Saturday, February 16, 2008


St. Joseph, Missouri has a number of claims to fame, but one is a rather morbid reminder of Missouri’s outlaw days. It’s a bullet hole—- the one made by the bullet that killed Jesse James. It was said to have traveled through Jesse’s head and then smacked into a wall. For a long time they let visitors touch the hole, a short-sighted decision that so enlarged the hole that it now looks “as if Jesse James had been shot with a potato.”

There’s a twist to the story, of course. When they dug up Jesse’s body in 1995 to verify that it was Jesse and not some imposter in that particular hole, they found that, yes, it was Jesse, but no, there was no exit hole in his skull- so the bullet that killed him couldn’t have hit the wall. So where’d the potato-hole bullet come from? Seems likely Bob Ford’s brother also took a pot shot at Jesse at the same time that Bob did, but Bob was the better shot by far...


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