Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum

Is your surname Ketchum?

Research the Ketchum family

Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Thomas Edward "Black Jack" Ketchum

Birthdate: (37)
Birthplace: San Saba, TX, USA
Death: April 26, 1901 (37)
Clayton, NM, USA (Decapitated by hanging execution)
Immediate Family:

Son of Green Berry Ketchum and Temperance Katherine Widick
Brother of Samuel Ketchum

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum

"I'll be in hell before you start breakfast boys," announced Black Jack from the gallows. "Let her rip."

Hard drinking Texas cowboy Tom Ketchum, along with his older brother Sam, drifted into outlawry during the 1890s. Dark-complected and dark-haired Tom was called "Black Jack" after another swarthy gang leader, Black Jack Christian (who was was killed in Arizona in 1897).

The Ketchum Gang included Will Carver and Elzy Lay, outlaws who had ridden with Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. The gang robbed stores, post offices, stagecoaches, and trains. A merchant was slain in Texas, and Black Jack killed two people in an 1899 Arizona saloon fight.

A few days later the gang was jumped by a posse. Two officers were killed, and Elzy Lay and Sam Ketchum were wounded. Sam soon died of blood poisoning.

Three weeks later, in August 1899, Black Jack single-handedly stopped a train at Folsom, New Mexico, where his gang had previously robbed a train in 1897. He wounded the express messenger and conductor, but the conductor blasted Black Jack with a shotgun. His mutilated arm was amputated, and Black Jack Ketchum was hanged in Clayton, New Mexico, on April 26, 1901. Source: "Best of the West" by Bill O'Neal pages 58-59

At the hanging, when Black Jack fell through the trapdoor, he was decapitated by the trapdoor.

For additional information on Black Jack, see the wikipedia article:

view all

Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum's Timeline

October 31, 1863
San Saba, TX, USA
April 26, 1901
Age 37
Clayton, NM, USA