Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rube Burrow gained notoriety as a daring train robber

Homer Stephen holds the weapon Rube Burrow 
used in his train robberies.  
(Courtesy of Stephenville Museum)
    "Organized Crime," a chapter in Sins of the Pioneers, ends with a brief story about Reuben Houston "Rube" Burrow, who formed a band of outlaws. The Burrows gang gained infamy throughout the South as the most daring train robbers since Jesse James. In 1872 Rube Burrow left his native Alabama and came to Texas, first settling on the small ranch of his uncle, Joel Burrow. After being joined in Erath by his brother, James Buchanan "Jim" Burrow, Rube organized an outlaw gang.
     Harry Hawkeye's Rube Burrow, the Outlaw (Baltimore: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1908, pp. 9-11), states:
     "At this time his party, consisting of Jim Burrow, Nep Thornton and Henderson Bromley [Brumley], returning from a bootless excursion into Indian Territory, rode in the direction of Bellevue, a station on the Fort Worth and Denver Railway. Here Rube proposed to rob the train, which they knew to be due at Bellevue at 11 o'clock a.m. Hitching their horses in the woods a few hundred yards away, they stealthily approached a water tank three hundred yards west of the station, and where the train usually stopped for water. Thornton held up the engineer and fireman, while Rube, Bromley [Brumley] and Jim Burrow went and robbed the passengers, but did not molest the express.
     "The booty amounted only to a few hundred dollars and some miscellaneous jewelry of no great value.
     "This, his first train robbery, a rather impromptu affair, far from satisfied the greed of the amateur and stimulated his predisposition to take up the business as a profession."
     While none of Rube Burrow's robberies happened in Erath, he did garner arrests for less serious offenses in the county.

No comments:

Post a Comment