Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
MY PATH TO THE GALLOWS
BY RALPH N. FARISS,
Twenty-Four-Year-Old Train Bandit
f Awaiting Death in San Quentin
Prison for Murder.
The public has believed, because I
frequented the poolrooms, lived with
the girl I loved, went to the dances
and drank liquor, gambled, did all the
things I was wont to do before, that
the slaying of Horace Montague,
traveling passenger agent of the S. P.,
did not weigh on me.
But as God is my judge I did not
sleep night kafter night Always be
fore me was the vision of that man
running down that car aisle.
After I had read the papers I went
to see my sweetheart. I did not tell
her what I had done. The descrip
tions of me were so far off she would
never recognize them. I determined
to take her and leave, and live a life
of honesty ever after. Those pistol
shots and those burning words in the
newspaper awakened something in
my heart that had never been awak
I was in deadly fear of arrest. I was
suffering the tortures of the damned.
I had pulled a trigger for the first
time in my life and had killed a man.
I had my sweetheart and her moth
er make arrangements to leave, and
that night we escaped to San Fran-
I couldn't forget that poor fellow
I had killed.
He was with me night and day, and
I plunged into amusement and excess
to forget. I had taken the name of
John Bostwick to avoid arrest. A re
ward was out for me.
Yet it never occurred to me to go
into hiding. I walked the streets by
day, by night, as though I had done
Jan. 21 I was walking along the
street when I passed a man and a wo
man. The woman I had a vague re
collection of having robbed some
where, but I didn't place her. A few
minutes later a heavy hand was laid
on my shoulder. I turned to find a
policeman. The worst had happened.
The woman was Mrs. Arthur Colen,
the bride whom I stripped of her dia
mond engagement ring before I shot;
She had recognized me.
My pockets were full of pawn tick
ets for the stuff I had soaked after the
hold-up. They found them.
At first I denied my name, denied
my guilt, everything. I did not want
mK L .flli
Ralph N. Fariss.
the girl I loved nor my parents to
know I had killed a man.
But the police took me to my room,
where they found other incriminating
The next day they sweated me. I
held up, though, until I was on the
train with Sheriff Hammel on my way
to Los Angeles:
Then I could stand the strain no
longer and confessed.
I am 24 years old, and swiftly
events have moved in my life since I
confessed to the killing of Horace