Jesse James is known to have been responsible for a lot of robberies during his era, but the loot he took from a Missouri train is thought to be one of the grandest of them all and it's never been found. Or, has it? There's a new claim that at least some of the gold from the Gads Hill train robbery from January 31, 1874 has been located.

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This is the result of a rabbit trail I found myself on while researching Jesse James recently. Historynet tells the story of the infamous Gads Hill Train Robbery on January 31, 1874. As the story goes, the train route on that day traveling through Gads Hill, Missouri was not expected to be eventful. It was a normally just a brief mail stop and sometimes not even that. Train slowing down to pick up and drop off mail bags. However, on January 31, 1874, there would also be a passenger stop made in Gads Hill. 5 men were waiting and Jesse James and part of his gang are widely believed to have been part of them.

Ronald H. Beights wrote in his account in Wild West Magazine that as the small train pulled into Gads Hill, Missouri, there was a masked man on the platform waving a red flag. Trouble. The account from that robbery was the beginning of tales told about Jesse James and his gang robbing from rich passengers and distributing to the poor. That likely did happen except for the giving to the poor part.

Jesse James, Library of Congress
Jesse James, Library of Congress

There is a new story by Discovery that someone claims to have found the following:

he discovered a large bundle of paper money, a muzzleloading rifle, and a treasure trove of old coins

The claim is that it amounted to nearly $100,000 current value tied directly to the Gads Hill, Missouri train robbery. But, they say that the truth was closer to just a few coins and a gun. Curious.

The new article documents other reported discoveries in Oklahoma and Minnesota with gold bars among the loot recovered. The problem is they're only claims and stories and not evidence that can be examined by the authorities who can prove the origin of what's been found.

Is this something that we'll soon learn the details of proving the Gads Hill, Missouri loot was real after all or just another tall tale in the lore of Jesse James? Let's hope it's finally something solid and not fabricated.

Jesse James Farm in Kearney, Missouri

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