Results for - Jesse & Frank James Part Three -- Outlaws are prominent among American heroes, particularly of the Frontier and in the years after the Civil War. The War produced a generation of well trained hardened killers with a legacy of social resentment.
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All around Missouri, poor farmers were suffering from an unjust tax system, at least in the minds of the Confederate Missourians . They believed the taxes were put in place to put them out of their farms. Stories began to circulate that the James Gang gave stolen money to help farmers in need. People said grateful farmers would hide them from the authorities and give them food and shelter, so their fame grew.
1. By 1875, Alan Pinkerton had become infuriated by the agency's failure to arrest even a single member of the gang. The agency had been hired in 1871 by several bankers and railroad owners to track down the deadly James-Younger Gang. In January 1875 a Pinkerton agent Jack Ladd was posing as a field hand at work on the farm across the road from the James Farm. The farm, belonging to neighbor Dan Askew, served as a hideout for the Pinkerton spy. One afternoon, the agent thought he spotted Jesse and Frank at the farmhouse, though actually the brothers were miles away. On January 26, six Pinkerton reinforcements surrounded the farmhouse and tossed a smoke bomb into the house, in an attempt to lure them out. This failed. Are you surprised that Pinkerton's struggled so much in trying to apprehend the James Gang?
2. However, Archie Samuel, thinking the smoke bomb was a loose stick from the fire, tossed it "back" into the fireplace and the "bomb" exploded. The blast killed the young boy and wounded Zerelda's hand so badly; she later had to have it amputated. Contemporary newspaper reports of the time simply reported the device as a "bomb" and the public was incensed. However, the public weren't the only ones who were angry. On April 12, 1875, Dan Askew, the neighbor who had sheltered Jack Ladd, the Pinkerton Spy, was found with a bullet in his brain at his home. Later in the same month, Jack Ladd was also found shot and killed. Are you surprised that they maintained public support despite their violent crimes?
3. In fact, they could be ruthless. On December 7, 1869, the gang held up the Davies County Savings Bank in Gallatin, Missouri. The teller, a man by the name of John Sheets, was a former Union officer who was said to have been involved in the death of "Bloody" Bill Anderson. Jesse hated him and shot the man in the back of the head. When clerk William McDowell ran for the door, he too was shot but survived the whole affair. Making off with only $700, a $3,000 reward was placed on their heads. By the early 1870s, robbing banks was getting riskier as banks increased their security with time lock vaults. But that didn't slow down the gang – they turned to stagecoach and train robbery. Do you find it interesting that robbing trains and stagecoaches was less risky and easier that robbing banks?
4. The James-Younger Gang robbed their first train near Adair, Iowa on July 21, 1873. During the robbery, they wrecked the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Train and overturned the engine. The train engineer died in the accident and the gang made off with $3,000 from passengers and funds retrieved from the express car. Did you know $3000 in 1869 is relative to the wage of a Production worker making $1,062,477.88 today?
5. The James Brothers, the three Younger Brothers, two Quantrill veterans named Clell Miller and Charlie Pitts and a local outlaw named Bill Chadwell all traveled north, lured by Chadwell's tales of easy pickings in his home state. Right down Jesse's alley, he liked the idea of taking on a northern bank. Planning on making Mankato their first target, Jesse was recognized and they quickly left town. Riding in pairs, they headed for Northfield, 50 miles to the northeast. Meeting on the outskirts of town on September 6, 1876, they cased the First National Bank, making plans to rob it first thing in the morning. Two days before Jesse's 29th birthday, on September 7, 1876, the James-Younger Gang attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota. Have you ever been in a bank during a robbery?
6. The attempted robbery was to be the demise of the infamous James-Younger Gang. When ordered to open the safe, bank cashier, Heyman, refused to do so and ducked down. Angered, Jesse put a pistol to his head and shot him. The shot was heard beyond the bank and when the bank alarm began to go off the Northfield citizens opened fire upon the gang. Charley Pitts and Bill Chadwell were killed. Cole, Jim and Bob Younger were badly wounded but managed to escape. However, they were captured just one week later, just east of Mankato. The Younger Brothers were sentenced to life terms in prison. Are you surprised Frank and Jesse escaped back to Missouri, unharmed. evading the authorities once again?