Hello all. It has been quite some time since I did a book review here. Today’s review will be of an interesting little memoir, the autobiography of Cole Younger, originally published in 1903, shortly after he was paroled from prison. I have a 2000 copyrigthed reprint by the Minnesota Historical Society Press with a lengthy introduction by a woman named Marley Brant. My copy is only 127 pages, and I bought it used like new from Ebay for about $4.
Thomas Coleman “Cole” Younger (1844-1916) may be best known as an outlaw, but he was also a distinguished Confederate soldier. As I am more interested in the South than western history, I bought this book primarily because of Cole’s status as a Confederate soldier.
Cole was born in Missouri to a family of Southern descent and political leanings. They did have a Negro servant, Suse, who stayed with them throughout the war. The Kansas-Missouri border war tore his family apart. Though a youth, Cole ended up riding as a Confederate guerrilla with William Quantrill’s company. Cole distinguished himself there. Cole relates one incident where he killed a Union militiaman with a pistol shot from 71 yards. Seventy-one yards with a percussion revolver; that is some good marksmanship, and Cole was only 17 at the time! Also, Cole Younger did know famed guerrilla Bill Anderson.
The stories of what the Yankee government did to the families of Southern men who fought for Dixie, including Cole’s widowed mother, will make your blood boil. Pillaging, women and little children turned out of their houses, summary execution of prisoners, and the confinement of non-combatant women in the Kansas City Guardhouse (which tragically collapsed injuring and killing prisoners).
Cole was at the raid on Lawrence, whatever one thinks of that. The incident at Lawrence did violate the present day Geneva convention, but did not violate the rules of warfare laid down in Deuteronomy 20:10-15.
Cole later joined the actual, bona fide Confederate army, and ended the war with the rank of Captain. He was a Captain at age 21, which bespeaks of his actions and competence!
After the War of Northern Aggression, the Southern states were placed under a tyranny known as “Reconstruction”. Confederate veterans were often treated poorly by Carpetbagging politicians, and Negroes were given the vote while some soldiers who fought honorably were disenfranchised. Then Eastern corporate interests, such as railroads, infringed on people and their property.
This gave rise to outlawry. The Pinkerton agency, a private corporation, pursued men like the James boys as if Pinkerton were an arm of the state. They even threw some type of firebomb, later revealed that it was given to Pinkerton by the United States Army, into the house of the James boy’s mother, grievously wounding her. Seriously.
Some (many) claim that Cole Younger and his younger brothers (pun intended) rode with Frank and Jesses James. Cole does not admit this, and claims to have disliked Jesse James. Cole was accused of robbing banks, fairs, etc. all the way from Kentucky to Minnesota. The only robbery that Coke confesses to in his book The Story Of Cole Younger is the raid on the bank in Northfield, Minnesota. I would like to give a distinguished Confederate like Cole the benefit of the doubt that Northfield was his first and only robbery.
Cole states that after years of being falsely accused of banditry, he chose to rob a bank to get enough money to leave America and start an agrarian life in another country. They chose the bank in Northfield because of financial interests in it by prominent Yankees. In the final section of the book Cole proclaims the following: “I do not believe in doing under the cover of darkness that which will not bear the light of day. During my career of outlawing I rode into town under the glare of the noonday sun, and all men knew my mission. Corporations of every color had just cause to despise me then. But no man can accuse me of prowling about at night, nor of ever having robbed an individual, or the honest poor”.
He never robbed an individual/private person. Interesting. In present day America, the left, right, and libertarians all see corporations (whether business, educational, religious, or charitable) as being separate from the state that chartered/created them. But they are not, and Cole Younger knew they were not. But most present-day Americans are so mentally fragmented, and so lacking in historical knowledge and reasoning skills, that they do not grasp this.
Overall, The Story Of Cole Younger was an interesting read. I recommend it to my blog readers. The memory of all Confederates, certainly including Cole Younger, should be preserved. We might not agree with all he did, but his legacy is part of who we are.
Just today, as I sat in a restaurant with some relatives, I read a wretched article in the Sunday print edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal. It was titled Monuments preserve, define, distort and was by one Catherine Fosl, a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Louisville. To no surprise, Ms. Fosl is an anti-racist and wants all Confederate monuments taken down from public places. Fosl bemoans that while Kentucky “Civil War” stats break down to twice as many Kentuckians wearing blue than gray -the vast majority of monuments are to Confederates. Well boo hoo. Maybe those who stand for their folk and culture are more likely to have descendants to raise monuments to them. Just a thought. And like all radical leftists, Ms. Fosl had to bring the Third Reich up to enhance her position.
All White Americans need to speak out for the monuments to White heritage that stand around this country. I will not be ashamed of my ancestors. All of us who consider ourselves Southern -whether by ancestry, culture, or a combination thereof- need to revere our White Southern ancestors.
© Copyright 2017 by Joseph Charles Putnam of Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.