The first Monday of each month I post a Wild West Trivia Question. Please leave your answer or best guess in the comment section of the blog post for a chance to win one of my books. At the end of the week, I’ll draw a name from all those who entered the contest and post the winner’s name in the comment section–be sure to check back to see who wins!
Thomas E. Ketchum, alias “Black Jack,” was the most noted desperado of the Southwest. Although he was credited with having taken the lives of some of his fellow beings, he finally paid with his own life for an attempted train robbery in which nobody was killed.
The crime was committed near Folsom, N M., August 16, 1899. Single-handed, “Black Jack” held up a Colorado and Southern passenger train. He ordered the engineer and fireman to uncouple the engine and leave the train. The conductor and mail agent opened fire on him, which he promptly returned. He received the contents of a double-barrelled shotgun in his right arm, but quickly changing the rifle to his left shoulder, he succeeded in wounding both conductor and mail agent. He then escaped in the darkness, but was captured next day. He was tried for assault upon a United States mail agent and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary. Then in September, 1900, he was tried on the more serious charge of assault upon a railroad train with intent to commit a felony. He was also convicted on this charge and was sentenced to be hanged.
Question: Before Ketchum met his fate at the end of a noose he wrote a letter to someone famous claiming several imprisoned men were innocent of the crimes they’d been accused of committing. Who was that famous person?