By Jack Hackley
On Dec. 7, 1869, Frank and Jesse James walked in to the Davies County Savings & Loan in Gallatin. One of them asked for change and shot the teller, then they rode off after robbing the bank.
The townspeople started shooting at them. Jesse’s thoroughbred horse bolted, and Jesse landed on the ground. He got on Fran’s horse and rode out of town. They stopped a farmer along the way and took his horse.
The farmer sued Jesse so that he could get the beautiful thoroughbred race horse Jesse had left behind. This story has just come out in a new book “The Lost Cause,” written by James Muehlberger, an attorney for Shook, Hardy, Bacon.
Muehlberger said “Jesse James knew horse flesh. He knew the importance of riding horses of the finest bloodlines and staying quality, which meant the difference between survival and death.”
The farmer suing for the thoroughbred also knew a good horse when he saw it, and since Jesse never showed up in court, the farmer took possession of a beauty valued at over $800. Muehlberger claims Jesse bought the horse in Kentucky, but I believe it came from my great-grandfather James Hackley’s thoroughbred horse farm located four miles north of Richmond.
The James Gang, including the Ford brothers whose farm wasn’t far away, got most of their horses from my great-grandfather, who kept his best best broken onein a corral by the barn. Frequently in the middle of the night, there would be a commotion in the corral. The next morning, the thoroughbreds would be gone. The gang would leave a bunch of broken down wind-blown horses. However, they would leave $800 for each horse they took in a hole in a post.
In the early 1900s, my dad’s cousin, George (Dub) Hackley Jr. from Waverly heard Frank James verify getting the horses in a conversation with his dad at the State Fair.
Jack can be reached at jack...@aol.com.