• Murderer Awaits Firing Squad, Seeks Financial Help

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    Arthur Walker (alias Jack Thompson) was a wild British engineer who, in 1910, with another Englishman, sold a rubber concession in a remote area near the Brazilian-Bolivian border to a Belgian firm, which sent a payment of 7,000 pounds in gold, loaded on mules, with a makeshift guard of three Germans and a Frenchman. Walker and his party shot the Europeans and the Indian men and women who accompanied them. One fleeing Indian alerted Bolivian authorities who tracked down the murderers and marched them 100 miles to the town of San Jose, where Walker was condemned to death. Walker’s case was detailed in Wild World Magazine, entitled “The Case of ‘Jack Thompson’ The Final Chapter,” which is included. This article followed an article that Walker wrote (not present) in which he detailed his “plight” and made a plea to readers for financial aid.

    Walker succeeded in delaying his sentence for years, escaping from prison several times. Robert G. Montgomery, an American from Philadelphia responded to Walker’s plea. In the following August 1, 1913, 1 ½ pp, 8 ½” x 11,” ALS, Walker responds to his well-wisher. “…The reason it has been so long in reaching me is that some time ago, I managed to make my escape from prison, but was unfortunately taken again on crossing the frontier into Argentina but I expect you will read about that in the ‘Wide World’ as, at the Editor’s request, I have written it up and sent it on to London.

    “About my case, it is just in the same case as it was eighteen months ago and I haven’t much hope of it making any advance. You see, the judge has ordered that I shall have to pay the expenses of the five witnesses I have named for my defence and this together with solicitors’ costs would be about 500 Boliviano (about $200 in American money). [This is disputed in the included Wide World article.] The reason of it costing so much is that there are no railways here in this part of the country and the witnesses would have to come on foot or mule back from San Jose, a distance of about 160 miles. I expect I shall end my days in jail waiting for the witnesses who never come. “I have noted your kind offer of assistance contained in your letter, and if you are in a position to assist me in any way, believe me I shall be truly grateful.

    “Yours Sincerely

    “Arthur Walker…

    “P.S. It would be better if you registered your letter.”

    Letter and article are in excellent condition with expected folds.

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