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The Probable Jesse James Is Reburied

From Associated Press

Thanks to modern science, Jesse James may finally rest in peace.

The remains of the notorious outlaw were carried by horse-drawn hearse Saturday to his grave on a wind-swept slope at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Preliminary DNA tests concluded last month that scraps of bone and strands of hair exhumed from the grave probably belonged to James, who was shot by a gang member in 1882 at age 34. The tests were aimed at resolving lingering doubts over who was buried in the grave.

“We say farewell to Jesse James and hope to let him rest in peace,” Robert L. Hawkins III told a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 600 at the service. Hawkins, a past national commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was the lead organizer of the funeral.

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About a dozen people dressed in Confederate-era uniforms took turns standing honor guard over the closed casket, draped in a Confederate flag.

James rode as a Confederate guerrilla during the Civil War before he began his murderous spree of bank and train robberies.

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Sermons, prayers and hymns--including James’ favorite, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus"--highlighted the program at the Knights of Columbus Community Center.

After the service, two horses pulled the glass-enclosed, white hearse to the cemetery in Kearney, 20 miles northeast of Kansas City. The remains were exhumed in July.

Six great-grandchildren of James attended the service, including James Ross, a retired California judge. “This is something which has warmed my heart,” he said.

James was first buried in his mother’s yard to discourage grave robbers. The remains were reburied in 1902 next to his wife at Mt. Olivet.

James Starrs, the George Washington University professor who led the team that opened the grave, said final DNA results won’t be announced until Feb. 23.

However, Starrs said there was no reason to delay the funeral.

“All factors are in favor of its being Jesse, although our final tests haven’t confirmed that,” Starrs said.


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