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Old 09-07-2021, 06:22 AM
 
Location: North America
4,428 posts, read 2,234,076 times
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September 7, 1876

Eight members of the James-Younger gang rode into Northfield to rob the First National Bank. Two died there on Division Street in a shootout with locals, and another was cut down by a posse near Madelia, where three more were captured. Frank and Jesse James escaped and formed another gang, but it did not consist of the same sort of battle-hardened individuals and was never the same.

The bank in Northfield was chosen for political reasons. Adelbert Ames was a stockholder, and had served as the federally-appointed Governor of Mississippi during Reconstruction. The James brothers and other members of the gang had been pro-Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War, participating in numerous acts of murder and looting against pro-Union citizens in and around Missouri.

During the raid, everything went wrong. The teller refused to cooperate, a citizen inside the bank managed to slip out and sound the alarm, and a local store began handing out firearms and ammunition to townspeople. Soon a gun battle was raging on the street outside, and the individuals in the bank cut things short with only a few dollars to show for their efforts. In frustration, as he departed one of the robbers turned and put a bullet through the head of the teller, Joseph Lee Heywood (an almost hallowed name to this day in Northfield). It is uncertain who killed Heywood, but the historical consensus is that it was Frank James.

Another local and two gang members were shot dead on the main street, as well as one of the gang's horses. The remaining six rode south and west with a posse soon forming and pursuing. The uninjured James brothers split off from the three Younger brothers and Charlie Pitts, all slowed by various gunshot wounds. Continuing southwest, Jesse and Frank made it safely back to Missouri. The other four were cornered, with Pitts being shot dead and the Youngers surrendering. Cole Younger had been shot eleven times. He and his brothers Jim and Bob pled guilty to avoid hanging and were sentenced to life at Stillwater State Prison. Bob died in prison but Cole and Jim were pardoned in 1901 - not an uncommon fate of outlaws from those days. Jim committed suicide shortly thereafter.

Jesse James was killed by a fellow gang member for a bounty in 1882. Frank James surrendered and was never tried for what he did in Northfield. He was acquitted of crimes committed in the South. Both he and Cole Younger spent their later years rewriting their histories as gallant avengers of social wrongs and robin hoods. Later, they performed together in wild west touring shows.

Today the events are celebrated in one of the largest town festivals in the state over the second weekend in September, the Defeat of Jesse James Days, drawing well in excess of 200,000 people to a town 1/10th that size. Until 1959 the event was known as Jesse James Day (at the time being only one day of the fall harvest celebration) but it was then decided to emphasize that it was the defeat that was being celebrated, not the criminal himself. Today the term for this is political correctness.

Note:
In the early 1980s my uncle took me to the Stagecoach, a museum of sorts but it was as much a theme-park, in Shakopee. There was displayed a skeleton, purportedly of Charlie Pitts, housed in a glass case. Anyone else remember the Stagecoach?
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Old 09-07-2021, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
23,783 posts, read 27,242,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2x3x29x41 View Post
September 7, 1876

Eight members of the James-Younger gang rode into Northfield to rob the First National Bank. Two died there on Division Street in a shootout with locals, and another was cut down by a posse near Madelia, where three more were captured. Frank and Jesse James escaped and formed another gang, but it did not consist of the same sort of battle-hardened individuals and was never the same.

The bank in Northfield was chosen for political reasons. Adelbert Ames was a stockholder, and had served as the federally-appointed Governor of Mississippi during Reconstruction. The James brothers and other members of the gang had been pro-Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War, participating in numerous acts of murder and looting against pro-Union citizens in and around Missouri.

During the raid, everything went wrong. The teller refused to cooperate, a citizen inside the bank managed to slip out and sound the alarm, and a local store began handing out firearms and ammunition to townspeople. Soon a gun battle was raging on the street outside, and the individuals in the bank cut things short with only a few dollars to show for their efforts. In frustration, as he departed one of the robbers turned and put a bullet through the head of the teller, Joseph Lee Heywood (an almost hallowed name to this day in Northfield). It is uncertain who killed Heywood, but the historical consensus is that it was Frank James.

Another local and two gang members were shot dead on the main street, as well as one of the gang's horses. The remaining six rode south and west with a posse soon forming and pursuing. The uninjured James brothers split off from the three Younger brothers and Charlie Pitts, all slowed by various gunshot wounds. Continuing southwest, Jesse and Frank made it safely back to Missouri. The other four were cornered, with Pitts being shot dead and the Youngers surrendering. Cole Younger had been shot eleven times. He and his brothers Jim and Bob pled guilty to avoid hanging and were sentenced to life at Stillwater State Prison. Bob died in prison but Cole and Jim were pardoned in 1901 - not an uncommon fate of outlaws from those days. Jim committed suicide shortly thereafter.

Jesse James was killed by a fellow gang member for a bounty in 1882. Frank James surrendered and was never tried for what he did in Northfield. He was acquitted of crimes committed in the South. Both he and Cole Younger spent their later years rewriting their histories as gallant avengers of social wrongs and robin hoods. Later, they performed together in wild west touring shows.

Today the events are celebrated in one of the largest town festivals in the state over the second weekend in September, the Defeat of Jesse James Days, drawing well in excess of 200,000 people to a town 1/10th that size. Until 1959 the event was known as Jesse James Day (at the time being only one day of the fall harvest celebration) but it was then decided to emphasize that it was the defeat that was being celebrated, not the criminal himself. Today the term for this is political correctness.

Note:
In the early 1980s my uncle took me to the Stagecoach, a museum of sorts but it was as much a theme-park, in Shakopee. There was displayed a skeleton, purportedly of Charlie Pitts, housed in a glass case. Anyone else remember the Stagecoach?
I remember the Stagecoach attraction, and the namesake bar nextdoor later changed to the 1 and 44 Club. It was perhaps the premier workingman's bar for the southern suburbs featuring live music drawing the likes of Jerry Jeff and many others.

The skeleton sounds familar, tho I don't have specific recollection of that.

I once saw a documentary of the Northfield Raid by director Sam Hill. No wonder they got all shot up for how slow they rode out of town.
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