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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

History of Madelia and Northfield, Minnesota with Jesse James Gang in old Newspaper

Northfield in the media.

I wonder why the author or producers of the well known old tv show called the "Golden Girls" chose Northfield, Minnesota location as the location for Rose Nylund's [ Actress Betty White ] made up towns called "St. Olaf " and "Gustavus" where Rose was suppose to be from. The Fake towns were in fact names of colleges at Northfield location. Perhaps she or they had heard something about the members of the Jesse James gang activities there and the locations just stuck in their minds. [. ] Decorah Iowa and North field are known as good places to begin your research on your Norwegian descendants. Maybe they chose the location because Nylund Nyland is more of a Swedish name than maybe Irish ? [ Yes I looked up name origination, it always helps to browse it.] That's a mystery to solve another day.

The Meyer children attended public school in Madelia, so the news of the robbery at the town of Northfield and the apprehension of the members of Jesse James gangs near Madella had been told since primary grades. Once I heard about having surnames James and Young, in the family, I pursued the information about the gang quite a few years ago. I was relieved to learn our family were Youngs, and they were the Younger brothers.

Searching the News paper archives
Currently, I was searching for a 1945 - 1946 newspaper article at for a newspaper from Madelia, which might have had something about Herman Meyer's house fire for my lewisville minnesota blog, The Meyer home was thirty miles from Fairmont, Martin county and ten miles from St. James. Maybe about fifty from Mankato. I have been running the names of all but St. James into Ancestry newspapers in hopes of some article. [ It has amazed me how much the name of Madelia has been popping up.]

The newspaper article below titled "Bad un"s in 28.Sept.1876 - newspaper -The Constitution
[ from
Atlanta Georgia ] in column six about the capture of some of the Jesse James gang was a real delight. It would be even better if it were from a Madelia or local newspaper, but I doubt any archives go back that far for Madelia. Maybe Mankato or Northfield or some other large city near there. Just a few weeks ago, I had been browsing the Minnesota Historical Society pictures and one particular picture with a small article about the pose that went out after the gang, and a picture of the of the Flanders Hotel in Madelia where the Jesse James gang members were seen. I remember reading that one person in that pose died.

copyright of
For more like this clipping go to 
Locations descriptions and Names
Of interest in the article of course is the location descriptions and the names.
I had read before of the name Sorbel of a Hanska area recognized some faces. similar to this news articles account about the young hero Oscar Oleson. The article at Minn state Historical collection mentioned that one of the posse - Charles Pitt had been killed.
Found on line. Copyright
One particular name in this article that I will pursue for more information sometime is the surname PITT. M&M had mentioned the surname Pitts to me. I knew some Pitts who had come around from Madelia, I think, to do the Meyer sheep shearing before Dewey quit raising sheep.

At times over the years, I had read something about the path the gang took and that they stopped at a Creek, etc. My curiosity had been caught. I wondered if they came up from the south,west or even the east and then which way would they travel on horse?. Would they ever have stopped at the Meyer little Creek. Gangsters were always after railroad Passengers and the railroad ran north and south not even a mile east of Sunnyslope Farm. However, I am not sure the train was not known to take passengers. [ One once that I know of in another newspaper article. ] If one reads and looks at the Minnesota Historical Reflection collections, one can see how open and undeveloped the land was at that time. I would say, more so than the area of Churdan Iowa surely was, when our ancestors moved into the Highland areas.

online copyright
The good guys
It is amazing that we hear that such a bunch of bad guys could be so well liked by the public, yet there was talk of lynching. And I am proud to learn of the sense of fair play that those who held him captured in Madelia exhibited.

Historical reading

I hope you enjoy reading the clippings. and the Minnesota Historical links to Northfield and Madelia. Perhaps take the time to browse the Refection in the Minnesota Historical collection.
- If you have time, you can google for more information. For instance, I found one article which claimed the bandits chose the First National bank because the bank president was a former union officer. This information reflects back to their lifes history and attitudes of theirs towards their civil war years.

I wonder how well travelled that article in copies etc., was across America. Lots of historical tidbits on the gangs activities and life were added to our history of the event over the years. This the case when history of one region becomes every ones.

My Article Source :,2208,4053,2241;3884,2500,4012,2533;3665,3042,3802,3075;4060,3171,4216,3204;3941,3563,4034,3596;3981,3858,4051,3891;3723,3954,3789,3987;3806,4188,3961,4221;3791,4446,3921,4479;4490,2962,4653,2995;4391,2996,4559,3029;4485,5612,4623,5645&pid=459599873&ssrc=&fn=&ln=Fire+Madelia+Lewisville+Fairmont+Mankato+Minnesota&st=g The Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2002.Original data: The Constitution. Atlanta, GA, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.

More on Nyland or Nylund in Minnesota.
Swedish and MINNESOTA
Ass kickin'

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