Jesse and Frank James in Paso Robles?

The men of the hour in Missouri in the 1860's and 70's were the infamous James brothers. Branded folk heroes by their neigh- bors, the James gang left a bloody trail throughout the Midwest and South. After robbing a bank in Kentucky, they supposedly sailed from the east coast to San Francisco. Then it was on to La Panza southeast of Paso Robles to lay low at their Uncle Drury James' ranch.  Here is the story as told by Bill Dellard.


Jesse and Frank worked as cowhands for their Uncle Drury, and Jesse also visited the mud baths in Paso Robles to assuage his many bullet wound. While staying in the Paso Robles area the James brothers were law-abiding cowhands and did nothing to discredit their Uncle Drury.

As pointed out by the late Paso Robles historian Angus MacLean in his book The Ghosts of Frank and Jesse James, Drury James held, ". . . a highly respected and influential place in the community." He would not have tolerated illegal activities by his two outlaw nephews.

An interesting story about these times was related by Charles D. Morehouse, Jr., a cowboy on the La Panza Ranch back in the 1860's and 70's. (His nephew, Elmer Morehouse, became Paso Robles Police Chief and was Pioneer Day Marshal in 1991.) In a letter to his sister-in-law "May" Heaton, Charley Morehouse told of a young cowhand named "Scotty" who worked on the La Panza Ranch in 1868-69. "Scotty" was a loner and wasn't very sociable with the other cowhands. Also, he wasn't very good at roping cattle, but he was an excellent shot with a six-gun. On the trail he could pick off rabbits with his six-gun while riding along. He even traded his almost new rawhide lariat for an older one of Charley's as he ". . . didn't have much use for it."

Several years later, after "Scotty" had left the La Panza, Charley saw a picture of Jesse James in a book and exclaimed, ". . . that was the man who had given me that new lariat!"

-from the Pioneer Pages 1996 edition


Whether the story is true or not, Mr. James made an impression
wherever he went. Unfortunately, people tend to have an undue
fascination with criminals, even after they die. Here's a picture of
the outlaw the day after his soul went to await judgment.

jesjame2.jpg (17712 bytes)


"And as it it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the
judgment . . . " Hebrews 9:27

"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21

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