Walker County Coal Mines

Walker County History


Home | Stories| Resources | Communities | People | Contacts | Photos | Links | Calendar | News | Movies |Maps | Clippings

A Story in Every Grave

"Rube” Burrow
Born Dec 11, 1854 Lamar County, AL
Died Oct 8,1890 Linden, Marengo, Al

Reuben Houston Burrow was born December 11, 1854 in Jewel (Fellowship Community), Lamar County, AL to Allen Henry Burrow and his wife Martha Terry Burrow.  Rube Rube BurrowBurrow was one of ten children born to this most respected family of Lamar County.   Mrs. Martha Burrow acted as a midwife and delivered most of the children in Lamar County in those days while Allen Burrow farmed the land to try and feed his large family.

Allen Burrow had served in the Confederate Army under General Roddy’s Calvary and in the Twenty-Sixth Alabama Infantry during the War Between the States.  As most students of military history will tell you, both of these military organizations were highly respected and had many act of bravery connected to each group.
As a youth, Rube Burrow became restless and did not like to work on the farm. So, either in 1873 or 1874 he left Lamar County, AL and traveled  to Erath County, Texas to live and work on a ranch owned by his uncle, Joel Burrow.

This time in Texas seemed to be the happiest and most productive of his life.  Rube was a well respected citizen and belonged to different organizations.  In 1876, while living in Texas, he married Virginia Alverson.  They were the parents of two children, a daughter Mary and a son William.  Life was good.  Rube had a small cattle ranch and had been able to buy some cattle. But four years into their marriage, his world fell apart. 

Virginia died in 1880.   It was then that Rube seem to change. 
It was after sending his children back home to Lamar County to be raised by his parents, that Rube entered into his life of crime. It is recorded that he robbed his first train with his brother, Jim Burrow, and two other men on December 1, 1886 in Bellevue, Texas.  His reasoning for becoming a train robber was based on information from the “old timers” who told him that the Railroad had either taken or stolen land from farmers. 

His brother, Jim, was captured after a robbery on December 9, 1888 and was returned to Arkansas to serve his time in Little Rock State Prison where he died.
Rube committed his last train robbery in Flomaton, Alabama on September 1, 1890.  His total take was less than $300.00; not much by today‘s standards, but considered a substantial sum at that time.

By the time of his last robbery, the largest manhunt in the southeast was on for the Lamar County native.  Everyone wanted to capture him for the reward money and every town and county looked like an armed camp.

Rube Borrow was captured in Myrtlewood, Alabama (Marengo County) on October 7, 1890  by two black men, Frank Marshall and Jesse Hildreth with the assistance of two white farmers, John McDuffie and Jeff Carter.  

Following his capture, Rube was taken to Linden and lodged in the Marengo County Jail where it is said that he entertained the jailers with his jokes and wit. 
While behind bars, and in handcuffs, he asked for his knapsack to be brought to him which he stated contained food.   The jailers retrieved it, and upon his request, the handcuffs were removed so that might eat his food. 

Bad move!  Suddenly like a scene out of a Louis Lamour western, he pulled a revolver on his second entry into the knapsack; locked two of his guards in the Jail, and took the third one with him as a shield. 

With his human shield out front, he crossed the street from the Jail to the local Grocery store to seek out Jeff (J D) Carter.  J.D. had removed the money Rube had in his possession at the time of his capture. Rube was going after the money.  Carter was waiting in the store for other law enforcement officials to transport Rube.   October 8 at 3 a.m. he was killed.

On October 8, 1890 at 3:00 in the morning, a gun battle erupted in the Town of Linden.   When it was over, Rube Burrow lay dead in the street of one bullet wound fired by J.D. Carter and J. D. was wounded by Rube’s bullet.  A bullet fired from Rube’s gun struck J.D. and he was paralyzed for the rest of his life.
Burrow’s body was then shipped back to Sulligent, Alabama; his father Allen Burrow met the train at the station, and took the body of his son Rube to Fellowship Church for the funeral.  Rube Burrow was buried in the Fellowship Baptist Church Cemetery.    Today you will find in visiting this cemetery, that his parents and other relatives are buried near him.

This cemetery is located in Township 15S Range 14W Section 6 beside Lamar County Road 9.