November 14, 1903, six days before the hanging, the Rawlins
Republican reported that “Bad Bob” Meldrum had
written to Horn.
Meldrum, one of Horn’s friends
(WY State Archives)
Tom Boy Mine,
Nov. 3, 1903
Tom Horn, Esq., Cheyenne Wyo.
Dear Tom: I see by the daily press that things are
coming your way at last, which pleases me very much.
Lots of people here want to see you clear and in
fact are positive that you will. By the way if the
worst come to the worse YOU WILL NEVER HANG, as I
know of a way that will get you out of that, so don’t
lose any sleep on that part of the programme....
Now, remember what I tell you. It will be all OK. I got it STRAIGHT AND I MAY
BE THERE TO SEE IT.
The letter was not delivered to Horn, the Republican said.
There was an air of finality in Horn’s letter to Coble on November 17,
Proctor told me that it was all over with me except the applause part of
You know they can’t hurt a Christian, and as I am prepared, it
is all right.
I thoroughly appreciate all you have done for me. No one could have done more.
Kindly accept my thanks, for if ever a man had a trued friend, you have proven
yourself one to me.
Remember me kindly to all my friends, if I have any besides yourself. Burke and
Lacey have not shown up.
I want you to always understand that the stenographic notes taken in the United
States Marshal’s office were all changed to suit the occasion. The notes
read at the trial were not the original notes at all. Everything of an incriminating
nature read in those notes was manufactured and put in. It won’t do any
good to kick at that now, so let ’er go.
If any one profits by my being hung, I would be sorry to see them disappointed.
It would, perhaps, be somewhat of a trying meeting for you to come to see me
now. Do as you like. It might cause you a good deal of pain. I am just the same
as ever, and will remain so.
The governor’s decision was no surprise to me, for I was tried, convicted
and hung before I left the ranch. My famous confession was also made days before
I came to town.
I told Burke to give you some writing I did; be sure and get it. You will not
need anything to remember me by, but you will have that anyway. Anything else
I may have around the ranch is yours.
I won’t need anything where I am going. I have an appointment with some
Christian ladies tomorrow, and will write you of their visit tomorrow night.
I will drop you a line every day now, till the Reaper comes along. Kindest to
According to two sources, on November 18 he learned that
an effort to spring him free would be made the next day.
Butch Cassidy, it was said, would be the leader. While the
rumor grew and it is possible the two knew each other, they
seem an unlikely alliance because Horn and Cassidy were on
opposite sides of the lawman-outlaw melange. Nevertheless,
the morning of the nineteenth a message appeared in the snow, “Keep
Sheriff Ed Smalley had no intent of allowing his most infamous
prisoner escape. With assistance from the governor, he had
arranged for armed troops to surround the block where the
jail and courthouse were located. A Gatling gun from Fort
D. A. Russell was mounted on the roof, with a Sergeant Mahon, “an
expert gunner of the Thirteenth Artillery” stationed
in the jail every night.
Sheriffs from other communities were stationed in the complex,
armed with shotguns and repeating rifles….
used to hang Tom Horn on November 20, 1903, in Cheyenne
the book from Chip Carlson, and read “the rest
of the story.”