Jesse and Frank James in Box Station Tennessee
The James' were known for riding Dun horses. In the link below it says that the best way to identify a Dun horse is by the dark stripe that runs down the center of their back from their mane to their tail. You can see this trait on the hindquarters of the second horse back in the photo proving that these are Dun horse. Dun horses range in color from tan to dark red which is probably the color that these horses are. It is impossible to tell in this type of photograph.
Box Station, Tennessee - The Ellison Collection
This photo is identified on the back as being taken in Box Station, Tennessee. Box Station is a long distinct town in Tennessee that had a post office for a few years in the late 1870's and early 1880's. This being at the same time that Jesse James lived in Box Station, Tennessee. Jesse James actually wrote a letter and gave his address as Box Station, Tennessee. Jesse farmed and ran racehorses at the Bloodhorse Race Track in Nashville while he lived in Box Station. Jesse's twins were born in Box Station, Tennessee and there they were buried in his yard. Frank and Jesse can be seen in this photo standing behind the horses. Frank on the left with the beard and Jesse in the Bowler hat. Their wives were probably in the crowd.
Link to a letter written by J. D. Howard (Jesse James) while living in Box Station Tennessee:
Box Station Post Office Record, Page 9:
Link to Robertus Love's book THE RISE AND FALL OF JESSE JAMES in which he interviews a man that was Jesse James' neighbor in Box Station, Tennessee. He mentions that Jesse James raised race horses and had a race track on his property at Box Station where this photo was taken. In the photo you can see two men holding what appears to be racing programs in their hands. Racing programs are long, narrow booklets that list the horses names and odds that are to race in the days events:
Link to Settle's book that talks about the letters written from Box Station, Tennessee:
Historical Marker at Box Station placed by the Tennessee Historical Commission
On 12-27-07 I traveled to Waverly, Tennessee to see the Jesse James Farm. While there I asked the locals about Box Station and showed them the photo. One of the men looked at it and said "That was taken down by Duck River at the end of Box Hollow Road where they used to sell horses on the Wagoner place. See where the creek runs between the tree lines." He then directed me to the exact spot where the photo was taken. Much to my surprise it is only one and a half miles from the Jesse James Farm. The old store where the post office was is still standing and Jesse was known to have mailed a letter from there. I took the present day photo of the area with the 1878 photo in the foreground.
Box Station Post Office and Store