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    Dr. Rueben Samuel: A Rare Early CDV Photo and an Important Letter by Jesse and Frank's Stepfather, Referencing Frank and Zerelda. Samuel writes in 1903 to his daughter Sarah (Sallie) Louisa Samuel Nicholson (1858-1915). Sarah was the first child of Rueben and Zerelda Samuel, and half-sister if Jesse and Frank James.

    The letter is written from St. Joseph to Sallie in Kearny, and is mostly of a personal nature, saying how he wishes he could be there, asking how the crops are there, etc. Dr. Samuel had never fully recovered mentally from oxygen deprivation when he was famously strung up by Union militiamen at the James farm in 1863, and by this time he had been committed to a home for the insane in St. Joseph.

    As Samuel brings his letter to a close, he writes of a visit he received from Joe Hall, and says he was glad to see Joe. He asks Sallie to "Tell your ma (Zerelda) why she can't (i.e. why can't she) come up with you and spend the day also. And if she doesn't want to shake hands with me she doesn't have to." Apparently relations between Samuel and his wife were strained after his commitment to the institution in St. Joseph.

    Probably in part because of Dr. Samuel's hanging ordeal, he was always loved by Jesse and Frank. He closes his letter by noting that "Frank James come one day when the wards (?) were called to come in so I bid farewell to him." While Dr. Samuel would live another five years, dying in 1908 at age 80, he seems that he felt his life was near an end, and that he would never see Frank again.

    The letter is in strong pencil, with a fine, clear "Dr. Rueben Samuel" signature. 5" x 8". Minor roughness along one edge where the sheet was torn from a notebook.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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