On the last Thursday in January 1896, Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain, accompanied by his eight-year-old son, Henry, left Lincoln, New Mexico, in a buckboard to drive to his home in Las Cruces. He never arrived. Later a pool of blood and a blood-soaked handkerchief pointed to murder. Although indictments were returned, no one was convicted of that murder, one of New Mexico’s most talked-about mysteries. During the territory’s development, Fountain, the man of law and order, had confronted relentless outlaws, who finally got their man on a lonely stretch of road with the White Sands as a backdrop.
As a special U.S. district attorney, Fountain prosecuted the San Marcial ring on land-fraud charges. He repeatedly opposed young Albert Bacon Fall at law, in politics, and in the territorial legislature. On the eve of his death, Fountain was a key figure in the Lincoln County grand jury investigation into cattle rustling.
Gibson’s account will be no less significant to those with an interest in the Albert B. Fall of the Teapot Dome scandal than to those who wish to know what became of Colonel Fountain.
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Arrell Morgan Gibson (1921–1987) was the George Lynn Cross Research Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. He was the author of many books on western history, including The Chickasaws, The Life and Death of Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain, and Oklahoma: A History of Five Centuries, all published by the University of Oklahoma Press.Review:
“Here is the raw material of history, far more dimensional and compelling than fiction. . . . Gibson’s handling of the Fountain life and times is superb, accomplished with art and scholarship.”—Los Angeles Times
“This is by far the best available history of the events surrounding the colorful career of Colonel Fountain.”—Library Journal
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