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Jesse James tombstone in Granbury.
Jesse James tombstone in Granbury.

103-Year-Old Jesse James' Grave

Field review by the editors.

Granbury, Texas

Let's just accept the premise that the outlaw Jesse James was not killed in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1882. Instead, he died of natural causes in 1951 only three weeks shy of his 104th birthday.

Where did Jesse live out his peaceable last months? In Granbury, Texas, as J. Frank Dalton. His headstone in the Granbury Cemetery, formerly a nondescript slab inscribed with the Dalton name, was later replaced by a nicer headstone with the James name. It's inscribed, "CSA - Jesse Woodson James. Sept. 5, 1847-Aug. 15, 1951. Supposedly killed in 1882." A small Confederate flag is etched above the inscription. Meanwhile, the grave of the "real" Jesse James back in Kearney, Missouri, is supposedly occupied by a man named Charlie Bigelow, who was killed so Jesse could start over with a clean slate.

As we entered the cemetery, a man with odd teeth was leaving -- until he saw us. Then he followed us back to the grave to tell us that, "They dug up the wrong man. He's not buried where this stone is. The real body's back up that way, near my Dad." He was referring to a DNA test performed in 2000, which showed that the remains of J. Frank Dalton were in fact not Jesse James. Folks in Granbury insist that the testers dug up the wrong bones!

Also see: Outlaw Relocation Program | Jesse James Didn't Die!

103-Year-Old Jesse James' Grave

Granbury Cemetery

N. Crockett St., Granbury, TX
Granbury Cemetery, N. Crockett and Moore Sts.
Gates open daily 6am-10pm (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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In the region:
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