Jesse James Bollinger County Missouri

plate 1. Military Trail (Opossum Creek Road, County Road 502), rural Bollinger County, Missouri.

Jesse James Spotted in Bollinger County, February 1, 1874

by Clint E. Lacy

John Reilly spotted Jesse and Frank James camping “at the foot of the hill just beyond ‘Uncle’ David Lutes’ residence about one-and-one-half mile west of Lutesville [Bollinger County, Missouri].” It was the night after the James Gang’s first train robbery. The holdup occurred near Gad’s Hill, Wayne County, Missouri, on January 31, 1874.

Reilly’s story was printed in the Marble Hill Press newspaper on July 9, 1891.

Not long ago, my good friend Scotty Hooe and I discussed the possible locations of that James Gang campsite as it was possible the occurrence took place on Scotty’s Lucky Valley Ranch.

Jesse James Bollinger County Missouri

plate 2. Scotty Hooe.

The ranch is approximately one-and-one-half miles west of old Lutesville and there is an old well there. The well would have made an ideal camp. Scotty began researching property abstracts and found the land once belonged to David Lutes.

We pored over the abstracts carefully and what I found next led me to believe Scotty’s land was indeed the James Gang’s 1874 camp location.

The land’s history is fascinating.

Jesse James Bollinger County Missouri

plate 3. The capped-off well on Scotty Hooe’s Lucky Valley Ranch (the site of the old Lutes’ farm).

It is a parcel with a boundary line of the north bank of Opossum Creek. Jacob Lutes’ name appears on the abstracts, dated April 10, 1849 (on a document signed by President Zachary Taylor and Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing).

Ewing’s signature is ironic.

Jacob Lutes was a rider in the Bollinger County Light Horse Cavalry. He was a Confederate. Secretary of the Interior Ewing was father of General Thomas Ewing Jr., the infamous Union general who authored Order #11 — the order displacing thousands of Missourians in an attempt to route Confederate sympathizers.

General Ewing also commanded Fort Davidson in nearby Pilot Knob, Missouri, when Confederate General Price attacked in 1864.

Jesse James Bollinger County Missouri

plate 4. Confederate Church (Methodist Episcopal Church South) was a safe haven for Confederates during and after the war.

Did Jacob Lutes’ Confederate ties play a role in Frank and Jesse James’ decision to choose the Lutes’ land as a campsite? The nearby Methodist Episcopal Church South was a known safe haven for Confederate soldiers. The apparent coincidences are stirring.

My friend Scotty Hooe’s personal ties to the Confederacy are stirring as well.

Jesse James Bollinger County Missouri

plate 5. Church yard where congregation members likely had picnics in more peaceful times.

Scotty is related to General Robert E. Lee. Virginia Hooe-Mason married Wilmer McLean in 1854. McClean was a cousin to Lee. Civil War history buffs might recognize the man’s home: the Mclean House in the village of Appomattox Court House where, on April 9, 1865, the surrender of the Confederacy took place.

Of course, here in Missouri the war did not truly end until 1882 when Jesse James was betrayed and shot by Bob Ford.

February 10, 2016.

Jesse James: State of the Ozarks

ALL PHOTOS courtesy of Clint E. Lacy

dogwood petal Clint Lacy

Author Clint Lacy

(Marble Hill, MO) Clint Lacy is a life-long Missouri resident. He was born and raised in the southeast Missouri Ozarks (originally in the lowlands of Stoddard County). He has resided in the Ozark Foothills of Bollinger County for the past 15 years.

Lacy's work has appeared in THE BARNES REVIEW history magazine and numerous independently owned newspapers and websites. He is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Clint Lacy

Lacy lives with wife Lindsey and son Jordan along with their three dogs and four cats. He is author of Blood in the Ozarks: Union War Crimes Against Southern Sympathizers and Civilians in Occupied Missouri.

February 10, 2016

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