Clay County Savings Association Building

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Clay County Savings Association Building

The Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri was the scene of the first daylight bank robbery which is believed to have been conducted on February 13, 1866 by members of the James-Younger Gang. The robbers escaped with $60,000, one of the biggest heists of the gang's robberies, and killed a student from William Jewell College.

According to the accounts of the day:

  • It appears that in the afternoon some ten or twelve persons rode into town and 2 of them went into the Clay County Savings Bank, and asked the clerk, William Bird , to change a 10 dollar bill, and as he started to do so, they drew their revolvers on him and his father, Greenup Bird, the cashier, and made them stand quiet while they proceeded to rob the bank.
  • After having obtained what they supposed was all, they put the clerk and cashier in the vault, and no doubt thought they had locked the door, and went out with their stolen treasure, mounted their horses and were joined by the balance of their gang and commenced shooting.
  • George Wymore, a 19-year-old student who was across the street, was killed.

Frank James and Jesse James, who lived 10 miles northeast of the bank in Kearney, Missouri in Clay County, Missouri, were implicated in the robbery and killing. The bank offered a $5,000 reward for recovery of the money. Articles said the gang -- although from Clay County -- probably disappeared into Jackson County, Missouri near Sibley, Missouri, and snow the next day covered their tracks. The Association eventually settled with creditors for 60 cents on the dollar.

The building is located at 104 East Franklin Street, a block northeast of the Clay County Courthouse. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

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