Ill-fated Younger Gang visited McClelland farm, now McClelland’s Beach

At some point, a member of the ill-fated Younger Gang visited the McClelland family’s farm in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Here is what a young boy remembers. All spellings are as they appear in the original newspaper clipping.

Read also: Margaret McClelland’s brush with the outlaw

Spirit Lake Beacon, October 31, 1902 Recollections of Jim Younger. Sioux City Journal.

The recent suicidal death of James Younger,
the paroled convict of the notorious James
gang, recalls to the memory of Claude F. Perkins
a unique meeting he once had with the
noted bandit.
For a whole week Mr. Perkins roomed and
slept with the outlaw, and just at the time when
he, with the rest of the gang, was planning the
Northfield bank. Mr. Perkins did not know
with whom he was rooming, and only later
learned that he had been living on terms of
intimacy with one of the boldest robbers in the
criminal history of America. He was only a
boy at the time, but the impression the man
man made on him is indelibly impressed on.
his memory.
The meeting was as strange as it was unusual.
It occurred at the home of William McClellan.
Mr. Perkins in recalling the incident, “when
we learned that the man with whom I had been
sleeping was the noted bandit. One would
never have thought him anything but an honest
man from the way he conducted himself at
the McClellan (sic) farm. He was out for big game,
and I believe was really above small and petty
“The incident occurred just this way: It
as just in the busy time of the year on the
farm, and Mr. McClellan was looking for assistance
on the farm. One day a stranger rode up
a fine horse. He was a tall man, but did not
impress one as being tall because he was s
well proportioned. His head was round an_
rather bullet shaped. His manner was pleasing
and he fitted well wherever he was.
“The stranger said he was riding through the
country and that his horse had gone lame. He
wanted to get some work on the farm while
his horse was improving. Mr. McClellan gladly
gave him some work and he took to it like a
man who was earnestly in search of employment.
Everybody on the farm liked him. He
was a good talker and had many interesting
stories to tell, though none of them was of a
character to awaken suspicion.
“At the close of the week the stranger left,
and we were sincerely sorry to see him go, I
was especially so, because from rooming with
him 1 hart become quite attached to him.
“You can imagine our surprise a short time
later to recognize in the picture of one of the
men engaged in the Northfield robbery our
friend of a week. It was none other than
James Younger.
“I don’t know what he was doing there, but
suppose that the lameness of the horse was the
real cause of the delay. He wanted to have ยป
good animal upon which to travel when the
time of need should come.”

Published by Karin Livingston

Karin Livingston is a great-great granddaughter of McClelland's Beach founders William and Margaret McClelland. For details, visit her LinkedIn profile:

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