Did You Know Jesse James and His Gang Robbed a Train in Iowa?
Iowa isn't known for a whole lot, to be honest. There are people in this country who have no idea where Iowa is and some think it's just mispronouncing Idaho.
However, when you really look (and google "What should I know about Iowa"), there's a wealth of knowledge to be found here. Like, did you know that renowned thief, Jesse James and his brother Frank, robbed a train here?
Near Adair, Idaho - sorry, I mean IOWA, a train transporting a lot of gold across the country was to pass by and Jesse James had caught wind of the news. The train was to be carrying about $75,000 worth of gold in July 1873. Jesse and his brother, Frank were already outlaws known far and wide for being thieves and had been very good at it. They were also excellent at hiding out from lawmen for long periods of time. They had lots of help from families all over the midwest, as they were known to be stealing money from the banks and government during the reconstruction era, after the Civil War. They were from western Missouri and were known as southern sympathizers during the war and members of the "bushwhackers" who were private citizens fighting the Union.
The James gang was also known to work with the Younger gang. Brothers Jim and Tom Younger were among the thieves in Adair, along with friends Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell. Jesse had hatched a plan to separate the rails near Adair on the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railroad mainline, and derail it. Then, they'd all jump on in the aftermath and with all the confusion and may lay, make off with as much gold as they could get their hands on.
They pried off a railroad plate covering connecting two sections of rain, tied ropes to it, and diverted it so the train would derail in the ground, right near the gang's hideout in the neat by hills. The plan worked and as the train crashed into the ground and came to a stop right where they had planned. There were many injuries to the passengers and the train Engineer and Foreman were both killed. The band of thieves jumped on and searched for the loot, only to find it wasn't on board! They made off with over $3000 from the safe and from the passengers before going into hiding again.
Jesse James and His Gang Robbed a Train Near Adair, Iowa
They all found out that the gold was delayed and didn't make that train but by then, the federal authorities were on their trail, offering a large reward of $10,000 for the capture, not killing, of Jesse James.
Jesse James Historical Site is at 1156 Anita-Adair Road, Adair, Iowa.
More of the story of Jesse James can be found on Wikipedia, and more about the James brothers with the Younger gang is found on Wikipedia here.
If you love western movies, you should check out The Long Riders (1980), a dramatization of the James/Younger gang with the stars being actual brothers. It is a really great film and an amazing soundtrack by Ry Cooder.
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