Middle-aged clerk turns to robbing trains

By Bartee Haile

 

On Aug. 23, 1892, a Gainesville newspaper confirmed the rumored death of a local politician turned train robber.

 

Eugene Franklin Bunch did not fit the stereotype of the late nineteenth century outlaw. He was not an illiterate saddle tramp nor a trigger- happy sociopath but the well-educated son of a Mississippi planter. So why did he chose a life of crime at the age of 43?

 

Soon after the Civil War, Bunch moved to Louisiana where he taught school and married a southern belle from the same social class. Sometime in the early 1870’s, the couple emigrated to Cooke County, Texas, living briefly in Dexter, a source of illegal whiskey for reservation Indians, before settling in Gainesville.

 

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