The Tracy Family History
this is the family tree of Annie Ralston; the seven generations of Annie Ralston
Michael Woods Sr., of Blair Park, married Lady Mary Campbell. They had a son...
Col. John (Jake) Woods (a very methodical man) who married Susannah Anderson (The 12-year-old beauty.) They had a daughter...
Anna Woods who married Jonathan (or John) N. Reid. They had a daughter...
Susannah Anderson Reid married Benjamin Moberly. They had a daughter...
Ann Moberly married Adam Hill. They had a daughter...
Mary Catherine Hill (2nd wife) married Samuel Ralston. They had a daughter...
Anna Ralston married Alexander Frank James
brother to, Jesse
"When I was about nine years old, my grandmother decided to join the D.A.R. and cast about among her relatives for the necessary details as to her lineage. She found William Harris Miller (the eminent genealogists) in Richmond, KY. He gave her a copy of his recently published book (1906) and two scrolls, showing the immigrant ancestors of the Woods and Wallace families, the first being 14 feet long and the second 6 (actually 10) feet long, all full of names with lines to their children and then more lines etc.
I was entranced and started at the top and traced every line and read every name. On the Woods scroll, about a foot or so from the beginning and three fourths of the way down the page, I came across the entry "Annie Ralsto"' married Frank James, brother to Jesse.
I yelled ‘Grandma, grandma, are these the ones?’ She came over to the table to see what I was talking about, read it, and said ‘I don't see why he had to put them in there!’ Thus, left-handily answering my question in the affirmative. I asked if she knew them. She replied that she was not that old, her mother knew them. ‘Plain white trash, I don't know why he had to put them in here!’
-- from our cousin, Scott F. Hosier, Jr., Indianapolis, IN, 2 February 2002
This is the fascinating tale told by Scott, from a child's memory of an event that happened more than 70 years ago. As I came closer to publication, I had Scott go up into his attic, dust off the scrolls and transcribe from them. This is the genealogy that appears at the beginning of this story.
It is understandable that his memory would fade in time because Jesse died in 1882, then Frank in 1915, and his wife Annie in 1944. Scott's mother, grandmother, and great grandmother would have all lived in the time frame wherein they could have known the James family. That is, assuming that one or more of them had lived in the same area, or had visited.
However, the story is so colorful that I had to include it.
Frank went by his middle name. This was not unusual for the times. Jesse has gone down in history as the more famous of the two, but Frank was usually by his side during most of their adventures.
Alexander Franklin James was four years older than Jessie and would introduce him to the business. Frank was born on the family farm near Kearney, Missouri a few miles north of Independence. (Or maybe it was not on the farm but a short distance away?)
It was not a poor family. The four Younger boys lived not too far away. The Younger's father was considered wealthy.
Frank's daddy was a preacher who went to the gold fields in California and died there. Frank's mother would have a second husband who died, and then a third who lived.
The family was ardent Confederates, with Frank joining the militia at age 18 when the Civil War started. Soon he joined the guerrilla band headed by Quantrill. Then he brought his younger brother into the band. By observing the Cherokee Indians, Quantrill had learned the guerrilla tactics of using small bodies of men to make surprise, lightening fast raids, then disappearing.
They were vicious. The excesses of the guerrillas shocked even the regular Confederate soldiers. Of all the men that he trained; including the Youngers and Bloody Bill Anderson, Quantrill noticed that Jesse was the best.
When the war ended, the two brothers were still alive, although Jesse was shot in the chest while riding under a white flag to surrender. This wound would plague him for the rest of his life.
The guerrilla fighting in Missouri during the war was vicious and the people, especially the combatants, were used to a violent way of life. The brothers could have settled down on a farm like everyone else. But they chose another course, which would make them famous, and me an author of short stories.
The James brothers were not the only outlaws in America, but they had a one-man Public Relations Department. His name was John Newman Edwards, editor for the local Kansas City Times. He was a heavy drinker, which made his stories of the James brothers to be flights of fancy. The brothers were portrayed to be courageous, noble, even Robin Hoods. Of course, they were innocent. (In reality, the James brothers would make Al Capone look like a choirboy. Whereas Capone would usually kill for a reason, the James brothers would often kill without reason.)
So effective was this free advertising that more than 270-dime novels would be written with Jesse James as the hero. (Frank had considerably less pulp fiction written about him.) Jesse reveled in the spotlight. Like John Gotti he loved the attention. While Frank, being more humble, and bookish (delighting in quoting Shakespeare) stayed more in the background.
Many books, articles, movies, etc.… have been written about the James brothers. It is a long, complex, and fascinating story. There is no need for me to repeat what you can find at your local library.
The law tried to capture the brothers for 16 years without success. Jesse would be killed in one of the countries' more fascinating assassinations. Frank simply turned himself in and was tried several times, but always acquitted. (The prosecutor was named William Wallace.) It is said that the final trial received more publicity than the trial of the man who assassinated President McKinley.
Now comes our story. For in 1874 Frank married Annie Ralston. (She also went by the name Ann and Anna.) She was our cousin, perhaps not that distant. From our cousin Mildred Bailey in Leeton, MO, we find that not only does Mildred's family tradition say that we are related to the James family, but Mildred has even had their descendants sleep over at her house. It is common knowledge among our Missouri cousins that we are related to the James families. We are not that far removed from history, although I do not think our Missouri cousins are aware of the Annie Ralston connection until now.
Annie was well educated with a college degree in both science and literature. Later, she would be a teacher. She came from a well-to-do family; just wasn't the type you would expect to marry a bank robber, trainer robber, and so-on-and-so-forth.
One day she told her father she was going to visit relatives in Omaha and Kansas City. She left their home in Independence and somehow met Frank James, in the area of Kansas City, and eloped. She was thoughtful enough to send a letter to her parents informing them that she had married and "…was going West."
They had the worse fear of all parents in those times, the fear that she had run off with a gambler. Then her brother returned from a trip to Kansas City and told them who she married, the infamous…
The father disowned her, for awhile, it is said.
After being honorably freed of all crimes by the Missouri juries, the now certified-innocent Frank, his wife Annie, and their one son, Robert, moved around a lot. Frank took a variety of menial jobs, which didn't seem to bother him. He even gave a try as a showman.
The two got along very well. Annie was highly literate and Frank, an avid reader who always carried books in his saddle bags while being chased by the law.
Most of his later years were spent in poor health. He died on the farm in 1915. He was cremated for fear his body would be abused by souvenir hunters. Annie, and her son, with his wife, May also finished their lives on the farm.
Cousin Annie said of her Frank James, "No better husband ever lived."
He was our cousin too, by a strange marriage.
“George Washington slept here.” This is a phrase we all have heard. More than any other American, George Washington has more historic buildings that have been saved in his honor than any other American; second in line was Abraham Lincoln; and third our famous Jessie James, and family. Not just in Missouri, but across America, frontier buildings have been preserved because of their connection to Jesse James. These include his house of birth, the banks he robbed, and etc.... There are markers across the nation commemorating where members of their family slept, trains robbed, even their jail cells. This now brings us to the Jessie James Farm Museum.
Annie would die on the farm in 1944, at the ripe old age of 91. Her body and the ashes of her husband are interred at the Hill Park Cemetery, located at Noland and 23rd Street in Independence, Missouri. On the marker the names for posterity are Alexander F. and Ann Ralston, under the heading "James."
The farm then passed to their only son who died in 1959. He had no children, so the farm then passed to Jesse’s grandchildren. This famous Farm was purchased by Clay County in 1978, and is now a world-famous museum. Don’t get this museum confused with the equally famous Jesse James Home (Museum) in St. Joseph, Missouri.
The farm address: 21216 Jesse James Farm Road, Kearney, MO 64060. Open daily.
This pedigree was hard to trace and difficult to understand. So I have included the research information.
As I told you before, there is in Indianapolis an old house with two old scrolls in an old attic, in possession of an old cousin. These scrolls were hand-drawn by the famous genealogist, William Harris Miller. I talked our Cousin Scott Hosier Jr., into walking up to the attic, dusting off the scrolls and transcribing the information.
Jim, My memory was indeed faulty. The scroll reads:
"Anna Ralston m Frank James (brother to Jesse James)
Rowena Hill m Mr. Ralston
she was daughter of Anna Moberly who married Adam Hill
she was daughter of Susanna Anderson Reid
who first married Benjamin Moberly
she was daughter of Anna Woods who married Jonathan Reid
she was daughter of Col. Jake Woods who married Susannah Anderson
she was a sister of Sarah Woods who married Joseph Lapsley and of Martha
Woods who married Peter Wallace Jr. And of Magdalen Woods who married John
McDowell and then Benjamin Borden Jr (of the 95,000 acre Borden Grant) and
of Col William Woods who married Susannah Wallace (my ancestor) and several
other of the children of Col. Michael Woods and Lady Mary Campbell. That is
what the scroll says and I have no further knowledge of the genealogy
recited above except that my grandmother, Lillian Leona Woods, said that her mother
knew the James’. The scrolls were the
handiwork of William Harris Miller who wrote a new history of the family,
incorporating newly found information."
Besides Scott and myself, no one else knows these scrolls exist.
Pedigree provided to me by the Jesse James Farm Museum:
Samuel Ralston b Sep 4, 1819 d Jan 2, 1899
First wife: Sarah A (Jordan) D July 20, 1846
children from first wife: John b 1838
Rowena b 1839 d 1851
Second wife: Mary Catherine Hill Dau of Adam Hill m Feb 5, 1847
Fedora born Feb 9, 1848
Anna jan 25, 1853
Adam Aug 29, 1855
William H. July 14, 1858
Katherine Jan 4, 1860
Harry M. May 25, 1862
Margaret Woodson Jan 7, 1867
There appears to be some confusion with the name Rowena. The scroll shows her to be the mother and information from the Farm Museum shows Rowena to be a half-sister. There maybe some confusion and mistakes, but the connection is definitely there.
The Farm staff tells me that they have enough information on Annie Ralston that could take me a week to research at the museum.
Not only were our people intermarried with the James families but also the Youngers. (The two gangs rode together.) Here are some snippets of information from some of our cousins:
"My grandmother, Siotha (the 100 year old) her sister Amelia...her sister Louisa married Rogers...Their grandchildren married Youngers around 1900 and after."
"Lynn..said she is interested in what you can tell her about James since she remembers the James Boys used to visit her Wood(s?) in Alabama."
"The Youngers lived close to the James and Trumans."
“In regards to ------ Wallace: He wrote an article about his Wallace ancestors and how they resided in this Beverly Acres. (That would be the Mighty Beverly Land Grant.) His Wallace ancestors mig. up to Cooper Co., MO not far from me. He mentioned his Wallaces were intermarried and relate to the Cole Younger family and lived in Cooper Co. His story really caught my attention because I always swore my Wallaces were tied to the Jesse James family, because they always seemed to be in the same places as the James gang and from what I had learned some were just as wild. I walked a cemetery while there (Cooper Co.) and found a few familiar graves, also graves next to each other of the Wallace and Youngers."
Two side stories
We go far back in my story to Order Number 11 (chapter 8)). Frank James tells the story about a man he knew who made a fortune going into the "Burnt District" and rounding up abandoned cattle. "A high toned cattle thief."
Granddad Tracy told me this story (I don't know if it is true or not, or if he was just kidding.) He tells about being 12 years old and on a train. The man sitting next to him said,
"Do you know who that man is sitting over there reading a paper?"
Granddad said, "No."
"That is Frank James."
Granddad goes over to him and ask,
"Are you Frank James?"
He looked up from his paper and said, "Yes."
"Well, hell. You don't look no different from anyone else."
"That's right," and he went back to reading his paper.
I am taking a different approach to the story of Annie Ralston because it is such a different story...and she such a different person. I told you previously that I have a hobby of handwriting analysis. The Jesse James Farm Museum was good enough to provide me with a copy of a two-page letter written by Annie in 1927. From a graphology viewpoint it is fascinating. I include just a few sentences.
The return address. Notice the dashes between 1421--E--10th. 10th and 14th are highly elaborated with a slash under the th, then " under the th. This is unusual, but more significant when the rest of her writing is taken into consideration.
She constantly uses periods where commas should be, and commas where periods should be, and places both commas and periods in the middle of nowhere, where they should not be. (are well . how fortunate . you were / was . run) Because this is a photocopy of a letter it is difficult to tell if these are periods or commas. Nonetheless, they are where they are not supposed to be. (well . how) She does not capitalize at the beginning of a new sentence.
Look closely at the word Tis. She uses 2 dots over the letter i. (Again, me . then) She does not capitalize the first word in the sentence, Then.
Notice the long spaces between sentences; fall. ______________One time; and Mo. _________ Mr & Mrs. She has even longer spaces in the letter.
The height in the J of James is considerably lower than the A's in Aunt and Anna. This means she does not like the name James. She does not consider herself James, or Mrs. James, or Mrs. Frank James. She considers herself Annie, or Anna, or Ann.
Interpretation of the handwriting of Anna Ralston
Besides what I have pointed out, there is more to her writing, which takes training to understand. She has a good deal of organization and control, which she uses constantly and successfully to control an unstable mind.
In 30 years I have only once seen a sample of handwriting where the person placed periods in the middle of nowhere. I have never seen periods for commas, and commas for periods, also placed nowhere.
Remember, this is a highly educated woman with a college degree in science and literature. She is from a refined family with high social status. She was a schoolteacher. Yet she does these strange things, including the failure to capitalize the first word of a new sentence.
I have seen a professional interpretation of this type of handwriting, which is: This is not normal. This is not a normal person. This is a person who has no respect for social norms. This is a person who is outside of society. Considering whom she married...
When a person does something "odd" in their
handwriting it means that the person is odd. Cousin Annie Ralston does many
"odd" things in her handwriting.
"Oh, they were wonderful people," says Cousin Mildred Bailey. "Their daddy was a preacher. They had problems when they robbed that bank in Minnesota."
Footnote to history: There was one other notorious person in American history who had the same characteristic of placing punctuations in odd places in his handwriting. That person was...Jesse James.
My family history web site has 79 chapters. If you would like to know more about the other chapters then go to my Home Page www.thetracyfamilyhistory.net