Rube Burrow - Outlaw

Rube Burrow 1854-1890

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 always successful.
It doesn’t 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 money!

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 Ford’s ( 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 Burrow’s 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. Rube’s 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, Rube’s body, back to his home community near Vernon and buried him in Fellowship Cemetery.