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Origins[ edit ] From the beginning of the American Civil War , the state of Missouri had chosen not to secede from the Union but not to fight for it or against it either: Missouri, however, had been the scene of much of the agitation about slavery leading up to the outbreak of the war, and was home to dedicated partisans from both sides. In the mids, local Unionists and Secessionists had begun to battle each other throughout the state, and by the end of , guerrilla warfare erupted between Confederate partisans known as " bushwhackers " and the more organized Union forces.
Still, pro-Confederate guerrillas resisted; by early , the Unionist provisional government mobilized a state militia to fight the increasingly organized and deadly partisans.
This conflict fought largely, though not exclusively, between Missourians themselves raged until after the fall of Richmond and the surrender of General Robert E. Lee , costing thousands of lives and devastating broad swathes of the Missouri countryside. The conflict rapidly escalated into a succession of atrocities committed by both sides. Union troops often executed or tortured suspects without trial and burned the homes of suspected guerrillas and those suspected of aiding or harboring them.
Where credentials were suspect, the accused guerrilla was often executed, as in the case of Lt. Frisby McCullough after the Battle of Kirksville.
Bushwhackers, meanwhile, frequently went house to house, executing Unionist farmers. The James and Younger brothers belonged to slave-owning families from an area known as " Little Dixie " in western Missouri with strong ties to the South.
He and Frank James are both believed to have fought under one of the most famous Confederate bushwhackers, William Clarke Quantrill , though Cole eventually joined the regular Confederate Army.
The James Brothers of Missouri - Wikipedia
Jesse James began his guerrilla career in , at the age of sixteen, fighting alongside Frank under the leadership of Archie Clement and "Bloody Bill" Anderson. When Cole Younger returned from a mission to California , he learned that Quantrill and Anderson had both been killed.
The James brothers, however, continued to associate with their old guerrilla comrades, who remained together under the leadership of Archie Clement. It was likely Clement who, amid the tumult of Reconstruction in Missouri, turned the guerrillas into outlaws. The James brothers are believed to have been involved. Clement was also linked to violence and intimidation against officials of the Republican government that now held power in the state.
On election day, Clement led his men into Lexington, where they drove Republican voters away from the polls , thereby securing a Republican defeat. A detachment of state militiamen was dispatched to the town.
They convinced the bushwhackers to disperse, then attempted to capture Clement, who still had a price on his head. Clement refused to surrender and was shot down in a wild gunfight on the streets of Lexington.
Despite the death of Clement, his old followers remained together, and robbed a bank across the Missouri River from Lexington in Richmond, Missouri , on May 22, , in which the town mayor and two lawmen were killed. In the aftermath of the two raids, however, the more senior bushwhackers were killed, captured or simply left the group. This set the stage for the emergence of the James and Younger brothers, and the transformation of the old crew into the James—Younger Gang.
John Jarrett and Arthur McCoy were mentioned in numerous newspaper accounts, so they were likely active in gang activities up to Jesse is suspected of having shot down the cashier, John W.
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Sheets, in the mistaken belief that he was Samuel P. The James brothers were unknown up to this point; this may have been their first robbery. The original farmhouse is on the left and an addition on the right was expanded after Jesse James died. Across a creek and up a hill on the right was the home of Daniel Askew who was killed at home on April 12, Askew was suspected of cooperating with the Pinkertons in the January bombing of the house in a room on the left.
The original footstone is still outside although the family has replaced the headstone. He killed two lawmen during the attempt and escaped. The bank contacted the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in Chicago, the first involvement of the famous agency in the pursuit of the James—Younger Gang.
Agency founder Allan Pinkerton dispatched his son, Robert Pinkerton, who joined a county sheriff in tracking the gang to a farm in Civil Bend, Missouri.
A short gunfight ended indecisively as the gang escaped. On June 24, Jesse James wrote a letter to the Kansas City Times, claiming Republicans were persecuting him for his Confederate loyalties by accusing him and Frank of carrying out the robberies.
One of the outlaws shot the cashier, R. Martin, who had refused to open the safe. Cole was furious over this, because neither he nor brother John had been linked to the crime before the letter. But [President Ulysses S. Genevieve Savings Association in Ste. As they rode off they fired in the air and shouted, "Hurrah for Hildebrand! Hildebrand was a famous Confederate bushwhacker from the area who had recently been shot dead in Illinois.
Arthur McCoy had lived in this area and knew it quite well; he was likely involved and may have been the planner and leader. Engineer John Rafferty died in the crash. Later another suspected stage robbery took place between Malvern and Hot Springs, Arkansas.
There, the gang returned a pocket watch to a Confederate veteran, saying that Northern men had driven them to outlawry and that they intended to make them pay for it.
For the first of two times in all their train robberies, the outlaws robbed the passengers. In both train robberies, their usual target, the safe in the baggage car belonging to an express company, held an unusually small amount of money.
On this occasion, the outlaws reportedly examined the hands of the passengers to ensure that they did not rob any working men. Many newspapers reported this was actually done by the "Arthur McCoy" gang. On March 11, , John W. Whicher, the agent who was sent to investigate the James brothers, was found shot to death alongside a rural road in Jackson County, Missouri.
Lull, accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Edwin B. Daniels to track the Youngers, posed as cattle buyers. On March 17, , the trio was stopped and attacked by John and Jim Younger on a rural stretch of road near Monegaw Springs, Missouri.
The first agent, J. Ragsdale, was hired on April 9, On August 30, three of the gang held up a stagecoach across the Missouri River from Lexington, Missouri, in view of hundreds of onlookers on the bluffs of the town. A passenger identified two of the robbers as Frank and Jesse James. The acting governor, Charles P. Johnson , dispatched an agent selected from the St. Louis police department to investigate. William "Bud" McDaniel was captured by a Kansas City police officer after the robbery, and later was shot during an escape attempt.
Frank and Jesse James had been there earlier but had already left. When the Pinkertons threw an iron incendiary device into the house, it exploded when it rolled into a blazing fireplace. On April 12, , an unknown gunman shot dead Daniel Askew, a neighbor and former Union militiaman who may have been suspected of providing the Pinkertons with a base for their raid.
Allan Pinkerton then abandoned the chase for the James—Younger Gang. By September , at least part of the gang had ventured east to Huntington, West Virginia , where they robbed a bank on September 7. Two new members participated: McDaniel was killed by a posse and Webb was caught. The other two robbers, Frank and Cole, escaped. Also in , the two James brothers moved to the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee , probably to save their mother from further raids by detectives. Once there, Jesse James began to write letters to the local press, asserting his place as a Confederate hero and a martyr to Radical Republican vindictiveness.
The new man, Kerry, was arrested soon after and he readily identified his accomplices. Northfield, Minnesota Raid[ edit ] Sitting left-to-right: The idea for the raid came from Jesse and Bob Younger.
Cole tried to talk his brother out of the plan, but Bob refused to back down. Reluctantly, Cole agreed to go, writing to his brother Jim in California to come home. The Northfield bank was not unusually rich. Shortly after the robbery, Bob Younger declared that they had selected it because of its connection to two Union generals and Radical Republican politicians: Benjamin Butler and his son-in-law Adelbert Ames.
General Ames had just stepped down as Governor of Mississippi, where he had been strongly identified with civil rights for freedmen. He had recently moved to Northfield, where his father owned the mill on the Cannon River and had a large amount of stock in the bank.
One of the outlaws "had a spite" against Ames, Bob said. Cole Younger said much the same thing years later and recalled greeting "General Ames" on the street in Northfield just before the robbery. Paul, Minnesota in early September After a layover in St.
Paul they divided into two groups, one going to Mankato , the other to Red Wing , on either side of Northfield. They purchased expensive horses and scouted the terrain around the towns, agreeing to meet south of Northfield along the Cannon River near Dundas on the morning of September 7, The gang attempted to rob the bank about 2: Northfield residents had seen the gang leave a local restaurant near the mill shortly after noon, where they dined on fried eggs.
Local citizens soon realized a robbery was in progress and several took up arms from local hardware stores. Shooting from behind cover, they poured a deadly fire on the outlaws. During the gun battle, medical student Henry Wheeler, shooting from a third-floor window of the Dampier House Hotel across the street from the bank, killed Miller. Another civilian named A.