No Tears for Black Jack Ketchum
Thomas Edward ("Black Jack") Ketchum (October 31, 1863-April 26, 1901) was executed for an attempt to hold up the C. & S. train between Des Moines and Folsom in the northeaster corner of New Mexico. His other daring deeds as a desperado were not considered by the court. Ketchum was to be made an example in an effort to prevent further robberies as well as to prove to the rest of the nation that New Mexico knew how to deal with outlaws like Black Jack. Actually the hanging proved nothing. Rustlers, robbers, and outlaws continued on their merry way. Looking back over Ketchum's misdeeds, which were many, his misplaced bravery outshone the more widely known Billy the Kid who never came within range of Ketchum for daring, nerve, and hard riding. Ketchum, whose career began as an humble horse thief, wrote his own ticket with tragic results. The truth about Ketchum reads like fiction and the author shows no signs of embellishment in his account. F. Stanley (Father Stanley Francis Louis Crocchiola) was a history buff whose curiosity and inner fire drew him to the study of people and places and events that had gone unnoticed until he saw them. It has been said that he wandered across the American Southwest like a Johnny Appleseed of history, planting seedlings in the form of booklets and leaving their later nurturing to others. "An easterner by birth but a southwesterner at heart, Father Stanley Francis Louis Crocchiola had as many vocations as names," says his biographer, Mary Jo Walker. "As a young man, he entered the Catholic priesthood and for nearly half a century served his church with great zeal in various capacities, attempting to balance the callings of teacher, pastor, historian and writer." With limited money or free time, he also managed to write and publish one hundred and seventy-seven books and booklets pertaining to his adopted region under his nom de plume, F. Stanley, The initial in that name does not stand for Father, as many have assumed, but for Francis, which Louis Crocchiola took, with the name Stanley, at the time of his ordination as Franciscan friar in 1938. All of F. Stanley's titles have now reached the status of expensive collector's items. This new edition in Sunstone's Southwest Heritage Series includes a new foreword by Marc Simmons, an excerpt from F. Stanley's biography by Mary Jo Walker, and a tribute to F. Stanley by Jack D. Rittenhouse (also from the biography).
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