Saddle up and ride, Tom King

Everyone loves a good tale about bad people, especially, if there is a happy ending.

Tom King rides
Tom King rides

The following headline and story appeared, December 14, 1893, in the Kansas Weekly Capital & Farm Journal. At the time it was Kansas’ largest weekly publication, reaching every county and over 1000 post offices.

The story takes place in El Reno, a small settlement outside Forth Reno, Oklahoma Territory.

FEMALE HORSE THIEF “TOM KING” ESCAPES FROM JAIL
Wichita, Kan., Dec 8 – “Tom King” the female horsethief, known all over the west for her daring exploits, escaped from the jail at El Reno, O.T., tonight and got clear away.
Officers have gone to Yukon after a pair of bloodhounds and they expect to trail the woman down by morning. The prisoner was evidently aided from the outside, as a horse was waiting for her.

Wichita, Kan., Dec. 9 – A visitor from El Reno, O. T., from the jail of which “Tom King,” the notorious female horse thief escaped last night, bringing a story to the effect that Under Sheriff Williams of Canadian county, who was seen about the jail a few minutes before the escape, has disappeared and that a couple of his horses are also missing. It is hinted that Williams was smitten with the charms of the comely “Tom King” and a great many believe that he aided in the escape and is now with her.

As a horse-thief, “Tom” would likely have been hung by the neck until dead, woman or no woman. So, it is nice to believe that “Tom” and Sheriff Williams rode off into the sunset and lived happily and peacefully ever after.

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