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Geocachers, others find infamous outlaw in Stamping Ground

Jesse James in Georgetown? Take the Historic Buffalo Geocaching Trail and find the remains – not of the notorious bandit – but of the house that links this train robbing outlaw to the area.

JesseJames parents marriagesiteOn December 28, 1841, 16-year-old Zeralda Cole and Robert James said their “I do’s” inside a house at 406 Locust Fork Pike. The home, located in tiny Stamping Ground, belonged to Zeralda’s uncle and guardian, James Madison Lindsay. At that time (and continuing through the late 1800s), a marriage bond was required to ensure that the impending marriage was legal – meaning the bride and groom were unencumbered by other marriages and weren’t related to each other). For Zeralda and Robert, rather than paying a monetary fee, tobacco was given in bond.

Zeralda, who had been born in Woodford County, KY and attended a Catholic girls school, lived with family relatives because she did not get along with her stepfather. (Her own father had died when Zeralda was a small child, having broken his neck in a riding accident.) Born in Logan County, KY, Robert was a Baptist minister who would go on to become one of the founders of Liberty, MO’s William Jewell College. The happy but ill-fated couple had met while Robert was a Baptist ministry student at Georgetown College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated with honors in 1843.

It all seemed so idyllic.JesseJames statehistoricplaque

Then Zeralda and Robert had children, four to be exact.

Two of them would go on to achieve considerable notoriety . . . the kind worthy of lots of ink in the newspapers of the day, plenty of pages in the history books and reels of film in the pictures shows: Frank and Jesse James.

JesseJames headshotIt’s been more than 150 years since someone first put a price on Jesse James’ head. Today, only a burned-out shell remains (due to a 2012 fire) of the home where Jesse’s parents were married and (presumably) started their life together with such high hopes. It was an area of Kentucky Jesse and his brother Frank would visit during their marauding years.

Jesse James’ connection to Georgetown isn’t the only surprise in Stamping Ground. Geocachers also uncover ties to former Great Crossings Baptist Church pastor Elijah Craig – more familiarly known as the rock star of bourbon – and Archie Burchfeld, World Champion Croquet Player (and yes, it’s a thing).

 

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