• Cannon Cooley

H&H Week 4: Devil's Gulch.

This is the fourth Humans&Harmonies (H&H) blog post. Every Friday, another H&H blog post will be released. Each post will have an associated song that you can watch and listen to via YouTube. The songs are written from a perspective other than my own. This week the song is written from the perspective of Jesse James, a famous criminal with an interesting story at the Devil's Gulch, which I visited on my trip! Click HERE to listen to this week's song called "Devil's Gulch."


The lyrics to "Devil's Gulch." are at the bottom of this page for reference.


“I was raised in the Lil' Dixie region of Missouri. My pops was a Baptist preacher, and I robbed banks. He died in 1850, when I was only three. I learned quickly how to fend for myself. I was shot in the chest twice. I fought against the Union during and after the Civil War… damn bastards. I was betrayed many times, but I never get caught.”


Jesse James, the legend himself.

The legend of Devil’s Gulch is the legend of Jesse James, the notorious bank robber of the late 1800s. Jesse and his brother, Frank, served for the Confederate army during the Civil War. After the war officially ended the brothers continued to fight in the unofficial militia’s that remained in existence for years to come. The Confederate fighters were known as Bushwhackers, while the Union fighters were known as Jayhawkers.

Eventually, it was clear that there would be no reversing the outcome of the war. Jesse and Frank were lost without something clear to fight for. They decided to test their war-ridden skillset on a new lifestyle: crime.




The James brothers entered many criminal gangs, and often used their leadership skills to earn titles of authority. Eventually, they had control of their own gang which focused on robbing trains, wagons, and banks. Soon, they became well known as the most wanted criminals in the region. The governor of Missouri put numerous awards out for their capture, which gave them national fame.


The James' gangs often looted trains, as pictured here.

Despite the brutality of their crimes, which often included murder, the brothers became Robin Hood-like folklore across the country. However, there is no evidence that they ever shared any of their loot with the poor, or with ANYONE for that matter.


Their luck would run out after failing to rob a bank in Northfield, MN in 1876. Much of the gang was killed in the scuffle, but the brothers escaped. The town security chased the gang all the way to Garretson, SD. Here, the brothers were met by a 20 foot ravine. They decided to split up, attempting to confuse their pursuers. Frank galloped along the river westward, while Jesse looked for a safe place to cross.


The pursuers soon found Jesse, cornering him against the steep cliff of the river. As legend has it, Jesse coaxed up his horse and galloped toward the ledge of the gorge, and jumped the 20 feet — successfully separating him from his pursuers for good.



Lyrics:


they call me jesse james

i ain't no robin hood

bounty on my name

jayhawkers wish they could


lil' dixie missouri

oh, you raised me mean

point the gun at the money

share with nobody


'til the day i die

my brother by my side

we'll always get away


oh you can chase me down to the gulch of the devil

but i'll jump jump, jump jump

and then i'll get away

with a smirk on my face


oh you can chase me to the gulch of the devil

but i'll jump jump, jump jump

and then i'll get away

the great escape


Devil's Gulch pictured from the river below... now they have a convenient bridge so there's no need to jump!

#cannoncooley #memorybox #devilsgulch #HandH #singersongwriter #originalsong

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