Jesse Jr. was the son of the famous Jesse Woodson James, Civil War soldier and notorious train robber, and Zerelda Mimms James. Growing up in Tennessee and Missouri, Jesse went by an alias, "Tim Edwards" or "Tim Howard" (accounts differ although Howard seems to be the better documented choice) as his entire family had assumed false names because Jesse Sr. was wanted by the law. "Tim" later became his nickname, even after the family came out of hiding. Jesse was at the family farm at Saint Joseph, Missouri, with his sister and mother when Jesse Sr. was shot by Robert Ford.
Jesse Jr. married Stella McGowan on 2 Jan 1900 in Kansas City, Missouri, in the parlor of his mother's house because she was too ill to leave the house for the wedding. Zerelda James died the following November, eleven months later.
Jesse and Stella were the parents of four daughters: Lucille Martha, Josephine Frances, Jessie Estelle, and Ethel Rose James.
After his father was killed when Jesse was seven, he was thrust into the role of trying to support his family from an early age. He was able to open a cigar and tobacco store in the lobby of the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City, Missouri. Supposedly one of his customers at the cigar store was future president Harry Truman. When he was able to afford help at the store he began studying law and graduated from law school in 1907. He sold the cigar business and opened a law office in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1926 and opened a law practice there.
An odd incident occurred in 1898 (I am guessing before he opened the cigar store) when Jesse was arrested for the robbery of a Missouri Pacific train. He stood trial the following year and was acquitted of all charges.
Jesse Jr. wrote a book about his famous father which was called Jesse James, My Father and was published in 1899.
In 1920 he was approached to do a series of films about his famous father, which were released as Jesse James as the Outlaw and Jesse James Under the Black Flag in 1921. The films were a financial failure and Jesse, who had been persuaded to invest in them, ended up selling his home to pay back his friends and acquaintances who had also invested in the films and lost money.
Jesse left his law practice for a year and after he returned he had a nervous breakdown, presumably from the financial pressure he was under. He was able to return to work again for two years but it seems as if his emotional health may have suffered a permanent blow from all the reverses he had suffered.
Jesse also owned a restaurant in California called "The Jesse James Inn".
He died at the age of 75 in either Glendale or Los Angeles, California.
Stella Frances McGowan James
1882–1971 (m. 1900)