Exploits of Rube Burrow & Gang
The Vernon Courier, Vernon, Lamar County, Alabama
Friday, February 3, 1888.
Desperate Deeds. The Daredevil Exploits of the Burrow Brothers. Daring Train Robberies in the West - Given Away by a Confederate Their Flight From Texas. Birmingham Herald. The capture at Montgomery Sunday of James and Rueben Burrow, the two desperadoes wanted in Texas as for train robberies, and the subsequent escape of James, which has been heretofore narrated in the Herald, has caused intense excitement in this State. These men are both comparatively young in years, but old in devilment. They began their dare-devil career in the West less than two years ago, but since that time have done lots of bold work, and it has all been stacked up against them. So far as the public knows they first came to the front as train robbers in December 1886. It was on the night of December 1, 1886 that they got in their first work on the mail and express train on the Fort Worth & Denver City Railroad. They had been up into the Indian Territory to rob an old Indian woman, who was said to have piles of money. But that scheme went through and they were making their way back toward Dublin, Tex. The boys had been out several weeks and were dead broke. They wanted money and determined to have it. The train stopped at a tank near Sunset to take water and then and there the boys got in their dirty work. The Burrow brothers were assisted in that robbery by two men named Nip Thornton and Henderson Bromley. They held up the train, covering the engineer and conductor with their Winchester rifles and six-shooters, and then while two of them held the train crew at bay the other two went through the train and robbed the passengers. They made a light haul, however, as that train did not carry the mail and express. They only got what money they found in the pockets of the passengers, and a lot of jewelry, watches and other valuables. There were five Negro U. S. Soldiers on the train and the desperadoes took their pistols away from them. The Burrow brothers have said that since that time they have frequently met men whose pockets they went through on that train, but were not recognized. Their next work was in the celebrated Gordan train robbery. They hold up and robbed the mail and express train, near Gordan Station, Tex., on the Texas Pacific Railroad. They made a big haul and got $2,624 in cold cash. They had previously made an attempt to rob that train and failed, but succeeded the second time. That robbery was committed Jan. 23, 1887. In that robbery they were again assisted by Nip Thorton and Henderson Bromley. The boys next turned up as leaders in the Benbrook train robbery, which was committed on the 4th of June, 1887. This time they had Henderson Bromley with them, but Nip Thornton was not there, having gotten out on account of having a sick child. But the Burrow boys and Henderson Bromley did the job. They stopped and robbed the mail and express train near Benbrook, on the Pacific & Rio Grande division of the Texas Pacific Railroad, a few miles out of Fort Worth. The three desperadoes robbed the train and only got $286. It is said that the amount was so small that Rube Burrow kept the money, and they all resolved to rob the same train again. And they did.
On September 20, 1887, Rube and Jim Burrow and a
man named W. L. Brock robbed the same train, and the same crew near Benbrook.
They had been out several weeks rounding up cattle. They wanted money and were
determined to execute their threats and rob that train again. They tied the
horses out and planned to rob the train in a swamp near the station. Rube Burrow
and Brock got on the engine as the train was pulling out from the station, and
as it was dark they were not seen by the engineer until the train was nearing
the bridge in the swamps where they had committed the first robbery on that
train, and where they had left Jim Burrow waiting for them and the train. They
covered the engineer and fireman with their six-shooters and told him where they
wanted the train to stop. Of course, the engineer obeyed orders and when the
train stopped Rube and Brock were joined by Jim and they went through the train.
They compelled the express messenger to unlock the safe and they got $889.
In Texas, Rube Burrow traveled under the name of “R. H. Johnson” and his brother Jim as James Buchanan.
On the morning of the 31st of December, 1887, W. L. Brock was captured at his home a few miles from Jacksonville, Texas. The house was surrounded by a party of detectives, and he surrendered without resistance. He is now confined in jail at Texarkana. He is not looked upon as a very bad man by the detectives, and he surrendered without resistance. He says that the Burrow boys laid out their plans to come to Alabama, and wait until the excitement blew over, and then get in some work on the mail and express in this State. Rube, it seems has been the leader and captain of the gang.
Jim Burrow is about 29 years or 30 years old and weighs about 175 or 180 pounds and sallow complexion, a light brown mustache and gray eyes, with large bones, yet slender build. His home is also at Vernon, Alabama.
Detective Burns, of the Southern Express Co., thinks the man who was captured is Jim Burrow, and the one who is still at large is his brother Rube. who is shrewdest and worst man of the two. The above description of Jim fits the prisoner to a letter, and the description given of Rube does not.
Read more historical articles like this in the new Rube Burrow book.
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