Author Archives: Barb Carruth

About Barb Carruth

Researcher of history of West Alabama and its people. Collects historical photographs.

Rube Talks. Was this interview a hoax?


Rube Talks Rube


Rube Talks    The Atlanta Constitution Nov. 10, 1889.  Family legend is Rube did not give this interview.  The interview with a Rube imposter was a hoax planned by Rube himself.











Special to the Constitution, Gattman, Miss., November 9

Rube Burrow, the most daring and reckless desperado this country has ever produced has a word to say about himself.

He denies but little, is somewhat tired of the life of an outlaw of (sic) would surrender if absolutely sure of a pardon.  But he tells it all, of his train robberies, of the men he has killed and wounded, of his pursuit by the posse in Blount County – it was either kill or be killed – of his escape to the crest of Sand Mountain, and then of his joining the posse and searching for himself.  Some of his past record he regrets and some he is proud of – but he says he will never be captured even dead or alive, and has not been off his guard an instant for two years.

Last week when in Lamar County, I arranged with the family and friends of Rube Burrow to get an interview with the famous outlaw, if by any possible means they could get me to him alone, and at a place where there could be no probability of pursuit.

It was arranged, and I have had the interview.

On Tuesday night information that Rube was in Lamar County, Ala. was obtained.


Reaching Sulligent Wednesday morning, a saddle horse was obtained and the trip to old man Burrows home, seventeen miles distant, was made by early afternoon.

The old man, as is his nature, gave me a hearty welcome and read carefully a batch of letters I bore pledging secresy (sic) of whatever he desired.

“I want nothing kept a secret,” he said, “except where Rube is.  Rube ain’t going to allow the detectives to get him and I don’t want to hear of no more killing.”

Being assured that Rube’s whereabouts would not be divulged, the old man said:

“I don’t know jist where I’ll see Rube, but when I do, if I can, I am going to fix it for you to see him, of course, provided he agrees.  I might see him tomorrow, I might see him next week and I might never see him.”

After a long conversation, but one in which no other information than the fact Rube was in the  neighborhood was gained, I left and spent the night at a country inn five miles distant.


Early Thursday morning I rode to Jim Cash’s, Rube’s brother-in-law and devoted friend.  I learned there that Rube was not far off, but that I couldn’t be led to him without Rube being first consulted.  However, I was directed To Rube’s most hearty supporter, near relative and truest friend, some twenty miles distant, just across the line into Mississippi.

The country intervening is as sparsely settled as the mountains of Blount County.  It is perfectly wild and the roads, which go through dense oak and hickory woods for mile after mile without a break, appear as though they were not traversed once a month by the wheel of a wagon.  I passed four houses on the trip of fully thirty miles, for I lost the road many times and went at least ten miles farther than the direct road.

At one of the houses I got dinner and gained some valuable information.  Late in the afternoon I reached Galtman (sic) a new station on the Kansas City, Memphis and Birmingham Road, containing just three houses and a depot in course of construction.  One of the houses was a general store, which I approached.  It was just about three hundred yards over the Alabama line


“Good evening, gentlemen,” I said to three men who sat in front.

“Good day, sir,” said one as he eyed me critically.

“How far is it to Sulligent?”

“Seven or eight miles up the road.”

“Is there any place here I can get supper,” I asked.  “I have ridden twenty or thirty miles today and am very much fatigued.”

“Well, I don’t know – you might,” said one.

“Anyhow, if you don’t object I will rest with you a short while.”

“Alight and have a seat,” said all three in chorus.

I jumped from my horse and leaned against the building.  There was silence for a few moments. Then I said:

“Seen anything of Rube Burrow lately?”

If a bombshell had exploded right there no more consternation could have ensued.  Every one of the three men was on his feet in an instant and the hand of each rested upon a pistol.

“Hold up,” I cried as my hands went up, “I am simply a newspaper man – no detective – I want to see Rube Burrow and get an interview with him – I have seen old man Burrow and Jim Cash.  I was told to come over here and see a Mr. Smith, Rube Burrow’s cousin.”

“Are you the fellow that wrote up Rube in The Atlanty Constitution!” asked one of the party.

“I am, and here is the paper.” I said as I handed it out.

“Well, Rube ought to kill you for publishing such a looking man as him.”

“That’s what I am looking for him now for.  I owe him an apology.”


At this instant I looked up, and, standing in the door with a Winchester rifle in his hand, and the muzzle pointing directly at me, was a tall, muscular fellow, as straight as an Indian and as brawny as a woodsman.  Even his face was muscular.  A pair of deep-set, cruel, piercing grayish blue eyes, that flashed like the eyes of a tiger, a long, almost straight and perfectly chiseled nose, a square and heavy chin, a prominent lower jaw protruding way back under his ear, and a heavy drooping mustache all went to show that he was a man of great determination and will combined with the reckless, daring nature of the most ferocious beast, and as if by instinct I knew I was in the presence of Rube Burrow, the man known throughout the southwest as Red Rube, the outlaw.

I was uncomfortable, as the muzzle of the Winchester was upon me, but realizing that the time had come for the long sought interview, I was determined to have it.

Turning to Smith:

“If there was an hundred thousand dollars reward upon the head of Burrow, and even though I was in his presence I would certainly not be foolish enough to attempt the capture of any such man – and again, I would rather have an interview with Rube than a reward.”


“I’ll see you directly,” said Smith, as he and the man who stood in the door drew off.

Smith came back in a few minutes, asked me a score of questions, and then returned with the large man behind the house in a clump of woods.

The two walked up, and the large man sat just at the edge of the door on a stool.  Across his lap lay a Winchester rifle.  Smith stood near.

“Well, Rube will talk to you,” said Smith.

Then a firm, rather hard-sounding voice was heard.  It was the first time Rube Burrow had spoken.

“If you are, as you say, a reporter, all right.  If a detective —“

“I am simply after an interview with you, and you may rest assured that I will say nothing calculated to cause pursuit.”

“Then I’ll talk to you,” he said, leaning rather over in his chair with the Winchester, however, still in his lap and pointing towards me.


I leaned my chair back against a post and then had a good look at him.  His mustache had been dyed a black but since the dye had been put on it had grown out fully a quarter of an inch and the reddish, sandy hue was plainly visible.

Looking straight at me, and his eyes seemed to pierce almost through me, he said:

“Well, as you said, I reckon you want to know about my life?”


“When a boy of sixteen,” he continued in an almost totally unassuming manner, “I went out to Wise County, Texas with an uncle.  I went to farming, and in a few years married.  My father-in-law gave me some land, and on this I farmed until almost three years ago, without any unusual occurrences.


“When a boy I had read the life of Jesse James, and I always had an ambition to equal him in daring deeds.  But when I married I gave up all such ideas and settled down to quiet farming,” he went on talking as smoothly as a scholar, but all the time glancing in every direction to see that no one approached.

Then he went on:

“But my wife died.  I got in with a crowd of fellows in Texas who had robbed trains.  They invited me to join them, and I did not hesitate to do so.  I joined Nip Thornton’s gang, and I ain’t sorry for it,” he said, as his eyes flashed.

“Well, go on.  Give me a full account of your life.”


“The first trip I took with the boys was up into the Indian territory.  We went there to rob an Indian woman of a wad of money we knew she had, but we didn’t get it.  Coming back in the pan handle, we struck a Texas Pacific train taking water.  Jim, my brother who afterwards died in the Arkansas penitentiary, and Harrison Bromley, was with Nip and myself then.  We got on that train and went through the passengers in a little while.

“There were four soldiers in the car but they were worse scared than anybody else.  I took their pistols from their pockets while they held up their hands.  We didn’t get much though.  I believe it was not quite $200.

“A little while later,” he continued, with another nervous glance around, “we held up another train on the same road at Ben Brooke, and went through the express car, and in all made a haul of most four thousand, but I wasn’t satisfied with that, and a week after held up another on the same road, but didn’t get but four hundred.


“Then me and Jim went home and stayed there.  I got married again, but soon wanted to get out again.  We got the boys together, took our Colt’s shooting irons and went for the same road again at Gordon.  Bromley covered the engineer, while Nip, Jim, and myself lifted the cash from the express and mail cars and got off without a hand being lifted against us.

“When Bromley got on the engine and covered the engineer it happened that he was the same fellow we had struck before, and though he was mad, he did as Bromley told him.  But you had nearly all this in that paper,” pointing to a copy of The Weekly Constitution, which they had evidently been reading.


“That little detective you’ve got something about – that fellow Burns – why he don’t give me no more trouble than a fly.  I’ve played around that fellow a good deal, but they did have a fellow after me once that I didn’t like.  He’s gone though, or I ain’t seen him lately and he wasn’t up in Blount.”

“Tell me about that later.  Go on with your story,” I said.

“Well, we got seven or eight thousand on that haul, but as we was leaving some fellow on the train winged Nip a little.

“We got the same road again later, just like Burns told you, and then I took my boy and girl, both little chaps, and came here to Lamar with my father.  Jim came too.

“I stayed around here a while.  Then Jim and myself went back to Texas, telling the folks here we were going for a drove of Texas ponies.  Well, we didn’t get the ponies, because they were selling too high, and just as we got back the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas train was held up at Genoa, Ark.  A scoundrel named Brock, who I had known in Texas, was arrested, and to save himself swore that Jim and I was with him.


“We warn’t that time, and if I ever get at Brock I’ll teach him a lesson.

“Well, a whole drove of detectives then come oyer here to Lamar after us.  They first surrounded Jim’s house and when he ran for the woods shot at him.  The whole crowd shot and not a ball touched Jim, but one went through his coat sleeve.  I was at Kennedy that day.  One of the boys beat the detectives to me and I got off without them seeing me.  I joined Jim and sometime later we went down to Montgomery.  Then you know how a flock of police gathered us in, how they got Jim and how I got away.  I didn’t want to shoot that fellow Neil Bray, who tried to head me off as I was running from the police, but I had to do it.

“I stayed in that negro’s house that Sunday night, for I thought I might be able to get Jim out in some way.  But when they surrounded that house next morning I knew I had to run and do some shooting or it was all up for me.  So I pulled off my shoes and the run to that swamp was the best I ever did.  That was one of the narrowest escapes I ever had, and when I got off with only a load of bird shot in my neck I thought I was doing powerful well.  I shot back as I run, but didn’t think I could hit them.  I shot to keep them back.


“But still I didn’t go far off.  I got a doctor to pick out the shot out of my neck, laid around there until I thought it was getting a little hot, and then went back around home.”

“Then, what did you do?”

“Well, the next time I was heard of was when Joe Jackson and myself held up the Illinois Central train at Duck Hill, Miss., last December.  It was late one dark night.  Joe and me crept behind the water tank and when the train started off we jumped on behind the engine.  Then we covered the engineer.  He started to reach down, and I hollowed (sic):

“Hold up that hand, or I’ll bore you.”

“He did it in just about a quarter of a second.

“Now you stop out the other side of that trestle,” I said, and he did it.

“I then jumped back on the platform of the express car.  The train stopped, Joe came back with  me and with our shooting irons out we rushed in the express car, scaring the sleepy messenger pretty badly I tell you.


“Quick, open that chest and out with the valuables or I’ll put a hole in you,” I said and you bet he woke up and did it pretty quick.

“We had just got the money when two fellows rushed to the platform and commenced shooting.  One o’them had a Winchester.  The other had a pistol.  Joe shot quick and I shot – the Joe shot again and again.  The other fellows was shootin’ too, but we got the fellow with the Winchester and then left.  I afterwards learned the fellow we killed was named Hughes – Chester Hughes – and I’ve always been sorry for killin’ him, though I don’t know who killed him, whether it was me or Joe.  Anyhow, he was a young fellow and had plenty of grit, and I’m sorry for it,” he repeated, as he again glanced nervously around.

Then continuing he said: “But we got something over ten thousand that time, and lots of people were kept from suffering by it.”

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.

“Just what I say.”

“Oh yes, that’s the money you paid for your father’s place, and some of which you –“


“Look here, boy” he broke in, and his eyes flashed in anger, “I don’t git mad easy, but I don’t want none of your jaw.  Now what I did with that money is my business  – none of yours – but my folks ain’t goin’ to live in want while trains run and tote money.”

“Then what?”

“I see in that paper the little puffed up detective accuses me of robbing safes in country stores and holding up poor farmers.  Now, that’s a lie.  I have held up trains and I have killed a few men, because I had to, but


in my life and I’m never goin’ to.  I have took things I needed around in the country, but no man can say that he wasn’t paid for what I took.  There are some little thieves around this country who steal all they can get, for they know it’s goin’ to be laid on Rube Burrow.  I can’t help that, and though I have done a good many bad things in my day, I never robbed a little storekeeper or a farmer.

“How about the killing of Postmaster Graves at Jewel?”

“Well, I was comin’ to that.  Mose Graves was killed –“

Rube stopped a minute, and his face seemed to harden.  Then he continued:

“Yes, Mose Graves was killed because he had a false beard sent to W. W. Cain, and told it around that Jim Cash wanted it for me.  He said before he died I did it, and said Jim Cash was knowin’ to it.  Now there ain’t no use in denying it.  Everybody says I killed him, and it don’t matter whether I did or not, but Jim Cash or none of my family didn’t have nothin’ to do with it, and didn’t know nothin’ about it.  That’s all I’ve got to say about Mose Grave’s killing.

“How did you get away when the military went to Lamar County after you?”

The outlaw laughed heartily, then jumped up and looked around, as if expecting some danger.


“Why,” said he, when he resumed his seat, “I didn’t care any more for that crowd than I would for a parcel of school boys.  I went off a little and stayed quiet.  Just after they turned Jim Cash and the Old Man and Bud loose when they couldn’t prove nothin’ on ‘em.  I went home one night, but there was so many detectives around, and as I didn’t want to kill ‘em, so I went right off.”

“Then I knew them detectives had told John Thomas’s boy they was goin’ to hang him, and he told all about how Joe and me had stayed in a little room of his house, and lots of other things – some of ‘em they boy made up.  Anyhow we left, but didn’t go far, and on the night of the 25th of September just past we held up the Mobile and Ohio at Buckatana.  The whole crowd on the train was so scared we didn’t have no trouble and got 31,100.”

“What did you do between that time and last week when Sheriff Morris and his posse got after you on Sand Mountain.”

“Well, Joe and me just laid around keeping quiet, for it won’t do to do too much at once,” he said with a confident sort of smile.

“Why did you go to Blount County?”

“You want to know lots, boy, but I reckon I’m just about as sharp as you,” he replied.  “That fellow Morris and his two men came on me before I expected them, but I saw from the distance they stood from the house them fellows


“Joe and me were eating at Ashworth’s when the sheriffs rode up the women of the house were right badly scared and one of them run out towards the woods.  I saw this was a good chance, so Joe and me run also, keeping the women between us and the sheriffs.  I know that fellow Morris said that I took her in my arms, but I never touched her.  When we got to the edge of the woods the woman fell down.  Morris and his crowd didn’t come towards us at all while we were running, and when the woman fell we were a long ways off, but both of us took a shot and then went on in the woods.  The sheriffs went away and didn’t try to come after us.  That was on a Thursday.

“Friday we were laying out in the woods not far off, when a crowd of forty or fifty armed men came upon us almost before we knew.

“When I saw them surrounding us we were in a bunch of trees in a sorter low place.

“Joe,’ said I, “it looks sorter like we’re in it sure ‘nough this time.  There’s goin’ to be some killin’ here and I reckon we’ve got to do it.

“Joe didn’t say a word, but I knew by his looks he was goin’ to fight hard.”


“We laid low and the crowd commenced to close in.  Then I looked around and saw we must get out on the side next the mountain.  We waited a while longer and then the fun commenced.  We took good aim every time and give ’em the best our Winchester had.  I believe my first shot got that fellow in the head – Annerton, the papers said his name was.  Then I got another one on that fellow Woodward, I reckon, when we grazed the other fellow and broke one’s arm – well that crowd was purty badly rattled and we got out of our cover in a hurray for them buckshot had been falling pretty thick around us and neither one of us was as comfortable in our feelings as we might have been.

“As we run out,” Rube continued, “we kept up shootin’ at every fellow who showed up and then we left, and we was in a pretty big hurry, too, for if them fellows was scared, there ain’t no use in taking too many chances.”

Then Rube told of spending a part of Saturday at the house of a friend four or five miles off.


“On Sunday,” he went on, “three hounds got on our track, and they were right pert in following us.  When the head one – an old bitch – got in about fifty or sixty yards of us.  Joe and me pulled down on her and I think we both got her.  The other one ran off.  Then down at the foot of the hill we saw the crowd.  It looked like a whole army, so we took a shot apiece and pulled out, and I couldn’t help from yelling at them as we did.  I believe I invited them to come and see me again, for I knew they couldn’t get at us on that mountain.  Then we got supper that night at an old man’s house nearly in sight of the crowd.


“I had my friends in that crowd, too,” he said with a smile of satisfaction.  “I knew them Birmingham fellows was coming and I knew they had good guns and wasn’t feared to use ‘em.  Anyhow I didn’t care nothin’ about tackling ‘em.”

Then Rube leaned back a little and a smile came over his rough face.

“I’ve always been most too reckless, I reckon.” he continued, “and when them fellows know what I did on Tuesday they’ll be red-hot mad.  We went way up in a rough part of the county – up in the mountains – to a fellow who I knew was my friend.  Joe, he stayed there, and two fellows, who I knew were all right, and myself went down and


“It was on Tuesday and you was there.  I had on a beard, and rode a medium size brown mule, and nobody seemed to suspect me.  I remember riding by a little fellow, looks sorter  like you, who was on a white mule, but he didn’t think much of me, and soon got in front with that fellow Morris, the sheriff.  I reckon that fellow was the Birmingham paper man.

“Well, I went below Walnut Grove, where the dogs struck that track at the creek, but I kept sorter off to myself, and left the crowd just afterwards, when I knew they was going to give up the hunt.”

“Then what did you do?’

“We laid around there awhile, and then I came over this way to see my folks.”

“How did you come here?”

“I rode.”

“Were you not afraid?”

“Well, not much,” he said in a confident tone, “but I don’t take chances when they are too risky.”

“Are you not afraid of being captured around here?”

“Who’s going to do it,” he replied in a tone that showed his utter recklessness.

“I believe you have such a reputation that few men would care to make the attempt, notwithstanding the heavy reward.”


“Well, I don’t know about that.  They don’t bother me as much as they might, but I’ve been in some right tight places and expect to be in more, but the man who captures Rube Burrow’s got to be a good one.  I haven’t seen the man yet who could outshoot me.”

“Are you not tired of this life?”

“Well, I don’t know,’ he said in a doubtful sort of way, “but if I was absolutely certain of an immediate pardon, provided I lived at one place and led a quiet life, I believe I would give up.  But I’ve got to know that it’s all right – it’s got to —“

“Rube” said one of his friends, who came walking up.

Rube jumped up and the two men walked off together in the woods.  I talked for some time with a relative of his and as Rube did not return, after another promise that nothing would be told until too late for pursuit, I left.

It was after 7 o’clock but moonlight, and I rode back to Sulligent, seven miles off.

Friday morning I took the train to go to Amory and at Gattman was surprised to see Rube and a pal, who from his limping walk and appearance was evidently Jackson.


Rube led a red fox hound, resembling the one that had chased him in Blount, by a rope.  The dog was quickly hustled in a baggage car and Rube and Jackson, with no visible arms, seated themselves on the rear seat of the passenger coach.  As the train started Rube saw me and gave me a look that I knew full well meant he wanted no recognition nor action of mine to betray him.  At any rate, I accepted that as law.

His mustache had been roughly trimmed off since the previous evening, evidently with scissors by an inexperienced hand.  His hat and coat were the same – the coat of a rough badly worn and dirty brown material, hanging low down in front from the weight of something in the pockets, while the hat, a broad-brimmed slouch, was of the same color.  His pants were of a dirty greenish speckled goods.

Jackson wore a dirty and badly worn black suit, a narrow brimmed slouch hat, with high crown, smeared over with cotton.

Rube would give me the most ferocious, piercing look every time I turned, and his while frame seemed nervous.  He would first look out the window and then all around the car, while on his deep-set blue eyes was an expression of the deepest anxiety bordering on fright.

But no one seemed to recognize him.

As the engine blew for Amory he leaned way out and took a good look ahead.  At Amory he and Jackson alighted on the right side, quickly crossed back over to the left walking up to the baggage car.  Then they crossed back over as quickly, got their dog and walked rapidly off into the woods to the south.

Amory is the dinner station and as everyone was rushing for dinner no one seemed to give even a second look to the couple.

He is by this time safe in central Mississippi, but the chances are that it will not be long before Rube Burrow will be heard from again in a reckless and daring train robbery.


Woman Died Shouting at Blooming Grove



“When I was about eight years old, a woman died shouting at Blooming Grove. That was the worst excited I’ve ever been. We were in a grove meeting. The ladies and the men were separated, you know, and some of the ladies came running over to where the men were and they said Old Aunt Louisa Barnes had died shouting. Some of them said she’d just fainted, but there was a doctor there and he pronounced her dead. It’d be my guess that she was sixty or so.

Back in those days the men sat on one side of the church and the women sat on the other. Dr. John Hankins had this girlfriend in Vernon and one Sunday he went to town to get her and brought her back. They sat together in church at Blooming Grove. Well, that tore the church up. A group of the men came to my Grandpa, who was a Justice of the Peace, trying to get Dr. Hankins prosecuted for sitting with his girlfriend in church. It split the church and it took a couple of years for them to get over it. That’s the way trouble comes up, you know, over the little things.” These are the words of Thomas Hankins taken from an interview, with Rose Marie Smith, six days before his 96th birthday. Source: Rose Marie Smith Hocutt Collection History room, Mary Wallace Cobb Memorial Library Vernon, Alabama.

Thomas Jefferson Hankins, born August 20, 1884 in Lamar County, Alabama, died November 26, 1981. Parents were Samuel Houston Hankins (born 1843-died 1916) and Vicie Langston Hankins (born 1843-died 1889). He was a farmer, businessman, member of Lamar County Welfare Board, member of Tax Equalizing Board, member of Liberty Freewill Baptist Church. Source: The Heritage of Lamar County, Alabama 2000 by Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., and Lamar County Heritage Book Committee, pages 324-325, article Thomas and Cora Hankins submitted by Loree Christain Vernon, Alabama.


Blooming Grove Baptist Church constituted October 28, 1860, gets its name from the many blooming dogwoods in the woods around the church. The first church building was made of logs, serving both as church and school. The second building was a two-story wooden structure, also a church and school. This building was destroyed by fire in 1923. The present church was built back in the same spot below the road, near the spring, but later moved across the road next to the cemetery.

The first cemetery was up the hill on Highway 57, there is no record of the first burial. An inventory by Lamar County Genealogical & Historical Society members below gives us information on early burials:

Old Blooming Grove Cemetery Lamar County, Alabama

Number 77 on the 2002 Cemetery Map of Lamar County

Surveyed in 2005 by Rachel Virginia McReynolds and Kawatha “Kay” Chandler Koonce.

Cemetery Marker Donated by Descendants of Noah & Malinda Stone Morrison.

Grave with Cement Top (No Additional information).

Three Cement Block Markers (No additional Information).

Infant Daughters of Mr. & Mrs. Noah Morrison (Appears to be two).

Grave Marked by Fieldstone (No Additional Information).

Cornelius Holliman, Sr. – Born Sept. 25, 1792 – Died Oct. 26, 1862, PVT  S. C. Militia War of 1812 ( This is a recent marker place there by descendants ).

John Robertson – July 30, 1865 – Sept. 15, 1873

There are 7 field-stones that appear to be graves.

One unmarked grave, here,  is believed to belong to a settler passing through the area by wagon. The freshly dug grave was discovered by church members on a Sunday when gathering for their monthly service.

An attraction for Blooming Grove Church today is the free-flowing spring across the road from the church. Many travelers stop by for a drink of cold water or stop to show the spring to their children.

Source: The Heritage of Lamar County, Alabama 2000 by Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., and Lamar County Heritage Book Committee, pages 52-53, article Blooming Grove Baptist Church submitted by Salina Ann McDonald, Fayette, Alabama.

No Woman Can Patronize the Waltz

The New Orleans States fires this random shot: “A Topeka preacher said that ‘no woman can patronize the waltz and maintain her virtue’ and a few days later the pious sky pilot was forced to resign his pulpit for swindling several members of his congregation. It seems that there is always something wrong about a man who is so good that he goes to extremes and shocks and insults people.” Exactly so!! Vernon Courier Vernon, Alabama January 14, 1887.

Moonshiners & Revenuers


In the Federal court some twenty dealers in that good stuff called “moonshine” from Lamar County, were brought forward to the bar of the court in order that they might arrange their bonds. Congressman BANKHEAD promptly stepped forward and agreed to become their bondsman.

Thereupon ex-Gov. Smith in his driest style but with a twinkle in his eye, arose and said: “If it please the court, there are about twenty more moon shiners from this congressional district who are anxious to find a bondsmen. I would like to have them brought before your Honor, in order that I may qualify upon their bonds. If the congressional fight is going to open up today, I want to know it. I don’t propose to get left. I am going to keep up with the procession and with Capt. BANKHEAD.”

The laughter that followed, though checked by his Honor Judge Bruce, was enjoyed by everybody present, the amiable congressman himself appreciating it with full zest.

Second Lamar County Courthouse

The Beginning         

Vernon, Lamar Co. Alabama

Lamar second courthouse

Second Courthouse Lamar County, Alabama in Vernon.

The first courthouse was a log building owned by Daniel Molloy.

 Lamar was made from part of Fayette and Marion Counties February 4, 1867, by an act of legislature. It was named Jones County in honor of E. P. Jones of Fayette County. By an act of Legislature, it was abolished, November 13, 1867, and returned to the former counties. October 8, 1868, an act of Legislature created a new county of the same territory call Sanford County. By an act on February 8, 1877 Sanford County became Lamar. This time it was named for L.Q.C. Lamar, a Georgia born statesman of Mississippi. Almost in the center of this county is the county seat, Vernon. Mr. John Molloy owned the land where Vernon is, he gave the county the plot to be laid off in lots for a town. County sold lots to raise funds to build court house and jail.

1867      Jones County, B. L. Falkner, Probate Judge, and Commissioners: W. H. Brown, Jason Guin, W. C. York, N. T. Morton laid off lots, S. E. Hopkins Surveyer.

  1. Laid off square to build temporary building for court house 20 X 30 10 feet high.
  2. Lots 1, 2, 13,14, 15 to be reserved for the jail. Lot 9 for court house.
  3. Lots 42, 45 reserved for church property.

1868      June 1st, bid let to N. F. Morton to build the court house for $4000, N. T. Morton Judge, Jones County.

Lot 45 is where Eddie Wood Collins has a building.

Lot 42 is where Mr. John Price now lives (1960).

Lot 44 is where the Methodist church was before moved to where it is now. That is about where Mrs. John Price had a store in 1960.

Lots 39, 40, 28, 29 is where the Methodist church is located now (1960).

Surveyed for Jones County coming on the 27 August, 1867, the town lots of Swayne Court House, as foregoing platt commencing at NE corner set a stake from which N 88 deg. E 5 links sweetgum, thence S 120 poles, set stake from which S 32 deg. E 58 links sweetgum, thence W 40 poles, set a stake from which S 32 deg. E 58 links sweetgum, thence W 40 poles, set a stake from which S 75 deg. E 9 links peach tree thence E 40 poles to the beginning. This is to certify that the foregoing survey and plot is nearly correct, yet not precise as done by me this September 4, 1867. S. C. Hopkins, Sworn Surveyor.

Lot Numbers Sold to Amount
1, 4, 16, 25, 26, 46, 47, 48 W. W. Pool $180.62 1/2
5, 8, 6 Jessie Taylor $ 190.25
7,33 E. W. Lawrence $ 65.25
17, 55 Samuel Curry $96.55
32, 27 A. J. Hamilton $ 130.50
31 W. H. Johnson 92
24 Edward Barnes 50
30, 29, 56 A. J. McAdams 207.50
38, 39 M. G. Darr 97
27, 28 W. W. Kennedy 162
40 (Methodist Church property now) Peter Shaw 25.50
34,35, 36 T. C. Burdick 197
57,58 J. S. Cox 69
59,60 John Woodard 50
44 D. C. Gillian 46.50
43, 50 George Pennington 72.50
49 D. M. Patterson 26.75
62 John Bobo 26
41 ? Andy Bobo 20.50
51 Henry Bush 21
52 W. N. Scott 10
54,53,63,64, N. F. Morton $51.75

1867, September 16. To be paid out by the Treasurer on the Certificate of Probate John Morris $15, H. Jackson be paid $1.50 for selling lots. G. M. Morton be paid $1 for selling lots. (Auctioneers).

Court adjourned until 8 0’clock tomorrow morning, September 17, 1867.

Next morning: Commissioners establish election precincts lying and between rand 14 and 15 at point where old County line which divides and Fayette crosses said line west with said former county line bet to the range line between ranges 15 & 16, thence S with said range line to the Powel’s road, thence E to range line between Range 14 & 15, thence N to the point of beginning to be call Town Beat. Lots – 90, 89, 99, 100, 101, 111, 112, 114 to be reserved from sale at present. Sold lots for pay in 6 months to pay. The purchaser giving note with two securities.  This all found in Commissioner’s Court Minutes in Court House, Vernon, Ala.

Men who served as Lamar’s first officers:

Probate Judge                                  B. L. Falkner

Clerk                                                   Tom Morton

Sheriff                                                George Brown, Dept. J. L. Morton

Tax Collector                                    Luke Guin

Tax Assessor                                     Jake Clines

Treasurer                                           Fayette Hayes

Superintendent of Education       W. M. Morton

Commissioner                                  William Brown

Historical information taken from research notes of Mrs. Maggie Lee Hayes housed in History room of Mary Wallace Cobb Memorial Library in Vernon, Alabama. Transcribed as written by Barb Carruth.