By Aaryn Valenzuela
More than 100 years ago, "Black Jack Ketchum" had a reputation as a Concho Valley outlaw.These days people still tell stories about how he may have left gold hidden in the area. He grew up near modern day Knickerbocker, and is the subject of several books. A number of authors, including Barbara Barton, have written books about him.
Black jack worked on ranches across the area, and in New Mexico, but some say he made more money robbing trains.
"They realized they weren't making that much money, and on top of that they thought if Im working on all of these steers right here, i'll just take a few for myself," says Barbara Barton, Author of Den of Outlaws.
"Black Jack", and his brother Sam became known for robbing trains. After their mother passed away Berry moved the family to an area just outside knickerbocker, which has been known as the "XQZ" Ranch for many years.
"Black Jack" had an older brother named Berry, who wanted to start a ranch out here and he wanted to have race horses, that was the main thing that he had, so he had three of his siblings that he still had to take care of," says Barton.
Kethcum's downfall came when he decided to rob a train without his brother...
"He had robbed the train at Stein's Pass in New Mexico twice, and he thought I can do that again, I know that one real well, and of course the train slowed down as it went up the pass. The funny thing is there was a conductor on that train who had been twice robbed, and he told his family I'm not gonna be robbed again."
The conductor shot him during the robbery, but "Black Jack" managed to get away.
"Black Jack" was able to run away from the train that night, but later the deputies picked him up and brought him to jail," says Barton
A year later -- he was hung in clayton new mexico where he's buried. Barton says at that time, in 1901, the hanging was a big event. She says reporters arrived before the hanging so that they could talk to "Black Jack."
Ketchum was said to have stashed Gold in caves in Schleicher and Irion Counties.