When Allen County man Richard Kiefer was put to death in 1961, his was the last life terminated by the state for 20 years.
Long before their third attempted train robbery, the Reno Gang had fomented lawlessness across Jackson County. The brothers and their associates were seasoned bank robbers, cattle rustlers, bounty jumpers, arsonists and murderers by the time they first held up a train in 1866—thereby introducing a new brand of larceny to the lexicon of crime.
Frank, John, Simeon and William Reno were raised on a 400-acre farm in Jackson County along with a sister, Laura, and a relatively law-abiding brother, known later as “Honest Clint.” Sundays, the children were required to spend the day reading scripture.
While John Dillinger might be considered Indiana’s most notorious gangster, and the Reno gang of Seymour credited with having invented the train robbery, a different Hoosier miscreant may have left the largest footprint on American folklore. Before astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom put Mitchell on the map, the small town’s best-known native son was undoubtedly Sam Bass.