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First Posted: May 8, 2010
Oct 11, 2010

Robert Woodson "Wood" Hite (Outlaw 1850-1882)

Robert Woodson "Wood" Hite was an outlaw and cousin of Frank and Jesse James. He was born in Logan, Kentucky to Major George Burns and Nancy Gardner (James) Hite. His mother was the sister of Robert Sallee James, the father of Frank and Jesse James of the James-Younger Gang. Wood and his brother Clarence would later ride with Frank and Jesse, the only relatives to do so.

Hite was described as being between 5'8" and 5'10" with dark sandy hair, light complexion, a prominent Roman nose, and stooped shoulders that made him appear slouched. In his book The Life, Times and Treacherous Death of Jesse James, author Frank Triplett described him as "a great admirer of himself, as well as of the opposite x."

Hite was shot to death in the winter of 1881 by Robert Ford, also a member of the James-Younger Gang, at the house of Martha Bolton, Ford's sister. Ford claimed that on January 12, 1882 he met with Missouri governor Thomas Crittenden who agreed to pardon Ford for the murder of Wood Hite if he would deliver Jesse James, dead or alive. However, both Governor Crittenden and Charley Ford would deny the existence of any such deal. Eventually Ford did stand trial for Hite's murder and was found guilty, though he was later pardoned.

For More Information:

Clarence Hite's Confession