Reverend Robert James, Father of Jesse and Frank: His Signed Copy of an 1844 Printing of John Bunyan's Classic Pilgrim's Progress. Signed in pencil on the inside front cover. Robert Sallee James (1818-1850) enjoyed a checkered career in his relatively short life. He was a well-known revivalist, as well as a commercial hemp farmer who at the time of his death owned six slaves. In 1849 he was among the founders of William Jewell College at Liberty, Missouri. In 1850 James left his family to go to California to prospect for gold and preach to the miners. However, shortly after his arrival he contracted cholera in the mining camp known as "Hangtown" (later Placerville) and died on August 8, 1850.

    Robert James married Zerelda Cole on December 28, 1841, and fathered four children, among them Alexander Franklin (Frank) and Jesse James. Artifacts from Rev. James and the earliest days of Jesse and Frank's lives are rare indeed, and this volume descended through the family.

    It is not in the best condition: the cloth cover is heavily aged and the spine is missing. However, but for a little light water staining in the first part of the book, the interior is in very good shape. The large, clear signature, "Rev. Robert James", is a bit light, but complete and clearly readable. Further down at the middle of the page he again signed it "Rev. R. James Book."

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