Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bloody Conspiracy Theorists

I remarked several months ago about the tendency that many people have to claim a connection to notorious figures from the past. I think I was speaking specifically at the time about the exaggerated idea that Jesse James spent a lot of time in and around Joplin, Missouri, when the best evidence seems to suggest that he did not. But, of course, it's not just groups or whole towns that claim dubious connections to notorious historical figures. Individual persons do so also, probably to an even greater extent. For instance, it's not unusual at all to run on to someone who claims to be related to Jesse. I've met enough such individuals that I'm convinced that not all of them could possibly be correct.
In addition to claiming unfounded kinship to notorious individuals, a lot of people also seem to want to rewrite history where renowned historical figures, both famous and infamous, are concerned. For instance, I suppose there are still people around who refuse to believe Elvis is dead. I know there are people who don't believe Jesse James was really killed in St. Joseph in 1882 by Bob Ford. Likewise, there are people who don't think Bloody Bill Anderson was killed in Ray County in 1864. People seem to love an intriguing mystery, and if none exists, they'll create one.


Blogger Betty Craker Henderson said...

If Jesse James had visited all the little towns in the Ozarks that lay claim to him he wouldn't have had the time to rob all the banks that they (say?) he robbed! Right?

June 7, 2011 at 7:34 PM  

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