James/Younger Gang Escapes - Mankato  LbNA # 49668

Placed DateAug 12 2009
CountyBlue Earth
LocationMankato, MN
Found By Trekkin' and Birdin'
Last Found Aug 23 2012
Hike Distance?

Recently found: Saturday, 18 Feb 2013

Another in the series that traces the route of the gang after their unsuccessful attempt to rob the First National Bank in Northfield on Sept. 7, 1876.

The robbers are familiar with Mankato having cased it out on the Friday and Saturday before the Northfield raid. in fact, their first choice may very well have been to rob a bank here but they were discouraged by a large presence at the bank. It was a board meeting which they mistook as defenders who had been alerted to their intentions. Thus Mankato avoided the embarrassment of having their restaurants, coffee shops, bowling alley, bicycle and motorcycle tours and high school teams named after a bunch of robbers and murderers.

The gang knew they had obstacles: the city, railroads and rivers. Furthermore, although they didn't know it, Mankato was the headquarters for the posse. But, as the gang hadn't been seen for several days, the posse was dwindling.

Just a couple of miles northeast of town, on Wednesday morning (the 13th), they emerged from their hideout at an abandoned farmhouse and encountered a farmboy, Jeffrey Dunning, whom they kidnap. They threaten him and get him to reveal what he knows about where they are and how they might get through the city. Some of the cutthroats wanted to murder Dunning; but after a mile or so they released him with his oath not to rat on them. He was faithful to this promise .. at least for a while. By the time he revealed to his folks where he had been and what was bothering him, it didn't make much difference.

Using Dunning's directions the gang approached two bridges over the Blue Earth River - a highway bridge and a railroad trestle nearby. Picketers were on the highway bridge. Throwing stones around the trestle the outlaws were able to determine that it was unguarded and they limped across about 2:00 AM on Thursday morning. The letterbox is above the remaining abutment of the trestle. But for a better view of the site go across the river.

Directions: Southeast of the Highway 60/169 bridge over the Blue Earth River. Southwest of a loop. Southwest of a church. Southwest of a parking lot. Caution: you do need not descend the river bank to reach the box. Among some large rocks that would help prevent someone from tumbling down the bank into the river. (Stamp may be missing.)