Burrow Gang – Robbing Trains in the South


Burrow Gang (1887-1890) Reuben “Rube” Burrow, along with his brother Jim, robbed their first train on December 1, 1886 in Bellevue, Texas after Rube’s crops had failed in Texas. Though they netted only a few hundred dollars, they soon formed a gang, which included hard cases W.L and Leonard Brock, Henderson Brumley, and Nep Thornton.

By early 1888, they had robbed so many trains that they had become the most infamous train robbers since Jesse James, and were pursued by hundreds of lawmen, including the Pinkertons, throughout the south and southwest. That same year, things began to fall apart for the Burrow Gang when Jim Burrow was arrested when he and his brother, Rube, were recognized by a conductor on a train pulling into Nashville, Tennessee. Notifying authorities, lawmen trapped Rube and Jim in a passenger car.  Rube shot his way to freedom but Jim was taken into custody and jailed in Texarkana. Later that year, he died in prison of consumption on October 5, 1888.

The arrest of  Jim; however, didn’t deter the rest of the gang as they continued their outlaw activities. Leonard Brock was arrested on September 26, 1889 and after he was convicted sentenced to a long prison term. However, he committed suicide on November 10, 1890 by jumping from the fourth tier of the cell block. In the meantime, Rube was killed in a gunfight with Dixie Carter in Linden, Alabama on October 7, 1890. Of the other gang members, the fate is unknown.


By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, August, 2017.

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