Skip to comments.Northfield, Minnesota Bank Robbery: When Armed Citizens Stopped Criminals
Posted on 12/27/2012 9:58:55 AM PST by bunkerhill7
"...After Clells first shot, Cole and he mounted their respective horses and began charging up and down the streets, yelling Get in! Get in! and shooting their guns in the sky, through windows, and over peoples head. Jim, Bill, and Charlie, on the bridge, heard Clells first shot as well and quickly rode to join the foray, using exactly the same guerrilla tactics as Cole and Clell were using. At first, it seemed that the gang was actually overtaking the citizens, but the situation quickly flipped. The citizens ran to their homes or places of business to grab their derringers, pistols, shotguns, and rifles. J. S. Allen ran to his hardware/gun store and began loading and handing out whatever guns he could to every passerby near his store. The citizens then all ran to various places in town, including rooftops, porches, windows, sidewalks, and more. They began randomly opening fire on the five outlaws. In a matter of seconds, Division Street became a shooting gallery, with bullets flying and zipping in every direction from every possible location. The owner of the other hardware/gun store in town, Anselm R. Manning, ran to his store in hopes of procuring a formidable weapon. What he chose to use was his personal breech-loading rifle. With this gun and pockets full of cartridges, he ran to the street, searching for a target. Henry Wheeler, meanwhile, ran to the Dampier Hotel, located across the street from the bank. He ran to the top-story and found an old Army carbine and three slugs. He grabbed the gun, loaded it, and placed himself in a strategic position in one of the upper-story windows overlooking the siege."
(Excerpt) Read more at angelfire.com ...
What’s rarely mentioned in these stories is that many if not most of the adult males in these towns were Civil War or Indian War veterans. Which brings up a thought... Maybe our erstwhile leaders DO remember their history and know that they need to prevent or dis-enfranchise America’s veterans from owning personal arms?
Worked well in Coffeeville, KS a few years later.
Unfortunately too many civilians also got killed, but it was the end of the Dalton gang.
In my 1991 book with Lynne Doti, “Banking in the American West,” we looked at the states west of MO but not including TX from 1865 to 1900. We could only find reports of a handful of robbery attempts, and even some of those weren’t successful. There simply were not many bank robberies in the “Wild West.” Banks were in the middle of town, and EVERY depositor was armed!
I grew up in Northfield. You can still walk division st. and see the bullet holes in the old bank building.
they reenact the battle every year during Jesse James Days. Fun time.
I’ve been to Northfield and put my fingers in the bullets holes that are still visible on the bank walls. Pretty peaceful the time I did it compared to what it must have been like when it was happening.
Runs quite opposite to the old movie myth that citizens of western towns were all a bunch of cowards who couldn't handle guns and waited for the hero to subdue the baddies. "High Noon" was probably the biggest movie propagating that myth, but "High Plains Drifter" added to it as well. Countless tv and movie westerns also did their share to spread the myth.
The idea of the cowardly town citizen should have been laughed at from the start as many of those people had probably fought in the Civil War. Life in those days was pretty tough anyway...I doubt very many westerners were afraid to handle a firearm.
It was also before the FDIC and fiat currency. If the bank was robbed it was real money being taken from real people
And physical money. It wasn’t made out of thin air in computer memory.
I always thought High Noon would have run for about fifteen minutes if the sheriff had offered a bottle of whiskey and a rifle to every man that would get up on a roof top at 11:55 and wait for the outlaws.
This is how it ought to be. Locally take care of the crack merchant on the corner, too.
Imagine...three outlaws are coming to town on a train...the marshall knows what time the train is arriving, and he can’t organize a greeting party with about 20-30 men with Winchesters aimed at the three desperadoes when they step off. But that’s Hollyweird for ya.
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