Description

    [James-Younger Gang]. James McDonough Autograph Letter Signed. Four pages, 8.5" x 11", St. Louis, August 6, 1876. Just two months before their famous raid on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, the James-Younger Gang hit a train of the Missouri Pacific Railroad at Otterville, Missouri, to finance their trip north. Hobbs Kerry had just joined the gang and participated in the robbery, but was captured shortly after.

    One month later, James McDonough, the St. Louis chief of police who had assumed command of the hunt for the group, wrote this confidential letter to Missouri Governor Charles H. Hardin regarding "the Raid," in part: "I have just returned from Sedalia Mo, where I have been for the past three days to insure the identification of Hobbs Kerry, and Bruce Younger [uncle of Cole, Jim, and Bob Younger]. Kerry was fully identified...although Kerry stoutly denied ever having been in this section of country, I knew better, and it was important to have him confess, and give a true history of the Raid, in order to procure indictments against the whole party...while he persistently denied his identity, I drew forth a letter written by himself...he weakened, confessed all, and told the whole story...This is the first time in the history of these outlaws, that any testimony could be obtained which would justify an indictment." For his part, Kerry was sentenced to four years in prison.

    "Bruce Younger," he writes, "although entirely willing to be, was not one of the party, but in his arrest, I have secured his confidence...[he] will be of valuable service to me in locating some of the ring leaders, and for this reason I agreed to have him released tomorrow." He continues: "I wish to invoke your aid in locating the dwelling place of one Clen or Clenn Miller [Clell Miller], he is a new one on me, but much in the company of the James Boys...you may possibly have some reliable resident...who can furnish the desired information, as I dare not trust to Sheriffs, or Marshals..."

    In the end, McDonough is "...determined to ultimately relieve the state of the presence of these fiends..." McDonough never did succeed in getting the men. While the gang made the ill-fated raid on Northfield, McDonough, confident they were somewhere in Texas, had his men were scouring North Texas and the Indian Territory. By the time they returned to Missouri, the Jameses and the remaining members of the gang (Cole, Jim, and Bob Younger had been captured; Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell had been killed) had gone into hiding.

    Attached to the last page of the letter is "...a paper clipping, which contains the names of the Raiders certain." The list gives a full list of names for the "late train robbers," including Cole Younger, Bob Younger, Frank James, Jesse James, Clen [Clell] Miller, Charles Pitts, Bill Chadwell, and Hobbs Kerry. Smoothed folds. The text is very bold with some areas of smudging. Pages are attached at the upper left corner.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
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