FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Joe Biden’s Horse Thief Ancestor Named Remus Biden?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 700 times allegedly shows President Joe Biden’s ancestor, Remus Biden, about to be hanged for horse theft.

Verdict: False

The photo shows outlaw Thomas “Black Jack” Ketchum, not someone named Remus Biden. Other politicians have been the targets of similar claims in the past.

Fact Check: 

In recent days, multiple Facebook users have shared the black-and-white photo of a man about to be hanged along with claims he is one of the president’s ancestors, supposedly named Remus Biden.

“Judy Wallman Biden, a professional genealogy researcher in South Dakota, was doing some personal work on her own family tree,” text accompanying the picture reads, in part. “She discovered that President Joe Biden’s great, great uncle, Remus Biden, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Texas in 1889. Both Judy and President Biden share this common ancestor. The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Galveston, Texas.”

The photo, available on the Denver Public Library Digital Collections website, actually shows the hanging of Thomas “Black Jack” Ketchum in New Mexico in 1901. Ketchum, an outlaw who had committed various crimes, was captured by authorities after attempting to rob a train and sentenced to death, according to Colorado Encyclopedia.

“Sheriff Salome Garcia of Union County, New Mexico tightens the noose around the neck of Black Jack Ketchum prior to his hanging in Clayton, New Mexico,” the description of the photo on the Denver Public Library Digital Collections website partly reads. (RELATED: Does This Image Show Joe Biden Wearing Nike Foamposite Sneakers?)

Previous, nearly-identical iterations of the claim have attempted to use the photo to falsely suggest other politicians, such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and former President George W. Bush, had a horse thief for an ancestor, Snopes reported.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].


FACT CHECK: Did Trey Gowdy Defend The Transgender Military Ban In An Interview With CNN?
FACT CHECK: Did Winston Churchill Say, 'Success Is Not Final; Failure Is Not Fatal: It Is The Courage To Continue That Counts'?
FACT CHECK: Image Claims To Show A Damaged Russian Warship
FACT CHECK: No, Viral Video Does Not Show Banned Books In Florida School