Thursday, October 6, 2011


October 6: General Interest
1866: First U.S. train robbery

On this day in 1866, the Reno gang carries out the first robbery of a moving train in the U.S., making off with over $10,000 from an Ohio & Mississippi train in Jackson County, Indiana. Prior to this innovation in crime, holdups had taken place only on trains sitting at stations or freight yards.

This new method of sticking up moving trains in remote locations low on law enforcement soon became popular in the American West, where the recently constructed transcontinental and regional railroads made attractive targets. With the western economy booming, trains often carried large stashes of cash and precious minerals. The sparsely populated landscape provided bandits with numerous isolated areas perfect for stopping trains, as well as plenty of places to hide from the law. Some gangs, like Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch, found robbing trains so easy and lucrative that, for a time, they made it their criminal specialty. Railroad owners eventually got wise and fought back, protecting their trains' valuables with large safes, armed guards and even specially fortified boxcars. Consequently, by the late 1800s, robbing trains had turned into an increasingly tough and dangerous job.

As for the Reno gang, which consisted of the four Reno brothers and their associates, their reign came to an end in 1868 when they all were finally captured after committing a series of train robberies and other criminal offenses. In December of that year, a mob stormed the Indiana jail where the bandits were being held and meted out vigilante justice, hanging brothers Frank, Simeon and William Reno (their brother John had been caught earlier and was already serving time in a different prison) and fellow gang member Charlie Anderson.

American Revolution
1777 : British capture Forts Montgomery and Clinton

1993 : Natchez Trace Parkway arches are complete

Civil War
1863 : Confederate guerillas attack Baxter Springs, Kansas

Cold War
1973 : The Yom Kippur War brings United States and USSR to brink of conflict

1981 : The president of Egypt is assassinated

1972 : Train derails in Mexico

General Interest
1683 : First Mennonites arrive in America
1961 : Kennedy urges Americans to build bomb shelters
1973 : Yom Kippur War begins

1991 : Liz Taylor marries husband No. 7

1847 : Jane Eyre is published

1996 : Country superstars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw wed

Old West
1866 : The Reno brothers carry out the first train robbery in U.S. history

1996 : Bill Clinton debates Bob Dole

1926 : Babe Ruth sets a World Series record

Vietnam War
1967 : U.S. jets strike targets in North Vietnam
1970 : South Vietnamese forces withdraw from Cambodia

World War I
1908 : Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia-Herzegovina

World War II
1945 : Pierre Laval attempts suicide

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