Winfield Scott Null, (1850-1938) son of
William Null (1819-1955) son of William J. Null (1777-1850) who are both buried
in Null Cemetery, Hematite. Winfield is buried at Hematite Methodist Cem.
William J. Null was one of the earliest settlers of Jefferson County, and located first on a Spanish claim above Hematite, on Joachim Creek. When he built his cabin on this claim he was obliged to get assistance from Illinois in order to raise it. This house was standing before the New Madrid earthquake, December, 1811, which caused a crack in the chimney, visibile many years afterward. William Null was a leading man among the early settlers, and when the County seat was moved from Herculaneum, he was one of the six commissioners appointed to select a location for the new seat of Justice. (notes by Lisa K. Gendron)
Meeting Jesse James
By W. Scott Null - Crystal City, Feb 17, 1935
“in the year 1870 I Became Heir to one Hundred acors[acres] of timber Land that my grandfather had Bought from Spain, Before the Lousiana purchas from Spain. it was Bounded on the north By Joachim
Creek at Hematite, Mo. My Sister owned 40 acors joining me Bounded on the South By Joachim Creek and on the north By the Iron Mountain Rail Road. it to also was timber land. there was not a public Road in a
mile of My land. I have Described the Location of this land to Show that I was Back in the wildeness and Became the Hiding out place of a notorious out law. at that time, they Burned wood in their Engins. I Hired
men to chop cord wood and make ties. I Hauled the wood out through the timber land that joined me to the Rail Road. By the year 1873 I had mad[e] a Road from the Rail Road Back in the wildeness. By this time I
Had Built a double log House, two Rooms and Hall Between the 2 Rooms. Early one morning in May 1873 a man came up the Road to the House and asked me if I wanted to Hire a man to work on the farm. he was 6
feet tall, wore a light Suit of clothes, carrying a grip and had a[?] Big Revolver Bucked[buckled] around Him with a Belt. I told Him no, a farmer could not afford to pay the wages, a Big Man he was, that He could get
at Public works. He Said he did not want to work at public works and Said He would work for 40 cents a day and his Board. My wife Said to me you have 14 acors of corn and the spouts[sprouts] are growing thick, you
can not do all your work. So I Said to Him all Right and we went in the House. I told Him he could leave his grip and Revolver in the corner of the Hall, it will Be Perfectly Safe. no he Said I never go without my
Revolver, I am used to carrying it. when Bed time came that night, I Showed him the room to Sleep in and he Said just give me an old quilt, I would Rather Sleep out Side, it is warm. I Said to him the dew will fall on
you and you will take cold, why not Sleep in the Hall. then He Said that will Be all right. So my wife put a matris on the floor in the Hall, a door in Each Side of the Hall. when Sunday morning came he took a little
old Bible out of his grip and Sit where he could See down the Road and Read the Bible out loud, So we could Hear him Reading his Bible and he Showed me a letter that he Said was from a Babtis preacher in
arkansaw. it Read Charles Austin is a faithful member of the Babtis Church. Well He had not Ben there long that I Said to my wife that man is not what he pretends to Be. She Said what makes you think that, he
Seems to Be a very religous man. well I Said he is depending on that Revolver more than on the lord for protection. a Revolver and Religion dont go togeather. well we never Said any more on the Subject, I Kept
my thought to my Self. one night quite a while after we has[sic] went to Bead, I becam thirsty and got up and opened the door to go through the Hall to the other Room to get a dring[drink] of water. he Jumped up
with his Revolver, which always laid on the floor By his Bead, and called to me in a loud voice is that you Mr Null. yes I Said I want to get a drink of water. all Right he Said, the moon was Shining through the Hall, he
always left Both doors open, I could See clearly and I guess it made me as nervious[sic] as it did him. he Said to my wife, one day when you go to town get me 7 yards of Hickry Shirting and make me two Shirts,
that is the Kind of Shirts for a farmer. He told me he always traveled at night, is was cooler. Said one knight he Stoped at a vacant House and layed down on the floor to Sleep and the Birds flutered around His feet
and he thought that was a warning to him, there was danger, and he got out. one day Chris Camel came to See me in the field and I noticed he Kept his eyes on him. as Soon as he left, he Said to me what man was
that. I told him it was my neighbor, Camel, that had cut hundreds of cord wood for me. he lives down the crek, 1 mile. a few days later James Ackley came to See me and I noticed he watched him. we talked a
while in the yard and he Said lets walk up to your Barn I want to See it and we did So and Ackley Said to me do you know who that man is working for you. I told him he Said his name was Charles Austin from
Arkansaw. Ackley Said to me, keep this to your Self, dont tell no one, it is Jessie James, the notorious train Rober. I take the paper Every day and I Saw his picture in the paper. the detectives trailed him to Texas and
lost the trail and Supposed he had went to Mexico. there is a Big Reward offered for him, now dont tell no one. I Kept it to my Self. I never caugh[t] him in Bead, he was up Before day light light[sic] cutting Stove
wood, his Revolver on him. after Ackley went away, he inquired of me what man that was and seemed to Be nervious. I told him it was one of my Best friends. well what Ackley told me it caused me to think there
was lots of money in that grip in the corner of the Hall, But I never would Be a Judis and Betray any man for all the money in the world. he never wanted to Be in the Hous, only just long Enough to Eat or at night to
Sleep. he worked for me for two mnths and in all that time there was not one moment But what he could Have Ben Shooting at any moment day or night. when he left me, he Said he was going Back to Arkansaw.
Just a Short time after he left me, the train on the Iron Mountain Rail Road was held up and Robed at Gads Hill. now this Story Ends in Wane Co, Mo. in 1914 I Sold my farm and went to Piedmont in Wane Co and
Bought a farm,6 mile South of Desark, on peach tree creek at the foot of Clarks Mountain. one of my neighbors was an old man, His name was John Keer. He told me, him and Some of his neighbors was in the
Depo late one Evening and four men came in and one of the men that were with him Spoke to one of those men that Had just came in. he Said Hello Mr James and the man that he had Spoke to Said I guess you ar
mistaken. no he Said, you are Jessie James and Jessie Said Keep your mouth Shut; that Knight the train was Robed at Gads Hill.
This Story comenced at Hematite when I was a poor Boy, 20 year old, in the woods, now I am just 85 year old – and thank God Still Honest and truthfull.
W Scott Null
Crystal City Mo”
Source: Null, W. Scott(1850-1938), Autobiographical Notes, 1935(C1612); The State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscript Collection.
Transcribed as handwritten, punctuation added by Barb Simpson, February 1, 2014