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    Cole Younger Autograph Document and Note Twice Signed. One page, 5.75" x 8.75", on the verso of a letter to Cole, [Minnesota State Prison], circa 1898. Here Cole is discussing the infamous guerilla leader William C. Quantrill and his means of getting information about the movements of Federal troops. In full:

    "Now as to Quantrill all men high in athority [sic] know he was a regular comishion [sic] officer Capt of Partizen [sic] rangers same as Mosby of Va. and was kept in Mo. so as to provide ways & means for recruting [sic] officers of the C. S. A. to get a cross the Mo. rivers. And to colect [sic] news in regard to the movements of the northern army. He Quantrill, did so by keeping skiffs hid at different points on the river an got the News by having spies in differrent [sic] parts of the state and having citizens subscribe for the leading papers through out the north & Eastern states and cliping [sic] out all information in regard to the movements of the union army and sending it south by courer [sic] or scout to Gen Price Marmaduke or Shelby. Cole Younger."

    Directly above, Cole has written a short note: "I sent Judge Norton and Judge Brown each one of your cards so they will know who you are when you write. Cole."

    Cole has written his account on the back of a letter to Cole from Nimrod L. Norton (1830-1903), who was himself a former Confederate colonel and member of the Confederate House of Representatives. In the 1870s, he was named commissioner of surveyors to build the new Capitol building in Austin, Texas. Norton writes to Cole about the publishing of one of his letters: "I send by this mail under separate cover a copy of the Dollar News with your Letter in full...I am very much gratified...there [sic] able to do you & Jim a little act of justice."

    Folds are weak and beginning to separate at the edges, but there is no loss of paper or text.

    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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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