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The Legend of Rube Burrow
by Betty Banks (Page 2)

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         A train similar to the ones robbed by Rube and his gang.

 Rube blamed himself for the blunder at Montgomery. He planned to rescue Jim.

In August, Rube and Joe Jackson rode out of Lamar County for the purpose of rescuing Jim when he was being transferred. They rode to Okolona, Miss. through Tate County and on to Helena, Ark.  They crossed the Mississippi River and went  toward Pine Bluff and hence to Arkadelphia, Ark.  to a station on the Iron Mountain Railway, 65 miles south of Little Rock.

At Donaldson, Melvern and adjacent stations, they boarded train after train with cocked revolvers looking for the men with Jim.  Finally moving down to Curtis, a small flag station, they learned that the last southbound train of that date of September 9th was not scheduled to stop at Curtis.  Their only chance to catch it was to ride to Arkadelphia, 15 miles to the north.

With one hour left, Rube told Joe, "We will make the trip, or kill our horses."

This was Sunday night and Rube knew it was the last train his brother could be expected on as his case was set for trial the following morning.

On they rode at breathless speed, faster and still faster until the hills of Arkadelphia were in sight. At the same time they could hear the train whistle. It only stayed a moment before pulling out leaving the rescuers behind by several hundred yards. They turned around.

Joe Jackson wanted to visit Hot Springs but Rube felt it was unsafe. Rube kept away from such places as gambling houses, saloons, etc. Rube felt better in the woods. He inhabited the earth like a beast of prey.

They traveled a northeastern direction avoiding the public highways.  Crossing White River at St. Charles, they rode on to Helena.  Riding up the east bank of the Mississippi River to a point 15 miles north of Helena.  They went for 15 miles through bogs and swamps where horsemen had probably never seen before and there were no signs of humans.

They were seeking a safe retreat and this they found in Tate County Mississippi on the farm of Fletcher Stevens about 18 miles from Senatobia, a station on the Illinois Central Railway. Meanwhile, the detectives of the Southern Express Company had searched every nook and corner of South Alabama. They also went into Florida and were satisfied that Rube was not in Lamar County, Alabama.

A rumor was that a man looking like Rube was seen near St. Charles, Arkansas in early September. The swamp stops them. Rube was right by taking to the swamps.

The farm of Fletcher Stephens located in a remote section away from the railroad lines was a good place. Here they hired themselves out as day laborers. They began to pick cotton on Oct. 1, 1888. Rube was good at this job but Joe was not.  They 50/ cents/hundred.

These men labored diligently and industriously on the Tate County farm from October 1st till December 1st, 1888, never once leaving the place.

At rare intervals they would take their pistols down to the swamps and practice shooting at a target with one or two of their white co-laborers and in a quiet way, made a reputation as a skilled marksman. Both Rube and Joe both hit a silver dollar nine times out of 10 with their 45-caliber Colt revolvers at a distance of 75 yards.

During their stay on the farm they passed as brothers. Rube as Charlie and Joe as Henry Davis. No suspicion was cast to the people around them. Farmer Stevens was a very respectable and law abiding citizen and did not relish the fact that his hired help carried such murderous looking firearms. He gave little thought to the matter.

On or about the first of December, the cotton pickers asked for their pay which was given them.  Mounting their horses, which were in good shape after the long rest, they rode quietly away from the scene of their plodding labors.

Meanwhile, Jim Burrow, admitted his guilt when confronted with William Brock's confession. He, however, changed his mind later and chose a jury trial at Miller County Circuit Court.

On September 10, 1888, he was charged with robber of the express car at Genoa, Ark. His attorney filed a continence when a witness from Alabama did not show up. He may have an alibi with this witness so he was returned to state prison at Little Rock two days after his return to Prison. He wrote to J.A. Cash and his wife the following letter:

 

Sept. 14, 1888
Mr. J. A. Cash:

I am not well but not very sick. I have put off my trial. You send $200.00 to my lawyers if you get the orders from them.Tell Elizabeth and the children that I would like to see them.  James you have all the money on hand by the 1st of Oct. that you can. I will send one of the lawyers back there on  the 15th of November, he is bout such a lawyer as Frank Summers. You was speaking about furnishing me a lawyer from that county.  When my lawyer comes back to you send him to Summers, he will take the case. Don't any of you come out until I write for you to come....they got three bills against me for train robbery, and the other two for attempt to murder. I think I will come clear. You collect my money as fast as you can.

J.B. Burrow

Mrs. M.E. Burrow:

As I feel better this morning than I did yesterday I will write you a few lines.  Elizabeth you all rest easy about me for I think I will beat my case - my trial is set to come up the first Tuesday in March.  You have $200.00 on hand by the 15th of November to pay my lawyer with. One of them is a better lawyer than Frank Summers is. So if you could employ Summers to help them in my case would be an advantage for me to have counsel from my own state.  Tell pa that I will answer his letter soon.  Tell the children that I will see them again. Brock's trial was put off so he could be a witness against me. Write all of the news.

J.B. Burrow to Mrs. Burrow

Jim not being a convict and therefore not required to labor, soon began to chafe under the restraint of prison life, which was aggravated by a depressing ??? was impossible to make an intelligent narration of them.  On Oct. 5, 1888, his earthly career was determined by death and his unhonored grave is surrounded by those of such hapless fellows as have succumbed to the rigors of prison experience leaving their bodies with their captors while their spirits have slipped through the bars and gone for final trial before the Last Tribunal.

On the cold and cheerless night of December 15, 1888, the northbound express train of the Illinois Central Railway which left New Orleans for Chicago at seven o'clock a.m. pulled into the station of Duck Hill, Miss. twenty-five miles south of Grenada, 13 hours later. The manner in which the engine was boarded and the train stopped is best told in the language of Albert Law, the engineer of the locomotive. He said, "I pulled out of Duck Hill Station at 10:05 o'clock p.m. The fireman called to me to look out, that there was a car of cotton ahead, on the sidetrack.  I pulled slowly by in order to avoid igniting the cotton by sparks from the engine and when I passed the cotton the fireman said, "All right, let her go."  I started ahead lively and presently saw the robbers climb up on my engine from the east side.

The smaller man got on first. I thought they were tramps and was in the act of slowing up to put them off when the smaller man covered me with a pistol and said, "Don't stop here! Go on! Go on! I then saw the men were masked.

Meanwhile, the robber who had entered the car handed a sack to Southern Express Messenger Harris and made him diver up the contents of his safe. 

Chester Hughes, a brave young fellow from Jackson, Tenn., arose quickly and said, "I will if I can get anything to shoot with."

Two colored men seated nearby had each a 38-caliber Winchester rifle.  These weapons were quickly gathered by the conductor and his gallant passenger and loaded with cartridges furnished them by the owners they went forth to do battle with the robbers. 

Advancing abreast of each other, these brave men fired shot after shot at the dark form of the robber who stood as a sentinel on the outside of the car, and who unflinchingly held the ground, returning with steady aim charge after charge from his trusty revolver.

Finally, young Hughes dropped his Winchester, exclaiming, "I am shot," and fell to the earth.  Wilderson raised the brave young fellow to his feet and dragged the unconscious and bleeding form into the coach, and returning to the steps of the front coach renewed the firing at the robbers.

The robber had meantime secured the money from the messenger (about $2,000.00) and backed out of the car still holding his pistol on the messenger ____ Tennessee.  The sister knew nothing of her brother's participation in the fight with the robbers until he was carried back into the coach, when she prostrated herself in affectionate embrace over his body from which life was fast ebbing away.  The scene was an agonizing and affecting one.

The unerring aim of the robber had sent three shots through the body of young Hughes, all entering his stomach within a radius of six inches and the unfortunate but daring young fellow lived only a few minutes.  The same train, on which he had erstwhile embarked in the vigor of health and buoyant spirits, bore his lifeless  form to the home of his widowed mother at Jackson, Tenn.

The Southern Express Company and the Illinois Central Railway promptly presented a grief-stricken mother with a fitting testimonial of appreciation for the heroic conduct of her son.  while, "On Fame's eternal camping ground, their silent tents are spread, and glory guards with solemn round, the bivouac of the dead," the name of Chester Hughes will be enrolled among the bravest of the brave.

The whole country was electrified with horror at the brutal murder of a passenger on one of the greatest railway train line, in one of the most populous districts of the South, by train robbers.  It was determined that no expense or labor should be spared in bringing the criminal to justice.

General manager, C.A. Beck and Superintendent J. G. Mann of the Illinois Central Railway were in Memphis in a special car at that time.  During the night a violent and very general rainstorm had prevailed and telegraph wires were down in many places.  The news of the robbery did not, therefore, reach Memphis until about midnight.  Railroad and express officials remained at the telegraph office all night.  Seeking the details, and left about daylight for the scene of the robbery.  The aid of the Pinkertons was again summoned,  and several of the most expert detectives of the Chicago Agency soon arrived at Duck Hill.

About a month prior to the Duck Hill robbery, the United States Expressed Company had been robbed at Derby, Miss., a station sixty-five miles north of New Orleans on the Queen and Crescent Railway, by Eugene Bunch, a man who is supposed by some persons, even to this day, to be identical with Rube Burrow.

Eugene Bunch, a native of Louisiana and long time a resident of Texas, bore a remarkable resemblance of Rube Burrow.  The description, about thirty-six years old, weight one hundred and seventy pounds, height six ___.

The Pinkerton detectives, on their arrival at Duck Hill, was unable to find a trace of the robbers.  There were no clues from which to begin a search for them.  whence the robbers came, whither they had gone, whether on horseback or afoot, was not known.  At this junction Detective D. C. Hennessey of New Orleans, who recently met his death at the hands of assassins in that city and a man of undoubted ability in his profession, having received a description circulated of the robbers telegraphed the official of the Southern Express Company as follows.  "Description of the robbers received, I am well aware as to who they are, and am satisfied I can get them.

A conference was at once arranged with Hennessey, who declared the Duck Hill robbery to be the work of Eugene Bunch.  An unfortunate combination of circumstances have ensued to corroborate Hennessey's view.  Bunch answered Burrow's description with great exactness.  The former was reliable ascertained to have been in northern Louisiana a few days prior to the robbery and therefore, within easy reach of Duck Hill.  Brunch was an  intimate friend who answered Engineer Law's description of the smaller man who stood guard over him at Duck Hill.

The detectives had, meantime, traced two men riding out south from the scene of the robbery in the direction of Honey Island in the Pearl River, a private resort, with Bunch.

The chase that followed, there from under the leadership of the Pinkertons, was organized to find Bunch, and not Burrow.

From New Orleans to Texas, to Monterrey and Mexico to the City to Los Angeles and San Diego and even to San Francisco, he eluded the detectives by taking a Pacific Coast steamer.  The chase was then, after months of labor, abandoned.

Meanwhile, in a quiet way, the detectives of the Southern Express Company were at work on the theory that Rube Burrow was the leader of the robbery at Duck Hill.  It was discovered that Rube Burrow and Joe Jackson rode away from the farm of Fletcher Stevens in Tate County, Miss on Dec. 1, 1888, and after paying a visit to Rube's brother-in-law, Berryhill, who lives 18 miles from Oxford, proceeded to Water Valley, Miss., where they spent the night; and that going thence to Duck Hill, they robbed the train in the manner described.

After mounting their horses, tethered in the woods some half a mile from the spot on which the robbery occurred, they rode through a drenching rain a distance of 40 miles by daylight.  The next day they camped in the brush, divided the spoils of the robbery and at sundown resumed their journey.  After another hard nights ride, they reached the vicinity of Pearl River, near Philadelphia, Miss.

North of the bridge swam the swollen current of Pearl River.  Reaching the opposite bank, they continued their journey through the wilds of the southwesterly course on which they had ridden for two days, they rode in a northeasterly direction, traveling most of the distance at night, until they reached Lamar County.  Here they remained in quiet seclusion until the tragic events recorded in the next chapter occurred.

The reader may well ask what the detectives of the Southern Express Company were doing while these men remained in Lamar County and the adjacent county from the time of the Duck Hill robbery until the summer of 1889.

In the contiguous counties of Lamar, Fayette and Marion the kindred of the Burrow family abounded  on every hand.  The homes of his kinsmen - notably Cash, Terry, Barker, Smithe and Hankins - not only furnished a safe refuge for the robbers, but they were worshipped as heroes, and each household vied with the others in its fealty and loyalty to the robber chief.

"Rube never robs a poor man," they were often heard to say, forgetting that  one never gets blood out of a turnip.  These people were of a thriftless, restive spirit, and among them were many shrewd and cunning natures who became the paid scouts of the outlaws.  A code of signals was established and the appearance of a detective or a stranger of any kind in that section was at once ascertained and the information conveyed to the outlaws.  The firing of a gun in a certain location, the cracking of a whip, the blowing of a horn and the deep-toned "ah-hoo" as well as codes of other signals, all had their meaning.  They gave the fugitives warning of the approach of danger; and so, when occasional raids were made, a house surrounded, a trial was uncovered or some solitary scout from among Rube's clansmen were encountered, the stillness of the air would be broken by a signal which plainly told the detectives that their presence were known and the robbers were on the alert.

It was even impossible to trail the messengers who carried rations to the robbers while in camp, for these were stored in the crevices of rocks and in the trunk of trees from which convert at the propitious times the food would be taken. 

Rube followed   Jim Cash, with a supply of provisions, to a ravine some distance from Cash's home and saw them hidden away in the cavernous depths of a hollow log.  He concealed himself within one hundred yards of the spot and, knowing Rube was in that locality, felt sure he would be able to pick him off with his trusty Winchester when he came for the rations.

Jackson crouched behind the huge trunk of a tree in the breathless expectation of Rube's appearance, when a shot fired from the vicinity of Cash's house dashed his hopes. 

 Half an hour later Cash walked cautiously down the hill, took the food away and tied a flaming red cloth to the top of an adjacent bush, thus exhibiting for Rube and the red signal of danger. 

 Cash had, on this return, with the cunning of his class, discovered strange footsteps on his trail and rightly that his movements had been watched.  Although the detectives took down the signal, Rube had doubtless seen it.  If not, acting on the signal previously given, Rube missed his dinner that day.

Thus fed and harbored, the outlaws remained in Lamar County and the adjacent counties all the spring and summer of 1889, without any event of note occurring until the 7th day of July, when Rube Burrow murdered in cold blood, the postmaster in Jewel, Ala. 

Meanwhile, the robber who had entered the car handed a sack to Southern Express Messenger Harris and bade him diver up the contents of his safe. 

Chester Hughes, a brave young fellow from Jackson, Tenn., arose quickly and said, "I will if I can get anything to shoot with."

Two colored men seated nearby had each a 38-caliber Winchester rifle.  These weapons were quickly gathered by the conductor and his gallant passenger and loaded with cartridges  furnished  them by the owners they went forth to do battle with the robbers.

Advancing abreast of each other, these brave men fired shot after shot at the dark form of the robber who stood as a sentinel on the outside of the car, and who unflinchingly held the ground, returning with steady aim charge after charge from his trust revolver.

Finally, young Hughes dropped his Winchester, exclaiming, "I am shot," and fell to the earth.  Wilderson raised the brave young fellow to his feet and dragged the unconscious and bleeding form into the coach, and returning to the steps of the front coach renewed the firing at the robbers.

The robber had meantime secured the money from the messenger (about $2,000) and backed out of the car still holding his pistol on the passenger from Tennessee.  The sister knew nothing of her brother's participation in the fight with the robbers until he was carried back into the coach, when she prostrated herself in affectionate embrace over his body from which life was fast ebbing away.  The scene was an agonizing and affecting one.

The unerring aim of the robber had sent three shots through the body of young Hughes, all entering his stomach within a radius of six inches and the unfortunate but daring young fellow lived only a few minutes.  The same train, on which he had erstwhile embarked in the vigor of health and buoyant spirits, bore his lifeless form of his widowed mother at Jackson, Tenn.

The Southern Express Company and the Illinois Central Railway promptly presented a grief-stricken mother with a fitting testimonial of appreciation for the heroic conduct of her son.  While, "On Fame's eternal camping ground, their silent tents are spread, and glory guards with solemn round, the bivouac of the dead," the name of Chester Hughes will be enrolled among the bravest of the brave.

The whole country was electrified with horror at the brutal murder of a passenger on one of the greatest railway trunk lines, in one of the most populous districts of the South, by train robbers.  It was determined that no expense or labor should be spared in bringing the criminal to justice.

General manager C. A. Beck and Superintendent J. G. Mann of the Illinois Central Railway were in Memphis in a special car at that time.  During the night a violent and very general rainstorm had prevailed and telegraph wires were down in many places.  The news of the robbery did not, therefore, reach Memphis until about midnight.  Railroad and express officials remained at the telegraph office all night.  Seeking the details, and left about daylight for the scene of the robbery.  The aid of the Pinkertons was again summoned, and several of the most expert detectives of the Chicago Agency soon arrived at Duck Hill.

About a month prior to the Duck Hill robbery, the United States Express Company had been robbed at Derby, Miss., a station sixty-five miles north of New Orleans on the Queen and Crescent Railway, by Eugene Bunch, a man who is supposed by some persons, even to this day, to be identical with Rube Burrow.

Eugene Bunch, a native of Louisiana and long time a resident of Texas, bore a remarkable resemblance of Rube Burrow.  The description, about thirty-six years old, weight one hundred and seventy pounds, height six feet.

The Pinkerton detectives, on their arrival at Duck Hill, were unable to find a trace of the robbers.  There were no clues from which to begin a search for them.  whence the robbers came, whither they had gone, whether on horseback or afoot, was not known.  At this junction Detective D. C. Hennessey of New Orleans, who recently met his death at the hands of assassins in that city and a man of undoubted ability in his profession, having received a description circulated of the robbers telegraphed the officials of the Southern Express Company as follows: "Description of the robbers received, I am well aware as to who they are, and am satisfied I can get them."

A conference was at once arranged with Hennessey, who declared the Duck Hill robbery to be the work of Eugene Bunch.  An unfortunate combination of circumstances have ensued to corroborate Hennessey's view.  Bunch answered Burrow's description with great exactness.  The former was reliable ascertained to have been in northern  Louisiana a few days prior to the robbery and therefore, within easy reach of Duck Hill.  Bunch was an intimate friend who answered Engineer Law's description of the smaller man who stood guard over him at Duck Hill.

The detectives had, meantime, traced two men riding out south from the scene of the robbery in the direction of Honey Island in the Pearl River, a private resort, with Bunch.

The chase that followed, there from under the leadership of the Pinkertons, was organized to find Bunch, and not Burrow. from New Orleans to Texas, to Monterry and Mexico to the City of Los Angeles and San Diego and even to San Francisco, the detectives pursued Bunch until, just as his capture seemed certain at San Francisco, he eluded the detectives by taking a Pacific Coast steamer.  The chase was then, after months of labor, abandoned.

Meanwhile, in a quiet way, the detectives of the Southern Express Company were at work on the theory that Rube Burrow was the leader of the robbery at Duck Hill.  It was discovered that Rube Burrow and Joe Jackson rode away from the farm of Fletcher Stevens in Tate County, Miss., on December 1, 1888, and after paying a visit to Rube's brother-in-law, Berryhill, who lives 18 miles from Oxford, proceeded to Water Valley, Miss. where they spent the night and that going thence to Duck Hill, they robbed the train in the manner described. 

After mounting their horses, tethered in the woods some half a mile from the spot on which the robbery occurred, they rode through a drenching rain a distance of 40 miles by daylight.  The next day they camped in the brush, divided the spoils of the robbery and at sundown resumed their journey.  After another hard nights ride, they reached the vicinity of Pearl River, near Philadelphia, Miss.

North of the bridge swam the swollen current of Pearl River. Reaching the opposite bank, they continued their journey through the wilds of the southwesterly course on which they had ridden for two days, they rode in a northeasterly direction, traveling most of the distance at night, until they reached Lamar County.  Here they remained in quiet seclusion until the tragic events recorded in the next chapter occurred.

The reader may well ask what the detectives of the Southern Express Company were doing while these men remained in Lamar County and the adjacent county from the time of the Duck Hill robbery until the summer of 1889.

In the contiguous counties of Lamar, Fayette and Marion the kindred of the Burrow family abounded on every hand.  The homes of his kinsmen - notably Cash, Terry, Barker, Smithe and Hankins - not only furnished a safe refuge for the robbers, but they were worshipped as heroes, and each household vied with the others in its fealty and loyalty to the robber chief.

"Rube never robs a poor man," they were often heard to say, forgetting that one never gets blood out of a turnip.

These people were of a thriftless, restive spirit, and among them were many shrewd and cunning natures who became the paid scouts of the outlaws.A code of signals was established and the appearance of a detective or a stranger of any kind in that section was at once ascertained and the information onveyed to the outlaws.  The firing of a gun in a certain location, the cracking of a whip, the blowing of a horn and the deep toned "ah-hoo", as well as scores of other signals, all had meaning.

They gave the fugitives warning of the approach of danger; and so, when occasional raids were made, a house surrounded, a trial was uncovered of some solitary scout from among Rube's clansmen were encountered, the stillness of the air would be broken by a signal which plainly told the detectives that their presence were known and the robbers were on the alert.

It was even impossible to trail the messengers who carried rations to the robbers while in camp, for these were stored in the crevices of rocks and in the trunk of trees from whih convert at the propitious times the food would be taken.

Rube followed Jim Cash, who had a supply of provisions, to a ravine some distance from Cash's home and saw them hidden away in the cavernous depths of a hollow log.  Cash concealed himself within one hundred yards of the spot and, knowing Rube was in that locality, felt sure he would be able to pick him out with his trusty Winchester when he came for the rations. 

Jackson crouched behind the huge trunk of a tree in the breathless expectation of Rube's appearance, when a shot fired from the vicinity of Cash's house dashed his hopes.

Half an hour later, Cash walked cautiously down the hill, took the food away and tied a flaming red cloth to the top of an adjacent bush, thus exhibiting for Rube the red signal of danger.

Cash had, on this return, with the cunning of his class, discovered strange footsteps on his trail and rightly that his movements had been watched.  Although the detectives took down the signal, Rube had doubtless seen it.  If not, acting on the signal previously given, Rube missed his dinner that day.  Thus fed and harbored, the outlaw remained in Lamar County and the adjacent counties all the spring and summer of 1889, without any event of note occurring until on the 7th day of July, when Rube Burrow murdered in cold blood, the postmaster in Jewel, Ala.  (Family members and others claim another person actually shot the postmaster.)

Rube had concluded that a wig and false whiskers were necessary in his line of business.

His robberies were now of such frequent occurrence that he sought to disguise himself more closely and after writing for a catalogue an selecting what he desired in his line, he wrote the following letter to a Chicago house:

June 1, 1889

Mr. Sthrel:
I just received your catalogue of wigs and will order wigs and bird.  Pleas ship one set of Bird, 4 or 5 inches and one wig, cullor of goods light red, slieghtly grey, and chopped hair.  Ship goods to Sullgient (express office, whip at once) Lamar County, Ala., too W.W. Cain. 
P.S. Please find five dollars inclosed, eye hav no sample of hair.

Meanwhile Jim Cash had made several inquiries for the catalogue to Cain's address before it arrived.  On the arrival of the parcel containing the wig and whiskers, the wrapper being torn, the contents were exposed.

Naturally, great curiosity was excited as to the ownership of these queer looking articles.  The rumor soon gained currency that Jim Cash had been inquiring for mail for W.W. Cain.

The postmaster recalled having delivered him the catalogue and this parcel was supposed to be is property.

Cash was told that the contents had been examined and that the postmaster declared he intended to arrest the party who called for the parcel.  When this information was imparted to him by Cash, Rube became greatly enraged.  He swore he would go to the post office in person, get the mail, and kill Graves.

Accordingly, he left the home of his brother-in-law, Cash, about daylight on the 7th of July for Jewell, distant about six miles.  Rube knew Moses Graves, who kept the post office in connection with a country store and who was a quiet and inoffensive citizen.

Rube arrived in Jewell early, but the full-orbed day was not a fit time for the execution of the dark deed upon which he was bent.  He lurked about the outskirts of the quiet little village.

The men, who had been playmates in their childhood, stood face to face and exchanging a silent recognition.  Rube said, "Have you any mail for W.W. Cain?"

"Yes," answered Graves, but I cannot deliver it to you."

Instantly, Rube drew his heavy revolver and fired, the ball entered the stomach and piercing him through and through.  "I'll teach you how to open my mail," said Rube.  Graves staggered toward a chair and falling into it said, "Rube Burrow, you have killed me."

The murderer then turned and leveling his pistol to the head of the young girl who was an assistant in the post office, said, "Get my mail or I will blow your head off."

The frightened creature, in her terror, could not find the parcel until Graves, pointing to it with uplifted hand, bade her get it, and sinking to the floor soon expired.

Graves' wife, at the firing of the shot which killed her husband, rushed in from an adjoining room.  Despite Rube's threat to kill her if she entered, she flew to the assistance of her dying husband.

He was conscious long enough for his ante mortem statement to be carefully taken in the presence of witnesses, certifying to the fact that Rube Burrow was his murderer, Rube walked out of the town unmolested and at 10 o'clock that night reached the house of Jim Cash, his hands stained with the blood of one of Lamar County's most respected citizen - the perpetrator of a deed as wanton and as cold-blooded as ever blackened the annals of crime.

Rube and Joe were not amiss in surmising that the officers of the law would swoop down upon them. As soon as Rube returned to Jim Cash's, about ten o'clock that night, he informed Joe Jackson, his partner, of the event of the evening.  The later had advised strongly against the policy of taking Graves' life and warned Rube of the consequences; but Rube's spirit was full of revenge and he determined upon the murder.  (Many people at that time, including his family, do not think Rube was the murderer.)

All of northern Alabama was aroused with indignation at the cruel and wanton murder and ex-sheriff Pennington, heading a posse of determined citizens, went into the Burrow neighborhood a few days afterward and made an earnest endeavor to capture the outlaws.

Too much praise can not be accorded this brave and gallant man and had the laws of Alabama admitted his re-election to a second term, it is more than probably that the career of these train robbers in Lamar County would have been less bold and protracted.

The murder of the postmaster at Jewell was done by Burrow in a spirit of bravado and doubtless with the design of terrorizing the law-abiding people in that section into such a state of timidity as would give additional safety to is chosen place of refuge, and at the time knit him all the more closely to the lawless band of his followers, who not only connived in his crimes but profited from the spoils of his misdeeds.

Despite the vigilant and unremitting search of the detectives, the presence of the bandit in Lamar County had not been definitely known until the murder of Graves occurred.  Officials of the Southern Express Company determined, therefore either capture Rube or drive him from Lamar County.  The task was a difficult one, in view of the fact that Rube never slept under a roof or broke bread at any man's table in Lamar County after the murder at Jewel.  Soon thereafter, when invited by his father to come into his house, he refused, saying on one occasion, "I might as well give myself up."

Detective Jackson and Burns of the Southern Express Company about this time went into Lamar County and literally camped there.  They endeavored by every possible means to discover the whereabouts of the outlaws by shadowing the persons who communicated with them from time to time, but the army of scouts in the secret service of the cunning desperado was so well trained.

About Sept. 1st, Rube and Joe concluded to depart.  A few days before their departure, however, Mrs. Allen Burrow brought Rube a message from Rube Smith to the effect that the latter wanted to see him.  Rube Smith is the son of James Smith, who lives in Lamar County, near Crews Station and about eight miles from the home of Allen Burrow.  He is a first cousin of the Burrow brothers.

Smith was about 28 years old, five feet eight inches high, weighed 160 pounds and bore a very bad reputation in all that section.  He never followed a legitimate occupation except for a short period in 1883; he had been an itinerant photographer, moving about from place to place and making photographs in country towns of north Alabama.

In the fall of 1888, however, he was indicted with James McClung and James Barker, an uncle, for robbery from the persons of a Mr. John son, a respectable old farmer of Lamar County.  Smith and party went to farmer Johnson's home about nightfall, with their faces masked and at the point of their revolvers demanding his money.

The old man hesitating was cruelly beaten and at last divulged the hiding place of his money, over $300, which the robbers secured.  They left their victim bleeding and maimed, lying upon the floor where he remained until the next morning when kindly neighbors came to his assistance.  Rube Smith then became a fugitive from justice.  Burrow, knowing of the presence of the detectives in the vicinity, suspected that Smith was being used by the officers to entrap him.  After considering the matter several days, he sent, through his sister, a message to Rube Smith that he would meet him at the house of midnight, September 4th in Fellowship Church yard, a point about four miles from Vernon.

Thither Burrow and Joe Jackson repaired early after dark on that night for the purpose of forestalling any plan which the detectives might have to capture them through Smith.  The watch was set and each by turn stood sentinel in this quiet and lonely spot waiting the appointed hour.   Smith, in due course, appeared as agreed.  He was alone and Burrow was soon assured that his proposal to join him was genuine.

There in the graveyard of Fellowship Church, where the body of the famous outlaw now lies buried, at the solemn hour of midnight, the compact which linked Rube Smith's fortunes with his own were made.  There was no subscribing to the black oath, no signing in letters of blood, but with the skillfulness of a master Rube Burrow inducted his young kinsman into the office of train robbing to which he had elected him.

He described the preliminary step of boarding the engine and getting the "drop", the method of "holding up", and all the subtle articles of the craft, in such a masterful style that the new recruit smacked his lips in anticipation of the rich dish spread before his mental vision.

After the manner of little Jack Horner, he mentally, "put in his thumb and pulled out a plum" and said, "what a good boy am I".  Setting out, therefore, with the two fold object of avoiding the detectives in Lamar County and robbing a train, the three men journeyed southward without any particular destination in view.

Going down the west bank of the Tombigbee River, he traveled  about 150 miles to Buckatanna, Miss., on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, 73 miles north of Mobile.  After a careful deliberation of the matter, Rube Burrow selected Ellisville, Miss., a point of the Queen and Crescent Railway, 65 miles south of Meridian and 55 miles each across the country at the point of making his seventh train robbery.

Leaving the Mobile and Ohio Railroad at Buckatunna on the 14th of Sept., the men walked towards Ellisville, arriving there on the night of the 17th  of September.  Here Rube Burrow concluded, after finding there were three trains daily each way on that road, that there was no money in robbing a train on the Queen and Crescent Railway.  He argued that the shipments would __ each day. Accordingly, the robbers resumed their journey toward Buckatunna through the "Free State of Jones."The county of Jones, Miss bears to this day the appellation of the "Free State of Jones."  During the late Civil War, the county seceded from the Confederacy and set up an independent government of its own.  Here, in the famous Bogue Homer Swamp, which covers one-third of the area of the county, hundreds of Mississippians and Alabamians from across the border, declared themselves non-combatants and gathered their families about them, set up a military of their own.

Fortified within the inaccessible wild land, by the aid of their flintlocks, they defied Confederate and Federal alike, and in the solitude of a peacefulness disturbed only by an occasional unsuccessful raid upon them, lived an unmindful of the fate of the Republic.  One may ride, at this day, over the public road, so called, from Ellisville to Buckatunna, 60 miles and in all that distance he will find no sign of human habitation save at intervals of 10 miles or so a rude log hut, and here and there a resin orchard.

Through  this lonely woodland, to the music of the sough?  Where the outlaws wended__ who lives three miles from Buckatunna station.

Neil found the men snugly quartered in this outhouse early Monday morning and had frequent interviews with them during their stay of 48 hours on his premises.  The robbers visited a trestle at Buckatunna Creek, two miles south of the station of that name.  During Monday, and after carefully maturing their plans, agreed to rob the southbound express train due on Wednesday, Sept. 25th, about 2:30 a.m., at the trestle, one and a half miles south of the station.

Leaving Neil McAllister's cabin soon after dark, the trip passed through Buckatunna and went to the trestle, where they remained until the northbound train passed at midnight.  Rube Burrow and Rube Smith then walked to the station where, on the arrival of the southbound train, in charge of Conductor Scholes and Engineer Therill, the two men quietly boarded the engineer as it pulled out from the station. 

The cool and determined manner in which the work was done is well described by Zack Terrell, the engineer, in his statement taken by the express official the next day.

Just as I was pulling out of Buckatunna, I heard a voice in my engine and I thought the fireman was speaking to me.  I turned to find the fireman and myself covered with pistols by two men.  The larger of the two men who had his pistol presented, "Pull on out!" Stop the train on the trestle beyond the bridge so the passengers can't get off.  "I will kill every one that hits the ground."

I stopped as directed and was ordered to get down from the engine.   When I got down there was a man standing opposite the gangway on the ground, which I will designate number three.  He backed toward the express car door.  The man number one, who was in front, covered the messenger, who was sitting on the engine, said, "Call the express messenger." Just then robber number three, who was in front covering the messenger, who was sitting on the opposite side of the car with his back toward us.  The conductor came out at this moment and asked what was the matter.  The big man, number one, fired a shot over my head toward the conductor and said, "Get back or I will kill you!"  The messenger had not yet opened the door but was covered by the pistol of number three.  The big man, number three, then covered the messenger as soon as he had shot.  The fireman was standing behind me with a cool pick covered by number two, who had been on the engine.  The messenger shoved the grated door back, the wooden or outside door being already open.  The messenger could not have stepped aside, as he was covered by two pistols.  Number one then said, "Give me your hand and pull me in the car.  Handle my hand carefully, as there are corns on it."

The conductor came out at this moment and asked what was the matter.  The big man, number one, fired a shot over my head toward the conductor and said, "Get back or I will kill you!"  The messenger had not yet opened the door but was covered by a pistol of number three. 

The big man, number three, then covered the messenger as soon as he had shot.  The fireman was standing behind me with a cool pick covered by number two, who had been on the engine.  The messenger shoved the grated door back, the wooden or outside door being already open.

The messenger could not have stepped aside, as he was covered by two pistols.  Number one then said, "Give me your hand and pull me in the car.  Handle my hand carefully, as there are corns on it."  He was in the car five or six minutes.  Just after he got in the car, the conductor then called to know what was the matter.

Number three said, in a low tone or voice, "Look out, I will settle him."  He went forward a few paces and called out, "Come and see," squatted and fired one shot.  He then got up, ran forward about 10 feet, and laid down flat on his stomach.  He laid there until number one in the car told the messenger to get out of the car which he did, in front of the robber who gave him the bag with the contents to hold, while he himself got out.

Number one then said to me, "Go to the engine with me and pull the mail car off the trestle."  I told him it was off and told him if it was not off, I did not have steam enough to move the train.  He then said to number two, "Take the fireman to the engine," and added, "Wait, I will go with you."  He told the fireman to get his fire started, ordered number two to stay with the fireman and instructed me to go with him to the mail car.  Before he started off, he told the fireman not to move the engine.

I called the mail agent as instructed, who was inside the car.  As soon as he approved, he was covered by number one, who ordered the mail agent to get up his registered letters and said to him, "You have been hiding them."

The mail agent replied, "No, I have only turned the lights down."

The mail agent showed him the registered mail saying, "There it is," and added, "You will get the U.S. government after you, and there is not $2,000 in the pile."

"That don't make any difference," said the robber.  "I will take them anyhow."

He left the car and said to the mail agent, "if you don't want to get hurt, shut the door and keep it shut until the train leaves here."  He gave the packages he got out of the mail car to number two who was guarding the fireman and told me to get up on my engine and pull out.

I had started up on the engine when he told me to sit in the gangway between the tender and engine.  Number one then said, "Do anything you want to get steam up."  We were 10 minutes getting up steam.  During that time he said he worked on a section once though not on this road and was discharged and a Negro put in his place.  He then decided not to work anymore for a living.  He said he had been around towns and had heard people say what they would do if they were "held up".

"What can a man do." I asked. "In the fix you have me in?"

"Do as I tell you," he replied. 

When I got steam up he said, "Hurry up to State Line and send a message up and down the road so they can get after us.  Tell the operator I say to hurry up about it.  Tell the boss of those cars (meaning the express cars) to put steps on them or I will stop robbing them.  Don't ring the bell or blow the whistle," he concluded, "or I will shoot inside the engine."

The man described by Engineer Terrill as number one is easily recognized as Rube Burrow, number two as Joe Jackson and number three as Rube Smith.

The trestle at which the robber was committed and undergoing repair by a force of bridge men, and the train was  in the habit of stopping and then proceeding slowly across it.  When the train stopped, Messenger Dunning, therefore, supposed it was on account of the bad condition of the trestle, and gave little thought to the matter.  When hailed by the engineer, who had been instructed by the robbers to call him to the door, the messenger found himself, on facing about, covered by revolvers through the grated or iron-barred door of the car, the outer wooden door being open. He told me while going down to the bridge that he came here to rob this train because there was a boast in the papers last spring that he could not rob it and he just wanted to show them what he could do.

"Hold your hands down and come to the door or I will kill you" said Burrow.  A shot from the pistol of one of the robbers on the outside of the car gave emphasis ___. Securing $2,685 from the express car, Burrow then went to the mail car and called for the registered mail.  Mail Agent Bell had been collecting the registered matter, preparatory of leaving the car with it, when Rube entered and demanded.  The registered mail, which contained $795, made the total amount secured $3,480 or $1,160 each. In stopping the train, the passenger coaches on the trestle so as to prevent anyone from reaching the ground 20 feet below and making an attack from that quarter.  The shots fired soon after the train was halted, two of which hit the steps of the coach on which Conductor Scholes stood, silenced further inquiry and the work was completed without molestation.  When Burrow joined his comrades after leaving the mail car, he seemed anxious to have the train start.  During the run from the station down to the trestle, he had forbidden the fireman to put any coal in the firebox and, hence, while the train was being robbed so much steam was being lost that it was 10 minutes after the robbery was over before sufficient steam was obtained to get underway.  Finally the train resumed  onward and Burrow sending a few parting shots of humor after engineer Therrell joined his comrades who was anxiously awaiting his coming in the brush a few yards distance.  The train dispatcher's record of that day bore the simple explanation, "Number five delayed thirty minutes at Buckatunna trestle, getting robbed. "The news of the robber brought the officials of the Express and Railroad companies by special train to the scene.  Posses were at once organized and sent in pursuit.  It was evident that work was that of Rube Burrow, "I will rob this train or kill every man on it." was the identical expression used at Genoa and at Duck Hill.  His disposition to be humorous in fact, every detail of the robbery gave evidence of his identity.  The robbers were chased from the scene of their crime in an easterly course.  Bloodhounds were used in the pursuit, but the trail being cold, they were abandoned.  The detectives, however, quietly took up the trail and followed it toward Demopolis, Alabama.  At this point it was found that Rube Smith separated from the other men.  When the Buckatunna robber of September 25, 1889, occurred, the fact that three men participated in that deed, proved that a third man had joined Rube Burrow since his last robbery at Duck Hill on December 15, 1888, and the identity of the third man puzzled the detectives of the Express Company for some weeks.  An accurate description, however, of all three of the men had been obtained and Detective Thomas Jackson, after a visit into Lamar County a few weeks after the robbery, because convinced it was Rube  Smith.

Rube Burrow Page 3