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Robbers, Rustlers and Rogues

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  • George William Swepson (1819 - 1883)
    George William Swepson, businessman and Republican activist during Reconstruction, was born in Mecklenburg County, Va., but in the early 1840s moved to Caswell County, N.C., where he is said to have ...
  • Bampfylde Moore Carew (1693 - 1759)
    Bampfylde Moore Carew (1693–1759) was an English rogue, vagabond and impostor, who claimed to be King of the Beggars. Life He was the son of Reverend Theodore Carew, rector of Bickleigh. The Care...
  • Humphrey "Wild" Kynaston, Highwayman (1468 - 1534)
    Humphrey Kynaston (–1534), aka Wild Humphrey Kynaston, was an English highwayman who operated in the Shropshire area. The son of the High Sheriff of Shropshire, he was convicted for murder in 1491. A...
  • Garrett Brock Trapnell (1938 - 1993)
    Garrett Brock Trapnell (January 31, 1938 – September 7, 1993) was a con man, bank robber, and aircraft hijacker of the 1960s and early 1970s. Trapnell robbed a string of banks in Canada, frequently...
  • Gregory Resnover (1951 - 1994)

Bring over your ancestors who may not have always been on the right side of "the law ..."

Some definitions


  • a dishonest or unprincipled man: "you are a rogue and an embezzler!"
  • a person whose behavior one disapproves of but who is nonetheless likable or attractive (often used as a playful term of reproof): "Cenzo, you old rogue!"


  • n. One who works or acts with energy and promptness; an active, efficient person; a “hustler”; originally, a cowboy.
  • n. A cowman who procures his stock by capturing the cattle of other owners and branding them as his own; a cattle-thief.
  • * “The prosecution of these men was undertaken with something of the old vigor that characterized the pursuit of horse thieves, with this difference, that, whereas all the world had hated a horse thief as a common enemy, very much of the world found excuse for the so-called rustler, who was known to be doing only what his accusers had done before him.” The Story of the Outlaw: A Study of the Western Desperado

About Stagecoach Robbery

A real danger for stagecoach travelers on local or long haul lines was the risk of robbery by highwaymen, road agents, or bandits, right up into the early 20th Century. Cash payrolls and bank transfers were regularly carried by these scheduled stage lines. California saw the first stagecoach robbery in April 1852, when a Nevada City stage was robbed outside Illinoistown by a gang led by Reelfoot Williams.

Tom Bell led the earliest well-organized stagecoach robbery gang, using informants to alert them when a stagecoach had a shipment of gold or rich passengers aboard. His gang began and ended in 1856 but was followed by others, like Rattlesnake Dick, who used Bell's methods. One of the more successful individual road agents was Charles Bolles a.k.a. "Black Bart", known to have robbed California stages from 1875 to 1883. As gold mining spread across the West, so did the stagecoach robbers.

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