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September 13, 2016

Little Archie Clement, from Kingsville, Missouri, Johnson County, Leads First Daylight Armed Robbery in US History, Clay County, Feb 13, 1866 with Frank James, Cole Younger

Video Charlie Daniels and Clay County,

On February 13, 1866, a group of gunmen carried out the first daylight, peacetime, armed bank robbery in U.S. history, when they held up the Clay County Savings Association, stealing some $60,000 in cash and bonds. The state authorities suspected Archie Clement (Little Archie Clement from Kingsville, Missouri)
Archibald "Arch" Clement, ruthless leader, 1846-1866 from Johnson County, MO Kingsville
of leading the raid, and promptly issued a reward for his capture. In later years, the list of suspects grew to include Frank James, Cole Younger, John Jarrette, Oliver Shepard, Bud and Donny Pence, Frank Greg, Bill and James Wilkerson, Joab Perry, Ben Cooper, Red Mankus and Allen Parmer.
The robbers escaped with $60,000, and killed a student from William Jewell College, George Wymore. They eventually morphed into what became known as "the James-Younger Gang"

The James-Younger Gang's First Robbery, February 13, 1866

 Today in 1866, the group that would become known as the James-Younger gang committed the first peacetime bank robbery in United States history. A member of the gang, Jesse James, would become one of the most famous outlaws in American history. 
Jesse Woodson James was born in September, 1847 near what is today Kearney, Missouri. His father died when he was three, leaving Jesse with his mother, his older brother Frank (who was seven) and their little sister Susan. The three would gain four half-siblings when their mother remarried in 1855. They moved to a farm, also in Missouri, that grew tobacco and was home to seven slaves. The decade before the Civil War was a bad time to live in Missouri, for the state was divided into two camps: those who wanted to abolish slavery and stay with the Union, and those who wanted to keep the institution, even if it meant secession. The issue became so contentious that after the Civil War began in 1861, both groups formed competing governments in the state.
Frank joined the Confederate cause soon after the outbreak of hostilities; Jesse joined when he turned 16 in 1863. The two brothers served in Quantrill's Raiders, a group of irregulars who rode throughout Missouri and preyed upon towns, farms and individuals who remained loyal to the Union. The Raiders earned the scorn of even their supporters in 1863 when they killed nearly 200 men and boys in Lawrence, Kansas, an anti-slavery town. William Quantrill, the leader of the group, was technically a Confederate officer but acted without orders from any superiors. He took the Raiders to Texas later that year, where their lawless activities proved to be embarrassing to southern commanders despite their successful raids and ambushes. The group broke up on the way home from the Lone Star State, never to reform.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, Republicans gained control of the Missouri state government and quickly passed laws making it illegal for any former Confederate soldier or sympathizer to hold public office or even vote. Jesse, Frank and their former comrades found it difficult to settle down under such circumstances, but Jesse soon found that he had little choice: a month after the end of the war, he was shot and nearly killed by a Union soldier. His first cousin, Zerelda Mimms, nursed him back to health. The two were later married and had four children, although only two of them lived to adulthood.
It is a point of debate among historians as to whether Jesse James was present at the James-Younger gang's first robbery in 1866, as he was possibly still recovering from his gunshot wound. Either way, the bandits successfully robbed the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri on February 13, taking away over $60,000. The gang robbed three more banks in Missouri before hitting a bank in Russellville, Kentucky in 1868. This is the first robbery in which there is certain proof that Frank James, Jesse James and Cole Younger were all present at the same time.
The James-Younger gang, and especially Jesse, did not begin receiving widespread media attention until December 1869, when he and Frank robbed a savings and loan in Gallatin, Missouri. Jesse shot and killed the bank's cashier, having mistaken him for a militia officer whom he had fought against during the war. The brothers made their way through the middle of an encroaching posse, a narrow escape that captured readers' attention.
As news of the James-Younger gang spread, they began to be seen as local heroes by many in Missouri, especially those with lingering Confederate sympathies. Whether Jesse fanned the flames of this adoration is unknown, but it certainly helped the gang as they traveled the countryside and moved further afield to rob banks in Kansas, Iowa, Texas and even as far away as West Virginia. Some of their robberies took place in front of large crowds and some had the air of a stage performance.
The gang further bolstered their image when they began robbing trains in 1873. As a general rule, they did not rob passengers of their personal belongings but rather went for the safe that most trains carried in the baggage car. While this may have given the men a Robin Hood-like reputation, it did very little for the railroad companies. They hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to stop the James-Younger gang, something that was new for the business. In the past, they had focused their efforts on crimes that would today be considered white-collar, such as con-men and counterfeiters. Nonetheless, the Pinkerton Agency took the job.
The gang proved to be slippery, especially when they operated in Missouri. There were simply too many sympathetic farmers and townspeople around the state who would supply a bed, a hot meal or even a rifle and ammunition when needed. Two agents were killed in their pursuit of the gang, although one of them killed John Younger, the brother of Cole Younger, before he was shot. In desperation, Allan Pinkerton ordered a raid on the house of Jesse and Frank's mother in January, 1875. The men assigned to the task threw a crude bomb through one of the home's windows; it killed Jesse and Frank's half-brother and removed one their mother's arms. The botched attack made the James brothers into sympathetic characters and became a black eye for the Pinkerton Agency.
The James-Younger gang met its demise while robbing the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota. The men got away with little money only to find that local men had been alerted to the situation and were approaching the bank with their weapons in hand. The James brothers split from the group and made their own escape back to Missouri. The Youngers and the rest of the gang ended up either dead or in custody.
Jesse eventually settled in Saint Joseph, Missouri; Frank moved to Virginia. Jesse was in constant fear for his life and asked two brothers who he trusted, Bob and Charley Ford, to move in with him. He did not know that Bob Ford had negotiated with Missouri's governor to capture Jesse. On April 3, 1882, Ford shot Jesse in the back of the head as he dusted a picture hanging on the wall of his home. He was killed instantly. Ford asserted that he killed Jesse because he did not believe he could capture him alive. He was found guilty of murder but was immediately pardoned by the governor. In essence, the senior elected official of a state had conspired in the murder of a citizen who had never been convicted of a crime.
Frank James worked a variety of jobs over the next 30 years before his death in 1915. He, too, was never convicted of a crime.

According to the accounts of the day: 

It appears that in the afternoon some ten or twelve persons rode into town and 2 of them went into the Clay County Savings Bank, and asked the clerk, William Bird,[2] to change a 10 dollar bill, and as he started to do so, they drew their revolvers on him and his father, Greenup Bird, the cashier, and made them stand quiet while they proceeded to rob the bank. 

After having obtained what they supposed was all, they put the clerk and cashier in the vault, and no doubt thought they had locked the door, and went out with their stolen treasure, mounted their horses and were joined by the balance of their gang and commenced shooting. 
George Wymore, a 19-year-old student who was across the street, was killed. 
The bank offered a $5,000 reward for recovery of the money. Articles implicated both former Confederate guerrillas and Kansas Redlegs of the crime, snow the next day covered their tracks. The Association eventually settled with creditors for 60 cents on the dollar.
The building is located at 104 East Franklin Street, a block northeast of the Clay County Courthouse. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

Passion for the Bard: Expert discusses Frank James and a love of Shakespeare
By PAIGE ARCANO Reporter, Posted by  on January 27, 2017
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — A group of some 25 people gathered at the Trails Regional Library in Warrensburg Tuesday, Jan. 17, to learn about the connection between outlaw Frank James and William Shakespeare.
The talk, titled “Shakespeare and Frank James: Outlaw Scholar of the Jesse James Gang,” was presented as a part of the Lifelong Learning program at UCM.
The guest speaker, Darlena Ciraulo, is a Renaissance literature scholar specializing in William Shakespeare and an English professor at UCM.
Ciraulo said she visited the James Farmhouse in Kearney, Missouri, with her mother and noticed a plaque that said Frank James was a Shakespearean scholar. She said she was intrigued by this and pursued the topic, though the research proved to be challenging.
“Frank James did not like to talk about himself and his past,” Ciraulo said. “You can sort of understand why. He was a famous outlaw.”
Ciraulo said Frank James came from an educated family. James’ father, Robert, attended Georgetown College in Kentucky and his mother, Zerelda, was educated at Saint Catherine’s Female School in Kentucky. Ciraulo went into detail about how Robert James was able to accumulate books for his personal library, which was difficult at the time.
“We know from the bill of sale after he died, when much of his estate was being auctioned off, that his bookcase was crammed full of very prominent textbooks, Greek and Latin grammars, classical dictionaries, books on theology, books on chemistry and geometry, so he was a very well educated person,” Ciraulo said. “More than likely, he was instilling the importance of education to his sons.”
Ciraulo said Robert James died at the age of 32 while the James brothers were still relatively young. She said this would mean they wouldn’t have the tutorial education at home that they most likely would have had if their father would have still been alive. Zerelda James did buy some of his books back after the estate sale, with some of those books quite possibly being Shakespeare’s.
“Shakespeare would be part of an educated man’s library at the time,” Ciraulo said.  “(Frank) had access to those books at home.”
Ciraulo said Frank James attended a grammar school near Kearney, Missouri, and experienced Shakespeare there as well.
“A lot of the readers at the time had Shakespeare in them,” Ciraulo said. “Students would be getting Shakespeare through these McGuffey readers, but also they could be learning Shakespeare at home. That was not unusual, to be educated at home, at that time.”
Frank James joined the Confederate militia for the Civil War in 1861 at the age of 18. He soon after became a bushwhacker, or guerilla militant.
“When he was out with the bushwhackers, he was reading,” Ciraulo said. “He was known for liking his books.”
Ciraulo said Frank James sought to be pardoned of his alleged crimes in 1882. He had turned himself into the governor, and was therein acquitted for an alleged murder he had committed during a train robbery.
“He really wants to give up his life of crime, and there’s a sense that he doesn’t want to talk about his past and with that, his likes, such as his love of Shakespeare,” Ciraulo said. “We don’t know first-hand information about his relationship to Shakespeare. We know it through secondhand sources. It’s sort of tricky following these sources because they’re not exactly easily available.”
Ciraulo said the first Missouri train robbery was in Gads Hill, Missouri, in 1874 and was orchestrated by the James brothers, with Frank James quoting Shakespeare to the passengers on the train the whole time. The head prosecuting attorney in Frank James’ case is quoted as saying, “To say that ‘it is nothing uncommon for a train robber to go through the land spouting Shakespeare’ is preposterous.” Ciraulo said Frank James became known as the “Shakespeare-Quoting Bandit.”
“In newspaper reports, those who were on the train say one of the bandits who was masked was quoting Shakespeare,” Ciraulo said. “We don’t really know what lines he was quoting, but it’s interesting because Gads Hill has literary significance.”
Gads Hill was a famous thieving place in Shakespeare’s “1 Henry IV” and was the name of Charles Dickens’ home.
Ciraulo also spoke about the significance of Frank James and his love of art.
“On the one hand, (Frank) is probably involved in murders,” Ciraulo said. “On the other hand, he is very much interested in the arts and literature and theatre. He is a complicated individual.”
Kyle Constant, chair of the Lifelong Learning Board and digital services librarian at Trails Regional Library, said this topic was chosen as a program because there are people interested in both Frank James and Shakespeare, making this subject something a wide swath of the community would enjoy.
“It’s an intermingling of two very well-known but seemingly disparate historical figures,” Constant said. “Most people in modern times associate William Shakespeare’s work with intellectualism and theater. There’s a preconceived notion about who is interested in Shakespeare and it’s generally not thought to be criminals. For that reason, the juxtaposition immediately piques the interest of many who might not otherwise be interested in either figure independently.” Link

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