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    [Frank James]. John Newman Edwards Autograph Letter Signed "J. N. Edwards." Two pages, 6" x 9.5", Sedalia [Missouri], June 22, 1882. Writing to his friend, the outlaw Frank James, Edwards discusses Frank's proposed surrender to Thomas T. Crittenden, governor of Missouri. Two and a half months earlier, Frank's brother, Jesse James, was shot in the back of the head by Bob Ford. Frank, not wanting to suffer a similar fate, decided to surrender to authorities.

    Edwards, acting as a mediator between Frank and the authorities in Missouri, writes that he has spoken to Annie, Frank's wife, and has laid out the state's terms for surrender, which he found "inadmissible." "They were, in substance, as follows: You were to surrender, to submit to banishment, and to give a full and perfect history of everything. In other words, to turn State's evidence. This your wife indignantly refused..." Neither party would budge and seemed to have reached an impasse. Finally, the state relented: "...now the proposition is that you shall have an interview with Gov. Crittenden, face to face. He will permit you to have a friend with you, and an officer must be along for him. Harrison Trow wants to be that officer. His is in the secret service already. He is your friend. Bill Gregg vouches for him." Like Frank James, Captain Harrison Trow (1843-1925) served in the Missouri State Guard in the early years of the war before joining up with William Quantrill and his partisan rangers. It was Trow that identified the body of Jesse after he was murdered. Captain William "Bill" Gregg (1838-1916) was an original member of William Quantrill's Confederate guerillas and severed with them until the winter of 1863-64. He enlisted in the Confederate army, serving as a captain under General Joe Shelby. After the war, he returned to Missouri and served as deputy sheriff of Jackson County. Both Edwards and Annie agree that Frank should accept the governor's offer "...as soon as possible."

    The only question is whether Frank will accept the state's deal. "Now, here is where you must choose for yourself," writes Edwards. "Write, and let me know immediately. The sooner we close with the matter now the better, while they are in the humor. I am satisfied that if you and the Governor can meet face to face, you can fix up matters perfectly...you must consider the whole subject, and tell me just what to do."

    Frank James surrendered to the authorities on October 5, 1882. He was put in jail in Independence, Missouri, where he resided for three weeks. He was then transferred to Gallatin where he was to stand trial for murder during a July 1881 robbery of a Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railroad train in Winston, Missouri, in which a passenger and conductor were killed. The trial began in August 1883 and lasted sixteen days. In the end, he was acquitted of the charges.

    Folds are weak and separating at the edges and the intersections, with some loss of paper and text. Areas of ink smudging. Small stain on front page, near the right edge.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
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