Defeat of Jesse James Days activities kicked off Wednesday afternoon with a brief graveside service near where Joseph Heywood is buried in Northfield Cemetery.

Carleton College Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers recognized Heywood for his bravery in refusing to open the bank safe when commanded to do so by the robbers, members of the James-Younger Gang.

Heywood was also treasurer of the college at one point. Today, a brass plaque honors Heywood at the college.

Heywood, a 39-year-old banker when the James-Younger Gang attempted to rob First National Bank on Sept. 7, 1876,  is credited with allowing enough time for the robbers to either be shot and killed or run out of town by refusing to open the safe. 

“We come here not to honor a bank robber, but to honor the citizens of Northfield,” said Northfield Mayor Pro Tem Brad Ness.

“Heywood’s daring, brave action inspired many,” Rogers said.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115.

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