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Excelsior Springs, James Farm
Excelsior Springs, James Farm
TitleExcelsior Springs, James Farm
DescriptionPostcard of James Farm at Excelsior Springs, MO
Historical ArticleThe old post card made in color in 1910 was made from a picture taken in the 1800s and shows the tombstone on the Jesse James grave, almost out of sight at the extreme left of the card.

Mrs. Zerelda Samuel, Jesse's mother (in the black dress, seated) had been badgered by reporters after Jesse's murder in St. Joseph and burial on the James farm. Because she had confidence in the Gilmer family of Missouri City and Liberty (from the time her husband had bought the farm from Grandfather Gilmer), she wrote a letter to the young Irving Gilmer who was with the St. Louis Republic newspaper and asked him to visit her for an exclusive picture and interview. She promised to tell him things never told before.

Young Irving came in a jaunty hat, brought the photographer and made the picture. (In 1888 Gilmer purchased the Liberty Tribune and his son, Robert, worked for the Tribune 25 years.)

From left to right in the picture: Gilmer, the young reporter; Dr. Samuel, stepfather of Jesse James; Perry, a young negro slave born on the James farm, who stayed on and took the surname Samuel at the end of the Civil War; Mrs. Samuel; an unidentified woman in white apron and at the extreme right an elderly Negro man believed to be the father of Perry Samuel.

The white frame wing of the house as pictured was sold for cash by Mrs. Samuel to officials of the 1903 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, as an exhibit to be erected on the fairgrounds. The building was torn down, but never taken to the railroad for shipment.

Mrs. Samuel used her money from the sale to build two new rooms on the house. Eventually the wing intended for the fair was rebuilt in the south part of Excelsior Springs with part of Bob Ford's home and used as a tourist attraction. The venture was not overly successful and soon closed.

Kansas City Times
September 8, 1978

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectExcelsior Springs, Missouri
James, Jesse
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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