Jesse James in Shakopee (1876)

By David Schleper

In September, three men, clad in linen dusters, drew up their beautiful horses in front of John Dean’s blacksmith shop to have them shod.

As the story goes, according to The Shakopee Story by Julius Coller II, the horses were shod backwards; such a request would not have greatly surprised Dean or his helper, who took the men for dudes from Lake Minnetonka. (Lake Minnetonka was a favorite resort for the wealthy and near wealthy Easterners.)

When leaving, the leader tipped the blacksmith very liberally. Because of this, John Dean generally believed that this man was Jesse James.

Jesse James
Jesse James

In any event, it was quite certain that the men were members of the James-Younger gang who a few days later attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield. In the street battle, the gang was driven from the town after murdering Joseph Heywood, the acting cashier of the bank.

Luckily, they did not attack the people of Shakopee!

(Some information from The Shakopee Story by Julius Coller, II, copyright 1960.)

James-Younger Gang
James-Younger Gang
Joseph Heywood
Joseph Heywood

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