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Unique find! Civil lawsuit against Frank & Jesse James

Authentic, historical legal papers — the only civil lawsuit ever filed against Frank & Jesse James — were rediscovered on Aug. 17, 2007, by James Meuhlberger, an attorney from Kansas City while researching lawfirm originating partner Henry Clay McDougal.

The record of a 137-year-old lawsuit  unique to those interested in the lives and legend of outlaws Frank and Jesse James  was unexpectedly “discovered” in the Daviess County courthouse. And the find is exciting historians and others who enjoy tracking down authentic details about the notorious outlaws. 

The plaintiff, Daniel Smoot, filed charges against Frank and Jesse James in the Common Pleas Court of Daviess County. Smoot sought payment of $223.50 as reimbursement for a horse allegedly taken by the James brothers following the 1869 attempted robbery of the Daviess County Savings Association.  

The murder of Capt. John Sheets during that robbery attempt — apparently when Jesse James mistook Sheets for Samuel Cox over a Civil War grudge — normally commands the attention of historians. The ensuing reward announced by Missouri Gov. T.T. Crittenden marked the first time the James boys were publicly branded as outlaws.  Now, with the discovery of this legal paperwork, the unique reality of Smoot’s lawsuit filed against the James brothers may revive widespread attention. 

The response by the James boys to Smoot’s accusations foreshadows what was to fuel their emerging legend. Defense attorney Samuel A. Richardson wrote that defendants Frank and Jesse James denied being at or near Gallatin on Dec. 7, 1869. Thus, they denied stealing anything from Smoot. What’s more, the outlaws argued their case publicly by writing a letter published in a Kansas City newspaper, a technique repeatedly used by the Jameses to vault their legendary exploits and self-proclaimed innocence to national and international prominence. 

Predictably, Frank and Jesse James never appeared in court. The James boys spent the next decade flaunting their lives in crime. Obviously, no one chanced their wrath by filing claims in court against the outlaws — nobody except Daniel Smoot. Thus, this legal document is the only lawsuit ever filed against Jesse James by one of his victims. But it was also the stuff of considerable worries over revenge during the years that followed, at least to H.C. McDougal, the lawyer who filed the charges against Frank and Jesse James.    

On Friday, Aug. 17, 2007, James P. Muehlberger, an attorney from Kansas City, visited Gallatin to expand upon his research of Henry Clay McDougal. Mr. Muehlberger is preparing text and a display about McDougal for the law firm where Muehlberger is employed. Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLC is the largest law firm in Kansas City with additional offices located throughout the United States. 

McDougal is known locally as one of the special prosecutors appointed by the governor during the trial of Frank James held in Gallatin in 1883. McDougal is also the connection which enabled the Daviess County Historical Society to secure funds from an estate which now finances ongoing mainten-ance and limited operation of the county’s 1889 Squirrel Cage Jail as a visitors’ infor-mation center. McDougal, as Mr. Muehlberger explains, was a partner to his law firm’s founder, Frank Sebree. 

Mr. Meuhlberger recognized the significance of the legal papers immediately, and the lawsuit was soon wisked away to a local bank vault for safekeeping.

The legal papers have been elusive to those previously researching Jesse James lore. In fact, it was commonly thought that the paperwork on this lawsuit might even have been stolen by some collector or unscrupulous history buff. Circuit Clerk Sue Bird explains that the legal papers weren’t actually misplaced, just filed in a way that made sense to the court clerk of that time.

Now that these authentic historical papers have been found, they will be properly preserved. The Secretary of State’s office has been notified, and archival specialists will soon be involved in that effort. Eventually, an informational display spotlighting the only civil lawsuit brought to bear against outlaws Frank and Jesse James will be constructed at the Squirrel Cage Jail in Gallatin. It is hoped that this project will be completed in time for the Daviess County Chautauqua slated for Sept. 14-16.

Daniel Smoot’s accusation against the James brothers:

 As the attorney representing Smoot, H.C. McDougal sought damages in writing the following: “Plaintiff states that on the 7th day of December, 1869, at or near the City of Gallatin, in the county of Daviess and State of Missouri, the defendants Jesse James and Frank James did feloniously steal, take and carry away from this plaintiff, and in his presence and against his will by pulling him, the said plaintiff in fear of some immediate injury to his person, the following personal property to wit: one bay horse, with four white-feet and white stripe on the nose, of the value of $150; one saddle of the value of $15; one bridle of the value of $2; and one halter of the value of $1.50. The property of this plaintiff, by which the plaintiff says he is damaged in the sum of two hundred and twenty three and 50/100 dollars, for which he asks judgement.” In addition, interest and costs of the lawsuit were to be added to the value of Smoot’s personal property.

Detailing Smoot’s Lawsuit…petition presented by Attorney H.C. McDougal on Smoot’s behalf, seeking $223.50 in damages;March 8, 1870  — Writ of Attachment issued to the Clay County Sheriff, to apply $223.50 against the holdings and possessions of the James brothersMarch 11, 1870  — Clay County Deputy Sheriff J.B. Thomson writes that a copy of the petition was left with a member of the (James) family where Jesse and Frank James usually resideJuly 12, 1870  — Daviess County Common Pleas Court acknowledges that “defendants Jesse James and Frank James have absconded or absented themselves from their usual place of abode in this State, so that the ordinary process of law cannot be served upon them.”

“The history of Daviess County has no blacker crime in its pages than the murder of John W. Sheets.” — 1882 History of Daviess County

The 1882 History of Daviess County confirms how the James brothers presented their alibi to the public through a Kansas City newspaper, described on page 502: “Miss Susie James, a sister of the accused, swears that her brother Jesse and herself attended preaching in Greenville, Clay County, on Sunday, December 5th, and after their return Jesse sold her bay mare Kate (the one left by the murderer at Gallatin) to a stranger who said he was from Topeka, Kansas.

She further testifies that her brother was at home on the 7th… “Zerelda Samuel, mother of the accused, swears that her son Jesse was at home December 6th, 7th, and 8th, and that he sold his sister’s mare to a man from Topeka, Kansas, for five $100 bills on Sunday, the 6th. Reuben Samuel, step-father of the accused, testifies to the same thing.”

— Written by Darryl Wilkinson, Editor; published Aug. 22, 2007 in the Gallatin North Missourian

2007: Gallatin Pride Band mounts efforts to attend Cotton Bowl

The Gallatin High School Pride Band, under the direction of Gene Edwards, has been invited to perform at the AT&T Cotton Bowl, in Dallas, Texas from Dec. 29, 2007 to Jan. 2, 2008. This great honor comes with a lot of hard work and dedication.

The band received an invitation in April. After receiving a I at their state performance, the band sent in an audition tape to a panel of judges who select the bands for the Cotton Bowl. The band was then notified in May that they had been selected! The band is planning to compete in Drumline, Jazz Band, Concert Band, and Flag Corps along with marching in the parade and participating in pre-game and half-time festivities.

In June, Mr. Edwards, his wife, Lois, and Band Booster President Tara Tairent and her husband Alan, went to Texas to select where the band will be eating on the trip and planned activities as well.

After the trip, the Band Boosters decided that the band members would need to host fund-raisers to raise money for their trip. The cost of the trip is $338 per person, based on four people, $361 per person based on three people, $406 per person based on two people, and $592 per person based on one person to a hotel room. An additional $96.50 will be required for meals and activities. The school district will provide the charter buses for the Cotton Bowl trip.

The Band Boosters and band students have been busy raising money to help pay for the trip. One of the first fund-raisers the band held, was hosting a dinner and breakfast for a group of bicyclists that came through Gallatin on June 13-14. The next fund-raiser was the Gallatin Tractor Pull on June 23. After that, the band hosted a Law Day Lunch on July 24 for the members of the Gallatin community. The band members sold Law Day lunch tickets on July 17. They then made the lunches and delivered them to the customers on July 24. A golf cart wash was held at the Gallatin Country Club on July 25. Robert Robertson hosted a softball tournament on July 27 and 28 and agreed to give all of the profits to the band. The members worked concession stands and helped with the carnival. On Aug. 4, some members participated in a car wash next to Pamida. An adult softball tournament was held on Aug. 10-11, at which the band provided the concession stand. A tailgate party was held Aug. 24 at the Football Jamboree.

Some of the upcoming fund-raisers are as follows:

Aug. 30 – Lia Sophia Jewelry party at the High School Gym.

Sept. 8 – Dinner Theater, dinner served from 6-7 p.m., and the show will feature Tarry Westley, an Elvis impersonator, and the Old Country Jamboree will perform from 7 to 9 p.m.

Sept. 15 – Raffle at Chautauqua for an Adirondack chair constructed and donated by Dennis Carpenter.

Oct. 26 – Raffle for a quilt, made by Mrs. Redman, to be given away during senior recognition night at the football game.

The band will also be participating in their annual fundraiser in November.

The concession stands at the Gallatin Invitational Basketball Tournament in December will also be provided by the band.

If you would like to make a donation to the band for their trip please contact Tara Tairent, 112 Brook St,. Gallatin, MO 64640, 660-663-3104. The band appreciates your support!

2007: Gallatin Athletic Booster Club announces fund-raising activities

The fall sports seasons are off and going and with that so is the start of fundraising for the Gallatin Athletic Booster Club. In addition to running the concession stands they will be selling embroidered blankets, scarves and hats, stadium chairs, hooded sweatshirts and other miscellaneous items along with memberships during the varsity football games. Memberships this year will be $15 per family and $25 per business. For your membership you will be given an insulated mug to be used at the concession stand for a discount on coffee and hot chocolate refills.

Money raised during the year helps provide "wish list" items for coaches, scholarships offered to graduating senior athletes, food for some of the away games and meets, and host sports banquets in the fall, winter and spring along with support for any other project that comes along. Last year the school was able to purchase $12,000 worth of new equipment for the athletes of all sports with half being paid for by the Booster Club and the school matching the other half.

They are also asking individuals to donate a six pack or more of bottled water to be sent with the athletes to their away games. For your water donation you will receive an "Official Bulldog Fan" pin.

The following will be serving as officers for the 2007-08 school year: Co-presidents Gayla Teel and Janet Rhoades; Vice-President Jean Mott; Secretary Deanna Fuller; Treasurer Alicia Chrisman and Membership Committee Chairperson Jan Humphrey.

All merchandise can be seen at the Varsity Football games or please feel free to stop by the Humphrey Dental Office. Water and memberships can be dropped off there also.

The Booster Club meets the first Sunday of each month at Breadeaux at 5:30pm. Everyone is invited to attend.

Healthcare career workshop Sept. 13.

If you think you might be interested in finding out more about working in a health career field, plan to attend a workshop entitled “Exploring Healthcare Careers” on Thursday evening, Sept. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ketchum Community Center on the campus of North Central Missouri College in Trenton. This workshop is for high school and college age students.

The evening workshop will include: a panel of professionals from various areas of healthcare;

breakout sessions to learn more about your career interests;

what jobs are in high demand in the Northwest Missouri region;

financial aid; and

educational programs for health careers

a hands-on activity

For more information or to make reservations, contact:

Brenda Brown at 660-359-3622, ext. 14 [email protected] or Meredith Black at 660-359-5855

[email protected]

Reservation Deadline: Monday, Sep. 10

Please provide your name, address, phone number where you can be reached, and email address if available.

Future Stars basketball tryouts set

Tryouts for boys basketball players grades 7-12 have been set for the Future Stars Missouri Maverick AAU program for teams beginning play across the Midwest in April.

The Northwest Missouri tryout will be held Sunday, Oct. 7, at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. Tryout for grades 7-8 will be from noon to 2 p.m. Tryout for grades 9-12 will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.

For complete program information, contact Mark McLaughlin at 660-874-4630, or email [email protected] Players must register by mail, and must contact McLaughlin for an email application or snail mail application.

2007 HDC Softball Scores

Games August 20-28, 2007

August 28

Gilman City girls over Grundy Co., 11-1

Newtown-Harris girls over N. Daviess, 15-2

N. Harrison girls over Cainsville, 19-2

Tri-County girls over Winston, 6-2

Gilman City boys over Grundy Co., 15-14

N. Harrison boys over Cainsville, 18-1

Pattonsburg boys over Ridgeway, 8-4

Tri-County boys over Winston, 9-6

Jefferson boys over Newtown-Harris, 17-5

August 27

Newtown-Harris girls over Cainsville, 24-0

N. Harrison girls over Grundy Co., 15-0

Pattonsburg girls over N. Daviess, 20-2

Tri-County girls over Mercer, 13-6

Gilman City girls over Winston, 11-1

Newtown-Harris boys over Cainsville, 24-1

N. Harrison boys over Grundy Co., 14-2

Mercer boys over Tri-County, 17-7

Winston boys over Gilman City, 9-5

August 23

Gilman City girls over N. Daviess, For.

Pattonsburg girls over Winston, 12-1

Tri-County girls over Cainsville, 13-2

Ridgeway boys over N. Harrison, 10-3

Pattonsburg boys over Winston, 6-4

Tri-County boys over Cainsville, 20-2

August 21

Pattonsburg girls over Tri-County, 5-2

Winston girls over Cainsville, 14-10

Pattonsburg boys over Tri-County, 8-0

Winston boys over Cainsville, 16-1

August 20

NE Nodaway boys over Mercer, 18-6

2007 Gallatin Softball: Lady Bulldogs 3-0 after opening week of softball, despite tourney rainout

Gallatin softball girls stayed perfect on the season with a pair of victories over the past week, including a win in Tuesday’s conference opener. Saturday’s Albany Tournament has been postponed due to heavy rains last Thursday and Friday.

Nicole Everman contributed two singles, a double and two stolen bases Tuesday as Gallatin sank Maysville, 5-0, to win their inaugural ‘07 Grand River Conference contest. Lacey Dixon drove in a pair of runs with a third-inning single to back her one-hit pitching effort.

Dixon struck out eight, walked a pair and hit two batters in earning her third victory of the season.

The Lady Bulldogs broke a scoreless tie in the third with Becca Mott, pinch running for Wren Tolen (walk), and Courtney Ray (single), scoring on Dixon’s drive to right-center. Shelby Chadwick led off the fourth with an infield single, moved to second on Kirsten Bowe’s sacrifice bunt, took third on Everman’s double and scored on Carly Boyd’s infield grounder.

Ashley Owens and Ray opened the fifth with singles. Maggie Strange and Dixon plated runs with groundouts.

Maysville twice moved runners to third base but could not score.

The Lady Bulldogs defeated Smithville, 3-1, last Thursday in a game that went right down to the wire in the seventh inning.

Gallatin led, 3-1, but Smithville loaded the bases by way of a pair of walks and a single to set the stage for an exciting finish.

GHS catcher Maggie Strange took a hard foul ball off her left shoulder and needed a couple of minutes to work out the soreness. On the very next pitch from Lacey Dixon, she rifled a throw to Courtney Ray at third that caught Smithville’s Beth Hammons scrambling to get back to the bag.

Ray recorded the out. Dixon retired Morgan Miller on a swinging strike and the game was over.

Ray went 3-for-3 at the plate, stole three bases and was part of a 1(Dixon)-5(Ray)-3(Wren Tolen) double play that killed a Lady Warrior threat in the fourth.

Ray and Nicole Everman each drove in runs with singles.. Chadwick went 2-for-3 with a single and double. The Lady Bulldogs also benefitted from singles by Owens, Dixon, and Carly Boyd.

Dixon capped another strong pitching effort with six strikeouts against four walks.

The Lady Bulldogs travel to Princeton on Thursday for a 5:30 league start. They come off the Labor Day break next Tuesday with an important (5:30) league tilt at home against South Harrison.

2007 Girls Golf: Lady Bulldog golfers place second at Orrick, Everly takes two medalist awards

Gallatin varsity golfers headed to Orrick Saturday with the idea of improving their scores from a year ago. Count it mission accomplished.

"We played this tournament and challenging course for the first time last year and really struggled," said GHS golf coach Chris Elbert. "Four of our five golfers that played last year returned for this tournament, and performed much better," he added. "We improved our overall score by 31 strokes."

Nineteen schools competed at Orrick, with nine in the small division and ten in the large school division. As a team, Gallatin finished second overall in the small division behind Cameron, and sixth overall of all 19 schools.

Kathryn Everly shot a 97 to place third individually in the small class. Sydney Elbert and Kelly Critten teamed up in best ball and shot 96 for a fourth place finish in that format. Alex Burge and Shalyn Lollar shot 93 for a first place finish in the best shot format.

The Lady Bulldogs were at home Monday against Orrick and delivered a 197 to 240 victory. Coach Elbert was very pleased with Gallatin’s showing at Daviess County Country Club.

"Three of our varsity girls shot under 50, which is the kind of effort we will need if we are going to be competitive this year," he said.

Everly topped all golfers on the day and walked away with the medalist award after a round of 46. Burge followed closely with a 48 and Critten chimed in with a 49. Elbert and Lollar added rounds of 54 and 59, respectively.

Sarah Cornett led jayvee golfers with a 55. Sarah Smith shot 66 and Bailey Bozart carded a 67 for the Bulldog junior varsity.

Gallatin’s most recent victory came at Lawson. The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Lady Cards, 190 to 219, to up their season record to 2-0.

Everly again won the medalist honor with a 40. Critten’s 47 was good enough for runnerup. Elbert, Burge and Lollar followed with 50, 53 and 55, respectively.

"Our girls played really well on a course that we have struggled on in the past," Coach Elbert remarked. "Kathryn shot a great score, her lowest ever in meet competition. Kelly put up a very good score as well," he added.

Cornett carded a 59 for the jayvees. Smith and Bozarth added 61 and 70.

Gallatin travels to Maysville on Thursday and Albany next Tuesday.

2007 Gallatin Football: Dogs open title defense at Tarkio with old and new faces in the mix

Gallatin school officials have found that about the only way to get a good, soaking August rain is simply to schedule a football jamboree at R-5 field.

Gallatin’s second try at holding a high school jamboree went the same way as the first attempt back in 2004 …rained out. The Bulldogs will look now to answer lingering questions about positional starters when they travel to Tarkio this Friday to face the Indians in the 2007 season opener.

Despite losing a number of senior starters to graduation, the Bulldogs take the field Friday with plenty of experience. However, Gallatin may start more players on both sides of the ball than in seasons past.

Senior Andy Ward, who makes the switch from receiver, is 1-0 as a quarterback after guiding the Dogs to a victory over Tarkio in last season’s opener.

Senior Stephen Wood is on the verge of eclipsing a number of records at GHS. He needs less than 700 yards rushing to top Joey Hubbard’s career mark of 3,346. With his third touchdown in ‘07 he will pass Charles Parrish on the career TD chart. He could also write his name in the GHS record book as the school’s only three-time, 1,000-yard rusher.

Junior Kevin Chadwick proved to be an able receiver last season and looks to be a go-to player for the offense.

The Bulldogs look to be sound on the line with the return of seniors Jon Brown and Corey Lee, and juniors Lee Deustchman, Derrick Sprague and Derrick Feigly.

Gallatin averaged a 32-point winning spread last season so many younger players saw action in the second half of ball games.

Despite a cancelled jamboree, Bulldog head coach Mark Cole offered a positive assessment of his team and the 2007 season.

"These kids, primarily the seniors, are more than anxious to prove that they too can be a very good football team," he said. "We badly want to get back on that field and get back on the winning track," he added. "It has been a very long time since our last win and the boys have worked incredibly hard this year so far in an attempt to get back to where we were at last season’s end."

Around the GRC

Only three schools have figured in the last ten Grand River Conference titles, and South Harrison owns five of those and has challenged each year for the rest. In fact, Gallatin, South Harrison, Hamilton and Princeton have shuffled the top four spots in the league every year since 2003.

South Harrison looks to be strong this year after losing only five seniors from last season’s conference runnerup.

Junior J. D. Ramey appears set to replace Matt Shipers at quarterback. Senior Logan Kelim is a powerful runner, as is senior Zach Wilson. Brad Madison, a senior who reportedly has committed to join brother Ryan at the University of Missouri next fall, anchors the SHHS line.

Former SHHS multi-sport standout Larry Linthacum, a long-time assistant, is back as head coach.

Football prospects in Hamilton are bright, particularly if the Hornets and long-time head coach Dave Fairchild can solidify the offensive and defensive lines, where they were hit hardest by graduation.

Senior runningback Logan Smith returns along with seasoned sophomore Dylan Chadwick. Quarterback Cale Brown, a junior returns. Brothers Jon (WR) and Joe Pickrell (OL) are back. Defensively, senior corner Ivan Greenwood is a four-year starter. Senior Greg Dalton anchors the Hornet line.

Junior Zach Dixon returns at linebacker. At least three freshmen, Keagan Prather, Trevor Dixon and Josh Pickrell, figure to get considerable playing time.

The Princeton Tigers have come a long way since the not-so-bright days of the late 90s, when found themselves mired in a long losing skid. Only South Harrison has won more league games than Princeton in the last five seasons. The Tigers were the last GRC team to play for a state title under Coach Dave Cavanah, and he is back at the helm in Tiger Nation.

Unlike the three aforementioned teams, Princeton lacks overall experience at the skill positions after graduating backs Nate Moore and Michael Ormsby and wide receiver Zane Myers. The Tiger offensive and defensive lines are senior-laden. Princeton could air the ball out with the return of quarterback Troy Meinke and leading receiver Ethan Stark.

Polo owned the second-highest scoring offense a year ago, but much of that production came from departed quarterback Andy Ahart and wide receiver Chris Hufford. Senior Josh Duncan was the Panther leading rusher last season. Breaking into the top tier of the league could be tough for the Panthers, in their second season of GRC participation.

Albany gave up a league-high number of points last season, but lost only two starters, offensive guards Derek Cottrill and Dakota Johnson, from last season’s 2-6 (GRC) and 3-7 (overall) squad. The Warriors bring back one of the most experience offensive backfields in the league with QB Jeff Lloyd and runningbacks Landon Crawford and Clint Richardson.

Doug Fountain is one of five new coaches in the GRC this season, counting Linthacum and Cavanah.

Fortunes should improve in 2007 for Maysville, which returns everyone but lineman Josh Smith. The Wolverines must polish their defense after surrendering an average of 31 points in ten games last season. Still, Maysville could easily improve on last season’s 1-9 overall record.

Tarkio graduated only five from last season’s 1-8 squad, but those five were the most experienced Indians. The Indians, who tied for last in the league in points scored (56) have only a pair of conference victories in three seasons.

T. J. Quick is the third new Indian coach in as many seasons.

King City took a bold step in rejoining the GRC last season, and though they struggled against the top tier of teams, managed to shut down Tarkio (18-0) in the next-to-last week of the season. The Wildkats also played the Wolverines close in their finale, giving them reason for optimism in 2007.

Former Princeton standout Nathan Powell leads the Wildkats, who welcome back nearly all of last season’s roster of players. The Kats lost only one starter from last year’s team, linebacker Justin Eickhoff.

King City will look to a half dozen seniors, a pair of juniors and four sophomores to get the job done in ‘07.