Aug. 12, 1837 Royalston Worcester County Massachusetts, USA
Sep. 7, 1876 Northfield Rice County Minnesota, USA
Acting cashier of the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, a prosperous farming community about 60 miles south of St. Paul, Minnesota. On the afternoon of September 7, 1876, 8 members of the James-Younger outlaw gang rode into Northfield to rob the bank. Leaving 5 members outside, the other 3, including Jesse James, entered the bank. They demanded that Joseph Heywood open the safe. Although it was unlocked, Heywood said it had a time lock and could not be opened. A standoff occurred during which the 3 gang members threatened to kill Heywood who kept insisting that that the safe could not be opened. During the ensuing delay, the 5 outlaws outside forcibly kept people outside the bank. Several citizens figured out that a robbery was in progress and raised the alarm. The townspeople armed themselves, and a full scale gunfight broke out. The outlaws fled without getting any of the money, but not before one of the frustrated outlaws in the bank, believed to be but never proven to be Jesse James, shot and killed Joseph Heywood. In the ensuing gun battle, 4 townspeople, including Heywood and Nicolaus Gustafson (see separate entry), were killed as were 2 of the outlaws. A posse pursued the remaining gang members capturing the Youngers and killing several others near Madelia, Minnesota a few weeks later. Each year on the weekend after Labor Day, the town of Northfield holds a celebration called the "Defeat of Jesse James Days" honoring Joseph Heywood and the other brave citizens of that afternoon who saved the town and its money and caused the demise of the James-Younger outlaw gang.