James, Jesse – Trunk Provenance

The Personal Trunk of Jesse Woodson James, American Outlaw

When Jesse James was assassinated by Bob Ford on April 3, 1882 his wife Zerelda notified three of Jesse’s cousins, brothers Joel Rufus & William N. “Babe” Hudspeth and their half brother Joseph Lamartine Hudspeth to come from their home in Lake City, Missouri to St. Joseph to help Zerelda with identification of Jesse’s body and the funeral. They immediately left home in a wagon and drove to St. Joseph, identified Jesse’s body and assisted with the funeral. After the funeral Zerelda told the cousins that they should come by the house, that she had Jesse’s trunk hid in the attic and that Jesse would have wanted them to have it. They went to the house with Zerelda where she gave them this trunk with contents. They immediately left for their homes in Lake City and upon arriving looked inside and found among other unknown items a Colt Model 1860 percussion Army revolver, belt & holster rig that belonged to Jesse James (p4A item # D9737835)

Rufus kept the trunk while Babe took possession of the Colt, belt & holster rig. A picture from about 1886, sold with the Colt revolver, shows Babe wearing the exact belt which is identifiable in the picture. Both items have been passed down in the Hudspeth families to their current owners who are direct descendants. The above information is attested to by a notarized affidavit from consignor of Turners, Missouri, a copy of which accompanies this lot. Joel Rufus Hudspeth was consignor’s great great-grandfather. All of the above information is also detailed extensively in the revolver lot.

This is an historic item that, beyond any reasonable doubt, when combined with the information in the revolver lot can lead to only one conclusion that this is truly Jesse James’ personal trunk.

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