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    Jim Younger: Three Autograph Letters, One is Signed. Five pages, 8" x 12.5", Stillwater [Minnesota State Prison], May 24, 1900, to Cora "Corona" McNeill where he discusses the possibility of a utopian world, in part: "I realize just what your ideal wourld [sic] can look like, if it could be established, but it Can never be, dear Friend, is the most regretable [sic] feature of the whole matter. We may have dreams and visions of noble manhood and of pure womanhood, and I am positively sure that it does exist to a far greater state than is generaly [sic] believed...an act of right and wrong is simply a proposition. We cannot all bee [sic] alike, anymore than we can feel alike."

    The following day he pens a second letter: "You will never know the pleasure and satisfaction I received from your letter of today. I have...been very uneasy for several days, and of course thought of every thing on Earth that could have pasabley [sic] befallen [sic] your own preceous [sic] self. Pardon me Corona for I speak as I feel and I told you plainley [sic] when her, just how I felt did I not." He goes on to talk about his mother: "A truer, nobler, and puer [sic] woman has never lived than my own dear loving mother. She was kindness its self and believed in makeing [sic] all happy as far as she was able to do and had never wronged a single soul dureing [sic] her life time." The second letter is incomplete and ends abruptly on page 2.

    The third letter begins on the next night where Jim has had a strange dream: "I have had a strange thing hapen [sic] to day, and the fact that I dreamed last night something the same makes it more strange. For I dreamed last night you were makeing [sic] Mery [sic], and had a bon fire out of old letters...boys pitched them with hay forks..." He goes on to talk about "dear little Goldenhair, I think of her most all the time, and the baby picture seems to talk. Have you ever looked and smiled at a picture untill [sic] it seemed to smile back?" This letter also ends abruptly at the end of the first page.

    Jim's signature is found on the first page of the first letter at the top edge, but upside down. Folds are weak and beginning to separate at the edges, but remain in near fine condition.


    More Information: 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. Upon release, Cole published his memoirs and, in 1903, was fully pardoned and toured throughout the south with The Cole Younger and Frank James Wild West Company. In 1913 he became a born-again Christian and died in 1916. 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.



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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
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