Gambler

Jesse James is famous. After serving in the Civil War, he began a life of crime and soon became one of the Midwest’s most sought criminals. To exact revenge on the Unionists he fought against during the conflict, he plundered banks, attacked railroads, and murdered scores of individuals. This notorious outlaw’s secret passion was wagering. Early in life, he fell in love with card games, and he would continue to enjoy wagering throughout his entire existence.

Please continue perusing this biography to learn more about the life of Jesse James. You will learn more about his boyhood, his passion for wagering, his time in the military, and his criminal career. We are certain you will learn something you did not previously know.

Early Years

Jesse James was born on September 5, 1847 in Kearney, Missouri. Alexander Franklin was his elder sibling, while Susan Lavenia was his junior sister.
His father was a prosperous farmer, and his family was extremely wealthy. They owned more than 100 acres of land, which was a significant amount at the time. His father actually used some of the family’s funds to establish the still-thriving William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri.

God’s relationship was much more essential to his father than money, which is why he eventually became a minister. Following in the footsteps of his father, James attended church on a weekly basis and frequently volunteered to assist with church events. He even contemplated accompanying his father on a missionary journey to California to minister to the gold miners there. It’s fortunate that he didn’t go, as his father never returned. The death of James’ father from the bacterial disease known as cholera devastated the family and caused James to abandon his faith.

After the loss of his father, James also sought solace in the wagering hall. He would spend his evenings at the local gambling establishment, where he would observe people play various card games while drinking their body weight in alcohol. Despite being too young to wager at the time, he learned how to play card games such as poker and blackjack. Eventually, he taught his brother and sister how to play so that he would have an opponent. He found solace in these card games, which helped him cope with the loss of his father.

The Transition to a Criminal Lifestyle

During the Civil War, Jesse James and his family supported the Confederacy because they wanted to continue using slaves to operate their farm. In 1863, Union soldiers attempting to gather intelligence on Confederate guerilla bands attacked their property. Even though they threatened to murder James and his family if they did not provide information, the soldiers departed without injuring anyone. This experience inspired James and his brother to join the military.

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