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Jesse James Birthplace

Location Information

Date: 14 March 2023     Type: Museum

Location Title: Jesse James Birthplace

City/State: Kearney, Missouri

Investigation Times: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Status: Analysis


Weather Information

Sunrise: 6:47 AM   Sunset: 6:13 PM

High Temperature: 43 °F   Low Temperature: 31 °F

Sky Condition: Overcast/Drizzle  Wind: N at 7 mph

Humidity: 50%   Precipitation: 1%

Lunar Phase: Waxing Gibbous  % disk visible: 90%

Solar X-Rays: Normal   Geomagnetic Field: Storm

Pressure: 29.98 mmHg  

Investigators Present

Becky Ray

Julie Klos-Burch

Christina Quentin

Edward Quentin



The James log cabin farmhouse, built-in 1822, has witnessed many generations of James family history. It was to this isolated cabin that the Reverend Robert James brought his young wife Zerelda and infant son Frank in 1845. This is where Jesse was born in 1847, and years later, Union soldiers seeking the whereabouts of Frank James beat Jesse and tortured his stepfather Dr. Reuben Samuel by repeatedly hanging him from a tree in the front yard.

In 1875, a Pinkerton bomb killed their half-brother Archie and severed Zerelda's right arm. Zerelda began giving tours of the birthplace after her son, Jesse, died. Frank continued the tradition charging 50 cents for tours. His son, Robert, also gave tours, and after he passed, Jesse's grandsons kept the house open to the public until it was sold to Clay County in 1978.

In 1978, Clay County purchased the farmhouse and 40-acre site from Jesse's grandsons. By the following summer, tourists were passing through the boyhood home of Frank and Jesse James. Today the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The legend continues today from the friendly and knowledgeable staff. The Jesse James Birthplace has welcomed visitors worldwide who come to "Live the Legend and Learn the History" of the two most famous American outlaws – Frank and Jesse.

Investigator's Notes

Becky, Lead Investigator: 

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