Rube Burrow born in Lamar
County Alabama December 11, 1854, went to Texas in 1872, where he became
a cowboy. It has been said that he could lift a 700 pound sack and walk
off with it, easy. He was the outlaw king of Alabama and known as "Alabama
Robin Hood", he never robbed a poor man.
Rube Burrow robbed his first train with the help of his brother, Jim Burrow
and two cowboys on Dec 1, 1886 in broad open daylight. It was a passenger
train on the Ft. Worth-Denver Railroad at Bellevue Texas, he took $300.00.
Two weeks later, at Ben Brooks, Texas, he relieved the baggage car attendant
of $4,000. For four years this bandit ranged the south always daring and
It doesnt appear that Rube was a killer, but he was alleged to have
killed a rural postmaster, Moses J. Graves, in Lamar County Alabama concerning
a package addressed to an alias in the county. It is said
that things were hot for Rube as lawmen were all over Lamar County looking
for him. He ordered from a mail order house false whiskers and a wig.
When the package arrived at Jewell, Alabama, some of the hair was sticking
out of the package, the postmaster refused to give the package to Rube's
messenger, and it is said that Rube went to the post office to get the
package and shot Mr. Graves through the heart and took the package with
him. As I understand, there was no witness and another opinion is that
it was one of Rube's men that shot Mr. Graves.
Few bandits in the south or southwest were so widely known from 1886-1890
as Rube. He would climb aboard the engine usually at night as it was pulling
away from a station and force the engineer, at gunpoint, to stop the express
car on solid ground, leaving the passenger car stranded on a trestle.
By this method, Rube Burrow robbed so many trains that an engineer on
the Texas &Pacific Line is said to have once asked "Where do
you want me to stop this time?" and Rube replied "Same place".
Steel coaches and steel express cars, detectives said that it was a train
that Rube Burrow couldn't rob. In fact they boasted so much about this
train down in Mississippi that a newspaper even published a challenge
to Rube to try to rob this express train. Rube accepted the invitation.
It is said that Rube and his gang boarded the train at Bucatuna, Mississippi
in September 1889. They dropped off at the next station with $3,500 from
the mail and express cars. Rube was quoted as telling the express manager
"Listen you, tell that boss of yours that I won't rob no more of
his old cars unless he puts steps on them, it's too much trouble".
Burrow once stopped at a farm house to ask for food, while he ate the
widow told of a $700 mortgage on her property that was past due and the
banker was coming any minute to foreclose. Rube left, after giving the
widow enough money to pay the mortgage, telling her to be sure and get
a receipt. And the rest of the story . . . . Rube waited in the nearby
woods for the banker when he left the widow's house and recovered his
Rube Burrow was captured by two black men, Jesse Hildreth and Frank Marshall
with the help of two white planters, John McDuffie and Jeff Carter, at
George Fords ( a black man) cabin , in the Myrtlewood Community
of Marengo County, Alabama on Dec 7, 1890.
They carried him to jail in Linden, Alabama with Rube entertaining them
all the way with funny stories. Rube offered Jesse Hildreth a hundred
dollars if he would let him go. Jesse said "I couldn't use it then,
cause you'd kill me first".
Rube escaped jail, locking two guards in his cell, and taking another
guard as a shield and went across the street to Glass Store looking
for Jeff Carter to get back money that had been taken from him. Jeff Carter
was waiting in the store, when Carter came outside, he and Rube exchanged
gunfire. Afterwards, Rube was dead in the street and Carter was wounded.
Rube Burrows body was shipped by train back to Lamar County. It
was reported that on a stop in Birmingham thousands viewed the corpse
and people snatched buttons from his coat, cut hair from his head and
even his boots were carried away by persons. Rubes father Allen
Burrow met the train in Sulligent. It was reported that the train attendants
threw the coffin at his feet. Allen Burrow carried his son, Rubes
body, back to his home community near Vernon and buried him in Fellowship