Volume 7, Number 8 - Summer 1981

Did Frank James Kill Isom Day?
As Told to Lucille Chrisman

Did Frank James Kill Isom Day, the grandfather of Oscar Day Chrisman, former Senior Engineer of the Missouri State Highway Department. This is the story as told by Oscar to Lucille Chrisman:

"Isom Day, father of Mary, my mother, lived in that part of Greene County which is now Christian County. They were Union sympathizers, living in a community of Southerners. There was a drouth in Missouri and they were short of corn. They moved to Kansas but there was drouth there also so they returned in the fall.

"Isom and a son went on White River to Roark Creek that runs into White at Branson, Missouri, to get a load of corn. They HAD corn. The crop was a failure in Kansas and parts of Missouri.

"When coming back, a bunch of Baldknobbers captured Isom and the son, -I don’t remember which son,-and took them to the mouth of Roark and tried them in a bunch of timber and found Isom NOT guilty. They confiscated the team and wagon and the load of corn. Frank James was visiting with those Baldknobbers. They let Isom go and he went by Roark Creek to cross on the foot-log to go over to a house where there was a light. Frank James got up and walked to the foot-log. There was a revolver shot. Frank came back and reloaded his revolver with one bullet.

"Within ten days, men dragged the creek for another man and found Isom’s body. He had been shot off the foot-log and there was a bullet hole in his head. Isom’s son ran off and did not get caught.

"Isom’s family continued to live in what is now Christian County." His wife was a former Miss Bigelow.

"The Day family’s name in Ireland was "O’Day," but when they dropped the Catholic religion they dropped the "O" from their name and went to Wales. They were not there very long until they came to this country."

Author’s Note: Oscar is now 97, having been born July 1, 1884, and resides at Mercy Villa in Springfield, Missouri. His mother, Mary Day Chrisman, (wife of John Maloney Chrisman), lived to be 93 or 94. She was a sprightly tiny lady who often spoke in rhyme. She told me that Days brought their furniture on a flat-boat down the Ohio and White rivers. Fifty years ago she gave me peonies and shrubs from her home on S. Jefferson Ave., in Springfield, that were the beginning of my friendship garden.


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