On the 3rd of July 1871 Jesse James robbed a bank in Corydon, Iowa and reputedly made off with $45,000. Below are two poems telling a little of the life and death of this infamous outlaw.
Jesse James was a lad who killed many a man.
He robbed the Glendale train.
He stole from the rich and he gave to the poor,
He’d a hand and a heart and a brain.
Jesse had a wife to mourn for his life,
Three children, they were brave,
But that dirty little coward that shot Mister Howard,
Has laid Jesse James in his grave.
It was Robert Ford, that dirty little coward,
I wonder how he does feel,
For he ate of Jesse’s bread and he slept in Jesse’s bed,
Then he laid Jesse James in his grave.
Jesse was a man, a friend to the poor,
He’d never see a man suffer pain,
And with his brother Frank he robbed the Chicago bank,
And stopped the Glendale train.
It was on a Wednesday night, the moon was shining bright,
He stopped the Glendale train,
And the people all did say for many miles away,
It was robbed by Frank and Jesse James.
It was on a Saturday night, Jesse was at home,
Talking to his family brave,
Robert Ford came along like a thief in the night,
And laid Jesse James in his grave.
The people held their breath when they heard of Jesse’s death,
And wondered how he ever came to die,
It was one of the gang called little Robert Ford,
That shot Jesse James on the sly.
Jesse went to his rest with his hand on his breast,
The devil will be upon his knee,
He was born one day in the county of Clay
And he came from a solitary race.
The Assassination of Jesse James
On April 3rd of 1882
Jesse James was eating breakfast and the Fords were eating too
Another robbery in sight, preparing to depart
Jesse James had a gut feeling and felt sorrow in his heart
Getting up from the table and heading for the door
Jesse James went outside to get ready his horse
It was unusually hot that day and not fairly rote
Jesse James went back inside to remove his coat
The Ford brothers followed him back into the house
Jesse James went to his bedroom still as silent as a mouse
He removed his coat and firearms lest he look suspicious at all
Jesse James noticed a picture that was dusty on the wall
Bobby Ford the youngest brother ran his fingers through his hair
Jesse James dusted the picture off while standing on a chair
Bobby Ford went for the pistol that rested on his side
Jesse James saw Bob’s reflection in the corner of his eye
Bobby Ford raised the gun so that it aimed at Jesses head
Jesse James watched him contently and he knew that he was dead
Bobby Ford pulled the trigger knowing his fame was ’bout to start
Jesse James fell to the floor with the last beatings of his heart
The Ford brothers watched as Jesse bled upon the floor
The Assassination of Jesse James: by the Coward Robert Ford
By Glenna Oram