Jim Cummins


Jim Cummins

Alias: James A. Cummins, James Robert Cummings, James H. Cunnieus, James Johnson

DoB:  January 31, 1846

Kearney, Clay County, Missouri

Died:  July 11, 1929

Confederate Veterans Home, Higginsville, MO

CoD: Died by natural causes/old age.

(Birth and death dates based on newspaper obituary the day he died.)

Height:  6ft 3″

Weight: 225lbs

Head Shape: Oval form

Eyes: Blue

Right eyelid covers top of pupil, sags outward.

Left eyelid sags level over the pupil.

Ears: Right side smaller, Left earlobe blunted.

Nose: Left nostril slightly larger, right side flatter.

Mouth: Larger sized with strong archer’s bow upper lip.

Chin: Broad round jaw line.

Shoulders: Slight downward slope.

Military Services: Confederate States of America

CO: Colonel Calhoun Thornton / Lt. Fletcher Taylor’s Company

Jim Cummins was born and raised in Clay County, Missouri near Frank and Jesse James. They were close friends and joined the Confederate Partisan Rangers. Jesse served under Captain Bill Anderson and Lt. Arch Clemens, Jim Cummins in Fletch Taylor’s new outfit. After the war they former a criminal enterprise of robbing banks, Stagecoach lines, railroad express cars and passengers.

Youngers, McCarty’s, Cummins and Fords / RJ Pastore Collection

The Quantrell Raiders roster lists a James A. Cummins and a James Robert Cummings. They are likely the same person under an alias. He was a founding member of the James-Younger Gang under their rebel commander, Arch Clemens. Jim Cummins posses with the early gang above, sitting on the far right. Below Jim is seated front and center with his hand on the lapel, symbolizing his membership in the KGC.

Jim Cummins with the Younger;s, Ford brothers, Doc Holiday and Co. / RJ Pastore Collection

Jim Cummins with the Younger;s, Ford brothers, Doc Holiday and Co. / RJ Pastore Collection


Jim Cummins Ellison Collection

Jim Cummins / Guthrie Collection http://adaguthrie.blogspot.com/

The gang was the first organized crime ring supported by a vast network of former rebels, Confederate sympathizers, family relations and above all the clandestine agents of the Knights of the Golden Circle. Their masonic lodges began splintering in to other orders like the IOOF, Odd Fellows, Templar Knights, Scottish Rite Masons and the Knights of Pythias.

Jim Cummins standing on the far right with the same group above just a few years later.

Jim Cummins standing on the far right with the same group above just a few years later. / RJ Pastore Collection

These KGC members and citizen supporters assumed positions of authority within the reconstructed postwar American. The Governor of Ohio stated after the war the his State was, “now firmly in the hand of the Confederacy”. An odd statement for a seated Governor of a Northern State about an entity that was dissolved and disbanded by that time. But it became apparent the many of the States in the North supported the South before, during and after the War.

Jim Cummins / Cantly Meyers Collection -Reversed

Jim Cummins / Cantly Meyers Collection -Reversed


Congress held secret hearings and published three sets of 36 volume books on their investigation into the southern subversion. These books were kept secret and sealed for 90 years. By the time they were published in the 1940’s the KGC had effectively faded behind the vale of secrecy. In fact, the only public wing was the KKK, which had enjoyed a favorable public image in that era. Membership had flourished and numbered in the five million range. Even President Truman acknowledged his part in the group during his presidential campaign. The origin of the KGC under Albert Pike was called Clu Clos, Latin for “Closed Club” or secret group. This was later written as Klu Klux Klan.


Jim Cummins / RJ Pastore Collection

Jim Cummins / RJ Pastore Collection



James Robert Cummings Missouri Valley Special Collections, KC Library, KC, MO

James R. Cummins / Missouri Valley Collection / KC MO Library


Jim Cummins spent his final years at the Civil War Veteran’s Home in Higginsville, Missouri. He made several attempts to publish the accounts of his life and times with the James-Younger gang.

Jim Cummins wrote a book about his outlaw years, “Jim Cummins’ Book Written by Himself, The Life Story of the James and Younger Gang and Their Comrades, Including the Operations of Quantrell’s Guerrillas, By One Who Rode With Them: A True But Terrible Tale of Outlawry” (1903)

Read an excerpt here: http://adaguthrie.blogspot.com/

Cummins’ second book, Jim Cummins The Guerilla (1908) is quite scarce as well. 


But his renditions were largely dismissed as fictional accounts. He was never officially charged with any crimes and it now appears, may have gone entirely legit.

A few closing thoughts on Jim Cummins regarding the other man mentioned at the top of the page.

Here are three subject who surfaced in profiling this case.  Jim Cummins on the left is the known James Gang member. The center subject is John A. Cummings. And the man on the right is William A. Cummins. They share similar names and have a close resemblance. This profile will remain open for further research below.


Jim Cummins / RJ Pastore Collection

Jim Cummins / RJ Pastore Collection

Wm. A. Cummins

Wm A. Cummins

John A. Cummings

John A. Cummings

Recently, three additional subjects have surface in the course of this investigation. They also fall into the profile characteristics of Jim Cummins. There is a dramatic divide in occupations, that of a lawman or an outlaw and nothing else. That was a rather common occurrence in the old west, often times the best man to enforce the law was the baddest man in the area.


James Cummins

James Cummins


Wm H W Cummins  CSA

Wm H W Cummins

James Cummins, CSA

James Cummins, CSA



Cummins Folder

According to the official record below, the Cummins alias of J H Cunnieus  may be his real name, and Jim Cummins the alias. If there were in fact two subjects similarly named Cummins in Quantrell’s Rangers then we need to uncover the other subject. Short dossiers on all of the likely suspects are posted below as material facts arise.


James Cunnieus

United States Marshal Carroll received a dispatch on [Apr 4, 1887] Monday morning last, stating that Capt. Will Fields, of the United States Indian Police, had been killed the day previous [Apr 3, 1887] by Jim Cumming, whom he was endeavoring to arrest for larceny. This startling intelligence created a profound sensation among the many friends of Fields in this city, and more especially in court circles, and Mr. Carroll immediately wired to Muskogee for particulars, and in reply received a telegram that the murderer was under arrest, had acknowledged that he was guilty, and would be forthwith started to this place in the charge of Deputy Marshal Bud Kell.

That active young marshal arrived here on Wednesday with the murderer, whose true name is James Cunnieus; also with Nark Cunnieus [real name Larkin A. Cunnius, and I believe they just mistyped his name. It should have been Lark], brother of James, and Ed Leeper, whom Fields had under arrest when killed. From Marshall Kell we got the following particulars of how poor Will Fields lost his life: http://www.wisecountytexas.info/families/cunnius.htm

(Several of the facts in the account above are at odds with the historical record. They show the alias as the real name, and the subject died in police custody in 1897. Yet the Jim Cummins from Clay County, MO died in 1929.)


William A. Cummins

WILLIAM ANTHONY CUMMINS, 81 years old, pioneer resident, retired farmer and one of Oklahoma’s early day United States Deputy Marshals, died at the home, 405 North Elwood, Thursday night of complications of old age. A native of western Arkansas, Cummins literally grew up with Oklahoma, settling in the Indian Territory 63 years ago. He was commissioned a Deputy Marshal in 1891, serving under the court of Judge Isaac C. Parker at Ft. Smith. Cummins first settled at Muskogee and later at Catoosa, where he lived until moving to Tulsa in 1923. He was prominently identified with early-day law enforcement for many years. He knew all the frontier bad men and in his later years related interesting stories about his experiences. He knew the Dalton boys, the Youngers, Jim French, Bill Doolin and the much-feared Cherokee Bill. Aside from hunting outlaws, he was also at one time or another, a farmer, cowpuncher, bee tender, cotton ginner, baggage man and a host of other things during his 63 years in eastern Oklahoma.



John A. Cummings

Long time resident of Newton, Kansas. Served two, four year terms as Chief of Police/City Marshall. No known affiliation to Jim Cummins or the James Gang.


Wm.  H. W. Cummins

Henry William Cummins, 70, Confederate, died  April 12, 1941 at a Hopkinsville Hospital, Lyon County, KY following a lingering illness. He was a son of the late Will and Evy Bruce Cummins.

(This info is not verified and appears inaccurate at this it.)