Jesse James
Live the Legend – Learn the History


The Jesse James Birthplace & Museum houses the world’s largest collection of James family artifacts and is the original burial site of the legendary outlaw. Jesse’s boldness and flamboyance as a bank and train robber, combined with sensational publicity from newspapers and dime novels made him a household name. Visitors will enjoy a twenty-minute movie that recaps the history of Frank and Jesse James before, during and after the Civil War. The museum has three galleries of artifacts. Included in the museum are guns, Jesse’s boots, and Frank James’ surrender letter.

Guests will then step back in time – the time when the legend began. Guests will follow the paved winding trail to the cabin and walk along the creek where, as young boys, Frank and Jesse spent much of their time playing in the water.

After the famous outlaw was murdered, his mother gave tours of the farm and sold rocks from Jesse’s grave for 25 cents. The legend continues today from the friendly and knowledgeable staff. The Jesse James Birthplace has welcomed visitors from all over the world who come to “Live the Legend and Learn the History” of the two most famous American outlaws – Frank and Jesse.

Jesse James Birthplace

Jesse James, son of a Baptist minister, was born at the family home in Kearney, Missouri, in 1847. Barely 16, he followed his older brother, Frank, into the Civil War. While Frank was a member of Quantrill’s guerillas, Jesse rode with Bloody Bill Anderson. When the war ended, Jesse returned home and joined other former Confederate guerillas in a life of outlawry.

Jesse’s boldness and flamboyance as a bank and train robber, combined with sensational publicity from newspapers and dime novels, soon made his a household name.

A tour through the restored home will take visitors back to where the legend began.  Before walking the trail to the farmhouse, a twenty minute movie recaps the history of Frank and Jesse James and exploits of the outlaws.  The museum displays the world’s largest collection of James family artifacts.  Jesse’s boots and Frank’s surrender letter tend to captivate visitors.  Guests then follow the paved winding trail to the farmhouse and walk along the creek where, as young boys, Frank and Jesse spent much of their time playing.  In the yard of the family home is Jesse’s original burial site, the place where his mother once sold souvenir rocks from his grave for twenty five cents.

Upon completion of the tour guests will want to browse the museum’s gift shop.  A wide variety of books relating to the period are available as well as t-shirts, mugs, and many other souvenir keepsakes.

For more information or to schedule a tour, call us at (816)736-8500.

Jesse James’ Birthplace is owned and operated by the Department of Clay County Historic Sites.

A wheelchair is available for your use.

Note: RVs and semi trailer cabs can fit through our gate. However semis with containers or flatbeds attached cannot.