This Friday will mark the 136 anniversary of the failed bank raid by the James-Younger Gang. The gang rode into Northfield intent on robbing the First National Bank of Northfield. It was just a bit before 2:00 p.m. when three of the raiders entered the bank. It only lasted seven minutes but those seven minutes have stayed with Northfield forever.
This week Northfield celebrates the Defeat of Jesse James Days (DJJD). The celebration is for the towns people that defeated the James-Younger Gang. People like, J.S. Allen, Henry Wheeler, Elias Stacy, A.R. Manning, Frank Wilcox, Alonzo Bunker and of course Joseph Lee Heywood. It was because of the bravery of these men the gang was defeated and Heywood paid the ultimate price. He refused to open the vault for the gang even after multiple beatings and was killed for protecting Northfield’s future. It is the extraordinary courage of these ordinary men that we honor this week.
DJJD starts tomorrow (September 5th) with a graveside memorial for Heywood in the Northfield Cemetery at noon. It is a great way to start off a fun-filled weekend as it really helps put things in perspective.