Description

    Cole Younger: Autograph Note Signed at the bottom of a letter addressed to Cole. One page, 8.5" x 11", on "Missouri State Bank" letterhead, Butler [Missouri], February 4, 1900. The original ALS, addressed to Cole at the Minnesota State Prison in Stillwater, Minnesota and written by Missouri State Bank President William E. Walton, reads in full:

    "Several Ladies here ask me to secure the address of the Daughter of the Man that was Killed at Northfield Minn. They understand that the opposition to you securing a Pardon comes almost wholly from her and they the Ladies desire to correspond with her and perhaps visit her in your interest. Kindly send me her name and PO address."

    Directly below the original letter, Cole has written a short note: "Tell Cora to write him. Cole." A notation on the verso reads: "Cole ask me to send this to you. Corona." Lightly toned with two minor stains near the bottom and one ink stain at the right edge. Smoothed folds.

    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 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.


    More Information:

    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.



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    Auction Dates
    June, 2012
    10th Sunday
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