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The Reno Gang


The Reno Graves, which are fenced in, and the path leading up to them.

It was the years after the Civil War when most of the nation suffered from unemployment and crime. Many outlaw gangs formed during this time, including a gang of brothers: Frank, John, Simeon, and William Reno. The brothers were from Rockford, a small community two miles north of Seymour, Indiana.


The boys, born between 1837 and 1848, grew up in a family that was strictly religious, and some believe this caused them to rebel. They started with a few burglaries and horse thefts, but later were blamed with arson after several businesses in the area were set on fire.

Eventually, the older boys found an easy way to make money when the Civil War began. They would sign up for military service, which was rewarded with a cash bounty at the time, and then desert. Later, they would show up in another area and do it all again.

In the 1860’s the brothers, along with a few other men they had met, started their gang. At first, they focused on robbing post offices, but eventually their ring grew until they were terrorizing businesses and people across the Midwest.

renogang1On the night of October 6, 1866, John and Simeon, along with Frank Sparks, boarded an east bound train as it was leaving Seymour. Wearing masks, they held a gun to the messenger and stole $12,000. They pulled the bell rope to signal the engineer to stop the train, and jumped off when it slowed and disappeared in the dark. This was the first ever recorded train robbery.

The brothers continued their rein of terror, getting away with thousands and thousands of dollars, until they were caught a couple years later. Frank, William, and Simeon were hung to death by a group of vigilantes in the New Albany jail on December 12, 1868 and buried in the Seymour City Cemetery. John had his own stints in prison, but would eventually die in his home on January 31, 1895.

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All the information above was complied from Legends of America, where you can read a more in depth, interesting version.

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