Dynamite and Six-Shooter
Thomas E. Ketchum, better known as "Black Jack" Ketchum, at six foot two inches tall with dark skin and black hair and described as having a "wonderful physique," never became one of those folklore desperados whose violent and lawless ways were burnished with an illusive romance. If he is remembered at all, it is mostly for the peculiar circumstances which attended the curtailment of his earthly career. Yet, as a man who was noted in his own day, and who stood out above most others in his dubious profession, he is worthy of more than passing mention. He and his companions were among the boldest outlaws ever to ride the American Southwest, and almost the last of their line. Tom Ketchum and his small gang--one member was his brother Sam--were on the dodge in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona for less than four years and their career of banditry lasted for little more than two years. Tom, often confused with the earlier Black Jack Christian who was the first outlaw in New Mexico to carry the handle "Black Jack," was always the leader of their gang. In the end he paid dearly for his escapades. At his hanging in 1901 he declared, "Hurry up boys, I'm due in Hell for dinner." Jeff Burton was born in Nottinghamshire, England, in 1936. His interest in history, folklore, and myth began at an early age. His special field has been the study of law enforcement and outlawry in the American West.
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If you are kin to the Samuel and Thomas Edward "Black Jack" Ketchum family line, or if you are interested, in general, about the history of outlawry in the late 1800s in the American Southwest, DYNAMITE AND SIX SHOOTER is well written and accurate. Jeff Burton wrote this definitive book about the Ketchum gang in the 1960s and has continued to research and expand his expertise about the gang for 40 years. A couple of years ago a new book by Jeff Burton was published by the University of North Texas Press that is excellent. The title is THE DEADLIEST OUTLAWS. It is definitely not just a rewrite of the DYNAMITE AND SIX SHOOTER book. It is much more detailed history of the gang, and all of the various members of the gang. The new book is over 500 pages in length. It tracks their entire outlaw history in great detail including their movements around the southwest, and the when, where, how of all of their crimes. Everything is backed up with literally hundreds of specific references to newspaper articles, court records, historical excerpts by contemporary writers of the time, and other sources. There are more than 50 photographs in the book. I find it an amazingly detailed and factual look into the life of the gang, and a pretty good history of 1800s law enforcement, and Southwestern life in general.
Jeff Burton, the author, is a member of The English Westerners’ Society (formerly, The English Corral of the Westerners) whose charter describes it as "a non-profit making, educational organization of those whose special interest is a preservation of the historical, ethnological and cultural background and evolution of the American West." It issues publications and holds meetings; and exists to promote and assist similar activities connected with the study of the American frontier. Jeff has made many trips to the U.S. over the years to research the Ketchum outlaw gang.
Several well known outlaws of the time, including some who rode with other gangs (the Wild Bunch etc.) rode on occasion with the Black Jack Ketchum gang, and all of these connections are spelled out and documented in the book.
Only 100 initial copies of the new book were published, due to the costs of publishing such a relatively large book for a fairly small number of academicians, historians, libraries and genealogists interested in the detailed information contained in the book. It went into a second printing, and a third I think.
I am the great grandson of Sam Ketchum, but I have no financial interest in these two books. I am simply relaying the information. You can find and purchase a copy of the newer book at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon.com and at many other locations.
I COULD KILL A BUZZARD AFLYING
THREE MURDERS AND A DEAD RINGER
EASY MONEY AND HARD RIDING
THE STEINS PASS IMBROGLIO
THE SIXTEENTH OF AUGUST
DEAD TO RIGHTS
POINTS OF LAW
AN AMBUSH FOR GEORGE SCARBOROUGH
WILL YOU DIE GAME BOYS?
OFF WITH HIS HEAD
EMPTY SADDLES AND LONELY GRAVES
TALES THAT WERE TOLD
DYNAMITE AND SIXSHOOTER
ANOTHER INCIDENT AT TWIN MOUNTAINS
BULLETS IN TURKEY CREEK CANYON