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Robbers, Rustlers and Rogues

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Profiles

  • Major William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham (1756 - 1787)
    Probably not the son of James Cunningham "Bloody Bill" Cunningham (1756–1787) was an American loyalist infamous for perpetrating a series of bloody massacres in South Carolina's backcountry in the fall...
  • William Walter Loomis (1819 - 1896)
  • George Washington Loomis (1779 - 1851)
    Patriarch of the infamous Loomis Gang in the Mohawk Valley, western New York circa 1850. See bio in Wikipedia. GEDCOM Source ===@R201164675@ Ancestry Family Trees Online publication - Provo, UT, USA:...
  • Gale H. Wages (1814 - c.1847)
    an outlaw; prominent member of 60 man gang the "Wages and Copeland Gang" Wages and Copeland Clan Founded 1830s Founded by Gale H. Wages, Charles "Preacher" McGrath, and James Copeland Founding loca...
  • James Copeland (1823 - 1857)
    Photo: The execution of James Copeland James Copeland (January 18, 1823 – October 30, 1857) was an American outlaw during the early to mid nineteenth century, whose crimes took place mostly, in ...

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

Some definitions

Rogue

  • 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!"

Rustler

  • 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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