School Teacher Turned Bandit

Gypsy Heart

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Nov 29, 2005
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Wondering if someone searched the homesite of Leon Pounds,they might find some of the hidden loot....

Washington Parish even had its own Jesse James. His name was Eugene Bunch. He was a schoolteacher whose avocation was train-robbing. Those who knew Bunch remember him as a soft-spoken man with a large black mustache, blue eyes, and the manners of an educated gentleman. Except for the two months when he taught children who came from far and wide on foot or horseback, he followed sporadically the more lucrative profession of holding up trains. His double life was a secret well kept, and he was the terror of crews and passengers on trains between the deep South and the North.
Ostensibly for the purpose of living near the school at Lee's Creek, the quiet-mannered schoolteacher stayed much of the time at the home of one Leon Pounds at Walnut Bluff on the Pearl River. Actually, the Pounds' home was one of his more convenient hideouts. He could slip across Pearl River on the ferry at Poole's Bluff, or in his own dugout, and be back before daylight after gathering his loot.
During the winter of 1892, the stage was set for one of Bunch's big hauls. A southbound train on the New Orleans Northeastern Railroad with several passengers and a shipment of currency bound for New Orleans was scheduled to stop near McNeil, Mississippi, at a certain hour. When it did, Bunch was there, alone, to climb aboard. The armed mail and express agents were relieved of their pistols and as many sacks of money as Bunch could conveniently carry away. The crew and passengers were then lined up outside for the holdup. As this fabulous schoolteacher-train robber went through their pockets, he unwittingly dropped a scrap of paper which a passenger hastily pressed into the mud with his heel. Bunch slipped away into the darkness toward the Pearl River swamplands, but his identity at last had been revealed. On the paper he had dropped was written the time of arrival of the train at McNeil and the names of Bunch and Leon Pounds. As he took inventory of the loot in his hideout, Bunch became aware of the missing slip of paper. Taking no chances, he fled to a more remote hideout.
In a few days, notices offering a $3,000 reward for Bunch, dead or alive, were posted in the towns of northern Louisiana and Mississippi. The $3,000 was too tempting an offer for one of Bunch's accomplices, Colonel Hapgood, who shot the schoolteaching bandit in the back as he slept on a bed of pine needles in Muster Ground Swamp. Thus ended Bunch's spectacular career, in the damp darkness of a December night in 1892.
 

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River Rat

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Excellent article, Gypsy :thumbsup: Found a little more info on Bunch.

Eugene Bunch, aka: Captain J. F. Gerard (18??-1892) - Born in Mississippi, Bunch was well educated and grew up to become a teacher in Louisiana before moving on to Gainesville, Texas where he edited a local newspaper. However, for reasons unknown, he turned to train robbery. Along with a few other bandits, the group robbed trains in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi from 1888 to 1892. Upon arriving on the train, Bunch always spoke softly to the express car messengers, telling them that if they did not open their safes, he would "blow their brains out." Before robbing the train's passengers, he always politely introduced himself as Captain J. F. Gerard to train passengers, tipped his hat to the ladies and didn't take their handbags. Though he was just as gentlemanly to the men, he did, however; take their wallets. For the four years Bunch operated, he robbed six trains, making off with an more than $30,000. But for Bunch, like many others, it wasn't to last. After making his largest robbery in 1892, taking some $20,000 from a train near New Orleans, he was heavily pursued by Pinkerton agents. Before long, they tracked him to a swamp near Franklin, Louisiana and on August 21, 1892, shot and killed him and his cohorts.



Birth: Feb. 3, 1843, USA
Death: Aug. 21, 1892, USA

Eugene F. Bunch, was a train robber in the south eastern part of La. He, it is believed may also have robbed a few places, in Texas. Eugene enlisted in the Civil War in Louisiana on May 15,1861. He was in Company E.Third Louisiana Calvary(Winnfield).After the end of the war, Eugene then met and married a girl from a neighboring parish. His family, seemed to be susceptible to Tuberculosis, he moved to a drier climate, Dallas,Texas. It is at this point he began to gamble, and turned into a bandit. His return to Washington Parish, he robbed the train in Amite, La.(Tangiphoa Parish. Then went to Muster Ground. To hide out. His partner in crime, surrendered and Eugene was killed by posse. He is buried in the Morris Cemetery, Franklinton, Louisiana.

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More info on this robber can be found in Crimes & Criminals of the Florida Parishes Part 1 at this site http://www2.selu.edu/thesoutheasternchannel/programs/community/fpchronicles/
 
Mar 5, 2011
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River Rat said:
Excellent article, Gypsy :thumbsup: Found a little more info on Bunch.

Eugene Bunch, aka: Captain J. F. Gerard (18??-1892) - Born in Mississippi, Bunch was well educated and grew up to become a teacher in Louisiana before moving on to Gainesville, Texas where he edited a local newspaper. However, for reasons unknown, he turned to train robbery. Along with a few other bandits, the group robbed trains in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi from 1888 to 1892. Upon arriving on the train, Bunch always spoke softly to the express car messengers, telling them that if they did not open their safes, he would "blow their brains out." Before robbing the train's passengers, he always politely introduced himself as Captain J. F. Gerard to train passengers, tipped his hat to the ladies and didn't take their handbags. Though he was just as gentlemanly to the men, he did, however; take their wallets. For the four years Bunch operated, he robbed six trains, making off with an more than $30,000. But for Bunch, like many others, it wasn't to last. After making his largest robbery in 1892, taking some $20,000 from a train near New Orleans, he was heavily pursued by Pinkerton agents. Before long, they tracked him to a swamp near Franklin, Louisiana and on August 21, 1892, shot and killed him and his cohorts.



Birth: Feb. 3, 1843, USA
Death: Aug. 21, 1892, USA

Eugene F. Bunch, was a train robber in the south eastern part of La. He, it is believed may also have robbed a few places, in Texas. Eugene enlisted in the Civil War in Louisiana on May 15,1861. He was in Company E.Third Louisiana Calvary(Winnfield).After the end of the war, Eugene then met and married a girl from a neighboring parish. His family, seemed to be susceptible to Tuberculosis, he moved to a drier climate, Dallas,Texas. It is at this point he began to gamble, and turned into a bandit. His return to Washington Parish, he robbed the train in Amite, La.(Tangiphoa Parish. Then went to Muster Ground. To hide out. His partner in crime, surrendered and Eugene was killed by posse. He is buried in the Morris Cemetery, Franklinton, Louisiana.





More info on this robber can be found in Crimes & Criminals of the Florida Parishes Part 1 at this site http://www2.selu.edu/thesoutheasternchannel/programs/community/fpchronicles/
 
Mar 5, 2011
2
0
I was told by one of Eugene Bunch's kin that he paid of a families mortgage in Angie. He told them to be sure and get the papers from the banker. He then robbed the banker on his way back to the bank. This kin of his is from the Bluffs area by St. Francisville
 

Daedalus

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This is a very good story , like most he let greed get to him and went to far. At the amount of money he had he could have lived a very good life . Oh well that is how most bandits end up . Dead from gunshot or swinging from a rope .
 

Mrs.Vee

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My Grandfather's Name is Eugene Bunch. He was born around 1923. He met my Grandma Maxine Farris, originally from Bristow, AR and moved to California in the 1940's. I don't know anything about my grandfathers family history and I came across all of these articles when searching our family. I wanted to know if anyone knew more about the Eugene Bunch (teacher turned train robber). Did he have children? If so what were their names, where did they put roots down? It would be interesting to see if this Eugene Bunch was a relative of mine. Of course what has also got me curious is why would someone name their child after a famous train robber unless they were descendant from him? Any info would really be helpful. I will keep looking. So many people have researched him that someone has to know more.
-Melanie Bunch - Vergura
 

Mpgetz1

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Nov 29, 2021
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My Grandfather's Name is Eugene Bunch. He was born around 1923. He met my Grandma Maxine Farris, originally from Bristow, AR and moved to California in the 1940's. I don't know anything about my grandfathers family history and I came across all of these articles when searching our family. I wanted to know if anyone knew more about the Eugene Bunch (teacher turned train robber). Did he have children? If so what were their names, where did they put roots down? It would be interesting to see if this Eugene Bunch was a relative of mine. Of course what has also got me curious is why would someone name their child after a famous train robber unless they were descendant from him? Any info would really be helpful. I will keep looking. So many people have researched him that someone has to know more.
-Melanie Bunch - Vergura
Have you tried to look through your ancestry?
 

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