James/Younger Gang Escapes Klondike Hill  LbNA # 49670

Placed DateAug 12 2009
CountyLe Sueur
LocationElysian, MN
Found By Educate America
Last Found Mar 17 2012
Hike Distance?

Recently found on Friday, 22 July 2012

Another in a series that traces the route the James-Younger gang took after their unsuccessful attempt to rob the First National Bank in Northfield in 1876.

History: By Friday morning, the 8th of September, the day after the robbery attempt, pickets were being set up on all roads, fords and bridges in the gang's path. A major artery for the posse was the Sakatah Singing Hills Railroad, now a 50 mile-long bike path. After spending the night in Kilkenny the gang traveled south and west paralleling the railroad but on the north side of the Cannon-Sakata-Tetonka-Elysian-Frances chain of lakes. They tried to break through near Waterville but were deterred by a large posse. Approaching the ford on the north side of Sakata they were spotted by a two-man picket and gunfire was exchanged. The gang backed off. But then the guards vacated their position to get reinforcements. And the gang crossed.

After determining their whereabouts from a lad, named Wil Rosenau, the gang headed towards Klondike Hill, the highest point in three counties, northwest of Elysian. Realizing that the hill would make a great lookout and figuring the gang was there, a posse surrounded the hill and decided to wait the gang out. And they waited, and waited. Finally they closed in. No gang. Either the gang gave them the slip or they by-passed the hill to begin with. Night #2 settles in. The rain increases. The gang heads north and west towards Lakes German and Jefferson and then towards Marysburg.

To find the letterbox: From Elysian on Highway 60 head north on the grade between lakes on what becomes 211th Ave. Continue for a mile or so until you come to Elysian Road toward the northwest. Take Elysian Road for a mile or so to Lake Frances Road which goes west. There's a sign for the Dove Lake WMA at the intersection. Head west on Lake Frances Road until it bends south; turn right into the parking area and park. There will be two wide trails from the parking area, one to the north and one to the west. Take the one to the west where there are several bullet-ridden signs at the gate. You'll go downhill a ways and then uphill a ways. About halfway up (about 500 feet west of the gate) there will be paths to the right (north). Take one of them, preferably the wider one. Go north until you come to the base of Klondike Hill (about 500 feet north of where you turned) . There should be a path around the hill. Take it counterclockwise until you come to an old threshing machine. (While you're there, you may as well climb to the peak.) On the north side of the thresher is stenciled a 5-digit serial number ABCDE. Go back to the bullet-ridden signs. From the trail head there, go A+B feet at EC0 degrees and then C+D+E feet at (B times D times E) degrees. A few feet from an upright yellow sign on the ground under a faded yellow sign is where you'll find the box.