The Carl W. Breihan I Knew, a Review of His Life.

I had the great pleasure of knowing Colonel Carl W. Breihan from the 1950s, up until his death. I had started writing Carl in my early teens, and we developed a close friendship that would last for years.Carl was a kind man to a young boy who was already interested in the James-Younger Brothers, and William Clarke Quantrill. In my later years as a radio talk show host, I would also have the opportunity to interview Carl on many topics of the Old West he had written about. Carl was the author of numerous magazine articles on the James-Younger outfit, as well as many books.  To the right and below is an image of  Carl W. Breihan.                                           

Carl also had a close working relationship with the James-Younger families; and his first book, The Complete and Authentic Life of Jesse James, was written with much information from the James family in the early 1950s. A few other titles include: The Day Jesse James Was Killed, The Younger Brothers, Killer Legions of Quantrill, Great Gunfighters of the West, Outlaws of the Old West, Great Lawmen of the West, Date with Destiny: Billy the Kid, The Bandit Belle, and The Escapades of Frank and Jesse James. The latter book is now extremely rare, and rather difficult to find. It was published in 1974, and one I had the pleasure of writing the introduction for Carl.
Carl was also a great collector of related memorabilia on everything he wrote about. On occasion, he would purchase items from me, and I from him. His collection grew over the years, as did mine. Much of his collection came directly from various family members of Jesse W. James, and the Youngers.
Carl was a former St. Louis, Missouri County Police Commissioner. He also served a number of terms on the St. Louis County Council, the legislative body of the county, representing the Sixth District. Carl Breihan was not only a historian of note, but also universally recognized as THE authority on Frank and Jesse James, and the Younger Brothers. During his lifetime, Carl published well over a dozen books dealing with various outlaws, lawmen, and badmen of the Old West As a meticulous researcher, Carl was highly instrumental in disproving the matter of J. (Jesse) Frank Dalton's claim to be the original Jesse W. James; both in Circuit Courts, and the Missouri Appellate Court. Colonel Breihan was also fortunate in having personally known the sons of Frank and Jesse James. And I was fortunate to have known Carl W. Breihan, a great historian, and author.©Rick Mack 2007, Quantrillsguerrillas.com. "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay and/or image."               

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