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June 03

Jesse James robs the Obocock Bank in 1871.

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Jesse James robs the Obocock Bank in 1871.

Grades 3 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event





Jesse James and his gang robbed the Obocock Bank on June 3, 1871, getting away with $15,000. Shortly after the Civil War, Jesse and his gang robbed banks and trains throughout most of the central states. Although never confirmed, he has been called the Robin Hood of the West for robbing from the rich to give to the poor.




A fun way to learn about American history is through folk songs. Invite students to listen to the midi file as they read the lyrics and related information about Jesse James.

  • How did the songwriter feel about Jesse James?
  • Do they think the words to this song are true?
  • Talk about the reputation Jesse James had as the Robin Hood of the West. Was James a hero or a no-good murderer and thief?

Invite students to research James' life then write new folk songs about James or any other famous outlaw from the Old West. They can use the original melody or a contemporary one. Distribute the words to the songs and have a class sing-a-long as a culminating celebration.





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