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    Frank James Autograph Letter Signed "Ben." Two pages, 8" x 12", n. p. [envelope postmarked from Gallatin, Missouri], September 30, 1883. Just one month since his highly publicized murder trial ended and he had been acquitted of all charges, Frank James, elder brother to the notorious outlaw Jesse James, was still in jail in Gallatin, Missouri. Disgusted with the residents of the town, he wrote this letter to his wife. Curiously, he was still signing his letters with his alias, Ben Woodson.

    "There is nothing new more than Paddy has left this detestable town and God knows I would love to say farewell to it. There is not a meaner set of people...on the face of the globe. There was many of them who before the trial appeared friendly. Why? because they feared if they showed their true colors we would take a change of venue. There is only a bout [sic] a doz in this town that are realy [sic] our friends. I wish you would see Mr. [John M.] Glover and ask him how long are they willing to let me remain in jail..." John Glover was one of James' defense attorneys during the trial. He adds that he has also received "...a letter from Mr. [Christopher T.] Garner yesterday and he is anxious to see me out of prison. He thinks the State will dismiss the cases here and then I will be taken to K.C. or Independence and there give bond. I don't believe they will do any thing of the kind so long as my Attys make no effort to get me out." Col. Christopher Trigg Garner, another of Frank's defense attorneys, was a Richmond lawyer who had remained loyal to the Union during the war, organizing citizens against raids by Confederate guerillas.

    Between jail in Gallatin and jail in Kansas City or Independence, Frank says: "I would much rather remain here...as to go to prison with Langhorn as keeper." Langhorn was marshal in Kansas City and was at Gallatin overseeing Dick Liddil, a former member of the James-Younger Gang and primary witness for the prosecution who was testifying against James. He continues: "He [Langhorn] I think would put up a job to have the Fords [Bob and Charley Ford, killers of Jesse James] or Liddil [Dick Liddil] kill me if I was in his charge."

    Due to Liddil's testimony during the murder trial, Frank was implicated in a holdup of a paymaster in Alabama in March 1881. After leaving Gallatin he was transferred to the Huntsville jail in Alabama to await his next trial. It began in April, lasted ten days, and, again, Frank was acquitted of all charges. With original transmittal envelope. Folds with light ink bleed-through.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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