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Book Excerpt


Faithful Until Death

The James-Younger Raid

On the First National Bank

September 7, 1876  Northfield, Minnesota


By John J. Koblas


     $44.95 incl. S/H    Hardcover, 207 pages, maps & photos, autographed by the author         Order your copy in the STORE           





Minnesota native John Koblas,

award winning journalist & author,

is the foremost expert on the

James-Younger Gang's exploits

in Minnesota.


Koblas is the 2001 recipient of the

Charlie Pitts Award and is an

honorary member of the James-Younger Gang in Northfield. He is a life member of the Northfield Historical Society

and member of both the

James-Younger Gang and the

National Outlaw & Lawman

Association (N.O.L.A.)


Among Koblas' biographical works are six books on the lives of F/ Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis. He has been a featured guest on national television shows including

Good Morning, America

& CBS Sunday Morning.


Koblas is the author of more than 500 short stories, articles, and poems published worldwide, a nationally syndicated column, and feature stories for the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He lives in Burnsville, Minnesota.

John J. Koblas demonstrates the political nature of the activities of the James-Younger Gang. He shows how the raid rose from the smoldering remains of the Civil War.

Cole Younger later claimed the gang targeted the Northfield bank because it contained the milling fortunes of

Northern generals Adelbert Ames & Benjamin Butler,

two of the most hated men in the South.


Koblas combines an exhaustive sweep of original source materials and previously unpublished information

from the vaults of Northfield.


This is the story of resistance and pursuit, of Northfield citizens who successfully defended their bank, and the largest manhunt in Minnesota history.

The last robber, presumably Frank James, began his move towards the door. Turning to go, he took a final glance at Heywood. After the robber leaped over the railing, he turned, aimed his revolver at Heywood's head and fired. Heywood staggered forward, the bullet lodged in his head, and fell behind the counter leaving a pool of blood on the matting.


According to an affidavit Wilcox signed, Heywood was quite stunned by the blow he had received on the head with a revolver, leaving him in a dazed state throughout the robbery. So stunned was Heywood after the blow that he dropped to the floor but was then seized by one of the robbers and dragged to the vault floor.


Wilcox added, "that after they let go of Heywood, he staggered a few steps about the room but made no attempt whatsoever to secure any weapon of any kind or in any way to prevent the escape of said robbers or any of them, that he had not recovered from the blow whih one of the robbers had struck him on the head with a revolver and was hardly able to stand without support." Wilcox further stated that "the last robber to leave the bank leaped upon the chasier's desk as he was leaving, and while he stood there, turned and hot Heywood as Heywood was staggering about the room in an effort to prevent himself from falling. That the shot so fied killed Heywood, that the robber who did the firing did not order Heywood to stop or give him any other order whatever at the time, nor did any of the robbers or anyone else give him any orders as they were leaving the bank or about to leave it, that Heywood spoke after he was struck on the head with the revolver, and was from that time until he was shot in a dazed and partially unconscious condition and wholly unable to make any resistance, and that when he was shot, he was simply staggering about the room in an effort to revent himself from falling to the floor."


The blotter on heywood's desk was smeared with blood and partciles of brain, as was his desk. When the town's citizens entered the bank, they found the murdered man prone upon his face, blood and brains oozing from a hole in his right temple.