Jesse E. James

Jesse Edwards "Tim" James (August 31, 1875 – March 26, 1951) was the only surviving son of American outlaw Jesse Woodson James.[1] He was born in Nashville, Tennessee during the height of Jesse James' career as an outlaw. His mother was Zerelda, Jesse James' wife and first cousin.

Jesse E. James
Jesse Edwards James

(1875-08-31)August 31, 1875
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
DiedMarch 26, 1951(1951-03-26) (aged 75)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Other namesTim Edwards
Spouse(s)Stella Frances McGowan

Personal life

James was named after his father and Major John Newman Edwards. He went by the name of Tim Edwards in his youth to conceal his relationship to his father. After his father's death, James and his family lived in Kansas City and were taken under the wing of Thomas T. Crittenden Jr., the son of Governor Thomas Theodore Crittenden, who had signed what would become the death warrant of the outlaw Jesse James. In 1898 James was arrested, and stood trial in 1899, for the robbery of a Missouri Pacific train, but was acquitted.[2]

James married Stella Frances McGowan (Feb 27, 1882 – Jan 1, 1951) on January 2, 1900 in the parlor of his mother's home, though she was too sick to attend the wedding.

The couple had four daughters:

  • Lucille Martha James (born December 21, 1900 – June 11, 1988)
  • Josephine Frances James (born April 20, 1902 – March 31, 1964)
  • Jessie Estell James (born August 27, 1906 – February 2, 1987)
  • Ethell Rose James (born July 10, 1908 – December 21, 1991)[3]

The Jameses moved to Los Angeles, California, in the 1920s, where for a time they ran a restaurant called "The Jesse James Inn", and remained in California until his death in 1951.


Following his acquittal for train robbery, James wrote a book, Jesse James, My Father (ISBN 978-1-59107-044-3), which was published in 1899.

He owned a pawn shop in Kansas City while studying law. In 1906 James passed the Bar exam in Missouri, and opened a law practice in Kansas City.

He appeared in the 1921 film Jesse James Under the Black Flag[4] with his sister Mary James Barr and in Jesse James as the Outlaw.[5]

He served as technical adviser on Paramount's 1927 biopic of his father titled Jesse James. This film starred cowboy hero Fred Thomson, who usually was a good guy to film audiences. Here Thomson plays Jesse James in a lighthearted way which many old timers who remembered Jesse James's murdering and robbing found inaccurate. The film proved to be unpopular.


  1. Monaco, Ralph A. II (2012). Son of a Bandit, Jesse James & The Leeds Gang. Monaco Publishing, L.L.C. ISBN 978-0-578-10426-3
  2. Little, L. A. (2012). The Trial of Jesse James Jr. ISBN 978-0-615-59796-6.
  3. Moore-Hardy, Sue (July 17, 2009). "Ethel Rose James Owens". Find a Grave. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  4. James, Laura (2009). The Love Pirate and the Bandit's Son: Murder, Sin, and Scandal in the Shadow of Jesse James. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 307. ISBN 978-1-4027-6069-3.
  5. Fanebust, Wayne (March 20, 2018). "Outlaw Stardom". Chasing Frank and Jesse James: The Bungled Northfield Bank Robbery and the Long Manhunt. McFarland. p. 212. ISBN 978-1-4766-7067-6.
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