The Story of Cole Younger – 26 Ben Butler’s Money

 street sceneThere was no change in the situation in Missouri so far as the Younger brothers were concerned. Every daylight robbery in any part of the country, from the Alleghenies to the Rockies, was laid at our doors; we could not go out without a pair of pistols to protect ourselves from the attack of we knew not whom; and finally, after one of the young ruffians who had helped in the robbery of the Missouri Pacific express car at Otterville “confessed” that we were with the robbers we decided to make one haul, and with our share of the proceeds start life anew in Cuba, South America, or Australia.

Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, whom we preferred to call “Silver Spoons” Butler from his New Orleans experiences during the war, had a lot of money invested, we were told, in the First National bank at Northfield, Minnesota, as also had J. T. Ames, Butler’s son-in-law, who had been the “carpet-bag” governor of Mississippi after the war.

Butler’s treatment of the Southerners during the war was not such as to commend him to our regard, and we felt little compunction, under the circumstances, about raiding him or his.

Accordingly, about the middle of August we made up a party to visit Northfield, going north by rail. There were Jim, Bob and myself, Clell Miller, who had been accused of the Gad’s Hill, Muncie, Corydon, Hot Springs and perhaps other bank and train robberies, but who had not been convicted of any of them; Bill Chadwell, a young fellow from Illinois, and three men whose names on the expedition were Pitts, Woods and Howard.

We spent a week in Minneapolis, seeing the sights, playing poker and looking around for information, after which we spent a similar period in St. Paul.

I was accounted a fairly good poker player in those days, and had won about $3,000 the winter I was in Florida, while Chadwell was one of the best that ever played the game.

We both played our last game of poker in St. Paul that week, for he was soon to die at Northfield, and in the quarter of a century that has passed since such a change has come over me that I not only have no desire to play cards, but it disgusts me even to see boys gamble with dice for cigars.

This last game was at a gambling house on East Third street, between Jackson and Robert streets, about half a block from the Merchants’ hotel, where we were stopping. Guy Salisbury, who has since become a minister, was the proprietor of the gambling house, and Charles Hickson was the bartender. It was upstairs over a restaurant run by Archie McLeod, who is still in St. Paul.

Chadwell and I were nearly $300 ahead of the game when Bob came along and insisted on sitting in, and we left the table. I never would play in a game where Bob was.

Early in the last week in August we started on the preliminary work for the Northfield expedition.

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