Wade on Birmingham

Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Rube Burrow

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In August, we’re celebrating Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks, whether they be liars, thieves, extortionists, swindlers or thugs. Running daily until Birmingham mayor Larry Langford’s Aug. 31 federal trial. Thanks to Bhamwiki for helping with this project.

Rube Burrow

Rube BurrowPositions held: Alabama native who became a farmer, train robber and outlaw

Wanted for: robbery and murder. One 1887 train robbery netted Burrow’s gang between $12,000 and $30,000 (or in 2009 dollars, from $284,000 to $710,000). He shot and killed a Lamar County postmaster.

Date of conviction: never convicted. Possibly gunned down or captured by Linden store owner J.D. “Dixie” Carter, after Burrow hid out in the Alabama wilderness for two years during one of the nation’s largest manhunts.

Criminally fun fact: Burrow’s body was displayed in Birmingham (and other cities) before being buried in his home county of Lamar in 1890. Namesake of the former Rube Burrow’s Food and Spirits in Five Points South.

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5 Yips for “Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Rube Burrow”

  1. Jeremy
    Thursday, August 6, 2009, 12:08 am
    1

    I recently read a ‘haunted Alabama’ book that mentioned him. Apparently, it was thought he could turn into an animal to escape. So the story went…

  2. Katherine
    Thursday, August 6, 2009, 1:44 pm
    2

    Eww… I still don’t get what’s up with displaying the dead body.

  3. Wade
    Thursday, August 6, 2009, 9:42 pm
    3

    Interesting, wonder what kind of animal? Hedgehog? Cheetah?

    Seeing the body? Probably because they didn’t have cable yet …

  4. Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks | flashpoint
    Tuesday, August 11, 2009, 10:29 am
    4

    [...] far there have been some infamous private-life criminals profiled – like trainrobber Rube Burrow – but most of the attention appears to be going toward recent political corruption and crimes by [...]

  5. Sheila
    Saturday, August 6, 2011, 2:39 am
    5

    On many occasions Momma would take my brothers, sisters and me to an old train trestle for a picnic of biscuit sandwiches. She took us to a nearby cave to eat our lunch and told us stories about the train robber, Rubburrow. We would shiver in wonder on hearing about his wild history of robbing trains and hiding out in this very cave. I’ve just discovered that his name was, in fact Rube Burrow. my Mother was born in 1912 and was just relating a story her Mom had told her. The cave by the train trestle is in Bear Creek, Al. Can this old tale be true? According to the story, the train track and trestle were built just in that spot many years after the Burrow gang used the cave for a hide-out.

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