Seymour (Jackson Co.), IN

History and Demographics

As Cited
As posted on

Brief History of Seymour, Indiana

The first settler on the land that is now Seymour was James Shields. He brought his family here in 1816 and built a block house on the property which is now the old city cemetery. In 1820, he received a land grant for the ground he had homesteaded in the area called Mule Crossing.

A son, Captain Meedy W. Shields, inherited his father's land holdings and developed it into a prosperous farm. During the latter 1840's, a north-south railroad connecting the Ohio River at Jeffersonville with Indianapolis was built crossing the Shields' farm. Then in 1852, an east-west railroad was being surveyed through Jackson County, and Shields persuaded the railroad company to run through his property instead of through neighboring Rockford. In exchange for this favor, he provided the right-of-way for the new railroad and agreed to name the town after the railroad's civil engineer, J. Seymour.

Still not satisfied with the railroad business, Captain Shields (by then a state senator) secured the passage of a bill requiring all trains to stop at all railroad intersections. Now the two railroads met at Seymour, and because they were required to stop, the trains exchanged freight and passengers as well. Seymour quickly became a major center of commercial activity. The city was incorporated in 1864 with a population of 1553.

The Reno Gang

The railroad figures in another chapter of Seymour's history as the site of the world's first train robbery. In 1866, the Reno Gang (headed by brothers Frank, Simeon, and William) boarded the train east of town and proceeded to throw the trainmen off and rob the baggage car at their leisure as they sped through Seymour. Using the deserted town of Rockford as their hideout, the gang would maraude across five states until vigilantes brought an end to the Reno's short, but infamous, career. The secret of the gang's missing loot lies buried with Reno brothers in unmarked graves in the old Seymour Cemetery.

Other Reno Gang Links from various other sources:
Read a more detailed account about the Reno Brothers here:

Check out an A&E Television video about the Reno Brothers here:

Wikipedia account of the Reno Brothers here:

The Jackson County Historical Society

Located at 207 E. Walnut in Brownstown, with 3 museums and and Pioneer Village. Open to the public Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings 9:00-11:00am and by appointment.
Phone 812-358-1745.
General purpose of the Society is to preserve, restore, and collect records of any kind and artifacts for public viewing.


Demographic Data Links

Jackson County, IN overview from Indiana University:
Choose Jackson County from the drop down menu, then click "Get Data"
Use the tabs to select the specific type of data of interest

Jackson County, IN US Census QuickFacts

Wikipedia Link

History and Demographics as posted on Wikipedia:,_Indiana

See also "About Jackson County" for additional links.


From the Seymour Area Chamber of Commerce
Make Seymour Home

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