Sunday, September 30, 2012

Music at the DJJD's

I enjoyed wandering around the seeing so many entertainers.  Some were formal.
The gentleman below was doing a great job in a beer tent.  Nice Taylor guitar, too!

The three young gentlemen below were outside the beer tent and had put up a cardboard sign that said something like, "Support struggling college musicians."

They lacked much applification.  But, they were quite good!

Meet Jon.

As I listened to them, I remembered back to my first playing days....when we made music with a stick and a rock around the new invention:  Fire!

Meet Jimmy:

Meet Trevor:

Here is Trevor in action.

I am a bit worried about Jimmy.  The strings go away from the body, bud!   Then again, it could be like the new math.  Maybe it is some very cool new way of playing the guitar.  :)

My sincere thanks to you all!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Rest of the Celebration: The Crowds and Entertainment

I saw this couple sitting against a fountain in the park.  They were gracious enough to let me take their photo.
Meet Maddie and Whistle.  I had to ask twice whether I heard the young man's name correctly.  I can't recall meeting anyone named Whisle before!

They came from N. Carolina but have family in the area.

And meet Diane. 

She is part of the crew of Minnesota's Captain Jack Sparrow.  If I had more hair, I may take up this pirate thing.  That...and there's that taking care of the parrot thing.

My sincere thanks to you all!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Rest of the Celebration: Royalty and Tractor Pulls

No small town can have a celebration without royalty.  I was really impressed.  Each person spoke to the crowd.  They all did great!  I am not sure I could have spoken in front of a few hundred people at that age!  Of course, when I was that age, the world didn't have more than a few hundred people.

If you haven' seen a tractor pull, you are missing out.  The idea is to have tractors, of varying size classifications, compete to see how far they can pull an ever increasing weight.  Of course, smaller tractors get smaller drivers.   I didn't stick around for the BIG tractors.  But, they are deafening!

I believe the announcer stated that this was this little man's FIRST tractor pull competition. I LOVED his concentration.   Above he is getting advice from dad and grandpa!

This was a wonderful celebration and I strongly recommend it.  Check out the Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield next year!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

After the Raid

Some of the townspeople were gracious enough to pose with their hardware!

These weren't a police force or militia.  They were just armed townspeople who knew they had to fight to protect what was theirs.   The annual celebration is for them. 

May we always remember and respect their courage and willingness to stand against those that would do them harm.

My sincere thanks to ALL who were so kind to me, fed me, and let me get close enough for some good photos and conversation.  You were all most gracious.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Escape

Finally, the three raiders in the bank leave, after killing the teller, Joseph Lee Heywood.  Mr. Heywood was the hero that day.  He refused to open the safe.  There is still some uncertainty about who fired the shot that killed him.   It is fascinating that Mr. Heywood's ancestors still live in the area.  And, a stained glass window is in the church he attended, in his memory.

The robbers mount up and being to flee.

All of the Younger brothers were wounded but managed to escape.  Clell Miller and William Stiles never made it out of town.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Raid Turns Bad

As the robbers in the bank are trying to get the teller to open the safe, the street scene is getting wild. 

The raiders are riding up and down the street, shooting into the air and yelling for people to get off the street. 

Townspeople are firing back with shotguns, pistols, and at least two rifles.   One of the Younger brothers is hit and calls for Cole to help him. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Beginning of the Raid

Except for a few people on the street, it looks nice and quiet.  It should be an easy "mark".

The raiders are coming in from both the north and south ends of town.
They were trying to look inconspicuous.  But, the nice horses and dusters attracted attention almost immediately.

At least two townspeople took notice as they rode in and pulled up in front of the bank.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Before the Raid: The Street: 2

This little guy was having a great time walking around.

Mom, little sister, and baby slowed him down a bit!

The raid is about to begin.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Before the Raid: The Street 1

No small town celebration would be complete without the band.  

I really liked the street scene with people standing, chatting, and walking around completely in character.

I estimate people in character began walking around 15-20 minutes before the scheduled reenactment.  Clearly they were enjoying the beautiful day.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Few of the Ladies

The ladies also played a role in the re-enactment.  They weren't raiders.  But, they walked up and down the street with their friends or husbands.  

The outfits were wonderful!


My sincere thanks to you all!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Retired Raider

Meet John!

He played one of the raiders for 21 years!

Love that serious, menacing look!

Thanks John!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bill Chadwell

Bill Chadwell was one of the gang.   He never made it out of Northfield and fell and died in the street as the towns people fought back. 

Meet Foster!

He has played Bill Chadwell since 1996!  Foster had a tough gig.  He had to fall off his horse onto the asphalt pavement as part of the shoot out.  That HURTS!
But, he did a GREAT job!
Thanks Foster!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cole Younger

Cole Younger was the eldest of the three, Younger brothers.  He got his start, with Frank James, with the Quantrill's Raiders during the Civil War.

He didn't fair well during the street gun battle and was wounded.  He and his brothers fled and the Minneosota posse pursued them relentlessly.  They were finally caught and, after a gun battle where all the Younger brothers were wounded again, gave up.

They were sentenced to prison in Stillwater, MN.   Cole and Jim were paroled in 1901.  And, Cole once again teamed up with Frank James and put on a wild west show in 1903.  He passed away in 1916 in Lee's Summit, MO.

Meet Dan!

He has played Cole Younger for 15 years!
Thanks Dan!  You look awesome!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jesse James

Jesse and Frank James were the only two who managed to escape the failed bank robbery of Northfield.  They separated from the Younger brothers and rode south. 

Both Jesse and Frank were Confederate soldiers who rode with Quantrill's Raiders.  Franks was a member when the group massacred 200 Union soldiers in Lawrence, Kansas. 

For many people, Jesse James was a hero.  He symbolized the resistance and on-going struggle of the South after the Civil War.  He was known to be somewhat of a Robin Hood.  Needless to say, he was responsible for a number of deaths as he robbed stage coaches, trains, and banks.

Meet Jay!

He's played Jesse James for 14 years!  He doesn't look so fierce here, does he?  Maybe that cute baby he is holding softens him up a bit!

Thanks Jay!  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bill Chadwell

Bill Chadwell didn't survive the robbery attempt.  He died on the streets of Northfield, shot by A.R. Manning using an old single shot rifle . 

Meet Danny!

Danny has been playing one of the raiders for 20 years!  He looked incredible!

Thanks Danny!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Charlie Pitts

Charlie Pitts was one of the Younger gang.   He survived the failed robbery and 7 minute shoot-out on the streets of Northfield.  However, a posse of rather stubborn Scandinavians soon formed and gave chase.  I hear that Scandinavians can be a bit on the bull-headed side. 

The man-hunt lasted nearly a month.  By this time, Jesse and Frank had separated from Pitts and the three Younger brothers.   Pitts, Bob, Cole, and Jim were traveling on foot.   They were finally cornered in Hanska Slough just southwest of Madelia, MN.   In the ensuring gun fight, Pitts was killed and the Youngers were all wounded and taken into custody. 

Meet Sean (who plays Charlie Pitts), and his entire family!  That cute little lady enjoying Daddy's company is Anibell.

And this little man is Shane.  He looked awesome and was having a wonderful time!

And Mary with one more little one.    I suspect Mary keeps the boys in line in spite of their penchant for playing bandits!

I thought this family was just delightful.  They looked incredible and thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Defeat of Jesse James Days celebration.  

My sincere thanks to you all!

Friday, September 14, 2012

One of the Back Three

The bank robbery was noticed almost instantly by Northfield citizens.  That many men, in fine horses and dusters (long coats which hid their guns) were very unusual.   One of the townspeople tried to force his way into bank but was blocked by one of the gang.  He ran from the bank yelling, "Get your guns boys, they're robbing the bank!" 

Meet Jess! 

He plays one of the three riders who were holding back in the north end of the town. Once the townspeople armed themselves and the shooting started, these three rode into town shooting in the air and adding to the confusion and noise.

Jess was packing three pistols! The shoulder holster is awesome.   If you notice in the first photo, he is right handed.  The gun on the ride side faces the way you would expect.  But, look at the gun in the holster on his left side.  It is set for a cross draw!   Totally awesome!

Thanks Jess!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nicholas Gustafson

One of the citizens to die at the hands of the outlaws was Swedish immigrant Nicholas Gustafson.  He had arrived in Minnesota on June 9th.  The general consensus is that he did not speak much English.  He walked out of a saloon about a block away when the shooting started.  The outlaws were riding up and down the street shooting and yelling for people to get out of the street.   It is very possible he didn't understand what was happening.

Nicholas died of his head wound about four days after the raid.  Cole Younger was tried and convicted of Nicholas' murder.  We will get to Cole and the rest of the outlaws in later posts.

Meet Brad!

Brad was an AWESOME Nicholas.

Thanks Brad!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bob Younger

The town of Northfield, Minnesota was founded in 1855 by John North.  On Sept 7th, 21 years later, Northfield saw it's most important historic event:  the James-Younger gang tried to rob the First National Bank.  Yes...that's Jesse James, Frank, the Younger brothers and others in the gang. 

Each year the town celebrates this event.  To be clear, they do NOT celebrate the outlaws.  They celebrate the bravery of the townspeople who took up arms and fought back.   They remember the two citizens who were killed and who still have relatives who live in the area. 

Some of those relatives, and hundreds of others, participate in the annual Defeat of Jesse James Days.

Meet Chip!

Chips was the first person I photographed when I got to town.  He was gracious and helpful to someone who didn't really know what was going on.  I was very fortunate to find him.

He was the leader of the raiders..the gang!  He played Bob Younger this year.  I imagine he has played other roles.  But, he has lead this group of volunteers in the re-enactment for 42 years! He now has children and grandchildren who participate.

He was passionate about this role and what the community was doing to remember this event. 

He asked whether I was with anyone.  I told him no, that I was just here by myself.  He invited me back to the "camp".  We walked about a half mile into a small woods where I found the entire gang, and families, around a camp fire.  I was offered food and drink and the opportunity to meet and photograph many of the actors. were awesome!  I want to extend my sincere thanks for your hospitality.  Not only you, but all of the actors were very kind and generous.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Coffee Crew

I swing into the local coffee shop pretty often.  I like the ambiance and the friendly attitude.  And, like Norm in Cheers, they know my name.

Meet Megan!

Megan is one of the first employees at the coffee shop. And, she is one of the owners!  She is absolutely delightful and always smiles JUST LIKE THAT!   She is going to be a mom pretty soon..for the very first time.  And, she is pretty excited.

Meet Dawn!

I believe Dawn is somewhat new to the team.  She is a very hard working college student with a passion for motorcycles.  Her favorite...a Yamaha DT175!

Finally, meet Ashley!

Ashley is a new mom and is also new to the job.  She was a bit mortified when I ask to take her photos because of her mom hair.  But, I thought it was wonderful.  Her little boy is Rayden. 

My sincere thanks to you all!  And, thank you for the wonderful customer service and remembering who I am!