Jesse James, Missouri

Travelling through Missouri we see a sign for a Jesse James, Wax Museum.

On the old Route 66 and adjoining the Meramec Caverns, once a hideout for Jesse James.


Jesse James and his brother Frank joined the Civil War in 1861 at a very young age. Whilst serving in the war they basically learnt to kill. They met Bloody Bill Anderson and William Quantrill thus becoming part of the Quantrill Guerillas rogue gang.


Meramac Caverns near Stanton, Missouri was one of Jesse James hideouts, famous now from Route 66 days. The entrance to the caverns able to fit 300 cars and a dance floor! I'm sure that's NOT what Jesse and his gang were doing back then!

Now this little museum is about….well maybe….that Jesse didn't die early on but that he lived to be 103, passing away in 1951. His cook and other gentlemen attested to this around the time of his 102nd birthday. Including a Colonel that he had known during the Civil War and around the time of his supposed 'staging' of his death.

It was said to be proven that the exact 8 markings on Jesse's body were examined and identified in 1951. A Mr Turilli (having written a book and given many public accounts) knew Jesse James for 2 years, otherwise records show he did die in 1882.

Included in the Museum are some gorgeous antique artefacts and wax figures. The antique post office was apparently the most frequently robbed in the state of Missouri.

Jesse's first daylight bank robbery took place on Feb 13, 1866 he had already done plenty prior to this. It was also the first recorded bank robbery in US history. The stolen amount was reported to be in excess of $60,000.

The man using the name J. Frank Dalton (take from those names what you will!) living in Lawton during 1948 and at the age of 100 claimed to actually be Jesse James. There is no actual record of a J. Frank Dalton.

(This picture from Wikipedia and I very briefly read the bio there)

There is a photographic aging picture without any digital change, just morphed, definitely looks like a much older Jesse James that's for sure. Truth? Or Fiction? You be the judge.

Kat xo

P.S. Unfortunately could not take any pics within the museum. The price to enter was a bit much for what it was but very, very interesting to say the least.


St Joseph, Missouri

Heading into Missouri now and for St Joseph where we will be exploring places like The Pony Express Museum, Patee House and Jesse James House.

Skirting the city limits of Kansas City, some old buildings amongst the new skyline, an interesting bridge and a casino taking on the appearance of an old steamboat.

Lots of trees in this part, thick groves of them.

St Joseph is just over an hour away from where we were staying in Overland Park, Kansas – so for those who live close by in the north east quarter of Kansas you could do this as a day trip or a weekend. The St Joseph website even has a couple of guided tours listed and gives you an estimate of time in order for you to plan a short trip.

We got into the older part of St Joseph and found our way to the Visitor Centre/Library in the newer business district. Not open Sundays but self serve on any of the brochure’s and maps required.

Heading back to old town we stopped at the Pony Express Monument. Oh, I’m sorry, you mean you don’t know what the Pony Express was? Well here’s a little bit of info to get you up to speed.

The Pony Express was an idea for getting mail, overland from St Joseph, MIssouri to Sacremento, California. Mail could possibly take weeks to go by sea and now it could go by horse rider and be there in 10 days! Wow, what a breakthrough. Horses were positioned along the route, so the rider could change horses and would have another rider to hand off to if need be.

The first ride of the Pony Express began on April 3, 1860 at 7.15pm. One lonely rider with monchila (mo-chee-la) loaded with mail heading out across, plains, desert and high country to get the mail through. The first Pony Express rider to set out on that day is said to be “Johnny Fry”.

Enjoy a couple of pics here, rest on Facebook and check out the website link below for more about the Museum.


Then it was on to Patee House Museum, used to be a hotel 3 times, a girls college twice and a shirt factory for 80 years prior to being turned into a museum. It is huge, 4 floors of heritage, well 3 they aren’t restoring the top floor and you can see in the stair wells winding up to the other floors – the original staircases, banisters, the timber batons and horse hair plaster detail.

There is so much to see in here it is mind blowing, two and a half hours easily spent there.

Travelling and arriving……

….and going out in style.

Or maybe you just want to take a train?

Or pretend you are still in your childhood riding the unique “Wild Things” carousel. (I’m betting put a kid on the mako shark and they will have nightmares!! I didn’t take a pic of it!)

Patee House was opened by John Patee as a luxurious hotel in 1858 to serve travellers. It is most famously recognised for being the Pony Express Headquarters where Russell, Majors and Waddell had their office starting April 3, 1860. It was also the US Provost marshal’s office and the Union recruiting office during the Civil War era, holding grand balls and court in the ballroom as well.


The Jesse James Home is situated on the neighbouring grounds of Patee House, the home Jesse bought for his wife and children and where he was shot whilst straightening the hanging needlework picture.

The bullet hole in the wall has been covered with glass but before this could be done there were many that would enter the house and chip out toothpick sized pieces of timber both from the wall and from the blood stained floor.

There are some original pieces of furniture from the house still there. An exhibit of the exhumation that took place in 1995 holds pieces from Jesse’s casket – handles, scripted plate/plaque, the broken viewing glass, his tie pin etc.

Well all done and dusted, a full day of museum history, pretty much done what we came to see, so cancelled motel and headed back for Oklahoma.

Good day. Over and out.

Kat xo