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Capture of the Northfield Bandits


Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 2/4/2010 at 07:20:46

Carroll County Mirror, Mt. Carroll, Illinois, October 6, 1876

The Capture of the Northfield Bandits

Mankato, Minnesota, September 22, 1876

On Thursday morning, September 21st, seven miles west of Madelia, in Watonwan County, Minnesota, two of the four Northfield bank robbers who had been lurking in the Blue Earth County woods, and the pursuit of whom had been abandoned, applied to a Norwegian farm house for bread and butter. Paying for the same, they departed and joined their companions, 200 rods ahead on the highway. A son of the farmer, aged sixteen, said “Them are the robbers. I must go to Madelia and give the alarm.” The father replied “I am afraid they will see you.” Unbeknown to his father, he slipped away and mounted a horse, rode rapidly to Madelia and gave the alarm, which was readily believed and responded to with alacrity by several resolute citizens, who hastened to the place under the guidance of the boy, and they were trailed to the slough and soon surrounded, while the robbers crawled through the tall grass and willows toward the bank of the river on their hands and feet. Shots were at first exchanged at long range, but finally they were charged upon boldly by eight men and a hot fire ensued for eight or ten minutes, one of the robbers, apparently the leader, falling dead, two others going down badly wounded, while the fourth threw up his left hand, exclaiming, “For God’s sake, don’t shoot.” Upon which the Sheriff ordered him to advance, while all the guns were leveled at his breast. As he approached he surrendered his weapon, a new Smith & Wesson revolver. He was then ordered to bring up his comrades. His reply was: “Good God! They are shot to pieces.” The Sheriff then ordered him to lead his party to the spot. Arriving there one man was breathing his last, shot near the heart. One of the others named Cole Younger, was resting his head on his elbow, with a wound of buckshot or bullet, which entered near the bottom of the left ear, passing through the head and lodging back of the right eye, which so protruded as to render its locality unknown. He was also wounded through the shoulder, with several shots through his back, and one shot in the left side, and wounded in the left leg. He is a strong, well-built man, sandy hair and complexion, quite bald with full whiskers and mustache. Another, who calls himself Jim Younger, was lying on the ground, apparently senseless, with a ghastly shot in his lips and mouth, with loss of front teeth, part of the jaw knocked out, besides wounds in the shoulder, making eleven wounds in all. When brought to Madelia he was quite cold, but soon rallied, and called himself far from dead. He is fine featured-small face, sharp nose, black eyes, dark hair-and about five feet six inches in height.

The fourth man calling himself Bob Younger, is of good size, well proportioned , sandy hair, smooth face, bearing a three weeks growth of beard. He was badly wounded through the elbow in Northfield, and carried his arm in a sling at the time of surrender. He was also wounded in the side. The whole four were armed with Smith & Wesson revolvers, and knew well how to use them. They were sore-foot and fatigued from constant exposure and travel in the very rainy weather of the past two weeks in the Blue Earth woods. The four robbers were conveyed to Madelia, the dead man placed in the lockup, while the living occupied rooms upstairs in the Vought Hotel, under proper guard, with numerous visitors curious to look upon the robbers who had been trailed, and lost, and looked for with many anxious eyes and hearts stimulated by a regard for the peace and order of society, and possibly by the heavy rewards for the ruffians, living or dead. The Sheriff has the robbers in charge, and will deliver them to the authorities of Rice County, in which the robbery and murder were committed, upon proper requisition.

(The Youngers robbed a bank in Corydon, Iowa, June 3, 1871)


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