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Kansas City, Missouri Exposition Robbery

September 26, 1872---Three members of the James-Younger Gang rode into the annual Kansas City Exposition. The three men were Jesse James and Cole and John Younger. The three rode up to the ticket office. Jesse dismounted from his horse while Cole and John remained mounted behind Jesse. Jesse told the ticket box cashier, Benjamin F. Wallace, to hand over the money box. Wallace refused, but then Jesse, along with Cole and John, pulled their pistols on him. Wallace then gave the money box to Jesse. Jesse then mounted his horse and the three robbers began to ride way. They fired their pistols into the air in order to scare away the crowd. In the melee, an eight-year-old girl was either shot in the leg by a random bullet or was stepped on by one of the outlaws' horses. The three robbers then rode away.

It should be noted that this was the first exploit of the gang which launced them into legendary status. Former Confederate soldier and friend of the Jameses and Youngers, John Newman Edwards, wrote a romanticized newspaper article in the "Kansas City Times" about the event. Another newspaper described the outlaws as villains and thieves. On October 5, the "Kansas City Times" received a response letter, evidently written by Jesse, Cole, and John. The letter read, in part: "Just let a party of men commit a bold robbery and the cry is hang them, but [Ulysses S.] Grant can steal millions, and it is all right. Some editors call us thieves. It hurts me very much to be called a thief. It makes me feel on par with Grant and his party. We are bold robbers. Please rank me with these, and not the Grantites. They rob the poor and give to the rich, we rob the rich and give to the poor." The letter went on to express remorse for the wounding of the little girl and said that they would handle the medical expenses for her injury. In conclusion, the letter was signed by "Dick Turpin," "Jack Shepherd," and "Claude Duval," all of whom were 17th century highway men.


Amount of Money Stolen

Citizens Killed/Wounded