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6. Assistance from Fall

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six

Assistance from Fall

On Friday, March 13, Albert Fall called on Pat Garrett in his hotel room. When he stopped by Garrett’s room, Fraser must have been surprised to see Fall there. After Fraser and Fall had exchanged a few pleasantries about the weather, Fraser left so Garrett and Fall could continue their conversation.

Fall told Garrett that he wanted him to have a commission as a deputy sheriff, regardless of the outcome of the sheriff’s contest.

Although an obvious ploy to get on Garrett’s good side, as it seemed he would inevitably become sheriff sooner or later, the increasingly frustrated Garrett was glad for whatever help he could get. Fall promised to go to Santa Fe and throw his support behind Garrett.1

Garrett was to leave for El Paso later that day. He told Fraser before he left that he hoped to be placed in office before he went out again, so that he would have the power to act if he saw fit.

Fraser noted, “This will keep me here until he goes out, for I fail to find anyone who wants to go out with me on this trip alone as driver and guide . . . .”

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16. The Prosecution Closes

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The Prosecution Closes

Captain Thomas Branigan led off the next morning’s testimony.

He said that he knew Lee and McNew but was not well acquainted with Gililland, then described trailing Fountain’s buckboard, the

Cruces and Tularosa road, and the area around Chalk Hill. He testified to trailing the buckboard to the spot where it was abandoned, and from there to trailing horse tracks that left that spot. He talked about finding an impression on the ground where a blanket had been laid down with something heavy on it.

He went on to describe the remnants of a dry campfire that was five miles from where they had found the buckboard. There were boot tracks surrounding it. Branigan saw the tracks of a child leading away from the fire about six feet. “I do not know how it got there nor where it went, as I could not trail it any further nor back to the fire. My conclusion was that one of the men had taken the child’s shoe in his hand or on a stick and made the impressions with it. There were only four tracks and all were made by the shoe belonging to the child’s right foot. . . .”

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3. The Disappearance

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three

The Disappearance

On January 12, 1896, Albert J. Fountain left for Lincoln, but he did not leave alone. The rumors of an attempt on his life worried his family. Family members, especially Fountain’s easily alarmed wife Mariana, attempted to persuade him to cancel the trip, or at least not go alone. Family recollections disagree on whether it was

Fountain’s wife Mariana or daughter Maggie who had the idea that he take his youngest son Henry. Mariana certainly pushed the idea, thinking that no attempt would be made on her husband’s life when a child was with him. She finally won out and Fountain agreed that if Henry was home from school when he left, he would take him.

Henry returned home in time and went on what must have been an exciting trip for a young boy to take with his father.1

The Fountain family received a scare the first night when

Fountain’s horses arrived back home. Later, a miner who came to town delivered a note from Colonel Fountain saying that the horses had run away. Fountain’s son Albert, along with his father-in-law

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1. Albert Jennings Fountain

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Albert Jennings Fountain

Born Albert Jennings on Staten Island, New York, on October

23, 1838, Albert was the son of Solomon and Catherine Jennings.

The name Fountain came from his mother, who descended from a

French Huguenot family named de la Fontaine, which later turned into Fountain.1 Why Albert took the last name Fountain is unknown. One theory is that a mysterious murder in the Jennings family caused many members to take other names.2 Another suggests that Albert took the Fountain name so as not to give himself away as he searched in China for his then missing father.3

Fountain was educated in New York public schools and at Columbia College. It was said that during his Columbia days, at age

fifteen, he and five other students went on a tour of Europe and the

Far East. It was during this stage of Albert’s life that his father, a sea captain, was purportedly lost at sea. In Solomon Jennings’s last letter to his wife, written somewhere in the Orient, he wrote that food was running out and his crew was getting restless. He was never heard from again.

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19. In Conclusion

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In Conclusion

Who killed Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain and Henry Fountain?

In telling this story, I’ve attempted to lay out all of the surviving evidence.

Over the years, the more people spoke of this mystery, the more names have been added to the list of suspects. The following is a list of the men who have been mentioned as suspects or possible conspirators in this crime at one time or another: Oliver Lee,

James Gililland, William McNew, Ed Brown, Green Scott, Emerald

James, William Carr, Tom Tucker, Jack Tucker, Albert B. Fall,

Hiram Yost, John Yost, Frank Hill, Frank Chatfield, --- Thergood,

José Chavez y Chavez, Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum, Sam Ketchum,

Joe Morgan, William Gililland, Print Rhodes, Charles Jones, Jim

Miller, Randolph Reynolds, --- Brady, William Johnson, Fred

Pellman, --- Stiles, Bob Raley, Tom Priedemore, John Lynch, Jim

Lynch, --- Johnson (William?), --- Grady, Gene ---, Len Watts, Luis

Herrera, and --- Lillaret.1

Many of these men where not mentioned as suspects until years after the murders, because at the time no evidence was found linking them to the crime, and in some cases they even had an airtight alibi. Take José Chavez y Chavez, who has been cited by many over the years as one of the men believed to have killed the Fountains.

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