"Jesse James Spared Him,” Christian County (Missouri) Republican, August 10, 1899, 1
"Ex-State Auditor Van B. Prather of Galena was in Topeka the other day and while in conversation with some old friends, the suicide of Tobe Stapp of Webb City, Mo., several years ago was mentioned. This recalled to Prather a recollection of the suicide’s brother, R.B. Stapp, notorious 20 years ago as Dick Stapp.
"'For a number of years Dick Stapp lived in the Short Creek lead-mining regions near Galena. Stapp became notorious in connection with Jesse James gang and lived in Granby, Mo., where he kept a saloon. The James gang had designed to raid the vaults of the Granby Mining Company and took Stapp into the enterprise. At the same time they planned the Otterville train robbery. Stapp weakened at the last moment and told the officers of the plot. Afterward at the trial of the only of the Otterville robbers who was arrested, Stapp was the principal witness for the state and the man was sent to the penitentiary. Stapp was compelled to leave Granby by fear of assassination. He came to Short Creek and then opened a saloon in Galena.
"One night a man wearing blue goggles and a slouch hat well down over his face appeared and called for a drink. It was given him and as he paid for it he said 'Your name is Dick Stapp. Do you know who I am?'
"'I believe I do,' replied Stapp, at the same time reaching for a pistol behind the bar.
“'I am quicker than you are, as you ought to know,' exclaimed the stranger, producing a revolver from his overcoat pocket. 'But I have not come to shoot you. This is a mission of peace. I want you to be out of the way when we give ourselves up to the authorities. If you are not, some of us will put you out of the way.'
“'All right,' said Stapp. With that, the stranger walked out of the house. It was Jesse James.
"Soon after that Stapp went out of the saloon business and engaged in mining, but he was a consumptive and a short time before Frank James surrendered he went to California where he died, thus depriving the state of the only witness who could connect Frank James with the Otterville affair. --Chicago Inter Ocean"
Jesse James: The Last Rebel of the Civil War by T.J. Stiles is part of our Big Read program and there will be a book discussion on April 13 at the Library Center. Our catalog has other James related titles.
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