SNCA 2012 – Tarheel Jesse

The opening session on the final day of the Society of North Carolina Archivists was a talk by Ralph P. Ganis about Jesse James’ connection to North Carolina. As a historian, Ganis spent a lot of time doing interviews and searching through archival collections. He found some interesting connections, and explained that Jesse James and his gang probably spent a great deal of time in North Carolina, since their families in Missouri had emigrated from North Carolina years before, and they still had family members back east. Contrary to the mythology portrayed in the movies, Jesse James did not spend his entire life out west, and probably came back to live in the more populated eastern cities, where he could more easily hide from the law and depend on family. I think the talk may have been interesting for archivists to learn how their jobs can help support research like this, but for me, it was just interesting since I did that kind of research as a history major in college! It definitely sparked an interest in me to learn more about Jesse James, and I added Ganis’ books to my “to-read” list!

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