Lot 275: Outlaw and older brother of Jesse James (1843–1915) who at times went by the alias 'Ben J. Woodson.' Scarce ALS signed with his alias "Ben," one page, lightly-lined, 5 x 8, July 13, 1883. Letter to his wife, in full: "I just this moment received your letter as I have also one from Allen which explains itself. Write them as I have just done. May God watch over and protect you and our dear little boy are my earnest prayers. I will write Monday again." In fine condition, with a rough right edge. In September of 1882—five months after his brother Jesse was gunned down by fellow gang member Robert Ford—James surrendered to Missouri governor Thomas Crittenden in Jefferson City, tired of running and hoping to avoid the same gruesome fate. James was put on trial in Galatin, Missouri on July 20, 1883, for participating in two murders during a train robbery, and was defended by a devoted former cavalry colonel John F. Philips, who successfully had the case acquitted in September of 1883. James was then charged and acquitted again in Alabama, and finally told that he would not be extradited to any other state if he kept a low profile. James willingly complied, spending his remaining 30 years in various jobs including a shoe salesman, theater ticket taker, and farmer, a far cry from his time as one of the West's most notorious outlaws. A wonderful and tender letter written from his jail cell only a week before the start of the trial.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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