News and Tribune

Recent Local News

April 10, 2013

NEW ALBANY BICENTENNIAL: The Reno brothers’ demise

NEW ALBANY — Even before the likes of Jesse James or Butch Cassidy, the Reno brothers defined what being a proper outlaw was like in post-Civil War America. 

Although they didn’t invent train robberies, these boys from Rockford sure did find a different way of implementing them. Raiding trains sitting in the station wasn’t their cup of tea. For the first time in history, the gang robbed moving trains out in the Southern Indiana wilderness, something both James and Cassidy later would emulate. 

But these crimes brought something more than just wealth and notoriety to the Reno brothers. In the early morning of Dec. 12, 1868, while being held in a New Albany jail, the thefts cost the men their necks. 

Everyone thinks they know all about the Reno brothers, at least that’s what local historian Gregg Seidl has come to believe. During his haunted history tours, he recounts the story of the men’s unnatural demises at the hands of a vigilante mob. 

“The James boys and the Renos get the credit for having the first train robbery based on how you define a train robbery,” Seidl said. “I think the James had a little longer career than the Renos had. The Renos got this one [big] train robbery and [then they were caught and hanged]. They weren’t very good at eluding, I guess.”

It all started Oct. 6, 1866, when John Reno, his brother Simeon Reno and another gang member boarded a train as it began to chug away from a station in Seymour. After breaking their way into an express car, the men forced open a safe carrying $16,000. Causing the train to slow, they jumped from the moving car and met up with the other outlaws who had their getaway horses. 

Later, local law enforcement discovered a passenger on the train who agreed to positively identify the thieves. Mysteriously, the witness was shot to death in his home, guaranteeing the Reno boys would not face prosecution for their crimes. 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Recent Local News
LOCAL MAGAZINES
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.

SEASONAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.