|Eugene Bunch, Gentleman Train Robber
|Eugene Bunch (AKA Capt. J. F. Gerard)
Born in Mississippi, Eugene Bunch was a well educated teacher and editor, who turned to
train robbery to make his fortune. Bunch was a mild-mannered man, standing 6 feet, with
clear blue eyes. He earned his living as a teacher in Louisiana and later moved to
Gainesville, Texas, where he edited the local newspaper. He and a few other bandits
robbed trains in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas in 1888, at the time the more celebrated
Burrow gang was robbing trains almost every month. Introducing himself as Captain J. F.
Gerard to train passengers, Bunch politely tipped his hat to ladies, while refusing to take
their purses, and he was just as gentlemanly when taking the wallets of male train
passengers. When standing inside Express Cars, he spoke quietly to the messengers,
telling them in a soft, mellifluous voice that if they did not open the safes in their custody,
they would have their "brains blown out." Bunch reportedly stole more than $30,000 from
six trains he robbed in 1888-1892.
In November, 1888, Bunch robbed a New Orleans and Northwestern train of $10,000. His
biggest haul was in 1892, when he stopped a train near New Orleans and took $20,000.
Shortly after this robbery, Pinkerton detectives tracked Bunch to a swamp near Franklin,
Louisiana and, on August 21, 1892, shot and killed him and his cohorts.
Excerpted from Lawmen and Outlaws by Jay Robert Nash