Rube Burrow
Rube Burrow


Upon arrival at Linden, the sheriff being absent with the keys, the prisoner was taken to a room of the jail. The ropes still bound his hands, heavy iron shackles were locked around his ankles, and the chain uniting them was securely fastened to the floor.

McDuffie returned to the telephone office and reported the capture to the express officials at Demopolis. After obtaining a full description of the outlaw from McDuffie, and being satisfied the right man had been captured, McDuffie was asked:

" How many pistols had he?"

"Only one," said McDuffie.

"There must be some mistake," answered the express official; "he had three when he crossed the Alabama River."

"Rube says he has sold the other two," was the answer.

"Rube never sells pistols," replied the official, and knowing from the reports received that Rube always carried a sack, the inquiry was;

"What's in the sack?"

"Nothing but provisions," answered McDuffie.

The official then instructed McDuffie to handcuff and shackle the prisoner, put him in a cell of the jail and place half dozen men on guard.

McDuffie replied: "There are forty men on guard."

Indeed, the whole town of Linden surrounded the jail, and McDuffie's answer was not, perhaps, exaggerated.

When Rube's supper was brought his hands were untied that he might eat and they were not again manacled. Rube sat and joked with his guards and visitors, entertaining them with his droll humor, which seemed never to forsake him. His shoes were badly worn, and a visitor remarking it, said:

"Rube, your shoes are badly run down — you need a new pair."

"Yes," replied Rube, "some people always praise their shoes up, but I always run mine down."

One by one the visitors dropped out, and at midnight John McDuffie, Jesse Hildreth and Frank Marshall were left in charge of the prisoner. Carter, not feeling well, had retired to Glass' store, just across the street from the jail. He had possession of Rube's rifle and money.

George Ford, in whose cabin the capture occurred, found, after the departure of the prisoner, a greasy cloth sack, and knowing it to be the property of Rube, carried it to Linden, arriving some half hour after the prisoner. He deposited the sack on the steps of the court-house and reported the fact to the colored men, who informed McDuffie. It was said to contain provisions.

About four o'clock a. m. Rube complained that he was hungry. McDuffie said:

"You will have to await the usual hour for breakfast. I can not get anything to eat now."

"Where is my grub sack?" said Rube.

"George left it on the court-house steps," said Frank.

"Mr. McDuffie, please send Frank for it. I have some ginger snaps and some candy in it, and I will give the boys some; I reckon they are hungry, too," said Rube.

McDuffie consented, and when Frank returned he did not even look to see what was handed Rube. For full half an hour the wily prisoner sat eating ginger snaps and candy from the sack, which he occasionally shared with the colored men. Watching his chance. Rube suddenly pulled from the sack one of his trusty pistols, and covering McDuffie, who sat only about ten feet away, said :

"If you make a move I will kill you."

McDuffie's pistol was lying in a chair beside him. Rube, turning to Jesse, said:

" Hand me that pistol Jesse or I will shoot your head off."

Jesse tremblingly obeyed, and Rube covered all three of the guards with the two pistols. He then bade Jesse unlock his shackles. This being done, he said :

"Now put them on McDuffie."

McDuffie protested and made a motion to approach Rube, but seeing he was powerless, said:

" All right. Rube; you have the drop, and can have your way."

Rube then made Jesse shackle McDuffie and Marshal together. Taking the key of the jail-yard door from the chair where McDuffie had placed it, Rube, jumping up about two feet from the floor, cracked his heels together and exclaimed:

"I have the big key to the jail. I am boss of the town, and as some people say I am not Rube Burrow, I will paint Linden red, and show them who I am."

He then ordered Jesse to go with him to find Carter. Carter's exact whereabouts were not known to either Rube or Jesse. To the hotel and thence to the sheriff's office they journeyed, and spending nearly an hour in a fruitless search for Carter, Rube thought Jesse was purposely delaying him.

"I will kill you," said Rube, "if I find you are fooling with me."

Jesse, however, was innocent. He did not know where Carter could be found. Further inquiry developed that he was in Glass' store.

Rube knocked loudly on the door, and stepping aside, covered Jesse with his pistol, and in a stem whisper said :

"Tell him the express people have come, and McDuffie wants him at the jail quick."

A clerk answered the call to the door, and to him Jesse repeated the order in a voice loud enough to be heard by Carter, who was in the rear part of the store. Carter's footsteps could be distinctly heard as he came across the floor. Just as he appeared in the doorway Rube threw himself in front of him, and placing his pistol within a few inches of Carter's breast, commanded :

"Give me my rifle and my money, or I will shoot your head off."

Carter, instantly taking in the situation, replied, "All right," and placing his hand in his hip pocket, pulled a thirty-two caliber Smith & Wesson pistol.

The hour was just at dawn of day. The two men stood face to face, the one gleaming with rage and thirsting for revenge, the other cool, fearless and determined, with law and justice on his side, not to accede to the outlaw's demand.

When the sheen of Carter's pistol flashed upon Rube's vision the outlaw fired, and Carter, anticipating the shot, threw his body to the right. The ball pierced the left shoulder, just above the collar bone, making a painful wound. Carter's intrepid courage was not dashed by his wound, and he in- stantly returned the fire,

Rube, for the first time in all his career of crime, was called to stand and fight. He had "held the drop" on many a field of ?, but here was an even gauge of battle, with the ? as the vantage ground for him.

Carter boldly advanced upon the outlaw, and, with steady nerve, pressed the trigger of his faithful revolver, but Rube backed away after the first shot from Carter's pistol, and continued backing and firing until he had retreated some thirty paces, and until he himself had fired five shots. Just as Carter fired his fourth round. Rube turned, and running some ten paces, leaped a few feet in the air and fell prostrate upon the earth, stone dead.

After falling upon his knees, from loss of blood, Carter managed to fire a fifth shot. The fourth shot from Carter's pistol, however, had entered the upper abdomen, and cutting the portal artery, caused instant death. This was the only shot that hit Rube.

McDuffie and Marshal, meantime, by means of a duplicate key, had liberated themselves, and had visited several places in the town in the endeavor to secure fire-arms with which to recapture Rube. Being unsuccessful, they reached the store just as the duel was ended.

Rube had given to Jesse the fateful sack as they started from the jail, and while the duel between Carter and Rube was in progress Jesse opened the sack, drew out a pistol, and rushing to Carter's assistance, commenced firing.

"Stand up to him, Mr. Carter; I'm gwine to be wid you," said the heroic Jesse. He fired two shots, without effect, however, and was the first man to reach the dead outlaw and take from his hand his smoking revolver. All honor to Jesse Hildreth. He has written his name in the annals of his race and times as a hero.

Rube's conduct in seeking out Carter and demanding his rifle and money has been reckoned as foolhardy. The truth is, however, that McDuffie had recited to him the details of the chase, and Rube knew that the detectives of the Southern Express Company were within a few miles, and that under their guidance armed possees were scouring the country in search of him. He had been told that the ferry landings were guarded, and that if his arrest had not been effected in the cabin he would have been captured on his arrival at the river landing for which he was en route.

Rube knew that blood-hounds were in leash, ready to be set upon his trail, and that it would be impossible to escape without his Marlin rifle, which was in Carter's possession. With this weapon, which chambered sixteen cartridges, he could have held a dozen men at bay, and perhaps might have effected his escape. His attempt to regain possession of it, therefore, was not foolhardy, but it was a dernier resort.


Jefferson Davis Carter, who fought the duel unto death with the great outlaw, was named in honor of the President of the Confederacy. His ancestors, who moved from South Carolina to Alabama in 1832, distinguished themselves as soldiers both during the American Revolution and the late civil war. Young Carter was born in 1860, is unmarried, and is a prosperous merchant in the village of Myrtlewood, Ala. He is quiet and modest in his demeanor, and his encounter with Rube Burrow is the only time he was ever engaged in serious combat.

A very general interest has been manifested as to the condition of Carter's wound, and universal sympathy has been expressed in his behalf. He is now under surgical treatment at Mobile, and will remain there for some time. The ball from Burrow's pistol, a forty-five caliber, pierced the upper part of the shoulder, passing through the brachial plexus of nerves, and complete paralysis of the left arm has followed. It is possible that under careful antiseptic treatment the functions of the nerves may be restored, and the use of the arm fully regained. His general health has been restored, but he still carries his wounded arm supported by a bandage.

In a letter dated October i8th, 1890, Governor Seay, of Alabama, in tendering his congratulations to the officials of the Southern Express Company, writes:

The running at large of the outlaw was a menace not only to the State but to this entire section of the country, and the ending of his career of crime is cause for congratulation to us all. Much as we would have preferred, by the regular course of law, to have marked a more ignominious end, his hardiness, his readiness and his desperation prevented this, but leaves to us the very satisfactory reflection that there was found in the lawful paths of life the courage, the presence of mind and the constancy which surpassed that of the outlaw himself"

J. D. Carter's name stands enrolled on the list of honor as the finest type of American courage and manhood exhibited in modern times.

Brave John McDuffie what shall be said of him and of his discomfiture at being outwitted by his wily captive? McDuffie said to the express official, on his arrival at Linden, with whom he had talked through the telephone the previous night:

"I can not look you in the face, after all the caution you gave me last night."

Taking his hand and pressing it warmly, the official said:

"Be of good cheer, McDuffie. Napoleon made a mistake at Waterloo, Lee made a mistake at Gettysburg, and the heroic Custer made one when he rode down to death in the valley of the Big Horn. Greater men have made greater mistakes on greater occasions, and but for you the chase would not be over and the battle won. ' All is . well that ends well.'"

McDuffie had joined Detective Jackson on the afternoon of October 2nd. From that hour he had been to the fore, riding night and day in the arduous chase that followed. Worn and fagged with the toils of the pursuit, he was perhaps less watchful than otherwise he would have been.

A coroner's inquest was held, and the body of Rube Burrow being thoroughly identified a verdict of death in the manner described was rendered. After treating the body with preservatives it was taken to Demopolis, Ala. Here hundreds of people assembled to view the remains of the great bandit.

On arrival at Birmingham, at three o'clock on the morning of the 9th of October, fully one thousand people were in waiting to get a glimpse at the body of the great train robber. Special officers were employed to keep the morbid crowd at bay. Photographs of the body were taken, and at seven o'clock A. M. the train leaving Birmingham for Memphis conveyed the remains to Sulligent, Ala. A telegram had been sent to Allen Burrow, stating that Rube's dead body would be delivered to him at noon that day at Sulligent. The father was there to receive it. A representative of the Southern Express Company said to him:

"We are sorry to bring your boy back in this shape, but it was the best we could do."

"I have no doubt," answered Allen Burrow, "that he was mobbed."

This sentiment was diffused among the friends of the outlaw, and finally found culmination in a sensational letter written from Vernon, Ala., and published in the Birmingham Age-Herald. The publication asserted that Rube had been mobbed, his neck horribly broken and his body shamefully mutilated. All this, despite the fact that the body had been viewed by newspaper correspondents at Demopolis and Birmingham, and by at least five thousand persons before it reached Sulligent. The body and face bore no marks of mutilation and no wound of any description, save the small bullet hole from Carter's pistol.

The remains of the most famous bandit of modern times were buried among the hills of Lamar County, in the quiet graveyard of Fellowship Church, on the morning of the loth of October, 1890, on the very spot where, a year before, he had enlisted Rube Smith as a member of his unlawful band — a strange coincidence, surely.

The train robber's pistols, belt and Marlin rifle were taken to Memphis, Tenn,, and the publication of the chase and capture by a Memphis journal, accompanied by illustrations of the pistols and cartridge belt, and the announcement that the arms would be on exhibition at its office that morning, created a remarkable and unexpected effect. The rush of visitors that ensued was extraordinary, and is mentioned here merely to show the wonderful interest with which the career of Rube Burrow imbued all classes of people. Early in the morning the first callers were the newsboys, porters and clerks. All wanted to see and handle the weapons of the great outlaw. Later, merchants, bankers, lawyers, shop-keepers, all alike interested, left their places of business to view the weapons. It became necessary to place the pistols and belt in a glass case and hang the rifle beyond reach, and still the crowd continued to gather.

The weapons were on exhibition for several days, during all of which time the influx of visitors never ceased. Rich and poor, male and female, black and white, all were possessed of the same curiosity, and the deeds of the outlaw were discussed by some with admiration for his courage, by others with an expression of detestation of his crimes — by all with a feeling of relief that he was dead.



L.C. BROCK, alias Joe Jackson, was placed in the penitentiary at Jackson, Miss., for safe keeping, on the twenty-first day of July, pending his appearance for trial at the November Term of the Federal Court. He had elected to plead guilty, and receive a sentence of life imprisonment for the offense of robbing the United States mail at Buckatunna, Miss., September 25, 1889, rather than be taken to Duck Hill, because the penalty of death by hanging he knew would be his fate. Again, he felt that the outraged friends of Chester Hughes, the heroic passenger who had, in assisting Conductor Wilkinson on that fateful night, been shot down in cold blood, would probably mob him if taken there for trial, and fearless and bold as he was, his heart quaked within him whenever the alternative of being taken to Duck Hill was presented to him. Again and again he had been told by the officials of the Southern Express Company that whenever he repented of the conclusion he had made to plead guilty to the Buckatunna robbery and testify against Smith, that the confession he had made could be withdrawn, and he could elect a trial for the murder at Duck Hill.

Meantime Rube Smith, unaware that Brock had made a confession, had notified the officials of the Express Company that he would turn state's evidence against Brock, provided a nolle pros. could be entered in his case in the Federal Court, Rube Smith's proposition was, however, rejected, but Brock was told of Smith's offer to testify against him, and thus he found the coils tightening, day by day, about him. On August 22nd Brook, under the assumed name of Winslow, the name he at first gave when captured, wrote the following letter to his uncle, at Pleasant Hill, La.

Jackson, Miss., August 22, 1890.

J. T. Harrell, Pleasant Hill, La.

Dearest :

I wrote to you some time ago, but as you neither come nor wrote I will write again. I have some very important business, would like to have you attend to and if you will come I will pay your expences and pay you any price beside, the business I want you to do for me is to sell my land. I do not think it will be any trouble to sell it for the cash, if you can come please come soon, if not write and let me know if you will come, remember I will pay you well besides expences. I am very anxious to see you as I wrote you before if you come come to the penitentiary and call for J. B. Winslow or if you do not come address letter to J. B. Winslow, care M.L.Jenkins, Jackson, Miss. My health is very bad. Guess it will puzzle you to read this, am writing on my knee, not 'even a book to lay my paper on. I will not put my right name to this. I am sure you will know the writing anyhow. So I will close, hoping to see you soon. Respectfully


N. B. Be sure to come and come in a very few days. I want my land sold now rite away and I will pay you a hansome price to go and make the trade for me. Come as soon as you get this. Goodbye, Your friend.

Mr. Harrell called on his nephew, Brock, about September 1st, succeeding the date of his letter, and for the first time learned that his nephew was charged with murder and train robbery. He had no idea who J. B. Winslow was until he met his nephew face to face, within the walls of the state prison. The scene was an affecting one. The conversation between the two occurred in the presence of Sergeant Montgomery, of the prison. Brock made no effort to secure counsel, or to summon any witnesses, but merely expressed a desire to have his uncle sell his land, a tract of two hundred acres owned by him in Coffee County, Ala., and turn the proceeds over to his mother.

On the 16th of October, by appointment, the U. S. District Attorney, A. M. Lea, Col. J. H. Neville, Special Counsel employed by the Government to assist in the trial, and the express officials, who were familiar with the facts, all met at Jackson, Miss., to arrange for the approaching trial of L. C. Brock and Rube Smith. All of these gentlemen called in company upon Brock, in his cell at the penitentiary, and District Attorney Lea told Brock if he had any witnesses he desired summoned he would have subponas issued, and that he was free to choose as to whether he would plead guilty or employ counsel. Brock then and there reiterated his determination to plead guilty, so frequently made prior to that time to the author, and said he had no money, and did not intend to employ any counsel. He said he was willing to testify against Smith, but remarked:

"What will people think of me for doing that — see how the world looks upon Bob Ford?"

When told that all fair-minded and Christian people would applaud him for standing on the side of honesty and truth, he added :

"Well, the Bible does not give Judas Iscariot a very fair name."

And so it was easily discovered that the illfated criminal was battling against opposing ideas. On the one hand he was confronted with the certainty of conviction and an ignominious death at the hands of the hangman, on the other life imprisonment, with the added alternative of standing as a witness against his copartner in crime and assisting to fasten guilt upon him. He had often said:

"I prefer death to imprisonment for life, for what is life without liberty."

On Saturday, the 8th of November, two days before his suicide, he said to a fellow prisoner, whose hat was worn and old:

"You need a new hat; you may have mine Monday."

Brock had evidently made up his mind, as indicated by these remarks, to take his own life. About nine o'clock on the morning of November L0, 1890, the day set for his trial, Detective Thomas Jackson and United States Marshal Mathews went to the penitentiary building to bring the prisoner to the Federal Court, as he had been notified would be done. Sergeant Montgomery' sent the officer of the prison charged with the special surveillance of Brock to bring him into his office, where the detective and marshal awaited him. At night he was confined in one of the cells on the ground floor of the prison, but was permitted to occupy during the day one of the guard rooms situated on the third floor of the building. The prisoner was in this room when the keeper went after him to bring him to the sergeant's office. Just as the keeper was in the act of unlocking the door, Brock walked to the iron barred window of the room, and beckoning to a fellow convict standing in the yard of the prison, threw out of the window the following note :

November l0th, 1890.

To all who may read this, I write this to inform you that my name is L. C. Brock; was born and raised in Coffee county, southeast Ala. and I am not guilty of the crime for which I am imprisoned. I am innocent, the God of Heaven knows it. I have suffered all the while for the crime of any one else. On the 29th of September I wrote to L. B. Moseley, Deputy U. S. Marshal, Jackson Miss, to come and get the names of my witnesses, he has not come yet. I do not believe the letter was mailed to him at all. Through August I had fever and nothing to lay on up stairs (daytime) but the floor, fainted 25 or 35 times from weakness. I am telling this to show or give you an idea of how I have been treated. They tried to force me to a trial without my witnesses. You show this to any and all if you wish. Respectfully,

L. C. Brock.

The officer, unlocking the room door, announced that he had come to take him to the sergeant's office, where the marshal and Detective Jackson were in waiting to take him to the courtroom. "All right," said Brock, and immediately followed the officer out.

The penitentiary cells are four deep, one above the other, around a large corridor, eighty feet long, making an open court sixty feet deep. When the prisoner reached the head of the stairway, in front of the door of his room, instead of descending with the officer he turned down the hallway and commenced to ascend the stairway leading to the fourth floor. At the same time he drew a murderous looking knife, which he had secured and secreted in some unaccountable manner, and bade the guard stand back or he would cut him. Sergeant Montgomery was at once notified of the unusual conduct of the prisoner, and, in company with Detective Jackson and Marshal Mathews, immediately went to the rotunda of the court and inquired of the prisoner what he meant by such conduct. Brock was then calmly walking to and fro along the floor of the fourth story brandishing his knife, and at once declared his intention to jump to the ground beneath and kill himself. Meantime the note thrown from the window had been handed to the officers of the prison, and Brock was asked to name the party to whom he had given letters, asking that witnesses be summoned. This he refused to do, but stated that the Southern Express Company intended to "railroad" him either to the gallows or to life imprisonment without giving him even the shadow of a showing, whereupon Marshal Mathews assured him that he should not go to trial without counsel, and further stated that he would see that all the witnesses he desired should be summoned.

Brock refused to come down, and, despite the assurances and entreaties of the officers, continued to repeat his intention to take the fatal leap. The stern and determined expression upon the desperate man's face, his cool and collected demeanor, convinced all who saw and heard him that an awful tragedy would soon be enacted.

At this juncture the prisoner placed a table near the balcony railing, mounted it, declared he was alone and friendless in the world, and preferred death to life imprisonment. He asked that his uncle, Mr. Harrell — then at Jackson, although the prisoner did not know it — be telegraphed the in- formation of his death, and that his body be sent to his mother.

Sergeant Montgomery, meantime, had conceived the idea of climbing the latticed walls of the court, and while the other officers diverted his attention, would reach the fourth story, directly under him, and overturn the table, and before the prisoner could regain his footing he would pinion him and prevent his suicide. Divesting himself of coat and hat, the Sergeant climbed as far as the third story, when he was prevailed upon not to risk his life in such a hazardous feat, as the prisoner would undoubtedly knife him before he could carry out his project. He then came down.

The officers vied with each other in appealing to the prisoner's manhood, and entreating him to forego the fatal project. Finally Detective Jackson and Marshal Mathews noiselessly went up the stair-way until they stood on the landing just behind and about six feet from the prisoner, urging him all the while to put away his knife and come down stairs. Detective Jackson, approaching within three or four feet of the prisoner, said :

"Joe, you are not going to jump, aren’t you?"

Yes, I am," replied the prisoner, and stepping from the table to the railing, he sprang head foremost into the awful space. Vaulting over and over in his rapid flight to the stone-covered corridor, sixty feet below, he fell, crushed and bleeding, with a sound that reverberated through the long tiers of cells, from which the gaping eyes of his fellow prisoners looked, in speechless horror, upon a tragedy so appalling as to make strong men shudder and turn pale. The unfortunate victim of his own desperation lingered for about one hour, unconscious, his body writhing in horrible contortions until death ensued. He was buried in the prison cemetery at Jackson at five o'clock on the evening of his death.

The author, having repeatedly visited Brock while confined at Jackson, takes pleasure in acquitting the officers of the State penitentiary of any maltreatment of the prisoner.

The prisoner made no attempt to secure witnesses; in fact, repeatedly stated he had none. The statement written and thrown from the window, is, therefore, not entitled to credit. A few minutes before his suicide he freely confessed to having received fair treatment at the hands of the prison officials.

The following lines were found on his person after death, indicating that the bold outlaw, in his hours of retrospection, had garnered the bitter fruitage of despair and remorse so aptly depicted:

" How wise we are when the chance is gone,
And a glance we backward cast.
We know just the thing we should have done
When the time for doing is past."



The tragic and appalling death of L. C. Brock, alias Joe Jackson, while it spread consternation among his fellow prisoners and disturbed somewhat the serenity of the Court, did not impede the course of justice. The trial of Rube Smith for the Buckatunna mail robbery was proceeded with in the Federal Court, Judge R. A. Hill presiding, as though nothing had occurred. It was of but little importance to the defendant whether he should be tried at that time or later. He had already been convicted in the State Court for the express robbery and sentenced to imprisonment for ten years.

His defense was conducted in a skillful and able manner by Colonel John A. Blair, of Tupelo, Miss. The Government was represented by Captain A. M, Lea, United States District Attorney, who made a masterly presentation of the case in behalf of the prosecution. Captain Lea was assisted by Col. J. H. Neville, the brilliant Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District of Mississippi. Col. Neville had successfully conducted the prosecution for the express robbery, and had, on account of his familiarity with the facts and his recognized ability, been employed by the Department of Justice to assist in the prosecution. The corpus delicti was proved by the introduction of the conductor, engineer, express messenger and the railway mail agent. Neil McAllister, a very sensible colored man, in whose cabin the robbers spent two days immediately preceding the occurrence, identified Rube Smith as one of the men who had occupied his cabin, and disappeared on the morning of the robbery. W. D. Cochran, an intelligent farmer of the vicinity, also identified Smith as being in that locality two days before the train was robbed. McClung's testimony, reciting all the details of the robbery as given him by Smith, was corroborated by the engineer and other train employees. The letters written by Smith, his proposition to become a witness for the prosecution against Brock, which was declined, all formed links. in the chain of testimony against him which the skill and ability of defendant's counsel could not weaken or break. The father of the prisoner testified that his son had slept at his home in Lamar County on the night of the Buckatunna robbery. James Barker and Jasper Smith, the former an uncle by marriage, and the latter a first cousin of the defendant, both testified unscrupulously and recklessly in support of the alibi sought to be established.

As a fitting climax to the trial, otherwise famous as it had been rendered by the tragic events that had so closely preceded it, James Barker and Jasper Smith were arrested for perjury immediately on leaving the witness stand. The Grand Jury being in session they were indicted at once, and finding that any defense would be useless, both entered a plea of guilty. James Barker was sentenced to three years' and Jasper Smith to two years' imprisonment at hard labor at Detroit.

Consequent upon the arrest of the defendant's witnesses for perjury originated a good story on Colonel Blair. Jim McClung, Smith's pal, had been confined in default of bond in the jail as Jackson as a witness. When James Barker and Jasper Smith were arrested they sent for Colonel Blair, who went to the jail to visit them. On entering Colonel Blair found Jim McClung playing a game of solitaire in the hall of the jail. Jim is wholly illiterate, but was possessed of a good deal of droll wit that made him an entertaining witness. The following conversation ensued between Colonel Blair and Jim McClung:

Col. B. — "Good morning, Jim. How are you this morning?"

Jim McC. — "Only tolerbul, Colonel — not feelin* very well. How are you? "

Col. B. — " First rate, Jim, but I am not surprised that you are not feeling very well. I dont see how a man can feel very well who has (alluding to his testimony against Smith) put his friend in prison, as you have done."

Jim McC. — "Well, now. Colonel, look here. Before you come into this case there warn't but one of my friends in prison, and now you have been a foolin' with the case sence last spring and you've got three of 'em in. How is that? Eh ? "

The joke was on the gifted and brilliant attorney. He had been powerless to stem the tide which swept his client and witnesses alike into the prisoner's cell.

On the eighteenth day of November, 1890, Rube Smith was brought before the bar of the Court by the marshal, and asked by the venerable Judge presiding if he had anything to say as to why the judgment of the law should not be pronounced upon him for the crime of which he stood convicted. The prisoner replied he had nothing further to say, whereupon Judge Hill addressed him as follows:

Mr. Reuben Smith, the crime of which you stand convicted, and for which it becomes my duty as presiding Judge of the Court to pronounce against you the penalty of the law, which is confinement at hard labor in the penitentiary for the remainder of your natural life, is that of forcibly and violently robbing the United States mail. This crime is the highest crime known to the law of the United States, save that of murder and treason, and is punished with the severest penalty save that of death. The reason therefore is that the robber usually engages in robbery with the determination to murder his victims if necessary to carry out his purpose.

"It is sad to behold a young man like yourself, who, by an upright and virtuous life, might have been an honorable and useful citizen, enjoying the blessings of the most refined and elevated society, banished, as it were, from all that renders 'life desirable. The evil consequences of your crime are not confined to yourself or to save you from the punishment of your offense no less than five of your family and friends have perjured themselves to establish an alibi in your behalf, for which offense two of them have already pleaded guilty and are condemned to serve terms at hard labor in the penitentiary — a punishment the more serious in its consequences because not confined to themselves alone, but to their helpless families and children as well.

"Sad as these consequences are, you may, and it is your duty, to repent of your offense against the laws of the State and the Nation, and against your Maker, your family, and your own well-being, and commence a new life by obeying strictly all the laws of God and man, and especially the regulations of the prison in which you will be confined. If you do this, in the course of time the President may grant you a pardon; but whether this is granted or not, your best interest is to obey whatever may be required of you, and also to employ all of the means that may be offered you to improve your mind and your morals, and to make preparations for the final judgment.

"I feel assured that if you conduct yourself properly you will be not only treated well clothed and fed well, but will receive as kind treatment as the circumstances will permit.

"Will you promise me that you will follow this advice? (The prisoner replied in a subdued tone, "I will follow your advice.")

"The judgment of the Court and of the law is, that for the offense for which you stand convicted you be delivered to the warden of the penitentiary of the State of Ohio, at Columbus, and be there imprisoned at hard labor for and during your natural life."



"An honest talk speaks plainly told."

IF the reader has been disappointed in the fact that the hero of this narrative has not been vested with the glamour of princely wealth; that he has not been painted a knight-errant of more romantic type; and that a champion in the field of pillage and plunder should not wear golden spurs and a helmet of brass, the fault lies not with the author, but rather with the popular error which pre supposes these fallacious results.

The stereotyped question of all interested in his career has been, "What did Rube Burrow do with his money?"

The accuracy of the statement is vouched for, that in all of the eight train robberies, from Ben Brook, Texas, to Flomaton, Ala., reckoning his share as equal with that of his companions in crime, Rube Burrow secured not exceeding five thousand five hundred dollars. He invested, in the spring of 1887, about four hundred dollars by purchasing a one-half interest, with his brother, in a few acres of land in Texas. Soon after the Genoa robbery he purchased for sixteen hundred dollars the farm on which his father now resides in Lamar County, paying four hundred dollars cash and giving his note for twelve hundred dollars. A few weeks after the Buckatunna robbery this note, through his father, was paid, some of the currency used being subsequently identified as part of that stolen at Buckatunna. The residue, the pitiful sum of three thousand five hundred dollars, was spent in the vain endeavor to avoid the ceaseless pursuit organized against him, and which made the latter years of his life an intolerable burden.

In the autumn of 1889 Rube Burrow made, through one of his kinsmen, a proposition to the officers of the Southern Express to surrender, upon the condition that he would not be tried for the murder of Hughes or Graves. The proposition was, of course, promptly declined.

L. C. Brock, alias Joe Jackson, stated, after his arrest, that he had at one time made up his mind to seek an interview with Detective Jackson, with a view of making some conditions for his own surrender, but Rube's proposition having been declined he gave up the project.

Although lawless by instinct, training and ambition, these men had drunk the bitter cup of crime to the dregs, and longed, no doubt, to enfranchise themselves from the toils that beset them, and which, like an avenging Nemesis, pursued them to the end.

The Southern Express Company expended, independently of all rewards, about twenty thousand dollars in the hunting down of this band of train robbers. The total rewards offered for Rube Burrow amounted to about $3,500. The rewards of $1,000 by the United States Government, and $350 by the State of Mississippi, have been, so far, withheld, because the language of the statutes, both Federal and State, under which the rewards were offered, required conviction in the courts.

Inspector A. G. Sharp, of the United States Postal Service, who has been very zealous in urging that the rewards offered by the Government be paid, writes under date of December 17, 1890, as follows:

While in Washington recently, I laid the matter of reward for Rube Burrow and Joe Jackson before the Postmaster-General and the Chief Inspector, and strongly urged that the rewards for both be paid, and the question of conviction be waived. I believe the claims to be just, and that good policy suggests prompt payment. I feel satisfied that the Postmaster-General will accept my advice in the matter, and that the rewards for both will be paid in full. Of this, however, I can not speak positively; but from the reply made by the Postmaster-General, to my earnest solicitation, I feel justified in saying that I have strong reasons for believing that he will make the order allowing the rewards."

All Other rewards for Rube Burrow have been paid to Carter and his associates. The rewards for Brock and Smith, excepting those offered by the Government and the State of Mississippi, have also been paid to the parties interested.

William Brock, of Texas, was in nowise related to L. C. Brock. The two men never met, and that two of Burrow's clansmen bore the same name was merely a coincidence.

The question recurs, "Does train-robbing pay?"

Here were men whose untoward inclinings, fostered by evil association, inflamed them with a passion for lawlessness. Their brawny arms were uplifted against the laws of God and man for ambition's sake. They loved pillage for booty's sake.

Behold the hapless fate of the five men who linked their fortunes together, commencing with the date of the Genoa robbery in December, 1887. William Brock, although sentenced to a short term of imprisonment, will carry to his grave the stigma of an ex-convict. Rube Smith has entered the gloomy portals of a prison, in which he is doomed to spend the remaining days of his life — a fate more horrible than death.

Rube Burrow, Jim Burrow and L. C. Brock lie in unhallowed graves, their memories kept alive only by the recollection of their atrocious deeds, leaving their kindred and friends to realize the bitter truth that

" The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones."

Verily, "the way of the transgressor is hard" — "for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

The End