Sunday, April 8, 2012

The James Gang

Circa 1876 CDV photograph of the bodies of Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell - members of the infamous James-Younger Gang killed during the legendary attempt to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota - the botched robbery that spelled the end of the James-Younger Gang.

Seller's description:
  The Image depicts the dead bodies of Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell which were propped up, side-by-side, in a seated position and put on display by the citizens of Northfield immediately after their death at the hands of Northfield citizens who mounted armed resistance in an effort to thwart the Bank Robbery. Miller and Chadwell were killed during the botched Northfield Bank Robbery before the other members of the Gang could escape with a sum total of $26.70 taken from the Bank.

    On September 7 , 1876 , the James-Younger Gang (Frank and Jesse James, Cole, Bob and Jim Younger; Charley Pitts, Clell Miller, and Bill Chadwell) attempted their most daring raid to date, on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota . The gang divided into two groups. Three men (Jesse James, Bob Younger, and Charley Pitts) entered the bank, and two (Cole Younger and Clell Miller ) guarded the door outside, and other three members of the gang (Frank James, Jim Younger and Bill Chadwell) stayed in their saddles and remained near a bridge across an adjacent square. The robbers inside the bank were thwarted when acting cashier Joseph Lee Heywood refused to open the safe, falsely claiming that it was secured by a time lock even as they held a bowie knife to his throat and cracked his skull with a pistol butt. Meanwhile, the citizens of Northfield grew suspicious of the men guarding the door and raised the alarm. The five bandits outside fired in the air to clear the streets, which merely drove the townspeople to take cover and fire back from protected positions. Two of the outlaws (Clell Miller & Bill Chadwell) were shot dead and the rest were wounded in the barrage. Inside, the flummoxed outlaws turned to flee. As they left, one shot the unarmed Heywood in the head. The identity of the shooter has been the subject of extensive speculation and debate, but remains uncertain.

    The James Brothers, Charlie Pitts and the Younger Brothers escaped the Town of Northfield but Pitts and the Younger Brothers were tracked down in a nearby swamp. The Youngers were captured, Pitts was killed and the James Brothers (who had split from the others) escaped across the border to Missouri.

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