Love, Robert Marshall (1847–1903)

By: Lucie Love Whitley

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 29, 2019

Robert Marshall Love, son of James M. and Theresa Evelyn (Braden) Love, was born in Franklin, Texas, on January 11, 1847, eleven years after his parents had arrived as pioneers in Texas. The family moved to Tehuacana, where he attended the common schools. At seventeen he gave up a short-lived teaching career to volunteer in the Confederate Army; he enlisted in Company G, Sixth Texas Cavalry, Ross's Brigade, in 1862 and served throughout the war. After the war he returned home and successfully farmed and raised livestock in Tehuacana. On January 12, 1870, in Hickman County, Kentucky, he married Lucy Townes Morgan. They had ten children.

Love began his political career as deputy sheriff of Limestone County in 1872. He was sheriff of Limestone County, 1884–90; United States marshal for the Northern District of Texas, 1894–96; and state comptroller, 1901–03. He also was elected president of the Sheriff's Association of Texas from 1886 to 1894. Love and his brother John helped end Reconstruction in 1873, when they armed themselves with pistols and stood at the foot and head of the Capitol stairs to protect the members of the legislature who had been prohibited to convene by incumbent governor Edmund J. Davis. Richard Coke had been elected governor, but Davis contested the election. The Love brothers enabled the Fourteenth Legislature to organize and administer the oath of office to Coke. Rumor states that John Love kicked Davis in the seat of the pants as he exited through the Capitol rotunda door.

Love belonged to many organizations, including the Knights of Honor, the Knights of Pythias, and the Knights Templar. He was a leading member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He built a church on his own farm and devoted himself to the construction of many others around the state. In 1903, while serving as state comptroller, he was shot at his desk in the Capitol at Austin by W. G. Hill, a former employee of the department. His last words were, "I have no idea why he shot me. May the Lord bless him and forgive him. I cannot say more." He died several hours later in Austin and was buried at Tehuacana.

A Memorial and Biographical History of McLennan, Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1984). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Ray A. Walter, A History of Limestone County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1959).


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Law Officers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Lucie Love Whitley, “Love, Robert Marshall,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 29, 2019