“The James-Samuel family took the Confederate side at the outset of the war. Frank James( Jesse’s brother) joined a local company recruited for the secessionist Missouri State Guard, and fought at the battle of Wilson’s Creek, though he fell ill and returned home soon afterward. In 1863, he was identified as a member of a guerrilla squad that operated in Clay County. In May of that year, a Union militia company raided the James-Samuel farm, looking for Frank’s group. They tortured Reuben Samuel (Jesse’s step-father) by briefly hanging him from a tree, and according to legend beat the young Jesse.” Perhaps, in part, this is why Jesse became a thief and a murder – REVENGE.
The quoted information above is borrowed from http://www.factasy.com/civil_war/2008/02/24/jesse_james.
Here’s one about Jesse.
I don’t think he enjoys killin’
but he ain’t opposed. Just a part
of his livin’- like a piss or somethin’.
He pulls the trigger, generally seems
happiest when the bullet’s cuttin’
space`tween his gun and the soon
departed. Ya see, I bet he’s able
to fancy bullets in the air – their spin,
the friction they whittle against
a frosty night. And he watches
`em nestle right into the flesh
he meant `em for. Kinda how a hen
plops her eggs right where
she wants `em. Wonder if he cares
for the dead’s spirits like a chicken
cares for her chicks. Maybe that’s who
he’s talkin’ to when he seems
to be talkin’ to nothin’ but a wind
tangled in his horse’s hair.