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Jim Heady

I have often been puzzled by my family's view of the James brothers. They lived in Phelps co. near Rolla Mo. My grandfather was born in 1866 and this folk lore was passed down in our family for over 100 years. My G Ggrandfather ThomasHeddy(Civil War record Headdy) was a blacksmith. He was born in 1840 in Ill but moved to Crawford co. Mo when just one year old. He was in the Union Army and served in the Mo 9th and 10th volunteer calvary> His father Jacob served in the 3rd Mo vol. calvary. His borhter Elisha and three Overlease uncles were in the 9th and 10th calvalry................It seems that the James brotherwere considered with idol status. Supposedly when going through Phelps co. they stopped at my g grandfather's blacksmith shop and had their horses shod. While Thomas was doing the ferrier's work my grandfather held the horse. In many ways the war was still being fought in my youth and the puzzle is why did former Union soldiers hold the James brothers in such a high regard with his Confederate past? In the 1940's there was a trial at Union, Franklin county Mo. with a man claiming to be Jesse James. This man was claiming to be alive which would have made him 99-100 yrs of age. Franklin county is where the Meramec Caverns are located. The verdict was this man was an imposter. During the Trial the St.Louis newspapers were full of front page stories. My great aunt Della was living with us at the time so there were many stories told and much debate. The Headys held a very favorable view of the James brother. But my Parker family in Maries county(north of Phelps) and Texas county 9south of Phelps had a totally different view. My g g grand father Cornlious Parker was bushwacked in Texas co. and his brother John Wesley was bushwacked in Maries co. Their farms were a mere 30 miles apart. Both murders took place in 1863. There was a man indicted for Cornelious's murder but nothing was ever done about John Wesley. Even after the war their was a strong Confederate loyalty and some of the elected officers refused to take the loyalty oath. In one family I had the tow camps of opinion about the James brothers. After all these years understanding the injustices to the James family committed by the Union Army makes me understand why he took the path he did. I might have done likewise. We all know there are no winners in war. Jim Heady

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