Plaque marks place of outlaw’s final home

rpulley@lsjournal.comJuly 9, 2014 

Lee’s Summit unveiled a plaque marking the final home of infamous western outlaw Cole Younger.

The plaque is a partnership between the Bank of Lee’s Summit, the Lee’s Summit Historical Society and the Lee’s Summit Preservation Commission. The commission has installed several bronze plaques at historic sites in the city.

Attending the July 6 ceremony was a descendant of one of Younger’s sisters, Jack Hall, who grew up in Lee’s Summit and now lives in Raytown, his family and friends.

The plaque was erected on the site of the Nora Hall/Cole Younger home where it once stood between Second and Third streets on Market Street.

According to the plaque the home was built in 1872. It was the residence of the Hall family, who were a prominent Lee’s Summit family. Allen Price, station master for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, also had lived there.

Belle Hall, Cole Younger’s sister, lived there until her death. Her niece Nora Hall, lived there with her uncle — Thomas Coleman Younger — who in 1903 moved there after he returned from prison until his death in 1916.

Younger was born into a prosperous Harrisonville family whose prominent father was murdered during the Civil War by a Union officer. The family home was sacked by Union forces and finally burned, his sisters for a time jailed in Jackson County, part of the turmoil on the Missouri-Kansas Border Missouri Southern sympathizers, abolitionists and Kansas Free-Staters. Cole Younger rode in many violent raids, including one on Lawrence, Kan. with William Clarke Quantrill.

After the Civil War ended, Younger continued as an outlaw with his brothers Jim and Bob Younger, they eventually formed a gang with Jesse and Frank James, robbing trains, banks and stagecoaches. Younger used his family’s treatment as a justification for his looting.

Younger and his brothers were captured following a bank robbery in Northfield, Minn. Younger, after his release, worked briefly in a wild-west show with Frank James, returned to the Lee’s Summit area, wrote a memoir and earned a living giving lectures, reportedly became a Christian and quiet churchgoer who repented of his crimes. He is buried in the Lee’s Summit Historical Cemetery.

Kathy Smith, president of the historic society, said the, “No. 1 question visitors to our museum have is ‘Can you tell me where Cole Younger’s house is?’”

The plaque also includes history of the founding of the Bank of Lee’s Summit that now owns the property.

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