Thursday, July 9, 2015

Four masked bandits hold up train in Butler County, Ala. on July 9, 1915

Southbound view from Greenville, Ala. train station.
From the July 14, 1915 edition of The Evergreen Courant:

Bandits Hold Up Fast Train

Friday night shortly after 12 o’clock four masked bandits held up the New York and New Orleans fast mail train, No. 37, a few miles south of Greenville and robbed the mail car of money and valuables and made their escape, and up to this time they are still at large, although officers and detectives have been searching for them ever since a few hours after the hold up occurred.

It is said the robbers boarded the fast train at Greenville and immediately covered the engineer and fireman with pistols and compelled them to bring the train to a stop three miles south of Greenville. Here they uncoupled the baggage and mail car from the train of sleepers and drove the engine with the two cars attached some distance when they compelled the fireman and three of the mail clerks to leave the train. They then proceeded some distance further down the road, one of the robbers operating the engine as if he were an expert at the business.

Stopping the train in a secluded spot, the four men proceeded to ransack the registered mail in the car; and securing the booty they could find, they drove the third mail clerk away, set the engine in motion and let her go wild. The engine, however, stopped at a point near Garland.

The passengers on the train were not molested, but one of the sad and regrettable features as a result of the daring hold up was the death of Capt. Phil McRea, conductor in charge of the train, who died from a weak heart due to the excitement.

Capt. McRea was the oldest conductor on the division, having been in the service 38 years. He was known to thousands of people who feel a keen personal bereavement in his death.

It is not known how much money the robbers secured. It is thought by some that the amount was very large and by others that it was very small.

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