The Kokomo Tribune - Reno gang- New Albany In

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3/30/1961 - Indiana's Reno Brothers Outdid Other Gangs...
Indiana's Reno Brothers Outdid Other Gangs Thcise Four Brothers Were First Train Robbers ByDONHEEDEB NEW ALBANY, Ind. <AP) Ever Ever hear of the Reno gang? Chances are you haven't But 'those four brothers — the world's " first train robbers — made Jesse James, the Youngers and Daltons look like kids raiding the corner candy store. They finally ran up against some fanners and shopkeepers . even more ruthless than themselves, themselves, and for nearly a century '. now the Reno Gang has been almost almost as forgotten as if it never existed. .. There were actually five Reno brothers — Frank, John, Simeon, .Clinton and William. With (he exception exception of "Honest Clint," they were as crooked as a dog's hind leg — and much more formidable. The Renos lived near Seymour and they weren't a bit like today's today's television gunslingers. Short squat men with bushy moustach es, they looked like country rubes in town to fritter away the hog money. But what they lacked in appear- .ance, they more than made up in all-around cussedness. The brothers were "bounty jumpers" during the Civil War, collecting money to replace prosperous prosperous draftees in the Union army and then deserting to sign up again under new names. But the county business went to pot at Appomatox, and the Renos turned to other means of earning a living — such as murder, robbery, robbery, burglary, counterfeiting and arson. . "A carnival of crime," cried an Indiana newspaper, editor. < Yard Need a Spruce-UP? For ... Helpful Hints and Where To Buy Help See THE KOKOMO TRIBUNE \ Home Improvement Section Mr. Nurseryman, Your Ad in This Edition MEANS MORE RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY! Courthouses were a favorite Reno target for a couple of years. They were' after tax -money. Ranging into Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Missouri, Iowa and several other midwestern states for their raids, they were .tipped off by local friends when the county treasurer's treasurer's safe was ripe. But it was the night of Oct 6, 1866, that the Reno gang really made history by pulling off the world's first train robbery. John and Simeon: Reno climbed aboard a Ohio & Mississippi train as it headed east from Seymour, clubbed the Adams Express agenl and looted a safe of $15,000. They had to abandon another safe con- taming $30,000 when a posse puffed up on handcars. Not long after that John Reno left the gang. But it Wasn't his idea. Col. Allan Pinkerton, first chiel of the U.S. Secret Service and by then head of his own .private detective detective agency, had the second- eldest Reno sent to the Missouri State Penitentiary for 25 years in the $22,000 burglary of the courthouse courthouse in Gallatin, Mo.' John served 10 years, got cul and died a saloonkeeper in 1895 of a seizure in a card game. The Pinkerton pressure increased increased and Frank Reno, the oldest oldest and gang leader, was captured along with three others in Council Bluff, Iowa, in March of 1868 and jailed. But the sheriff walked into the cell the morning of April 1 to find it empty and the walls chalkec with the taunting farewell, "April Fool Sheriff." The Renos returned to work quickly and made their riches! haul with the holdup of a Jeffersonville, Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis train near Seymour the night ol May 22, 1868. Cutting the telegraph-wires and disconnecting the express car from the rest of the train, they highballed away to loot the safe at their leisure of $96,000. _That was triple what Jesse James ever got from a single robbery. The Reno brothers decided to go into temporary retirement to spend their money. But six other members of the gang decided to pull another quick train 1 holdup. They walked into a Pinkerton trap near Seymour on July 10, 1868, and soon all six were in custody. ' Then the Southern Indiana Vigilance Vigilance Committee galloped into the picture. This citizens' group came complete with Latin motto — "Salus Populi Suprema Lex" or "The Wish of the- People Is the Supreme Law." Three of the captured train robbers robbers — Volney Elliott, Charles Roseberry and Fril Clifton —were being transferred by train from Seymour to Brownstown the night of July 20 when the masked posse struck. t They halted the train with red lanterns, hustled the three prison ers away from guards and hanged them to a large beech tree on the western edge of Seymour. Pinkerton's men tried to sneak the other three prisoners —Frank Sparks, John Moore and. Henry Jerrell—from Seymour to Brownstown Brownstown by horse and wagon five nights later. Again the vigilantes rode out of the darkness, seized the< three robbers and strung them up on the same beech tree. Finally, the Reno brothers themselves were arrested. Sim and William were nabbed in an Indianapolis hotel. Frank was captured captured in Windsor, Canada, with his lieutenant, Charles Anderson. Authorities placed the three Renos and Anderson in New Albany's Albany's Floyd County jail, a two- story stone building rated one of the strongest jails in the area. About 75 men took a darkened train from Seymour the night of Dec. 10, 1868 and headed for New Albany, 50 miles away. All wore red flannel masks, and the leaders leaders had numbers chalked on the sacks of their reversed coats for identification. It was 3 a.m. and the temperature temperature near zero, when the train ar- JAIL WHERE *ENO BROTHERS LYNCHED-The Floyd County jail, above, in New Albany, Ind., was regarded as one of the strongest in southern Indiana in 1868, when vigilantes stormed the jail and lynched four members of the Reno Gang. The joil will be lorn down soon to make way for a parking lot. (AP Wirephoto) rived in New. Albany. Swiftly and with the precision of a modern commando squad, the vigilantes silently deployed along the three blocks leading to the jail. Any chance passerby that freezing morning found himself a prisoner. prisoner. Sheriff Thomas J. Fullenlove tried to flee in his nightgown, but he was shot in the' arm and dragged back to his jail through the snow. "I'm the highest peace officer in this county," the sheriff blustered. "Get out of my way in the name of the law." But the vigilantes regarded themselves as the only law. "Bring me Frank Reno's rope," growled a burly masked man with the number "1" chalked on Ms coat. "For God's sake, gentlemen," pleaded the ashen face Reno chief as he was dragged from Ms cell. "What are you going to do with ie?" Frank wasn't long finding out. Forest OES Has Public Installation By BEATRICE GOLLNER Forest Correspondent FOREST—Mrs. David Robertson Robertson was installed worthy matron, and Robert Robertson was installed installed worthy patron of the Forest Forest chapter, Order of Eastern Star, at recent ceremonies at the Forest Masonic Temple. Other officers installed were: Odel Strange, associate matron; Donald Grice, associate patron; Beatrice Gollner, secretary; Naomi Naomi Davis, treasurer; Joan Smith, conductress; Esther Osborn, associate associate conductress; Elizabeth Hillis, Hillis, marshall; Mabel'Evans, chaplain; chaplain; Twanette Coleman, organist; organist; Gertrude Quakenbush, Adah; Janita Sheffer, Ruth; Donna Grice, Esther; Rosie Walters, Martha Sue Davis, Electa; Mary Lamberson, warder; and Jean Sluth, sentinel. The outgoing officers, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Grice,'were presented presented pins from the chapter. Installing Installing officers were Mrs. Patricia Robertson, matron; Mrs. Carol Neal, marshall; Mrs. Bessie Davis, Davis, organist; Mrs. Mary Butler, chaplain; and Mrs. Phyllis McQuinn, McQuinn, secretary. Guests attended from Frankfort, Frankfort, Russiaville, Hillisburg, Colfax, Colfax, and Kokomo. -Good' Friday' Services Union Good Friday services for the Forest community will be held at the Union Baptist Church. The Methodist, Forest Baptist, Pilgrim Pilgrim Holiness, ahd Christ pate. West Point partici- Pcrsonals Mr. and Mrs. Keith Laughner and family recently entertained at a birthday supper honoring Mrs. A length of new manila hemp was slung about his neck, and the eldest eldest Reno brother was shoved off the second floor tier into space. "I never done no robberies," cried 20-year-old William Reno. "I'm innocent.. .Oh, Lord!" They hanged William next to his brother, their faces almost touching touching as the bodies swayed in the lamplight. J ' Sim Reno put up a fight, battering battering several hangmen with an iron sink he wreched from the wall as they entered his cell. He was ~J ianged with his feet only a few *t inches off the floor, and it took -<• him half an hour to strangle. x T "Won't you please give me time to pray for my soul?" asked Cfiarles Anderson. "It ain't worth prayin* fer," guffawed one vigilante. But Anderson got his. few terrible terrible moments of life. His rope broke, and he bad to be hanged a second time.. About 45 minutes after they arrived, arrived, the vigilantes left by train, their morning's work done. No one ever was arrested for the lynch- ings. Secretary of State William Seward made a humble apology to Great Britain for the deaths of Frank Reno and Anderson, brought from Canada under federal federal protection. Congress passed a law offering the "entire land, naval or military forces of the United States" to protect accused persons extradited extradited from foreign countries. But all that came too late for the Reno boys. Frank, Sim and William were buried in a single pine box in the Seymour cemetery. cemetery. Today, not even a gravestone marks the spot. v The New Albany jail where the Reno brothers were lynched still stands. But it will be torn down soon to make room for a parking lot. Maybe it's a sort of justice. Some of the most ruthless brigands brigands in American history have themselves been robbed of the only thing they left behind —their reputations. . Come In And Let Us Show You A FINE SELECTION OF QUALITY EASTER SUITS Preps, Regulars, Longs, Sizes 18 to 46. Priced From ONLY 35 00 to 49 95 Check these'blends: Dacron and wool, all wool flannels worsteds, dacron and cottons. Famous Curlee or Sewell clothes. New Assortment of MEN'S SHORT SLEEVE DRESS SHIRTS By "B.V.D." 2 ! 99 and 3.99 All 'while, V/osh and wear sheer 'or plain cottons. Size* S-M-L, 14-17. FREE DRAWING! One Pair of MEN'S 12.95 SPRING SLACKS This Saturday! 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  1. The Kokomo Tribune,
  2. 30 Mar 1961, Thu,
  3. Page 9

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  • 3/30/1961 — The Kokomo Tribune - Reno gang- New Albany In

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