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This Day In History, July 21st, 2022 – “The First Train Robbery”

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It was just 149 years ago today, July 21, 1873, when the first train robbery out west took place. The thing with the “first” is always difficult, for there’s always more information coming out, and others will try and dispute it.

However, as legend has it, the first ever western train robbery occurred today, the culprits, were non-other than the infamous Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang. The location is near Adair, Iowa. The target was a train from the Chicago Rock Island Express, which was supposed to be carrying thousands in gold and other coinage.

The plan was simple, members of the gang waited near Turkey Creek a curve in the rails just west of Adair. They had taken out some railroad spikes, which caused the train to derail, sadly killing the conductor.

President Grant had recently signed legislation combating the KKK, and so the outlaws wore white hoods. The gang managed to rob $2,000 in coinage and dollars from the train’s safe, and another $1,000 from the passengers, though they missed out on the gold. 149 years ago today, possibly the first ever western train robbery occurred.

What was happening yesterday, on July 20th?

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