On Saturday evening, January 9th, 1926, a passenger train en route from Guadalajara to Mexico City was ambushed by bandits/revolutionaries near Yurecuaro, in the State of Michoacan, Mexico. Aboard the train were Mr. and Mrs. G. M. Wynkoop of Berryville, Virginia, a representative of the Buick Motor Company. They and a mining man named Russell, from Pachuca were the only Americans aboard the train.
About dark on Saturday, twenty suspicious looking men, carrying rifles concealed under their cloaks, boarded the train as passengers at a small station near Guadalajara. Shortly afterwards they stationed themselves at the doors of each coach, and without warning opened fire upon the passengers in the second and third class coaches. They continued firing without mercy, killing many of the passengers and all the soldier guards.
Although the bandits did not harm any foreigners in the Pullman, including a number of Germans, they took all the men's valuables, taking care, however, not to rob the foreign women.
After massacring and looting the passengers, the bandits ran the train to Yurecuaro station, looted the town there and wrecked the depot, destroying the telegraph wires. They then shot more Mexicans, disembarked all the foreigners and set fire to the coaches, the floors of which were covered with dead and wounded. As the flames consumed the coaches the survivors could hear the cries of the wounded.
After loading it with their loot, the bandits then resumed their flight in the locomotive. Near the station of Tinguinfin they tore up the track, derailed the locomotive and fled into the mountains in the direction of Los Reyes.
The engineer and the conductor were the only surviving members of the crew. The engineer was captured and forced at gun point to assist in the bandits' escape. When they ditched the engine they attempted to kill the engineer, but he succeeded in getting away amid a hail of bullets. After narrowly escaping death, the conductor tramped all night until he found an uncut telegraph wire and got a message through to the military at Guadalajara.
Most of the foreign passengers camped out all night in the wrecked town of Yurecuaro. The Wynkoops walked all Saturday night and most of Sunday before they reached a station from which they were able to make a circuitous railway journey to Mexico City.
It was believed that the outrage was committed because the bandits were told that General Ferreira, Military Commandant of the State of Jalisco, was aboard the train. The bandits were acting under the orders of former Colonel Manuel Nunez. The booty obtained was supposed to have been worth 300,000 pesos.
A detachment of troopers belonging to the Fiftieth Cavalry trailed the main group, including about twenty bandits, in a northeasterly direction from Los Reyes, Michoacan, into the State of Jalisco. The bandits were surrounded at a ranch called Quitupan. There the cornered outlaws fought desperately and most of them died fighting. Eight were taken prisoner and confessed to participation in the robbery. They were summmarily executed. Loot from the train was found on every one of the bodies.
Colonel Manuel Nunez, leader of the bandit outrage, was captured three weeks later, in February of 1926. Dispatches say he was taken to jail in Uruapan.
I suspect that things did not end well for him.
Virginian Views Killing of Women and Children; Coaches Set Afire.
Bandits Massacred 50 on Train; Burned Many Alive.
Fifty Estimated Dead in Mexican Bandit Carnage.
Kill Mexican Train Bandits.
Train Bandits Find No Mercy.
Five Additional Train Bandits Taken in Mexico.
Mexico Executes Two For Aid in Raid and Revolt.
Sixty Reds Executed in Mexico.
Mexican Train Bandit Leader Taken Prisoner.
Created March 20, 2006; Revised March 20, 2006
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