Collected by Merlin Mitchell
Transcribed by Mary C. Parler
Mrs. Opal Donahue
December 10, 1950
Reel 85, Item 4
Living in Missouri was a bold, bad man,
Known from Seattle to Birmingham,
From Boston, Massachusetts, clear across the States,
From Denver, Colorado, to the Golden Gate.
People will forget a lot of famous names,
But every nook and corner knows of Jesse James,
We used to read about him in our homes at night,
And if the wind blew down the chimney we would shake with fright.
Jesse said one morning, "Boys, some coins we need;"
He polished up his apple, got his trusty steed,
They encamped over to his brother Frank's,
Gotta have some money from the Pittsfield Bank.
When he reached town next morning, it was one o'clock,
The cashier at the bank received an awful shock,
For Jesse had him covered with his forty-four,
His pals took out a half-a-million bonds or more.
Jesse was in his cabin one day all alone,
His wife had left him there for to straighten up the home,
Scrabbling in the kitchen when the door-bell ring,
In stepped forty members of the outlaw gang.
A phonograph of Jesse's wife was on the wall,
Ford he says, "Tonight, boys, we'll make our haul,
At ten o'clock, the Western Mail it comes through town."
He reached to get his rifle, knocked the picture down.
Jesse said, "I'll put the picture back up there."
He tuck up the picture, stood upon a chair,
Ford he tuck aim at Jesse's head;
The news around the country, "Jesse James was dead."
Next morning upon his tombstone these lines did read:
"If you want to be a bandit, live a single man;
For Jesse never'd o' lost his life,
If it hadn't been for the picture of his darling wife.
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