YourWildWest is pleased to present this unique look at the old west through the eyes and words of one of it’s most notable participants. Cole Younger certainly knew his share of those days, and we are very fortunate that in 1903 he was inclined to tell the story of the Younger brothers himself. We will be bringing you this tome in it’s entirety, so settle in and enjoy! We now present The Story of Cole Younger, by Himself.
Why This Book Is Here
Many may wonder why an old “guerrilla” should feel called upon at this late day to rehearse the story of his life. On the eve of sixty, I come out into the world to find a hundred or more of books, of greater or less pretensions, purporting to be a history of “The Lives of the Younger Brothers,” but which are all nothing more nor less than a lot of sensational recitals, with which the Younger brothers never had the least association. One publishing house alone is selling sixty varieties of these books, and I venture to say that in the whole lot there could not be found six pages of truth. The stage, too, has its lurid dramas in which we are painted in devilish blackness.
It is therefore my purpose to give an authentic and absolutely correct history of the lives of the “Younger Brothers,” in order that I may, if possible, counteract in some measure at least, the harm that has been done my brothers and myself, by the blood and thunder accounts of misdeeds, with which relentless sensationalists have charged us, but which have not even the suggestion of truth about them, though doubtless they have had everything to do with coloring public opinion.
In this account I propose to set out the little good that was in my life, at the same time not withholding in any way the bad, with the hope of setting right before the world a family name once honored, but which has suffered disgrace by being charged with more evil deeds than were ever its rightful share.
To the host of friends in Minnesota and Missouri who have done everything possible to help my brother and myself during the last few years, with no other object than the love of doing good and aiding fellow creatures in suffering, I wish to say that I shall always conduct myself so that they will never have the least cause to regret having championed our cause, or feel any shame in the friendship so generously proven to us. Nothing lies deeper in my heart than the gratitude I feel to them all, except a desire to prove myself worthy.
In the two states named these friends are too numerous for me to mention each of their names, but among those in Missouri who traveled long journeys to Minnesota to plead my cause, even though they knew it to be unpopular in many quarters, I wish to especially thank Col. W. C. Bronough of Clinton, Capt. Steve Ragan, Colonel Rogers of Kansas City and Miss Cora MacNeill, now Mrs. George M. Bennett of Minneapolis, but also formerly of Kansas City.
In concluding these remarks, I wish to say that from cover to cover there is not a statement which could not be verified.
Lee’s Summit, Mo.