The Younger Brothers and Their Kin

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Family Legend

Later in life, as I became interested in genealogy, I considered my grandmother's story to be nothing more than a family legend. I also discovered that both my paternal and maternal sides of ancestors were tight-lipped about their history and it was nearly impossible to start my genealogy the normal way, by interviewing close relatives.

It was not long, however, that I discovered my grandmother's mother was Rebecca YOUNGER. And I soon found that Rebecca's father was Charles YOUNGER. Many years went by before I could connect Charles YOUNGER with the outlaw branch.

My connection with the YOUNGER Brothers is through Charles Lee YOUNGER, my fourth great-grandfather. Charles Lee YOUNGER had two recorded marriages, plus a common law marriage, and children by a slave. One child by his first wife was Milton T. YOUNGER who also had a child, Charles YOUNGER. Through a lengthy process of elimination of other possible Charles YOUNGERs and collection of circumstantial evidence, I had enough evidence to show that my ancestor Charles YOUNGER of Pettis County, Missouri, was the son of Milton T. YOUNGER. Charles Lee YOUNGER's son, Henry Washington YOUNGER, by his second wife was the father of the YOUNGER Brothers - Cole, Bob, and Jim.

Charles Lee YOUNGER's daughter, Adeline Lee YOUNGER, by his third and common-law marriage married Lewis DALTON. These two were the parents of the DALTON Gang, Gratt, Emmet, and Bob.

Civil War Legacy

Through research into my family's genealogy and the history of western Missouri, it became obvious that my ancestors in Missouri were victims of the Civil War. Many know the term, "Bleeding Kansas," but few fully understand the level of viciousness and brutality of the warring sides in this remote theater of the Civil War. It's dehumanizing effects were felt in Missouri and Kansas for many years after that war. My own father was born in Ray County a mere 22 years after the official end of the Civil War and Ray County.

The Union exacted some pretty harsh retributions on the pro-Southern citizens of Missouri and, as a result, those Pro-Southerners learned to silence their opinions and keep their mouths shut in order to survive. Those who did not often lost their land and homes, were denied a citizen's right to vote, and often lost their lives. My ancestors in Missouri were subjected to all those cruelties, but many of them participated in equal cruelties against the Union supporters during the war.

I have written a short article which describes the conditions in Missouri during and after the Civil War and have provided some suggestions for finding your pro-Southern, Missouri ancestors. Article on Finding Confederates in Missouri

The YOUNGER Brothers have been the subject of numerous dime novels and grade-B westerns. A genealogical study of this family removes the sensational aspects and one discovers that this family's experiences were all too commom. Go to the YOUNGER Index of Persons

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