James/Younger Gang Splits - Rush Lake  LbNA # 49666

Placed DateAug 12 2009
CountyBlue Earth
LocationGarden City, MN
Found By Trekkin' and Birdin'
Last Found Jul 14 2010
Hike Distance?

Recently found: Tuesday, 27 Apr 2013.

Part of a series that follows the escape route of the gang after their attempt to rob the bank in Northfield on Thursday, Sept. 7, 1976.

Thursday, Sept. 14, one week after the raid.

After crossing the Blue Earth River in the middle of the night, the gang settled down near Minneopa Falls. When I was a kid we regularly had family reunions at Minneopa Falls - picnicking and hiking around the falls. Usually Jesse James stories would come up. Every cave for miles around was designated a Jesse James Cave. And we imagined that he hid under the falls.

Reality is more mundane. You'll find their campsite for Thursday morning to be by a knoll for a lookout and by a ravine for hiding. Otherwise, not a good choice for a campsite. It is practically visible from the railroad and they had a fire (under their raincoats to protect the fire from the rain) for cooking some purloined chickens and field corn for breakfast. They were spotted. But rather than waiting help to surround the gang, the small posse made a hasty charge. The alerted gang was able to escape into the heavy woods leaving some of their breakfast and raincoats behind.

Rush Lake, north shore. Here, after the narrow escape in the morning, the gang decided to split along brotherly lines with Pitts joining the Youngers (Cole, Jim and Bob) with whom he was more closely aligned. The Jameses are in better shape physically, steal some horses, and head toward Lake Crystal. The Youngers and Pitts, still afoot, continue on toward Lake Linden.

Rush Lake, as its name implies, is more rushes than lake, a hunter's paradise, and so today is a Wildlife Management Area, which the letterbox is near.

Directions Close to where Highways 60 and 169 split. From Highway 60 come south on 535th Ave (Twp. road 373). Or from Highway 169, come west on 204th St (Twp. road 199). The WMA is just west of the intersection of these two roads, viz. the signs there are 535 Ave and 204th St. To get to the WMA go on 204th 375' west of the intersection. Continue west on 204th for 50 paces beyond the entrance to the WMA. Under the first tree on the south side of the road you should find the box.