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On the trail of Jesse James

Historical society speaker captivates audience

November 2, 2012
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Emmet County Historical Society members at their meeting Friday night had a special treat from a speaker who has done extensive on the James-Younger gang.

Bruce Osborn of Cylinder, who is working on a movie on Frank and Jesse James, told how the pair stayed at the L. Duhn farm near Emmetsburg where they traded horses then moved on to the former townsite of Tanhassen, Minn. on the north shore of Tuttle Lake. At that time Tanhassen was bigger than Fairmont. Osborn said Frank and Jesse stayed in an upstairs motel before going on to Northfield where Frank was severely wounded in the bank robbery there and the pair fled west.

When they returned, Frank spent 10 days north of Mankato then they came through Crystle Lake. It's documented that Jesse came through Garretson, S.D. where he jumped a steep gorge of Split Rock Creek with his horse. After that, he came back through Sioux Sioux then to a lake at Worthington then Sibley, eventually ending up in Bettendorf where he stayed in a hotel that conveniently had a tunnel under it.

Osborn said Jesse and Frank spent a lot of time in Iowa and Minnesota - "this was a getaway," he said.

Since Frank and Jesse likely followed the stage coach roads, Osborn asked if anyone knew if an old stage road had once run between Estherville and Tanhassen.

"We're trying to make sure if we say something it's there," Osborn said of his research.

Jesse had spent time in the cabin now on the Emmet County Historical Society Museum grounds.

One person present said as a little boy he had known a lady, then 80, who talked of curling up on Jesse James' lap when she lived in Climbing Hill. "She became Jesse from then on," the man said, noting that the girl took Jesse's as her own.

Osborn also played segments from a video on other topics, including Inkpaduta who had been kicked out of his tribe for murdering the chief. Interestingly, Inkpaduta, who led the Spirit Lake massacre and was later instrumental in the 1862 Minnesota Sioux uprising, was only taken captive once. That was when he was held for 10 days until his tribe released captives taken on the Boyer River.

Another segment Osborn showed was of the Harkin Store new New Ulm. Alexander started the store in 1870 and ran it until 1901 when it closed due to the advent of rural mail delivery. The Minnesota Historical Society bought the store and kept many of the older items.



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