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    Cole Younger: Autograph Letter Signed "Cole Younger." Two pages, 6" x 9.5", on "Skeoch's European Hotel" letterhead, Detroit [Minnesota], September 25, 1901. Written to Cora McNeill just over two months after being released from Minnesota State Prison for his role in the Northfield bank robbery, it reads in part:

    "Your letter reached me here to day I have not been in St Paul but one day for over two weeks dont know when I will be back there I run in from Claynet last Sunday a week ago to St Paul stade [sic] with Jim [Younger] Monday then started up here the next day if you get this soon write me at this place. If not then send to St Paul address I go out to the White Earth reservation [located in northwestern Minnesota] to morrow but will be back here in a few days. I will then keep up the N. T. from town to town untill [sic] I get to Morehead. Horace is still at Butte Mont Sent love to you and Judge Bennett & would have stayed off for a few moments in Minneapolis had I been sure you were there...we will meet again some where some time, If God be willing Love to your children and kind regards to all friends...I will be there during the winter often I hope for I hope to be stationed there a while to represent Peterson. Jim will be all right soon God bless and protect you is the wish of your true friend always."

    Upon his release from prison, 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. Cora "Corona" 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. She was married to Minneapolis judge George M. Bennett who attempted to secure a pardon for the Younger brothers. Jim committed suicide in October, 1902.

    Slightly toned with smoothed folds. Else fine.

    More Information:

    Jim and Cole 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, with the attempt on the bank in Northfield, the Younger's luck ran out. The Youngers were subsequently captured while attempting to flee and 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 released until July, 1901.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2012
    10th Sunday
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