Friday, April 23, 2010

Jesse James and the Knights of the Golden Circle: Jesse Outside of Missouri (Conclusion)

Jesse James and the Knights of the Golden Circle: Jesse Outside of Missouri (Conclusion)

PHOTO: The First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, the "overripe plum ready for easy picking" by the James and Younger Gangs.

I stated in the previous post on this topic that I’d provide you with more dates and locations that show Jesse James’ (and in some instances, Frank James’ and the James Gang’s) activities outside of the state of Missouri. So here you are:
Evidence of Jesse’s Presence in Other States (continued)

Minnesota: Perhaps the single most famous (or infamous) heist that the James and Younger Gangs attempted to pull off was what is often called “The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid.” The Boys rode all the way up to Northfield, Minnesota in September 1876 thinking that the First National Bank of Northfield was an overripe plum ready for easy picking. Instead, Jesse, Frank, and the Youngers rode into a veritable hornet’s nest.

Things went wrong in Northfield almost immediately. A bank cashier named Heyman (rather bravely or stupidly, as the case may be) refused to open the cash drawer. Jesse, impatient and angry, promptly shot Heyman in the head dispatching the unwise cashier forthwith. Townsfolk, hearing the shot in the bank and the resultant bank alarm, began arming themselves with shotguns, pistols, and hunting rifles.

As the James and Younger Gangs saddled up to flee the ire (and the guns) of the good citizens of Northfield they had to run a gauntlet of bullets fired from every vantage point. Gang members Charley Pitts and Bill Chadwell were killed instantly while Bob and Jim Younger were seriously wounded but still managed to make it out of town. Jesse and Frank skeedaddled on back to Missouri unharmed, but probably much wiser after their run in with the Minnesotans.

Tennessee: A man calling himself Mr. B.J. Woodson rents a small house on Fatherland Street in Nashville, Tennessee in February 1881. Mr. Woodson turns out to be none other than Frank James, while one of his long-term visitors (a certain John D. Howard) is actually his brother Jesse.

Texas: In April 1874 Jesse decides to tie the knot with his first cousin Zerelda Mimms. The newlyweds then take a short honeymoon along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston, Texas.

Texas: Surprisingly enough, a stagecoach is robbed of $3,000 just outside Austin, Texas in April of 1874 as well. Evidently Jesse decided to pay for his honeymoon the “easy way.”

West Virginia: To celebrate his 28th birthday, Jesse (along with the James and Younger Gangs) robs the Huntington Bank in Huntington, West Virginia on September 5, 1875. Although one of their party is slightly wounded in the ensuing shoot out the Boys still make a pretty nice score, riding off into the sunset with nearly $20,000 in cash, silver, and gold.

That’s all on this particular topic. I hope you learned something new about Jesse, his whereabouts, and his likely link to the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC).

Remember, the theory is that Jesse’s presence (and some of the robberies he committed) in those other states were the source of no small number of KGC caches and troves. Either way, I’ve presented some of the evidence of Jesse’s presence outside of the state of Missouri.

Good hunting.

© J.R. 2010
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Posted by J.R. at 1:52 PM