A spectacular image of the Younger brothers with several noteworthy friends. Many of them were seasoned war veterans turned outlaw by the time of this group portrait. It’s thought provoking to imagine what circumstances brought this illustrious group together in one place. Certainly, a million dollar moment.
Jesse Frank Dalton was an alias for Jesse Robert James, a cousin of Jesse Woodson James, is standing on the far left in the back row. Finding him here with these other men helps support some of the claims Dalton made about his life.
Jim Cummins grew up with Frank and Jesse in Kearney, MO. They rode together in Quantrel’s Rangers and he was an early gang member. Jim died in the Higginsville, Missouri Confederate soldiers home in 1926.
MacClelland Miller rode with Quantrell and was a gang member. Clell was killed in the Northfield holdup in 1876.
While the time-frame of Billy the Kid is later, being born in 1859, he knew Jesse James in Wichita in 1870. He is in his early teens in the first group photo above.
The next image is another stunning wild west outlaw convention. Nine of the ten men in the first group photo above are reunited here again a few years later. J Frank Dalton is not present, but John Younger appears on the lower left, so we know the image is pre-1874.
The young man on the bottom left resembles Billy the Kid and the rest of the group match up well with their known images. Note the masonic fez style fir hat Doc Holiday is wearing. It appears that he gave the hat to John Younger as it looks like the same hat in the later image toward the bottom of the page.
Below is an early photo of the James-Younger Gang with Archibald Clement. “Arch” was Bloody Bill Anderson’s lieutenant, taking command of the squad upon Bill’s death. He was the original founder of the outlaw gang after the Civil War. Arch was killed in Lexington, MO in 1866, which helps place a time-frame for this portrait.
The Younger brothers with Jesse Mason James, the man who was ultimately killed in 1882. Also pictured are Bob & Charlie Ford and Jim Cummins, all looking quite dapper. Throughout these gang photos there are significant bulges from pistols concealed under their jackets.
The Younger brothers are looking quite prosperous in their fancy duds. Crime does seem to pay, at least in this time of their lives.
The Younger brothers are dressed in formal attire for this photo. The date is prior to John Younger’s murder by undercover Pinkerton Agents near their home in 1874. Detective Lull shot Bob in the neck and tried to flee in to the woods. John chased them down and killed detectives Louis Lull, John Boyle and Deputy Ed Daniels. John then rode back to meet up with his brother Jim and fell dead from his saddle.
The big nosed man at the lower left is an excellent match for Joseph McCarty. He was the brother of Billy the Kid, William Henry McCarty.
In this last image, Jesse W. James is sharing a box of cigars with Bob and Cole Younger. The gentlemen sit stoically in a steely gaze, perhaps contemplating their next escapade.
Consider how few photos of these individual outlaws are in existence, and then to have them all in one sitting multiple times, incredible.
Featured Photo Details:
A one-of-a-kind portrait of Jesse James, Bob and Cole Younger sharing a box of fine cigars. Note the bulges under their jackets concealing their weapons. Photographs of these men are quite rare and having all three in one sitting is sensational.
The image is extremely clear and crisp and has no condition problems. The photo is 3-7/8″ x 5-3/8″ mounted on a 4-1/4″ x 6-1/2″ card with a gold beveled edge. The bottom of the card has the original, direct embossed studio mark from VanderBloemen studio in Michicot, Wisconsin.
This artifact has no pedigree and traces back to a deceased collector in Lincoln, Illinois, 300 miles from the James farm. It was acquired along with a number of other outlaw photos which can be viewed throughout the Jesse James Photo Album website.
Discerning collectors will recognize the historical significance of this national treasure.