Sunday, February 6, 2011


Jesse James

While doing research at the Schuylkill County Historical Society, my second home. I came across an interesting article about the son of a Shenandoah resident who was robbed by the famous outlaw Jesse James.
The article was written in the Pottsville Evening Chronicle. On July 31, 1882.
Prior to finding this article I was interested in how the local papers were reporting the death of the outlaw Jesse James.

St. Louis, April 3, A dispatch from St. Joseph, Mo. Says Charles and Robert Ford who, at one time belonged to the James gang and were engaged in the Winston and Blue cut train robberies, have been in St. Joseph for a week for the purpose of arresting Jesse James, but being afraid, as it is alleged, to make the attempt they shot him down at 13th and Lafayette streets today and then surrendered to the authorities and were lodged in jail. There is tremendous excitement over the affair, several thousand people being on the street.

For the next couple of days the paper ran stories about the shooting. “END OF JESSE JAMES”, …”THE DEAD OUTLAW”…”THE DEAD TRAIN ROBBER” but the most interesting of the articles was entitled:


The Highwayman’s Widow Returns a Stolen Watch

During the year 1880 John J. Dovey, formerly of Shenandoah, now diseased was the owner of a coal mine in Kentucky which was in charge of his son Charles, of Philadelphia. One day while young Mr. Dovey was sitting in his office he heard the tramp of horse’s feet outside, and the next moment four men entered and one of them presenting a revolver at his head demanded his money. Mr. Dovey replied as the funds to pay off the hands had not yet arrived there was no money about the premises. This did not satisfy the road agents, the leader who demanded that the safe be opened. Their direction being acceded to the ruffians were rewarded by finding some change, amounting to about five dollars and a box of cigars. After each had lighted one of the latter they pocketed the money with as much relish as though it amounted to thousands of dollars. As they were about to leave one of them noticed Mr. Dovey’s watch chain. “Hold on Boys, here is something we have overlooked”, said he, and Mr. Dovey was politely requested to hand over his gold time piece. After which the quartet took their departure. A short time afterward Mr. Dovey visited the Rogues gallery in Louisville. While looking over the pictures he came upon one which he recognized as that of the leader of the band who robbed him. Below the picture the name of “Jesse James” was inscribed. Mr. Dovey went south last week and while away a messenger from the Adams Express Company arrived with a package at his home. Mrs. Dovey upon opening it was surprised to find the watch stolen two years before. The watch was accompanied by the following note:
Mr. Dovey: Dear Sir: Included you will find your watch; please send me by return mail a receipt for the same.
Your, respectfully
Mrs. Jesse James.

The watch was in good condition as when stolen. Mrs. Dovey immediately wrote to her husband relating the story. And restoration of the time piece who thereupon sent a letter of thanks to Mrs. James for restoring the article. The watch had the name of Mr. Dovey and his address inscribed upon it so he widow knew where to send it.

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