Millersburg & the Northfield Bank Robbery

Millersburg & the Northfield Bank Robbery (HM1RHA)

Location: Faribault, MN 55021 Rice County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 25.641', W 93° 19.67'

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September 6-7, 1876

Late in the day on September 6, 1876, four heavily armed men rode into Millersburg from the west and spent the night in the Cushman Hotel east of the school. They were led by a ruthless outlaw named Thomas Coleman "Cole" Younger. The four armed men left the Cushman Hotel the next morning and headed east on the Dundas road to link up with four other members of the infamous James-Younger Gang, hardened criminals and former Confederate bushwhackers during the Civil War. Their goal was to rob the First National Bank in Northfield.

Thirteen Swedish families lived in the Millersburg area in 1876, including Peter Gustafson who was recently joined by his brother Nicolaus and nephew Ernst from Sweden. West of Millersburg that morning, Peter Youngquist and four Swedish neighbors harnessed his mules and headed for Northfield to sell farm produce. Riding with the Youngquist party was 30 year-old Nicolaus Gustafson. It was Thursday, September 7, 1876.

The Swedes arrived in Northfield around 1:00 pm and set up their vegetable wagon along the Cannon River near 5th Street. About 2:00 pm, they heard gunshots. Nicolaus Gustafson ran to the intersection of Division and 5th a block away, where he was shot in the head by Cole Younger as the bank was being robbed. Gustafson died four days later. A Swede named John Olson was an eyewitness to the Gustafson shooting and testified against Cole Younger.

The bank robbery failed because of the bravery of several local citizens and uncharacteristic behavior of some gang members. Jesse James did not drink alcohol and never permitted his gang members to drink on the job, but witnesses stated that three of the Northfield bank robbers had been drinking whiskey shortly before the robbery. For this and other reasons, authorities questioned whether Jesse James was in Northfield on September 7, 1876.

During the attempted robbery, Nicolaus Gustafson and acting bank cashier Joseph Heywood were murdered; two gang members were killed by Northfield residents; six escaped. The surviving gang members left Northfield by the Dundas road and headed west for Millersburg. Three were badly wounded.
Placed ByChristdala Church Preservation Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 at 9:03am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 473905 N 4919391
Decimal Degrees44.42735000, -93.32783333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 25.641', W 93° 19.67'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 25' 38.46" N, 93° 19' 40.2" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3300 Millersburg Blvd, Faribault MN 55021, US
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