Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Reno Boys Were Bad...!

As bad as some of the gunfighters and outlaws were in the Old West, the Reno brothers probably had them beat.

In their day, they made a lot of money. However, making it and living long enough to spend it are not quite the same thing.

Train robbers reach the end of the line

A guard, who had been shot by brothers Frank, William, and Simeon Reno during a train robbery in May, dies of his wounds. His death so infuriated the public that a group of vigilantes yanked the three brothers from their Indiana jail cell five days later and hanged them. Although the Reno gang—which included another brother, John, as well—had a short reign of terror, they are credited with pulling off the first train robbery in American history and are believed to be the inspiration for criminal copycats like the legendary Jesse James.

On October 6, 1866, the Reno brothers committed their first heist. After stopping a train outside of Seymour, Indiana, they stole $10,000 in cash and gold. But they were unable to break into the safe; William Reno vainly shot it with his pistol before giving up.

Though fast on their feet, the Reno brothers didn’t have much luck evading the authorities, probably because they committed almost all of their crimes in the Seymour, Indiana, area. After the 1866 heist, railroad companies hired Pinkerton detectives to find the perpetrators, and at the end of 1867, John Reno was captured. In January 1868, he pled guilty to robbing a county treasury in Missouri and was sentenced to spend 25 years in prison

In his absence, the other Reno brothers continued to rob banks and trains in the area. On May 22, 1868, they stopped a train near Marshfield and beat a guard with pistols and crowbars before making off with $96,000—which was more than the James gang ever managed to score. In an attempt to lure the predictable criminals in, Pinkerton detectives floated a rumor about a big gold shipment and then nabbed the Renos when they stopped the train.

Although Frank and William went rather quietly when the vigilantes hanged them on December 11, their brother Simon put up a bitter fight. He even managed to survive the hanging itself for more than 30 minutes before finally succumbing to the rope.

All I can say is that these boys were tough...really tough! In the end, though, it didn't matter. Dead is dead, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.


linda m said...

Crime never pays. The 30 minute survival is really amazing. Can't imagine choking that long- he was tough.

JO said...

Like they say crime doesn't pay. They couldn't have been to bright if they kept robbing the same area over an over.

40 here this morning and we had some rain last night. So kitchen once again is fine with me

Rob said...

$96k in 1868 is almost a million five in today's money... then they went for it again. Must have been the excitement I'll bet they didn't spend it all.
Beating their victims with guns & crow bars, just thugs. Some things don't change.

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
It does seem like a long time to survive being hung, doesn't it?
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Jo...
Certainly wasn't a good career move for them.
Thanks, dear, for dropping by today!

Sixbears said...

Sometimes you've got to know when to take your ill gotten gains and head to Mexico.

HermitJim said...

Hey Rob...
I reckon greed played a big part in their demise. At least they got a little frontier justice.
Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Sixbears...
How true. Not very bright, were they?
Thanks for the visit this morning!