Find more Blasts from the Past in Andi’s Attic >>
This is an updated “repost” from a blog post a year ago. I’m sorry if a bunch of you have already read it. However, I am trying to bring the old posts over, and this is the way I have to do it. I will try to mix in new posts so there is a variety.
During those terrible few weeks when I was trying to get my memory back, I had a lot of time on my hands. When I wasn’t getting lost trying to ride around the ranch on Taffy, I was reading. Melinda tried to get me interested in sewing samplers, but that was one thing I remembered from the “before time.” I don’t like to sew!
When Justin showed me an old Wanted Poster of Jed Hatton (Justin was trying to help me with my memory, but I didn’t recognize the man), I started getting an interest in these posters. Happy to keep me busy, my brother brought home old newspapers and actual wanted posters (used). Sure, I’d seen posters hanging up in the sheriff’s office lots of time, but until something with a crime happens to YOU, you don’t really pay much attention. Well, I was paying attention now.
For those of you reading this who live in the future (21st century), Mrs. M says our wanted posters are like the modern-day version of an APB or a BOLO (whatever those are!) Mrs. M notes: APB (all points bulletin); BOLO (be on the lookout).
Anyway, when I studied the wanted poster, I saw that each of them pretty much displayed the same kind of information: A description and halfway decent picture of the outlaw (so people could recognize him or her), the crime they committed, and sometimes a “wanted: dead or alive” clause was included. Usually a reward amount was posted for information leading to the arrest of said felon (outlaw).
It took only 12 days for the soldiers to track John Wilkes Booth down. He’d broken his leg during his jump to escape, and since many folks in the audience recognized him, they went after him, finally catching up on a farm. He was trapped in a barn and refused to come out. The army set fire to the barn to flush him out, but Booth ended up being shot. He died three days later.
John Surrat, another face on this poster, escaped to Canada and then to Europe, then to Egypt after his part in the conspiracy. By the time he was eventually captured (years later), the statue of limitations had expired, so he never paid for his part in the crime.
The third fellow on the wanted poster, David Herold, was trapped with John Wilkes Booth in the barn. Unlike Booth, Herold surrendered (rather than be shot or burned alive). He was eventually tried, convicted, and hung, so he died just the same.
Jed Hatton’s WANTED poster worked too. He was caught, tried, and found guilty (to Justin’s dismay, but my brother finally figured out that he had been SO WRONG to think Jed was innocent). I think it’s the first time Justin realized that even he makes mistakes. Quite a humbling experience, and good for the soul from time to time.
I had to do a lot of nosing around to find out what happened to Jed Hatton after that. I asked Chad, and he said, “Why in the Sam Hill do you want to know about that lowlife? Don’t you remember he shot you?” I asked Mitch, but he just raised his eyebrows at me and didn’t say anything. So, I pulled Justin aside, and he was willing to find out for me. He sent a telegram to San Quentin prison (where Jed Hatton ended up), and found out that he’d finally been sent there. If you remember, he’d already been tried and convicted of murder before he escaped and took me hostage. (Chad says that could count as kidnapping and Jed should have been tried for that crime . . . “Maybe he would have hung this time without Justin to defend him.”) But then, Chad gets awful fired up about outlaws and such.
Jed was sentenced to life in prison (which is a sight better than getting hung), but five years later he escaped with the help of fellow criminals Procopio and Mateo Vega. He caused some mischief, but in the end he proved he wasn’t such a rotten fellow after all. He saved my life (see Courageous Love, Book 4 of the Circle C Milestones). I was never more shocked than when he helped me escape (with Sammy and Lucy) from Procopio’s camp in the mountains.
Excerpt from Courageous Love:
When Andi’s eyesight cleared, Benita was hanging over her, knife raised. Dazed, Andi lifted an arm to ward off the attack, but her limb felt like lead. Benita slapped it away. Blackness closed in.
Crack! A shot rang out. Benita shrieked. Her knife clattered to the floor. Andi opened her eyes and watched the woman crumple beside her. A spurt of red blossomed from her shoulder, staining her snowy blouse. She moaned and passed out.
Ears ringing, Andi hauled herself upright. Heavy boots clomped across the floor and kicked the knife away. A rough hand yanked her to her feet. “Take the boy and go,” Jed barked.
Andi steadied herself, thunderstruck at this turn of events. She wobbled over to the sobbing toddler and picked him up. “Shhh, Sammy. Hush.” She turned a stricken gaze on Jed. “Why did you—”
“Hurry.” Jed propelled her toward the door. “I don’t take to backstabbers.” He scooped up the derringer and slapped it in her palm. “You were right. Procopio was playin’ me for a fool.” His expression turned ugly. “He ain’t made no attempt t’ follow through with the ransom. I seen him laughin’ behind m’ back the other day. Got me thinkin’.” He shook his head. “I never meant for any of you t’ end up as permanent slaves. I’m through with that weasel. I’m leavin’.” He gave her a crooked smile. “If the law ever catches up with me, Andrea, I hope you’ll say a good word at my trial.”
Andi slipped the gun into her pocket then threw her free arm around Jed’s neck. “I will, Mr. Hatton,” she whispered. “I promise.” She drew back and hiked Sammy higher. “I bet I could even convince Justin to be your lawyer.”
Benita groaned. Her eyelids fluttered.
“Get goin’, little lady.” He thrust her through the open doorway. “It’s best neither of us are here when Benita comes to.”
Jed Hatton came back into my life like an unwanted summer hailstorm. He needed help, and he needed it badly. I didn’t know what to do. I had promised him two years ago that I’d say a good word for him if the law ever caught up with him, but when I reminded him about talking to Justin, he brushed my words aside. “It ain’t the law that’s after me,” he told me. “You said you’d help me if I ever needed it.” He sucked in a shallow, painful breath. “And, little lady, I need it now.”
That made my blood freeze. Who? What? I’d never made any such promise . . . or had I? More than likely, Jed was remembering things in a way that suited him. No matter. He was in no shape to argue with. In fact, there was a chance he might be dying.
“Good riddance,” I could hear Chad saying in my head. But could I just let this man die?
Sorry, that’s all the clues Mrs. M is giving. Jed returns in Stranger in the Glade, book 6 of the upcoming Circle C MIlestones. However, you can actually read the first story in both books.