Saturday, April 28, 2012
Y is for the Younger Brothers
Though Henry was a Union supporter, the Union guerilla group, the Jayhawkers, only saw that he was a slave owner, and during the Kansas-Missouri Border War, they regularly raided his farm, stealing from him, doing damage and, ultimately, killing him in July 1862.
One of his sons, Cole (below), had already joined the enemy, Quantrill's Raiders, the Confederate guerilla group, but his anger grew exponentially when his father was murdered. He was part of the massive raid on Lawrence, Kansas where 200 males were killed (see my "Q" post on Quantrill's Raiders).
Jim joined Quantrill's Raiders the year after his father was killed, and Cole joined the actual Confederate Army. In 1865, after much success for Cole and a prison term for Jim, stemming from the raid that saw Quantrill shot dead, the two returned home, only to find their farm ravaged. It was then that the boys turned to robberies to bring in money and support their family.
Cole and Frank James had fought together under Quantrill, with Jesse eventually joining under Bloody Bill Anderson at the age of 16. They weren't the only ex-soldiers who decided to fight back against banks and institutions, but they would become the most famous, first under Archie Clement, and then as the James-Younger Gang when Clement was killed.
On February 13, 1866, a large group of armed men stormed the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, committing the first peace time, armed, day-time robbery in America, and netting $60,000. A man on the street was shot and killed during this robbery. Their first peace time victim.
By the time the gang split up, they were said to have robbed eleven more banks, seven trains and four stagecoaches. Their body count was eleven, at the least. The James brothers had also participated in breaking fellow guerillas out of a prison, leaving their guard dead. Over the years, their gang had included the four Younger brothers, both James brothers, Archie Clement, Clell Miller, Charlie Pitts, Ace Nelson and many more.
Bob Younger died in prison of tuberculosis (age 36), but Jim and Cole were pardoned in 1901. Jim killed himself in 1902 (age 54) when his parole terms wouldn't allow him to marry his sweetheart, and Cole died in 1916 (age 72), having been in a Wild West show with Frank James after his pardon. Before his death, he also toured, letting people know why a life of crime wasn't worth it, and he published an autobiography: The Story of Cole Younger.
Most have heard of the James Brothers, but had you heard of the Younger brothers? Had you heard of the Kansas-Missouri Border War?
May you find your Muse.
*Letter Y courtesy of Stenly, clker.com
**Young Cole Younger, By Chrisjackson at en.wikipedia [Public domain or Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
***Taken in the aftermath of the raid on the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota on September 7, 1876. Lot of 15 glass plate negatives of various sizes. Includes 10 collodion negatives taken in 1876 and five dry plate negatives, likely produced for Huntington's 1895 publication Robber and Hero. The Story of the Raid on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota by the James-Younger Band of Robbers in 1876; By I.E. Sumner, of Northfield (cowanauctions) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons