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Video: See the Bullet Hole! Tour

Jesse James Home

St. Joseph, Missouri

The house where Jesse James was gunned down has been moved a number of times (and Jesse's remains don't get much rest either, far as we can tell). The structure was shunted over to the highway outside of town as a convenience to travelers, then made its way back into town in the 1970s. There it stands today, behind the Patee House Museum.

Museum director and local history expert Gary Chilcote gave us the nickel tour -- some choice bits excerpted here. The background music is taken from a merry player piano in the Pattee House Museum...[2:00]

Video Transcript

See the Bullet Hole! Tour (2007)

[Music: player piano]

Gary Chilcote: This is the house where Jesse James was shot and killed. Originally it was on a block up the street at 1318 Lafayette. He lived there 100 days, moved in on Christmas Eve, and killed on April 3rd.

Well Jesse was standing on this chair, he noticed the picture was hanging crooked and some people say he was dusting it, whatever he was doing he got up, and had his back turned, and the Ford brothers were over here on the other side of the room. They both drew their guns. Only Bob fired.

The bullet went in behind his right ear. Some people think it came out over the left eye or maybe it stayed in the skull, but it left this legendary bullet hole.

[sound: pistol shot]

The newspaper the next day said in the wall was the hole made by the fatal bullet. Now, we keep this motto hanging crooked, and once in a while somebody will straighten it for me, and we point out what happened to the last guy that did that.

This is the exhumation that we did in 1995. Professor Jim Starrs digging down to exhume the body. We wanted to try to show that it was indeed Jesse James. Bob Jackson, in the white shirt and glasses, it was his DNA that we used to match he's a great great grand nephew. The lady in the red blouse is Betty Barr, Jesse's great-granddaughter, and the family wanted to prove once and for all that this was Jesse James.

And after they did the DNA test the result was ninety nine point seven percent sure that the body in the grave was Jesse James. We put him back in the original hole that we had his third funeral.

I was one of the pallbearers and we buried him, in a nice coffin, back in the original site in Kearney, Missouri.

[Music: player piano]

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