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1866 One Hundred And Twenty-five Years Ago

March 2023
1min read

On February 3 the Lynn, Massachusetts, Reporter carried the story of a local woman’s remarkable return to health. Mary Glover had taken a bad fall on a patch of ice and injured her back. Her condition seemed grave. Then, on the third day of her recuperation, the Lynn housewife reported she rose from her bed feeling restored to health after reading the Bible. Mrs. Glover later wrote that her eye had happened on the passage in Matthew 9:2-6 where Christ commands the paralytic to rise from his bed and go home. ‘That brief experience,” she explained, “included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit. … This Life being the sole reality of existence.” Mrs. Glover often cited this moment as the wellspring of her faith when, proselytizing as the chief architect of Christian Science under the name she later took, Mary Baker Eddy.

The James Gang made its debut on February 13, robbing the Clay County Savings and Loan Association Bank in Liberty, Missouri. Greenup and William Bird, cashiers at the bank, became America’s first victims of an organized holdup gang as they packed sixty thousand dollars in currency and securities into the bandits’ grain sack. Asked to step into the vault by someone later determined to be Frank James, Greenup Bird recalled that “I hesitated and began to parley. He told me that if I did not go in instantly, he would shoot me down.” Then one of the robbers showed his familiarity with the bank by joking that “all Birds should be caged” as he closed the vault on the cashiers. On its way out of town the gang of ten passed George (“Jolly”) Wymore, a student at the local William Jewell College, crossing the town square, and one of the holdup men shot him dead. A posse followed them out of town, only to be stopped by a blizzard as the gang made it safely across the Missouri River. While it is still debated whether Jesse James rode along on his gang’s first success, he did lead them on some twenty-six other raids during the next fifteen years in and around his native Missouri, taking half a million dollars from banks and railroads. For much of this time the popular idea of Jesse James in songs and dime novels resisted all correction by reports of the gang’s actual deeds. “We were rough men,” Bob Younger said when it was over, “and used to rough ways.”

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