The Saint James Hotel in Selma Alabama was built in 1837 as The Brantley Hotel. It was occupied by the Union Army during the American Civil War and was one of the few buildings spared when Union troops burned the city. After the war the hotel was operated by Benjamin Sterling Turner the first African American ever elected to the United States Congress. It is said that in 1881 Missouri train robbers Frank and Jesse James stayed at the hotel. In 1892 the hotel was shut down and it remained closed until 1997 when it reopened as the Saint James Hotel.
This hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Alabama. It is said that guests in Rooms 214, 314, and 315 have encountered an apparition of man dressed in late 1800's clothing entering and then exiting those rooms. This spirit has also been seen at the bar. A female spirit accompanied by the scent of lavender is said to haunt the bar as well. The spirit of a black dog has been reported barking and running around the building and property as well.
Many speculate the two patrons to be Jesse James and his girl friend Lucinda Burke but that is unlikely. Jesse James was already married to his life long sweetheart and first cousin Zerelda "Zee" Mimms by 1881 and had been in love with her since 1865. He was shot in the head in front of his wife and children on April 3, 1882 at his home in Saint Joseph Missouri. While on the run from the law Jesse and Frank James took their families with them and played the part of law abiding average citizens. The Alabama robbery that involved the brothers on March 11, 1881 of the United States Army Corps of Engineers payroll at Muscle Shoals, Alabama would have been the time frame of the hotel visit. If a hunted man like Jesse James had a girl friend on the side it is unlikely that he would have brought her along on a robbery.