Subj: Frank & Jesse James
Date: 11/3/00 1:32:28 PM Eastern Standard Time
I was just browsing through your website to see what's been updated. I noticed that you had a link for the Outlaw Jesse Woodson James. I didn't know if you would be interested or not, but in my search on the Shultz family I came across a story of Frank James coming to Tazewell, TN to visit Benjamin Franklin Shultz. [Benjamin Franklin Shultz b. February 12, 1842 was the son Jacob Shultz Jr. & Louisanna Cloud ]
(Source: "Chadwell Heritage: A Family History" by Mary Wolfinbarger Braun and Sharon Chadwell Phillips, page 165)
FRANK JAMES VISITS BENJAMIN SCHULTZ AT TAZEWELL IN 1875
An interesting sidelight on the life of Benjamin Schultz was his friendship with Frank James, the notorious Missouri outlaw, and brother of Jesse James. Benjamin and Frank served under General Price in the confederate Army, both drove ordinance wagons in some battles. Before that Frank James had ridden with Quatrell's men.
It would have been a strange friendship, on the surface -- Benjamin Schultz being an honorable and high principled man, of unusual intelligence, but, on looking deeper in the family history, we find that they were bound by family ties as well as friendship.
The parents of Jesse and Frank James were known to have been highly respectable people -- Mrs. James being from a good Kentucky family, the Shacklefords. Dr. Gabriel Shackleford came down from Kentucky and married Benjamin Schultz' aunt, Nancy M. Cloud in Tazewell, Tennessee. Dr. Shackleford was an esteemed physician and citizen of Tazewell until his wife's death and he went to Missouri. Nancy Cloud's sister married a Norfleet, whose family also married into the Shackleford family. But a close family tie was Benjamin's sister's marriage to W. S. Norfleet in Springfield, Missouri. W.S. Norfleet was a son of David Norfleet and Elizabeth Shackleford. That Benjamin and Frank James' friendship survived the War is revealed in Dr. Robert L. Kincaid's book, "The Wilderness Road." The book can be purchased at Target for $27.61 and at Amazon for $24.95 used. Further down the page are the excerpts from that book.
In a chapter describing a hanging in Tazewell on August 23, 1875, Kincaid writes that there was a crowd of people gathered to see the hanging of a convicted murderer, estimated to be between five and six thousand people -- men and women and children. Kincaid opines that if the people had known it, their attention to a well built, bronzed, man with steel gray eyes would have vied with the interest of seeing a man hanged. For that man in the crowd was Frank James who had accidentally fallen in with a company of riders, and with his companion, George Shepard, had arrived in Tazewell to visit his old companion of the Confederate Army, Benjamin Schultz. The steely eyed James had given a native a five dollar gold piece to find him a good seat. In 1893 when Frank James was a member of the St. Louis Police Force, he went to Nashville to seek information about the death of his old chieftain, William Clarke Quantrill, who was killed in Kentucky during the close of the Civil War.
An offer from Elizabeth Robinson Bunch- A granddaughter of Jacob Baylor "Bob" Robinson.
"Now if you really want to get excited about a gun, Lizzie passed down in the family a gun she said belonged to Frank James that during one of Franks visits to her father's house (B.F. Shultz) he left."
"I don't remember the circumstances of why Frank left it or if any were given. If you promise me an invitation to the next Payne reunion (hopefully my Henry Horton cousins will be there) I'll see if I can bring it with me!!"
At that time he told Nashville friends that it was a quiet interim in the careers of him and his brother Jesse, that took him to Tazewell. It was easy for a man to hide himself in the wild Kentucky hills where men still lived much as they wished.
Information from Daily Press and Knoxville Herald August 15, 1875. Also Knoxville Messenger, August 18, 1875. Also interviews with eye witnesses.
From the notes of Descendent's of Jacob Shultz
Thanks to Jim Shults, Knoxville, Tennessee and Roy Shultz, Greenville, Texas
Eliza's father, Thomas Johnson, came to Claiborne County from Mobile, Alabama about 1840 and married Eliza J. Graham, whose father, Dr. Andrew Graham , had been a surgeon in the British Navy. Thomas Johnson was later in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Eliza's sister, Mary, married Alexander Cloud.
Benjamin was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War. He moved to Missouri with his parents in the late 1850's. After the War he went to Navarro Co, Texas where he hauled freight between Millican and Dallas for about two years. In 1868 he returned to Tazewell, TN. For a number of years he was engaged in the mercantile business, as his father had been. He was Postmaster at Cumberland Gap, TN in 1894.
Benjamin was a close friend of Frank James, brother of Jesse. He and Frank served together in the Confederate Army and both drove ordinance wagons. In August 1875 Frank came to Tazewell to visit with his old friend, Benjamin. The book " 800 Missouri Families " 4 Vols, Feb 1989, by Don Vincent, Volume 3, page 16 has a small article by one Milburn Divine. He writes of Benjamin: "He was a Capt. in [the same] Confederate Cavalry troop in Missouri in which both Frank and Jesse James were members. Schultz built "Meadow Hill" house and farm here Frank and Jesse came when wanted in Missouri. Schultz sold "Meadow Hill" to Dr. John W. Divine (an ancestor of the Milburn Divine writing the article...jrs) and old papers found in the garret over the kitchen in this house in 1954 confirm the Schultz-James story."
Book by Robert L. Kincaid; Bobbs-Merrill, 1947
The innkeeper witnessed a grimmer example of mountain justice which had the full approval of the courts. On the morning of August 12, 1875, he joined some Yellow Creekers on their way to Tazewell, Tennessee, to see the hanging of Ananias Honeycutt. Somebody had robbed and clubbed to death Thomas Ausmus, a prominent Powell Valley farmer of Claiborne County, Tennessee, on January 30, 1874. 3 The body was found lying against a tree in a big timber tract. Circumstantial evidence pointed to Honeycutt, a young farmer and neighbor who had been seen to enter the woods with Ausmus, supposedly to inspect timber. Honeycutt was arrested, tried and convicted, although he steadfastly maintained his innocence. The case was appealed, but the higher courts sustained the sentence, and the date was set for the execution. It was to be a public hanging, the first on record in the Cumberlands. Thousands of people in the country and surrounding sections went to Tazewell for the proceedings.
By wagon, horseback and on foot, the Yellow Creekers came across Cumberland Gap, picked up the old storekeeper by the side of the road and fell in with Virginians and Tennesseans journeying to the country seat of Claiborne. They found a great crowd gathered in "Academy Hollow" on the road north of the town opposite a two-story brick building used as Tazewell College. In the natural amphitheater a gallows had been built. It consisted of a perpendicular pole set in the ground, on which a heavy crossarm had been nailed. Over the extended bar dangled the rope with its noose.
The gallows was in the center of an enclosure which had been roped off. The gathering spectators vied with one another to find an advantageous viewpoint. The doors and windows of the college building were filled with faces long before the time set for the execution. The hillsides were covered by men, women and children, estimated to number between 5,000 and 6,000. The day was hot, and the impatient, restless crowd fanned and talked while they waited for the show to start.
Shortly before noon, a ripple of excitement ran through the crowd. "They are coming with him!" someone shouted. Everyone stared at the procession of guards, officials and attendants marching up from the jail in the town to the place of execution. Fifty men flanked a two-horse wagon, in which rode the doomed man sitting on his coffin, and two preachers, the Reverend Crutchfield and the Reverend A. J. Greer. Sheriff Mayes and some deputies followed closely. The officers were taking no chances. They had heard a rumor that some Honeycutt sympathizers might attempt to free the prisoner. The procession moved into the enclosure through a lane in the crowd. The wagon stopped underneath the gallows.
Preacher Crutchfield opened the proceedings by reading the Fifteenth Psalm. Then he announced a hymn and according to
custom invited everybody to join in. But the crowd was in no mood for singing. Only a few complied. The Reverend T. P. Ensor, another minister standing close by, was called on to lead in prayer. The prisoner quietly knelt beside his coffin as the mountain preacher invoked divine blessing. When the prayer was closed, Crutchfield opened his Bible and read the text, Hebrews 9:27: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." For more than an hour he waxed warm with the fervor of his sermon, and his booming voice rolled out over the assembled throng like the crack of doom. Not much time was left for Brother Greer, who followed with a sermon of his own on the text Amos 4:12: "Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." It was nearly two o'clock when he finished.
During the long Honeycutt, sitting silent and immobile on his coffin. He was a strong, handsome fellow of twenty-five, who showed marks of Indian ancestry. The only blemish on his fine physique was a short left foot, which turned up at the toes. It was the telltale print of that short foot at the scene of the crime which had been the most damaging evidence against him.
When the ministers had ended their part in the service, the prisoner was given a chance to speak. He arose by the side of the coffin and spoke in a low voice. He said it was hard to die such a death, but that he had no fear; he had made his peace with his God. He held no enmity against any man and did not want his friends and relatives to grieve for him. He invited all of them to meet him in heaven.
When Honeycutt indicated that he was done, Preacher Greer asked him the question which often had been propounded to him: "Are you guilty or not guilty?"
Everybody leaned forward as a great hush fell upon the throng. Honeycutt's reply was audible only to those close about him: "I've told it time and again, and will not tell it any other way than the one told before." The preacher gave him a white handkerchief, asking him in his dying moments to shift it from one hand to the other if he were innocent. Then Honeycutt shook hands with those near him, bade them farewell and signaled that he was ready.
Sheriff Mayes stepped upon the wagon, placed a cap over the prisoner's head, adjusted the noose about his neck and pulled the rope taut so that Honeycutt stood almost tiptoe on the coffin. The wagon was cleared of everyone else, and the sheriff clucked to the team. The wagon moved out from under the condemned man at 2:10 P.M.
There were screams from the crowd. A number of women fainted. A wave of sobs and groans ran through the crowd as the body twisted and struggled on the rope. Before it was still, the handkerchief was shifted twice from one hand to the other to attest his innocence. At 2:36 the body was cut down and turned over to waiting relatives.
Tennessee had an impressive way of avenging crime.
Jones and the Yellow Creekers from Kentucky had enough to talk about as they rode homeward, though they did not know of a mysterious stranger who had been in the crowd. Had they known, they would have shown more interest in him, with proper discretion, than in the unfortunate victim dangling at the end of the rope.
A tall, bronzed, well-built man with steel-gray eyes, traveling with a companion, had accidentally fallen in with riders from Kentucky on their way to the execution. He came from "South America," that isolated section of southwest Bell County, where he had been visiting members of the Henderson clan. Some of them were noted moonshiners who often gave refuge to men fleeing from the law. He was on his way to Tazewell, to visit an old acquaintance, Ben Schultz, with whom he had served as a Confederate soldier in the army of General Sterling Price, of Missouri. Learning that Honeycutt was to be executed, he and his companion mingled with the crowd in the hollow. In order to get a good view, he gave a native a five-dollar gold piece for a place in one of the windows of the school building.
The man was Frank James, the famous Missouri outlaw, and his companion was George Shepard. 4 In 1893, when James was a member of the St. Louis police force, he visited Nashville, Tennessee, to seek information about the death of his chieftain, William Clarke Quantrill, the notorious guerilla killed in Kentucky at the close of the Civil War. James told some medical students of the visit to Tazewell in 1875 at the time of the Honeycutt hanging, during a quiet interim in his career of crime when he and his brother Jesse were hiding from the Missouri authorities. It had been easy to lose himself for a little while in the forgotten wilderness in Kentucky where men still lived much as they pleased.
1 Interview by author with Robert H. Jones, son of Sam C. Jones, August 13, 1938.
2 William Cullen Bryant, ed., Picturesque America ( New York: 1872), I, 232-237.
3 Daily Press and Herald ( Knoxville, Tennessee), August 15, 1875; Press and Messenger ( Knoxville, Tennessee), August 18, 1875; interviews by author with eyewitnesses.
4 Interview by author with Dr. H. C. Chance, Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, who heard the story from Frank James himself; Daily News ( Middlesboro, Kentucky), July 11, 1945.
TIME-LINE OF the JAMES-YOUNGER OUTLAW GANG Lineage of ANNANIAS HONEYCUTT who was hanged that day in 1875 The Confession of Annanias Honeycutt A book sold at the hanging.
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