by Rocky Macy
Of all the outlaws and desperadoes who ravaged the countryside during the last century, few received the amount of attention and notoriety that was accorded to Jesse and Frank JAMES. And although much has been written on these brothers, very little of it has dealt with their genealogy.
Author and historian Phillip W. STEELE has provided a great deal of ancestral material on the JAMES boys in his book, Jesse and Frank JAMES: The Family History. The genealogy that follows has been extracted from that work with the kind permission of the author. Please read on...
Alexander Franklin "Frank" JAMES (born 10 Jan 1843, Clay County, MO), Jesse Woodson JAMES (5 Sep 1847), and Susan Lavenia JAMES (25 Nov 1849) were the only children of Robert Sallee JAMES and Zerelda E. COLE. The father, a minister, had been born on 17July 1818 in Logan County, KY to John M. JAMES and Mary "Polly" POOR. Robert Salee JAMES died on 18 Aug 1850 while prospecting for gold in California. His wife, Zerelda, was born 29 Jan 1825 in Woodford County, KY, to James COLE and Sallie LINDSAY. Zerelda died on a train near Oklahoma City, OK, on 10 Feb 1911.
John M. JAMES (above) (born 1775; died 1827) was the son of William JAMES (born 1754, Pembrokeshire, Wales; died 1805) and Mary HINES. William and Mary were married 15 July 1774. Mary "Polly" POOR who married John M. JAMES on 26 Mar 1807, was born in1790 to Robert POOR and Elizabeth MIMMS. Elizabeth MIMMS was born 3 April 1769 to Shadrack MIMMS (born 1734; died 1777) and Elizabeth WOODSON. Robert POOR and Elizabeth MIMMS were married 7 Feb 1789.
James COLE (above) (born 8 Sep 1804) was the son of Richard COLE, Jr. (born 23 April 1763; died 9 July 1839) and Sally YATES. Richard was the son of Richard COLE, Sr., who was born in Pennsylvania in 1729. James COLE's wife, Sallie LINDSAY, was the daughter of Anthony LINDSAY, Jr., and Alsey Alice COLE (born 20 June 1769, died 7 July 1813). Alseey was also a child of Richard COLE Sr., which means that James COLE and his wife, Sallie LINDSAY, were first-cousins.
Alexander Franklin "Frank" JAMES married Anna RALSTON on 6 June 1874. Their only child, Robert Franklin JAMES (1878-1959), died childless leaving the infamous Frank JAMES with no known descendants.
Susan Lavenia JAMES, a strikingly beautiful young woman, married Allen H. PARMER in Clay County, MO, on 24 Nov 1870. Their children were Robert Archie (1872-1883), Flora (BENSON) (1877-1926), Zelma (EDWARDS) (1879-1972), Allen, Jr. (1882-1885), Susan Kate (1885-1903), and Feta (ROSE) (1887-1978).
Jesse Woodson JAMES married his first-cousin, Zerelda Amanda "ZEE" MIMMS on 24 April 1874. Their children included Jesse Edwards JAMES (1875-1951) who went on to become an attorney in Los Angeles, twins Gould and Montgomery who died as infants, and Mary Susan JAMES (1879-1935). Jesse Edwards JAMES and his wife, Stella McGOWAN, had four daughters: Lucille Martha (LEWIS) (1900-1988), Josephine Frances (ROSS), (1902-1964), Jessie Estelle (BAUMEL) (1906-1987), and Ethel Rose (OWENS) (born 1908). Mary Susan JAMES married Henry LaFayette BARR. Their children were Lawrence H. (1902-1984), Forster Ray (1904-1977), Chester A. (1907-1984), and Henrietta (1913-died as an infant).
Zerelda E. COLE JAMES, the mother of Frank, Jesse, and Susan, was married to Benjamin A. SIMMS for a brief period of time after the death of Robert Sallee JAMES. They separated and he was subsequently killed in an accident. She then married Dr. Reuben SAMUEL by whom she had five children. It was Dr. SAMUEL who filled the role of father while the JAMES children were growing up.
The book, Jesse and Frank JAMES: The Family History, contains a great amount of genealogical data of the SAMUEL family and other lines related to the JAMESes. And it is well supplemented with photos and stories about Frank and Jesse. Copies are available from the author, Phillip W. STEELE (P.O. Box 191, Springdale, AR 72765) for the postage-paid price of only $6.85. (I bought my copy at a bookstore for $7.99 - and it was well worth that!)
Until next week...happy hunting!