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    [Cole Younger]. John McCorkle Autograph Letter Signed. Three pages, 8" x 10", Lisbon [Missouri], February 27, 1898, to Cora McNeil Deming regarding the military service of Cole and Jim Younger during the war. He begins with the service of Cole, in part: "...I will cheerfully comply with your request in regard to the Younger Boys. Cole Younger was sworn into the Confederate Service at the same time I was on Morgan Walkers farm, near Blue Springs on the 3rd day after the Battle at Independence, MO in John Garretts Company and went south with sad [sic] co. first to Ark. Then Louisana [sic] and from there to California and did not come back untill [sic] sometime in 1865 and as regards to robbing friend & foe is false as I was with them most of the time untill [sic] Cole went to California."

    Of Jim service, he says: "Cannot give you the time and place of James Younger enlistment but know he was in the regular confederate Service for I was with him untill [sic] the close of the war." Cole was accused of killing a man by the name of McMath, but McCorkle refutes the claim as "false as that fight was in 1864, instead of 1863, and Cole Younger was in...California at that time. He concludes with a list of names of people who knew Cole during the war and could give more information to "help them in all honorable ways."

    John McCorkle (1838-1918) joined Quantrill's Raiders after the Battle of Independence and was made a sniper and scout. Went to Kentucky with Quantrill and, after Quantrill was killed in a Union raid in June, 1865, surrendered to Federal troops Newcastle, Kentucky. Following the war, he returned to farming and dictated the book "Three Years with Quantrill: A True Story Told by His Scout, John McCorkle" to author O. S. Barton.

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    Cora McNeill was born in St. Clair, Missouri, in 1862. She was an admirer of Cole and Jim Younger, and it is believed that she was a sweetheart of Jim's before he went to prison. She continued her correspondence to both Jim and Cole while they were incarcerated in Minnesota following the botched Northfield bank robbery. She was married to Minneapolis judge George M. Bennett who attempted to secure a pardon for the Younger brothers.

    Cole and Jim Younger began their life of crime during the Civil War as members, along with the James Brothers, of the notorious Quantrill's Raiders. After the war, they may have been associated with the gang of Archie Clement, who led the first daylight, peacetime armed bank robbery in U. S. history on February 13, 1866. While the exact date of their association with the gang is uncertain, by 1868, they, as well as the James Brothers, were unquestionably part of the bank-robbing gang. The Jameses and Youngers were able to avoid arrest longer than many outlaws of the day, largely thanks to the sympathy and support of many of their fellow Confederate veterans. But in 1876 the Younger's luck ran out. Their attempted robbery of the bank at Northfield, Minnesota went famously awry when armed townsfolk interrupted the robbery and chased them off. In the melee two townspeople were killed, and when the Youngers were subsequently captured, they were tried and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Minnesota State Prison in Stillwater (a guilty plea saved them from the hangman's noose). Bob Younger died in prison in 1889; however, Cole and Jim continued to languish in prison, while sympathizers periodically lobbied for their release. In 1899 a bill was before the Minnesota Legislature to secure their freedom. Despite the best efforts of their supporters, the Youngers would not be paroled until July 1901. Jim became engaged to Alix Mueller upon release, but was unable to marry under the terms of his parole. He committed suicide on October 19, 1902.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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