Younger Bros. Escape - Lake Linden  LbNA # 49663

Placed DateAug 12 2009
LocationHanska, MN
Found By Gforce6
Last Found Dec 31 2011
Hike Distance?

Recently found: Tuesday, 29 Apr 2013

Second to the last in a series following the escape route and capture of the Younger brothers after the attempt to rob the bank in Northfield on Thursday, Sept. 7, 1876.

Lake Linden, north shore, a mile or so east of Hanska on Highway 257. On the north side of the road are two monuments.

Thursday, the 21st, two weeks after the raid, one week after the gang split and the James boys escaped. Since the Jameses have escaped and the others (Cole, Jim and Bob Younger and Charlie Pitts) haven't been seen for a week the common assumption is that all have escaped. The posses have disbanded. End of story? Not quite. The rains continues. The remaining outlaws slowly mend and creep through the woods.

On the morning of the 21st, a teenager, Asle Sorbel (Oscar), is milking his cows near Lake Linden on the edge of The Big Woods. As the fields are wet he's milking a cow in the road. Two strangers pass by. A week earlier he had been warned by a former Yankee colonel, owner of a hotel in Madelia, to watch for the outlaws and was given descriptions of them. Oscar thought the two fit the descriptions and reported his suspicions to his father who pooh-poohed the idea thinking Oscar was trying to get out of his chores. But Oscar persisted, finished milking his cow, and trailed the pair for a ways. Meanwhile the other two came to the farm and obtained some food from Oscar's mother. Now the elder Sorbel's suspicions were aroused and he allowed Oscar to ride the twelve miles into Madelia to report. On the way, the farm horse stumbles and Oscar is thrown into the mud. Coming into town, covered with mud from head to toe, the boy has trouble convincing anyone of his story. He finds Colonel Vought who believes him and a local posse from Madelia and St. James is formed.

Fearing reprisals after the capture - and threats were made - the Sorbels changed their names and moved to Dakota, where Oscar attended veterinary school and became a successful DVM. When Geo. Huntington was compiling his book on the raid in 1925, the only principle character he was unable to track down was Oscar, because of the name change. It was only a few years before his death that Oscar's true identity was revealed.

Directions to the letterbox: At the site there are two monuments, one for Asle Sorbel and one for John Armstrong, a pioneer killed during the Sioux uprising, coincidentally on Sept. 7, exactly N years before the raid on the bank. The box is located N steps (at two feet and a half per step) northwest of the monuments.