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Northeast New Mexico - Early History    Timeline    Legends and Lore

Black Jack Lost His Head
About four miles from Folsom, near Twin Mountain, Black Jack Ketchum held up a train. He was wounded and the next day he was captured. He was taken into Folsom and kept overnight at the Folsom Hotel, then taken to Santa Fe. His arm had been shattered and had to be amputated. Black Jack's trial was held in Clayton about a year later. He was found guilty and hanged with such force he was decapitated. He was buried in the Clayton Cemetery.

The hanging of Black Jack Ketchum was Union County's only judicial hanging (for the capital crime of "felonious assault upon a railway train") and was conducted on April 26, 1901, against the north wall of what is now the sheriff's office on the courthouse grounds. Black Jack's grave is located at the Clayton Memorial Cemetery. Enter at the main gate by the flag pole. At the mid-point into the cemetery, the grave is located between the two roadways. It is probably decorated with a few flowers. Who sees to this has never been made public.

Clayton/Union County Chamber of Commerce
1103 South First Street
P.O. Box 476
Clayton, NM 88415
505-374-9253
505-374-8497 fax
800-390-7858
econdevelop@plateautel.net

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