This Day in Texas History: Black Jack Ketchum Captured in New Mexico

This Day in Texas History: Black Jack Ketchum Captured in New Mexico August 17, 1899 On this day in 1899, the criminal career of Thomas Edward (Black Jack) Ketchum ended. Black Jack KetchumTom and his brother Sam were members of a gang of outlaws that terrorized Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas. Tom was born in San Saba County, Sam in Caldwell County. Tom left Texas about 1890, and Sam joined him in New Mexico in 1894. There the brothers began a life of crime that included killing a merchant in Carrizo and robbing post offices, stagecoaches, trains, and a railroad station. On September 3, 1897, the gang held up the Colorado Southern passenger train near Folsom. On July 11, 1899, apparently without Tom, the gang held up the same train again. Sam was wounded and captured. He died two weeks later in prison. Tom, unaware of Sam’s failed attempt, tried singlehandedly to rob the same train on August 16. He was wounded by the conductor and was picked up from beside the tracks the next day. He was sentenced to death and was hung at Clayton, New Mexico, on April 26, 1901. The Ketchum gang was blamed for many crimes they may not have committed. Black Jack Ketchum may have inherited the nickname and reputation of Will “Black Jack” Christian.

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