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American outlaw Frank James writes to his wife, Anna, from prison

American outlaw Frank James writes to his wife, Anna, from prison

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Discusses plans for the future, their relationship, his case, and the mugging of his friend. Expects "When I come I am going to have my way for the same length of time that you have had yours, that will be will be five years, Dont say a damed word, You should be willings to live up to the "Golden rule" If you dont write me word that I can do as I please I am going to take a bee line for "Salt Lake" when I get out." Discusses an incident that happened to his friend. "I had a letter from Marth and she tell me she and Buck was going out calling the other evening and a big black negro caught her around the waist and snatched her pocket off her arm and made away with all her valuables...if that had been Mage and she had that little pistol Mr negro would of got a leaden missile in his back side when he went off. Inquires after his children, "How is Mage getting on at School? And whats my little precious man doing every day? Does he ever talk about his old father? I would like for him to learn his book a little but so he can read to me when I get old and blind...I tell you when a poor fellow is locked up and his wife is sailing around it keeps him right uneasy...But I must try and not think about it, for I don't want to loose my mind, I hope to live to do some good in this world, if only to raise boys, I want just about six...when I get old, it would do our old hearts good to see in our old age six or seven fine manly looking men and with pride we could point and say, "All those are ours" Dont you think so? I am not simply talking to hear myself talk or to tease you but I am in dead hard earnest and mean it all and if do not agree with me I may not be as faithful in the future as I have been in the past. Tell me when you write all that is going on and for heaven sake dont forget your poor old hen picked husband. Signed "Ben," for his alias Ben Chapman.
Discusses plans for the future, their relationship, his case, and the mugging of his friend. Expects "When I come I am going to have my way for the same length of time that you have had yours, that will be will be five years, Dont say a damed word, You should be willings to live up to the "Golden rule" If you dont write me word that I can do as I please I am going to take a bee line for "Salt Lake" when I get out." Discusses an incident that happened to his friend. "I had a letter from Marth and she tell me she and Buck was going out calling the other evening and a big black negro caught her around the waist and snatched her pocket off her arm and made away with all her valuables...if that had been Mage and she had that little pistol Mr negro would of got a leaden missile in his back side when he went off. Inquires after his children, "How is Mage getting on at School? And whats my little precious man doing every day? Does he ever talk about his old father? I would like for him to learn his book a little but so he can read to me when I get old and blind...I tell you when a poor fellow is locked up and his wife is sailing around it keeps him right uneasy...But I must try and not think about it, for I don't want to loose my mind, I hope to live to do some good in this world, if only to raise boys, I want just about six...when I get old, it would do our old hearts good to see in our old age six or seven fine manly looking men and with pride we could point and say, "All those are ours" Dont you think so? I am not simply talking to hear myself talk or to tease you but I am in dead hard earnest and mean it all and if do not agree with me I may not be as faithful in the future as I have been in the past. Tell me when you write all that is going on and for heaven sake dont forget your poor old hen picked husband. Signed "Ben," for his alias Ben Chapman.

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09/22/2010

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Frank James to Anna Ralston James
Gallatin, Missouri, 4 October 1883.Autograph letter signed, 7 pages + envelope.[
draft 
]Oct. 4
th
1883My Dear Little Wife,I am still on [time]. Don’t you think I am a dandy? “Arnt” you glad your old“hubby” think he has the best and truest “little woman” in America. Who will but want your lovehe when he comes to you. I [
inserted 
:
 
am] not going to have any foolishness Either. When Icome I am going to have my way for the same length [
inserted 
: of] time that you have had yours,that will be five years. Don’t say a damnd word. You should be willing to live up to the “goldenrule” If you don’t write me word that I can do as I please I am going to take a bee line for “SaltLake” when I get out I have give you fair warning [
2
] so you can consider the matter. I had aletter from Marth and she tell me she and Beck was going out calling the other evening and a big black negro caught her around the waist [and] snatched her pocket off her arm and made waywith all her valuables. “Lord God” she says but I was scared and it was enough I guess. if thathad been Mage and she had that little pistol Mr Negro would of got a leaden missile in his back side when he went off. Ask her if [
inserted 
: he] wouldn’t? What would you of done Ma under those circumstances? What Mrs. H said Mina Perry liked to done I expect. The weather has been quite cool for some time I have had fire for some time. I had a letter from Allen [
3
] (2)yesterday and he told me he gave Col Philips $100.
00
for me when he was here. Kind of himwasnt it though. He also wrote me that he had heard John Kritzer had raised $700.00 for me andhe had wrote him to send it to you If that proves true it will be a great help. Allin also told methat he saw the man who use to get up so early and jingle the glasses. You know, he also told methat he was just ready to start with 3000 head of cattle for the Cimarone river which in 200 mfrom Wichata and that he could not possibly get back before the first of Nov and told me I musthave the case continued for he was satisfied that when he came [
4
] he could bring all parties Soyou can inform Col Philips if you see him and if they will only get me out I can [purpose] allthings to a Queens tart Say nothing to no one of what I have told you about the Expect money
The Gilder Lehrman Collection
GLC08991

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