Joseph Lee Heywood, a Northfield Hero

joseph lee heywood true west
Joseph Lee Heywood

Joseph Lee Heywood is considered the hero of Northfield, MN, the man who bluffed the James-Younger Gang out of emptying the First National Bank of its cash in the 1876 robbery attempt.  He was killed for his efforts.

Heywood’s death was a crisis for his wife and young daughter, who were left with virtually nothing—no insurance, no income, no savings.  But banks across the U.S. and Canada came to the rescue. Impressed by Heywood’s heroism, they contributed about $12,600 to a survivor’s fund.  That comes to more than $260,000 in today’s money.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine, a former managing editor for Western Shooting Horse Magazine and the chief purveyor of ScarletMask Enterprises.