Thu, Nov. 21

1899 ATROCIOUS MURDERS: Prisoner Ketchum Planned To Escape.

"Black Jack: Tom Ketchum Planned To Escape: "A Fellow Convict Who Was Helping the Bandit."

"When the pertness and gayety of 'Black Jack' Tom Ketchum led Secretary Martin to have the penitentiary hospital searched it was discovered who gave the steel saw and dummy pistol to the murderer and highwayman, says the 'New Mexican.' The guilty confederate was convict No. 1208, Frank Attlebury, sentenced from Colfax county for three years for stealing from a store."

"How long since he made or obtained possession of the dummy weapon and the steel spring from which a saw was made is not known, and they may have been concealed for months. Attlebury is a consumtive, and was placed in the hospital as an act of mercy. The dummy was a perfect wooden model of a Colt's 45 caliber six-shooter, wrapped in tin foil. Holes had been burned in the end of the cylinder. This dummy, being flashed suddenly, would have been enough to make even the coolest man pause. The two prisoners are attended by a man whose sentence has recently been commuted. He sleeps in the hospital, which is locked at night and watched by a roundman."

"The plotters expected to knock the nurse in the head, saw the grated window of the hospital, and when outside waylay the watchman, bluff him with the dummy pistol, take his gun if possible, and escape. It was intended that Attlebury should secure a white horse, which could be seen daily in a pasture half a mile distant, and bring it to Ketchum, who should be in waiting somewhere if they got out of the walls."

"When the steel saw was found hidden in the bandage around Ketchum's person he cried like a child, but this did not keep Superintendent Bursum from promptly sending both men to safe cells."

"Since Ketchum entered the penitentiary he has been kindly treated, and every consideration shown him that possibly could have been tendered him outside. In fact, there are many hospital patients away from the prison that would be glad to have the care that has been accorded Ketchum since he was brought to Santa Fe almost dead on a stretcher. The amputation of his arm was most successful, and he is almost if not entirely well. He has regained nearly all his strength and flesh, and while doing so, has been indulging in braggadocio. In fact, it was this that led the officers to believe that some kind of scheme was on foot for him to get away."

(Albuquerque Daily Citizen; October 4, 1899; page 2.)

Event Calendar
Event Calendar link
Submit Event