Decatur in Wise County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Old Campsite of Jesse and Frank James
(Approximately 1 mi. south)
Famous western frontier outlaws, who had many Texas hideouts along a line from the Rio Grande to the Red River. The camps—extending into Missouri, their home state—were used for hiding stolen horses until posses could be thrown off the trail. The campsites were sometimes known to scattered settlers, who feared or befriended the bandits.
Also, friendly with the James brothers (and also operating sometimes in Texas) were fellow Missouri outlaws, Cole Younger and "Bandit Queen" Belle Starr.
This was an era of widespread lawlessness in Texas. Billy the Kid roamed into West Texas. The Daltons, John Wesley Hardin, Cullen Baker, Bill Longley, Sam Bass and many others found it easy to kill and rob and then hid in wild areas where they were beyond the reach of local officers, and food was plentiful.
After Reconstruction ended in 1874, Texas Rangers were reorganized, to restore respect for the law. Given special powers, in 1889-90 they arrested 579 wanted men (including 76 alleged murderers). Jesse James and some other notorious bad men by then were dead. Frank, reformed, worked as a salesman in Dallas,
Erected 1967 by State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 3700.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • Law Enforcement • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Jesse James series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1874.
Location. 33° 14.665′ N, 97° 29.986′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Texas, in Wise County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 380 and Renshaw-Beal Road (County Highway 2311), on the right when traveling east on U.S. 380. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Decatur TX 76234, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dr. William Renshaw (a few steps from this marker); St. John Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 4˝ miles away); East Side Elementary School (approx. 4˝ miles away); Texas Tourist Camp Complex (approx. 4.7 miles away); The S. W. Tilghman House (approx. 4.9 miles away); Decatur First United Methodist Church (approx. 5 miles away); Old Stone Prison (approx. 5 miles away); Wise County Messenger (approx. 5.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Decatur.
Additional keywords. outlaws
Credits. This page was last revised on August 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 20, 2017, by James R. Murray of Elkton, Florida. This page has been viewed 883 times since then and 249 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 2, 2020, by Kayla Harper of Dallas, Texas. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.