Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1943 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 RAITPH N. FARISS,
Twenty-Four-Year Old Train Bandit
Awaiting Death in San Quentin
Prison for Murder.
I wonder as I write this if well-to-do
folks, having plenty, and slow
about paying their bills to the small
dealers, struggling for existence, ever
consider how they discourage those
That was my undoing, and indi
rectly responsible, I think, for the fate
that today I am in San Quentin
prison, awaiting the time I shall
either get a new trial or swing at the
end of a rope.
Dad helped me to borrow $150
from the bank. I bought a horse and
wagon and with a few dollars left,
got my first stock of vegetables and
fruit, and began selling about Bakers
field, Cal., from the wagon.
Gee! it was good to be a business
man, even in a small way.
I got puffed up; took a lot of pride
in being honest about small change,
and when the ladies in the fine houses
would say: "I have no change; I'll
pay you tomorrow," why, I was glad
to trust them.
I was paying cash for everything
and was proud of my new life and my
Dad was happy and .mother cried
for joy. It was great.
But in just three months those "I'll
pay you tomorrow" people had me
broke and out of business.
The "honest" people wouldn't pay.
Broken, bitter, discouraged, hard
as nails, one night the old wild im
pulse came over me and I hopped a
freight and then it was the begin
ning of the end.
I went to Chicago, where I began
work in a restaurant and took to
carousing again,. Then I went to De
troit, where I contracted disease and
went to Hot Springs, Ark.
After Hot Springs I beat ft to Kan
sas City, wheie J got a joh in a restaurant.
I still had a hankering to be right,
so I decided to save up my money, go
into business for myself again and
not trust anybody, but do a strictly
I worked hard, did the best I knew
how and saved every cent.
A negro bus boy working in the
restaurant began to steal my tips.
I complained to the proprietor
about it, but he said I would have to
look after my own tips.
I watched the negro and caught
him taking money left by a, customer '
Ralph N. Fariss.
for me. I hit him on the nose, and
Taking my last cent $4, 1 went to
a pawnshop, bought a revolver, the
first I ever owned in my life, and de
termined upon my first train holdup!
I decided to talk to somebody who
knew something about the holdup
game or read the papers and find out
how other bandits pulled their jobs
before I attempted to rob a train.
But one evening I walked down to
the Union Station in Kansas City,'
-...!; jjjfegtt viU jj.-.'r'jejv. -. , a'".