Billy the Kid First Arrest

Billy the Kid First Arrest

On September 23, 1875, Billy the Kid is arrested for the first time after stealing a basket of laundry. He later broke out of jail and roamed the American West, eventually earning a reputation as an outlaw and murderer and a rap sheet that allegedly included 21 murders.

The exact details of Billy the Kid’s birth are unknown, other than his name, William Henry McCarty. He was probably born sometime between 1859 and 1861, in Indiana or New York. As a child, he had no relationship with his father and moved around with his family, living in Indiana, Kansas, Colorado and Silver City, New Mexico. His mother died in 1874 and Billy the Kid—who went by a variety of names throughout his life, including Kid Antrim and William Bonney—turned to crime soon afterward.

WATCH: The Real Billy the Kid on HISTORY Vault

McCarty did a stint as a horse thief in Arizona before returning to New Mexico, where he hooked up with a gang of gunslingers and cattle rustlers involved in the notorious Lincoln County War between rival rancher and merchant factions in Lincoln County in 1878. Afterward, Billy the Kid, who had a slender build, prominent crooked front teeth and a love of singing, went on the lam and continued his outlaw’s life, stealing cattle and horses, gambling and killing people. His crimes earned him a bounty on his head and he was eventually captured and indicted for killing a sheriff during the Lincoln County War. Billy the Kid was sentenced to hang for his crime; however, a short time later, he managed another jail break, murdering two deputies in the process. Billy the Kid’s freedom was brief, as Sheriff Pat Garrett caught up with the desperado at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on July 14, 1881, and fatally shot him.

Although his life was short, Billy the Kid’s legend grew following his death. Today he is a famous symbol of the Old West, along with such men as Kit Carson, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, and his story has been mythologized and romanticized in numerous films, books, TV shows and songs. Each year, tourists visit the town of Fort Sumner, located about 160 miles southeast of Albuquerque, to see the Billy the Kid Museum and gravesite.

READ MORE: How Did Billy the Kid Die?


The Regulators were formed out of numerous small ranch owners and cowboys in the Lincoln, New Mexico area. Many of those who became best known as "Regulators" had a long history with one another previously. William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid or Henry McCarty, would become the best known, mostly because news accounts attached his name to everything the Regulators did. The Lincoln County War brought him to the front, but several of the other Regulators were actually the driving force behind the events, and had a history of killing alongside one another prior to the war.

Ab Saunders, Charlie Bowdre, Doc Scurlock, Frank Coe, and George Coe had previously killed rustlers together. On July 18, 1876, that group had stormed the Lincoln jail, removing horse thief Jesus Largo, and hanged him. Ab Saunders and Frank Coe had tracked down cattle rustler Nicos Meras, shooting and killing him that same month in the Baca Canyon. Their association with McCarty began when, in the spring of 1876, Henry (at the time known as either Henry Antrim or William Bonney) moved to Lincoln County and began working for Doc Scurlock and Charlie Bowdre at their cheese factory. He later worked, for a time, for rancher Henry Hooker, and then for Ab Saunders and the Coes on their ranch. By the time the Lincoln County War came along, those main core members, referred to as the "iron clad", were all more experienced and closer to being actual "gunmen" than was McCarty.

The Lincoln County War began when a posse of men, deputized by Sheriff William J. Brady, murdered young Englishman John Henry Tunstall on February 18, 1878. The posse had ostensibly been chasing Tunstall to attach, i.e., seize by legal authority, some stock Tunstall and his men were driving from Tunstall’s ranch on the Feliz River to Lincoln, but the posse’s real motivation was clear – eliminate John Tunstall as an economic threat to businessmen James Dolan and L.G. Murphy, who had Sheriff Brady in their control. [1]

Tunstall's ranch-hands and other local citizens formed a group known as the Regulators to avenge his murder, and counter what they viewed as a corrupt territorial criminal justice system controlled by allies of Murphy, Dolan, and company. The Regulators obtained their legality from the authority of the Justice of the Peace of the town of Lincoln, John B. Wilson. [2] Justice of the Peace Wilson issued warrants for the arrests of John Tunstall's killers, and appointed Regulator Dick Brewer a Special Constable to execute the warrants. Additionally, Regulator Robert Widenmann, who previously secured an appointment as a Deputy U.S. Marshal, was given permission to form a civilian posse and arrest the accused. [3] [4]

The Lincoln County War and the Regulators would launch Billy the Kid to everlasting fame. It is probable that in reality other Regulators, for example Doc Scurlock, were closer to actually being "gunmen" than Billy. It is likely that in some cases, Billy the Kid was credited with killings that in fact were carried out by other Regulators. By the Regulators' end, any killings committed by them had his name appended, whether he was the actual shooter or not. This would eventually be detrimental to his attempts at amnesty.

The Regulators would go through three different leaders, all but one being killed. Although Billy the Kid would achieve fame as a member of the Regulators, he never led them. Their first leader was Richard "Dick" Brewer, killed later by Buckshot Roberts and replaced by Frank McNab, who was killed by members of the Seven Rivers Warriors. McNab was replaced by the Regulators final leader, Doc Scurlock.

William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, never made any effort to become well known, or to be the main subject of news reports on the events taking place during the range war. Frank Coe commented years later, "He never pushed in his advice or opinions, but he had a wonderful presence of mind." [5]

  • February 18, 1878, Tunstall was killed by Murphy-Dolan gunmen William Morton, Frank Baker, Jesse Evans and Tom Hill while he and his ranch-hands, Dick Brewer, Billy the Kid, John Middleton, Henry Newton Brown, Bob Widenmann, and Fred Waite, were driving nine horses from his ranch on the Rio Feliz to Lincoln.The next day, Bonney and Brewer swear out affidavits and warrants are issued by Justice of the Peace John Wilson for the sub-posse. While trying to serve the warrants, Waite, Bonney and Constable Martinez are detained by Sheriff William J. Brady. Waite and Bonney miss Tunstall's funeral, Martinez would be let go. On the 23rd Bonney and Waite are let out of jail.
  • March 1, "Dick" Brewer is appointed town constable by Justice of the Peace John Wilson, Billy is his deputy. They are to bring in Tunstall's murderers. Others are deputized and call themselves "The Regulators."
  • March 6, The Regulators arrest Bill Morton and Frank Baker. Three days later Morton, Baker and Regulator William McCloskey are killed at Agua Negra, with McCloskey believed to have betrayed the Regulators.
  • March 9, Territorial Governor Samuel B. Axtell decreed that John Wilson, the Justice of the Peace, had been illegally appointed by the Lincoln County Commissioners. Wilson had deputized the Regulators and issued the warrants for Tunstall's murderers. Axtell's decree meant that the Regulators' actions, formerly considered legal, were now beyond the law. Axtell also was able to revoke Widenmann's status as a deputy U. S. marshal, making Sheriff Brady and his men the only law officers of Lincoln County.
  • April 1, Jim French, Frank MacNab, John Middleton, Fred Waite, Henry Brown, Billy the Kid, and possibly Bob Widenmann shoot at the Sheriff and his deputies through makeshift portals of the adobe wall they were behind. Bonney is wounded by Matthews while attempting to recover the rifle taken from him by Brady. Sheriff Brady and Deputy Hindman are killed.
  • April 4, There is a gun battle at Blazer's Mill with Buckshot Roberts. Buckshot and Brewer are killed, Middleton is badly wounded, Bonney is grazed by a bullet, George Coe has his trigger finger shot off.
  • April 18, The Kid, Middleton, Waite and Brown are indicted for the murder of Sheriff Brady. Dolan, Evans, Matthews and others are indicted for the murder of Tunstall.
  • April 29, Frank McNab is killed by members of the Seven Rivers Warriors. Ab Saunders is badly wounded, and Frank Coe captured.
  • April 30, George Coe shoots and wounds Seven Rivers member "Dutch Charlie" Kruling in Lincoln. Seven Rivers members Tom Green, Charles Marshall, Jim Patterson and John Galvin are killed that same day, and although the Regulators are blamed, their involvement was never proven. Seven Rivers gang members at that time were beginning to turn on one another.
  • May 15, The Regulators gained some revenge by storming the area around Seven Rivers, capturing and killing Manuel Segovia, the cowboy who had killed Frank McNab.
  • July 15, the Regulators were surrounded in Lincoln at the McSween house. Facing them were the Dolan/Murphy/Seven Rivers cowboys.
  • July 19, the house was set afire. As the flames spread and night fell, Susan McSween was granted safe passage out of the house while the men inside continued to fight the fire. By 9 o'clock, those left inside got set to break out the back door of the burning house. Jim French went out first, followed by Billy the Kid, Tom O'Folliard, and Jose Chavez y Chavez. The Dolan men saw the running men and opened fire, killing Harvey Morris, Alexander McSween's law partner. Some troopers moved into the back yard to take those left into custody when a close-order gunfight erupted. Alex McSween was killed, as was Seven Rivers cowboy Bob Beckwith. With McSween dead the war was over.

Ultimately, the Lincoln County War accomplished little other than to foment distrust and animosity in the area and to make fugitives out of the surviving Regulators, most notably Billy the Kid. The Kid, Scurlock, Bowdre, Chavez y Chavez, Waite, Saunders, Brewer, Brown, McNab and the Coe cousins received the most notoriety as being "Regulators". Gradually, his fellow gunmen scattered to their various fates, and Billy the Kid was left with Charlie Bowdre, Tom O'Folliard, Dirty Dave Rudabaugh, and a few other friends with whom he rustled cattle and committed other petty crimes while negotiating for an amnesty that would never come, and evading capture.

  • Ab Saunders died in 1884, in San Francisco, California, during surgery to correct problems he still suffered due to his wound received on April 29, 1878.
  • Fred Waite headed back to what is now present-day Oklahoma where, as a member of the Chickasaw Nation, he settled down as a rancher, and ultimately went into politics.
  • Frank and George Coe moved around for a time, eventually returning to Lincoln, where they became highly respected citizens, and successful ranchers.
  • Jose Chavez y Chavez eventually became a police officer, but became involved in a murder for hire, for which he spent time in prison. After his release he lived a seemingly quiet life until dying in 1924.
  • Robert A. Widenmann's post-New Mexico career took him to Great Britain, where he visited Tunstall's family, and to Haverstraw, N.Y. where he died on April 13, 1930 at the age of 78.
  • Doc Scurlock moved to Texas, where he became a respected citizen in both Potter County, Texas and Eastland County, Texas, dying at the age of 79.

Most of the some 40 plus Regulators were relative unknowns and their whereabouts after the war ended is lost to history.


Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

Billy the Kid was an outlaw whose legend has come to overshadow any personal or historical significance he may have had. It has not been satisfactorily documented when and where he was born, although it has been established that his actual name was Henry McCarty. In 1880 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, McCarty (alias Billy Antrim, Henry Antrim, Kid Antrim, Billy Bonney, William H. Bonney, and Billy the Kid) told a federal census taker that he was twentyfive years old, that both of his parents had been born in Missouri, and that he too had been born there. There is no reason to believe he was lying. It can be documented that in 1866 he was living in Marion County, Indiana, with his mother, Catherine McCarty, and his elder brother, Joseph McCarty. Catherine McCarty suffered from tuberculosis, and this may have prompted her to move farther west. In 1873 Billy's mother married William H. Antrim in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Shortly after his mother's death in 1874, he took to wandering and spent two years as a general laborer, cowboy, and teamster in eastern Arizona.

Only four killings can be documented against the Kid. The first occurred in 1877 at Camp Grant, Arizona, when Billy shot and killed Frank "Windy" Cahill after an argument turned violent. The Kid was found guilty of "criminal and unjustifiable" shooting, but he escaped from custody and returned to New Mexico. The Kid's other killings resulted from his involvement in the Lincoln County War, a deadly feud involving local merchant and cattle interests. On one side stood Scottish lawyer Alexander Mc- Sween and John H. Tunstall, an Englishman who owned a cattle ranch in Lincoln County. On the other were James Dolan and Lawrence Murphy, merchants in the town of Lincoln. In January 1878 the Kid was working for Tunstall. When Tunstall was murdered by the Murphy- Dolan faction, the Kid and other Tunstall- McSween allies declared themselves "Regulators" and sought revenge.

For the next year bloody retaliatory warfare was waged between the two factions. In early March the Regulators arrested and then killed Dolan associates Frank Baker and Billy Morton, reportedly while the pair were trying to escape. At that point, territorial governor John Axtell declared the Regulators outlaws after that they were hunted. On April 1, 1878, when Sheriff William Brady and Deputy George Hindman, both Dolan allies, tried to ambush McSween, the Regulators fought back and killed the lawmen. Three days later the Regulators battled "Buckshot" Roberts, a heavily armed bounty hunter, at Blazer's Mill. Roberts and Dick Brewer, a Regulator, were killed in the gunfight. The decisive battle of the Lincoln County War was fought during a five-day shoot-out in Lincoln in July 1878. Sniping went on for four days, with the Regulators trapped inside McSween's house. On the fifth day, after the ineffective U.S. Army arrived, McSween's home was set on fire, and the Kid led a rush out of the burning house. The Kid managed to escape, but McSween and several others were riddled with bullets.

Along with what was left of the Regulators, the Kid was outlawed for good. In December 1880 the newly elected sheriff of Lincoln County, Pat Garrett, and other lawmen captured the Kid at Stinking Springs. There were two federal indictments open against the Kid. The first was for killing Buckshot Roberts, the second was for the death of a clerk on the Mescalero reservation. The prosecution decided that both of these charges would probably result in acquittal, so it was decided to try the Kid for the murder of Sheriff Brady. The Kid was found guilty and sentenced to hang, but he escaped on April 28, 1881, after killing two guards. The Kid was shot to death on the night of July 14, 1881, killed by Pat Garrett during an ambush at old Fort Sumner.

Hundreds of books, motion pictures, radio programs, television programs, and even a ballet have subsequently been inspired by the legend of Billy the Kid. As a legend, the Kid is open to a variety of interpretations, principally as a good man who went bad, as a bad man who remained bad, as a good man who was falsely persecuted. Historians, too, have been guilty of using the Kid's life to prove some thesis or another about his true nature. None of this has anything to do, of course, with the historical Billy the Kid who probably killed only four men, generally in circumstances that might be conceived of as selfdefense, and who was unfortunate enough to find himself on the losing side in a mercantile war.

Jon Tuska Golden West Literary Agency

Fulton, Maurice Garland. History of the Lincoln County War. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1968.

Tuska, Jon. Billy the Kid: His Life and Legend. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997.


The Kid’s First Kill Henry Antrim vs Windy Cahill

August 17, 1877

It’s a Friday night, and young Henry Antrim is playing poker in George Atkins’s Cantina, just outside the military reservation of Fort Grant, Arizona.

Antrim, whose real last name is McCarty, is a young runaway (probably 16, perhaps 17) who has been stealing saddles and horses from the soldiers at the fort. Antrim and ex-soldier John Mackie specialize in a tag team method of grabbing mounts while the troopers are preoccupied in the nearby Hog Ranch (army slang for a brothel).

That evening, Antrim gets sideways with fort blacksmith Frank “Windy” Cahill, who calls the slight youth a “pimp.” Antrim calls the big Irishman a “son of a bitch.”

The two begin to tussle. The older man throws the boy to the floor several times, finally pinning Antrim’s arms down with his knees and slapping the boy’s face.

In spite of being pinned to the ground, the boy manages to retrieve his pistol from the waist of his pants. Bystanders report a “deafening roar” as the boy fires point blank into the blacksmith’s belly. Cahill slumps to the side.

The boy squirms free and runs outside where he grabs the fastest horse—Cashaw—that belongs to John Murphy. The newly minted mankiller, who would later gain notoriety as Billy the Kid, spurs the mount eastward toward New Mexico.

Dying Words

The dying words of the blacksmith are printed in the Arizona Weekly Star on August 23: “I, Frank Cahill, being convinced that I am about to die, do make the following as my final statement. My name is Frank P. Cahill. I was born in the county and town of Galway, Ireland yesterday, Aug. 17th, 1877, I had some trouble with Henry Antrem [sic], otherwise known as Kid, during which he shot me. I had called him a pimp and he called me a son of a bitch we then took hold of each other I did not hit him, I think saw him go for his pistol and tried to get hold of it, but could not and he shot me in the belly I have a sister named Margaret Flannigan living at East Cambridge, Mass., and another named Kate Conden, living in San Francisco.”

Aftermath: Odds & Ends

The gutshot Frank Cahill was taken to nearby Fort Grant, where Assistant Surgeon Fred Crayton Ainsworth did what he could to save him. By the following day, the surgeon could see Windy would not survive his wound. Notary Public Miles Wood (who earlier had arrested Henry Antrim and marched him to Fort Grant before he escaped) was summoned to the fort. He took Cahill’s deathbed statement (at left). Cahill died in agony and was buried in the post cemetery on Sunday, August 19.

Miles Wood, in addition to being the notary public, was also the justice of the peace. He arranged a coroner’s inquest, summoning as jurors six locals: Milton McDowell, George Teague, T. McCleary, B.E. Norton, James L. Hunt and D.H. Smith. They quickly came to a verdict that the shooting of Cahill had been “criminal and unjustifiable, and that Henry Antrim alias kid is guilty thereof.”

Kid Antrim fled back to the Silver City, New Mexico, area where he joined up with a roving band of outlaws led by the notorious John Kinney. The group traveled eastward, landing in Mesilla. After a possible stint in jail near there, the Boys traveled to Lincoln, where young Henry became involved in the Lincoln County War. At some point he changed his name to an alias, William Bonney. In the last year of his life, 1880-1881, he became known as Billy the Kid.

Recommended: The West of Billy the Kid by Frederick Nolan, published by University of Oklahoma Press. Antrim is My Stepfather’s Name by Jerry Weddle, published by Arizona Historical Society.

Related Posts

How many men did Doc Holliday kill? Russ Charles Albuquerque, New Mexico John Henry “Doc”&hellip

Wild Bunch member O.C. “Camilla” Hanks was almost the victim of mistaken identity when he&hellip

In this latest installment of Boggs’s Killstraight series, Kill the Indian, Daniel Killstraight heads to Texas&hellip

In 1999, Bob Boze Bell and partners bought True West magazine (published since 1953) and moved the editorial offices to Cave Creek, Arizona. Bell has published and illustrated books on Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, as well as Classic Gunfights, an Old West gunfight book series. His latest books are The 66 Kid and True West Moments.


Billy the Kid

On the night of July 14, 1881, Sheriff Pat Garrett gunned down outlaw Billy the Kid in Fort Sumner. Garrett had recently caught the Kid, who was sentenced to hanging for killing another Sheriff, but Billy managed to escape. Garrett became involved again when he heard a tip that the Kid was hiding out in the Fort.

You can read all about Billy’s last night from the point of view of the man who shot him. A year after pulling the trigger, Pat Garrett wrote and published an account of what happened that night, and you can find that account here.

Billy the Kid was up for a posthumous pardon for the murder for which he was to be hanged. Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, declined to follow through with that pardon.

Does Billy the Kid Deserve the Pardon He was Promised?
August 10th, 2010

For all of you Wild, Wild West aficionados out there, here is a post that is sure to be interesting!

Billy the Kid has long been one of the many names associated with the Wild West, alongside the Bob Dalton Gang, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cole Younger, Jesse James, and more. What you may not know is that the long dead Kid may be up for a pardon from current New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. So, why is the notorious Billy the Kid up for this pardon, you ask? Well, let me explain by starting with a little history lesson.

Billy the Kid—born William Henry McCarty, but also known as William H. Bonney—originally came from New York. While still young, his family relocated to New Mexico. Unfortunately, by the time the Kid was fifteen years old his mother had passed away from tuberculosis. It was at this point that many sources say the Kid began his life of crime—starting with stealing and progressing to murder. Other sources state that without parental guidance, the Kid simply got a bad start in life. He joined the wrong groups and wound up running from the law. One particular misstep in the Kid’s life was his affiliation with the Lincoln County War. As a result of one of the many ambushes that occurred, Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady and one of his deputies were found dead, having been shot by the Kid. Billy became a fugitive.

At some point after these murders, Lew Wallace became governor of New Mexico. Now, the stories of what actually happened next seem to clash, so suffice it to say that the Kid ended up in custody. He made a deal with the governor that should he testify against persons involved in the Lincoln County War, he would receive a full pardon for involvement in Sheriff Brady’s death and other misdeeds. The Kid testified as promised, but the pardon was never granted. So, the Kid escaped custody and eluded the law for the next two years.

During the Kid’s time as an outlaw, Pat Garrett was elected Sheriff and sent after him. Once again, Billy the Kid ended up in custody. This time however, he was sentenced to hang for the death of Sheriff Brady. While in prison, the Kid escaped again—this time killing two guards in the process. Once more, Sheriff Garrett was sent after the Kid. The next time the Kid encountered the sheriff however, it would be his last.

On July 14, 1881, Sheriff Garrett, under the cover of shadows, shot Billy the Kid dead in a residence in Fort Sumner. Some believe that the Kid lived on as “Brushy Bill” Roberts, but others believe that the Kid was in fact buried the next day in the Fort Sumner cemetery. At some point, due to the debate, there had been a movement to have the supposed bodies of the Kid and his mother exhumed for DNA testing. A judge apparently ruled against the efforts, but that hasn’t stopped present Governor Richardson’s interest in the case. He continues to look into whether the Kid rightfully deserves a posthumous pardon as promised by Governor Wallace. As you can imagine, there is much controversy arising from this investigation—which side will you join? Click here to sign a petition for the pardon of Billy the Kid, or click here to sign a petition opposed to that pardon.

Tricks are for Kids
December 30th, 2010

New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson, has mere hours left to decide whether or not to pardon “Billy the Kid” in the killing of a sheriff. The case dates back to 1881…so why the New Year’s Eve deadline you may ask? It’s the last day of Richardson’s term.

For those of you scratching your heads wondering who Billy the Kid is he is the western outlaw also known as William Bonney. He died by the gun of Sherriff Pat Garrett at age 21. Despite his young age, Kid was said to have killed anywhere between 9 and 21 men. Richardson’s deputy chief of staff Eric Witt wants to clarify that they are not offering a general pardon for all of Kid’s crimes, but rather a pardon for the individual case of killing a sheriff.

Richardson is a known Billy the Kid aficionado, and is considering the pardon because of an alleged promise by Governor Lew Wallace. He states, “Just think of all the good publicity New Mexico is receiving around the world on this…It’s fun”. The defining issue revolves around the belief that Wallace promised this pardon in exchange for Kid’s knowledge in a murder case involving three men. Those who oppose the pardon argue that there is no proof that Governor Wallace ever offered one he may have simply tricked Kid in to offering up information. Lew Wallace’s descendant William Wallace argues that pardoning Billy the Kid would, “declare Lew Wallace to have been a dishonorable liar”.

Some of those in favor of Kid’s pardon have filed a petition, including defense attorney Randi McGinn who has offered to handle the case for free. She writes, “A promise is a promise and should be enforced”. McGinn also says that Wallace assured Kid that he had the authority to exempt him from prosecution should he cooperate and share his knowledge, but that Wallace never held up his end of the deal.

Sheriff Pat Garrett’s grandson, J.P. Garrett, argues that Richardson should have assigned an impartial historian to aid in the case, and believes that McGinn’s involvement may be a conflict of interest. Richardson appointed Charles Daniels to the state Supreme Court, whom McGinn is married to. William Wallace agrees, also citing that McGinn has, “meager qualifications”. Despite these accusations, McGinn claims that her only link to the administration is that she offered to handle the case for free because of Richardson’s lifelong interest in Billy the Kid.

Richardson told the Associated Press on Wednesday, “I don’t know where I’ll end up. I might not pardon him. But then I might”. I guess we’ll just all have to anxiously await the outcome of this deceased outlaw’s judicial fate.

Pardon Not Granted
January 3rd, 2011

Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, declined to pardon Western outlaw Billy the Kid during his last hours in office. The pardon was on behalf of the killing of Sherriff William Brady in 1878. What prompted this last minute decision? On ABC’s, “Good Morning America” Friday, Richardson explained that the evidence of the case simply did not warrant a pardon. He stated that he decided against the pardon, “because of a lack of conclusiveness and the historical ambiguity as to why Gov. Wallace reneged on his promise.”


Billy’s Bastard Child? The real story behind Paulita Maxwell and her relationship with the outlaw.

Included in Paulita’s album is an unidentified photo that could be of her only son, Telesfor José (left). Some historians suspect this is actually a photo of William “Julian” Maxwell, the illegitimate son of Lucien Maxwell and an American Indian woman. Robert G. McCubbin, an Old West photograph authenticator and True West’s publisher emeritus, agrees with the latter.
– All photos courtesy Judi Flanner Arbogast, great-granddaughter of José and Paulita Maxwell, from Paulita’s personal scrapbook unless otherwise noted Maxwell with book courtesy Colorado Historical Society –

The intense, hot, steamy and illicit romance between 20-year-old Henry “Billy the Kid” McCarty and 16-year-old Paulita Maxwell has been accepted worldwide as fact. That the notorious outlaw had turned Paulita into a sexual conquest makes for an exciting story. Yet Paulita was never a love interest, much less a lover, of the Kid. Not one shred of evidence supports this story.

Popular lore asserts Paulita and the Kid had a romance prior to the Kid’s capture on December 23, 1880, and after his jail escape on April 28, 1881. The Kid died on July 14, 1881. So that their alleged love child would be born legitimate, Paulita’s influential mother, Luz, and older brother, Peter, corralled Paulita into a shotgun wedding, in January 1882, to a gullible local sheepherder, José Felix Jaramillo.

In reality, the Maxwell-Jaramillo marriage involved a loving couple and a Catholic ceremony in Fort Sumner, New Mexico Territory, planned over several months. Relatives from both families traveled more than 175 miles to attend.

The Maxwells and the Jaramillo family had known each other for more than a decade and perhaps before Lucien Bonaparte Maxwell even moved the family and dozens of friends and workers to Fort Sumner in 1871.

The groom had a sheep ranch near the one owned by his older brother, Telesfor, in the Los Lunas area of Valencia County. More than a week before the wedding, Telesfor and his wife of eight years, Sofia Maxwell Jaramillo, Paulita’s older sister, left for their lengthy trip to Fort Sumner, by wagon, to join in the celebration.

The Jaramillos were at least as wealthy and well-respected as the Maxwells and were immune to being forced into a marriage they did not want. The truth was that Paulita and José loved each other.

The view of Paulita Maxwell known by most history aficionados is the one
of her holding a book. Her personal photo album reveals more photos of
Paulita from her younger days to her older years.

The wedding took place 18 months after the Kid’s death on July 15, 1881.

On January 14, 1883, Paulita, two months shy of her 19th birthday, married José, 21, during a Sunday mass officiated by Father A. Reden.

After mass, a reception followed that included just about everyone in the area. The celebration carried on until the wee hours of the next morning.

The newlyweds spent their wedding night in the Maxwell home in Fort Sumner. On January 16 or 17, the extended Maxwell and Jaramillo families left Fort Sumner with the bride and groom and traveled 125 miles to Las Vegas. Due to the tremendous amount of rain in the area along the Pecos River, the wedding party traveled along muddy roads and river banks overrun with floodwaters and suffered from chilling winds throughout the journey.

The weather delayed the wedding party’s arrival to the Plaza Hotel by five days. On January 25, the party arrived at the city’s newest hotel, opened in spring 1882, which offered spacious rooms, modern conveniences, a restaurant and a bar. A day or so later, the wedding photos were taken at a local studio.

The party left mid-week by train via Santa Fe and Albuquerque, then by wagon to José’s sheep ranch near Los Lunas. Upon arrival, the women helped Paulita establish her new household where she and José would live for the next 20 years or so.

Several newspaper articles, along with the Catholic Church’s marriage record, substantiate the 1883—not 1882—year for Paulita and José’s wedding.

But what of Telesfor José Jaramillo, the alleged love child of Paulita and the Kid?

The child was named in honor of José’s brother, Telesfor, who had died unexpectedly in July 1891. And he was not their first-born child. The first of their three children, Adelina, was born in January 1884. Luz was born in November 1890. Telesfor José was born in Fort Sumner on June 7, 1895—14 years after the Kid’s death. No records or family stories reveal Paulita gave birth prior to Adelina.

Telesfor José spent his first 14 years on the family sheep ranch near Los Lunas, then 14 years living with his mother in Fort Sumner, before he moved back to Los Lunas in 1923, marrying Reina Romero. In 1934, Reina bore him one son, Luciano, who, after spending all his life in the same area, passed away in 2004, having never married and no known children. Telesfor José died of cardiac disease at age 64 on September 9, 1959.

Unfortunately for Paulita, by the mid-1890s, José was abusive toward her. She found a retreat at her brother Peter’s and mother’s homes in Fort Sumner, but these havens ended when Peter died in June 1898 and Luz died in July 1900.

Within a few years after the 1900 Federal Census, Paulita separated from José, rather than stay in that relationship, according to family lore. Given the era and the fact that José and Paulita were Catholic, they never divorced or had their marriage annulled. Neither remarried. She retained some of the real estate, as tax records show she paid taxes on land in Valencia County as late as 1917.

In late spring 1909, Paulita moved her children and household to the new site of Fort Sumner, about four miles from the original settlement, with its railroad depot and a boomtown population of nearly 700 residents. She purchased and managed the new Commercial Hotel across from the depot her cousin, Rebecca Beaubien, owned the Pecos Valley Hotel down the street. The 1910 census has 15-year-old Telesfor José living with Paulita.

Paulita, 56, identified herself as a widow when the census came calling in 1920. We don’t know where José was living then we do know he was in Fort Sumner when he met his maker on March 28, 1937.

Whatever the reason the two had parted, Paulita was retired and financially secure, having sold her hotel to an oil company, which freed her son, Telesfor José, 25, to manage her estate. The census also recorded other family members who were living with Paulita: her first daughter, Adelina Adelina’s husband, Joseph Welborn and their daughter.

Unfortunately, Fort Sumner’s boomtown “bust” in the late 1920s left Paulita near penniless by decade’s end. At the time of her death, she had a mere $100 worth of personal property, in addition to her venture real estate purchases.

In the early and mid-1920s, author Walter Noble Burns and others tracked down and interviewed the old-timers who had roamed the New Mexico countryside at the same time as the Kid. Paulita, in her late 50s, and other Old Fort Sumner residents never mentioned she was ever pregnant with the Kid’s child. Paulita stated that she and the Kid had never had a romantic relationship, although she admitted openly that she, like many others, had been infatuated with him and at one point would have married him if he had loved her.

Even after his interview, while writing his 1926 book, The Saga of Billy the Kid, Burns portrayed Paulita in alignment with all the unfounded rumors of a torrid love affair with the Kid. His publisher, who knew his descriptions could not be confirmed, wisely cut parts and modified others to prevent a probable defamation of character lawsuit. The publisher made the right decision.

Burns and those of his ilk do not appreciate the fact that, up to the time of her marriage, Paulita was tightly chaperoned, almost always by her Navajo household servant, Deluvina Maxwell, and by local adult women when she attended bailes and went into town. Even if Paulita had unlikely gotten away, why would she have romanced the Kid in the summer of 1881, after his murderous escape from the Lincoln County Courthouse jail when he had killed two deputy sheriffs, had the law gunning for him and would be hanged on the gallows if captured?

Despite Paulita’s interviews, some writers and TV documentary producers have stretched an unsubstantiated and denied romantic relationship into a ludicrous scenario in which brother Peter alerts Sheriff Pat Garrett of the Kid’s whereabouts in Fort Sumner and allegedly plots with him to ambush the Kid before he could elope with Paulita. Somewhere along the way, this wild, inaccurate tale became accepted as fact.

Paulita and José raised two daughters: Adelina (left) and Luz (above). Paulita passed down her album to Luz, who gave it to her son Charles Flanner. The treasure is now owned by Judi Flanner Arbogast, daughter to Charles and great-granddaughter to Paulita.

After a two-day fight with pneumonia brought on by influenza, Paulita died at 65 on December 17, 1929, at her home on Sumner Avenue in Fort Sumner. Her body was buried in the Old Fort Sumner military cemetery. In 1937, her estranged husband, José, was buried next to her.

Paulita passed away frustrated because the stories of her true relationship with the Kid and the real family she raised with husband José were never accepted. Hopefully, once and for all, the tale that she was the Kid’s lover and gave birth to the Kid’s love child will cease, and Paulita can at last rest in peace.

Robert J. Stahl is a retired history and social studies education professor from the Teachers College at Arizona State University and an officer for the Scottsdale Corral of Westerners International. He gives thanks to his research assistants Nancy Nance Stahl and Marilyn Stahl Fischer.


Billy the Kid First Arrest - HISTORY

For over eight months in 2001, investigators pursued Clayton Waagner. Authorities apprehended the fugitive after an all-out effort.

But that effort cost an incredible sum in salaries, travel and various services. Senior Inspector Geoff Shank, the Investigative Services Division case coordinator, recalled that costs exceeded $200,000 before Waagner was captured in December.

But closing these cases has never come cheaply. U.S. marshals and their deputies have been chasing down fugitives for 212 years, and even back in the Old West, they ran up fairly hefty tabs while performing their jobs. When factoring in money values of the times, it's no stretch to say that deputies of bygone days faced financial challenges similar to those of their modern day counterparts.

William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid, has a firm place in American history. Legend has it that before he turned 21, he had killed 21 people - the byproduct of being a major player in a turbulent battle between competing cattle empires in southeast New Mexico Territory. Like many legends before and after him, Billy the Kid was hunted by the U.S. Marshals. They spent many long hours in the process. The year was 1881, but just like in present time, these lawmen still had to eat, sleep and buy supplies.

A recent discovery in the National Archives shed some light on the expenses incurred during the famous final chase for Billy the Kid, who was eventually killed July 14, 1881, by Lincoln County (New Mexico) Sheriff Pat Garrett. (S hown on Right is William Bonney, 'Billy the Kid')

On Nov. 20, 1882, U.S. Marshal John Sherman Jr. wrote Attorney General Benjamin Harris Brewster a seven-page letter. Sherman was writing from law offices in Washington, D.C., on a matter of payment. Part of the letter reads as follows:

Voucher 1, $375.00, is for the subsistence of my deputies, and posse, and hire of horses with forage for the same. This expense was incurred in the arrest of William Bonny (sic), known as "Billy the Kid, " charged with murder and passing counterfeit money also for the arrest of an accomplice by the name of Rudebaugh. This man Bonny was a most notorious character. Large rewards had been offered for his arrest by the Territorial authorities, and frequent attempts made to capture him. He was finally captured by my deputy, lodged in jail, and afterwards shot by Deputy Garrett in attempting to escape. The whole expense in making this arrest was $1.072.00, all of which has been allowed by accounting officers with the exception of $375.00, which they say is in the nature of an extraordinary expense, and requires your approval before it can be allowed. (Pat Garrett shown on left)

In this case, as with many similar instances, Sherman's request for the additional reimbursement was disallowed because the original payments were already settled. Attorney General Brewster could have appealed to President Chester Arthur for funding. but it was often countermanded by the advice of the U.S. Treasury, which operated under strict guidelines.

While $375 does not seem like much today, it was costly in 1882. And Sherman's case was not that obscure. In the 1860s Dakota Territory, it was not always possible to make a straight line in order to reach an objective - especially with Indians in the way. U.S. Marshal L.H. Litchfield, disappointed that one of his official expense reports to serve process shortchanged him $465.35, wrote to the comptroller of the currency in Washington to justify his bill for travel. It read:

The necessity for so much travel is apparent . In this case it became my duty to travel 1,200 miles to serve & the same to return the attachment & the same to serve and return the execution making a distance of 4,800 miles traveled. Almost the entire country between here & Fort Abercrombie (where the goods were) in a direct route is inhabited by Indians alone . Consequently, the only feasible route is from here south to Sioux City, Iowa. thence east across the entire length of Iowa to the Mississippi River, thence to St. Cloud, Minnesota, thence west to Dakota, making three right angles. In conclusion I have only to say that the services were performed as economically as possible and the amount ($465.35) is just1y due me.

U.S. Marshal Henry White of West Virginia knew all about money squabbles with Washington. He served from April 1889 until May 1893, and his entire tenure was plagued by the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys.

When Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield was arrested for violating revenue laws, Marshal White needed extra guards. He was meticulous in tracking his expenses - such as the charge of 86 miles at 10 cents per mile. White's group contained 10 guards, including three Hatfields. This was a preventative measure, as ambushes were common and bounty hunters were trying to capture Devil Anse. The Hatfields apparently favored the marshals to the McCoys.


6 Buckshot Roberts Defeats Billy the Kid's Entire Gang by Himself

Andrew "Buckshot" Roberts is probably best known for killing Charlie Sheen while taking a dump in Young Guns. The actual story of that day is no less amazing.

You see, Billy the Kid (the famous gunfighter and co-author of Bill and Ted's history report) and his gang the Regulators had a warrant for Roberts' arrest, implicating him in the murder of a rancher named John Tunstall, whom Billy used to work for. Roberts didn't actually have anything to do with Tunstall's death, but he was a shit-kicking Texas outlaw who didn't shy away from gunfights, so when Billy and his gang staged an ambush, Roberts was more than happy to engage in a free exchange of bullets.

That's right -- rather than surrender when he realized he was surrounded by 14 Regulators (that's enough guys to field one and a half heavily armed baseball teams), Roberts instead told them all to go straight to hell.

As the battle commenced, Roberts was hit in the groin almost immediately, which would've taken the fight out of Quick Draw McGraw himself. But Roberts continued firing until his rifle was empty, wounding three Regulators and taking them out of the fight. Billy the Kid tried to take advantage of Roberts' dick wound by rushing him, but Roberts took his empty rifle and clubbed the blazing pigshit out of him.

Roberts retreated into a house to reload, where Regulator Dick Brewer (Charlie Sheen's character in the movie) tried to sneak up on him. Roberts spotted Brewer and blasted his head into skull-and-brains confetti. At that point, Billy the Kid decided it was way too early in the day for any more of this bullshit and ordered his gang to beat feet, leaving Buckshot Roberts alone to bleed to death a day later. Go back and read that sentence again -- one of the most famous gunfighters in history, backed up by his entire gang, wasn't enough to bring the mortally wounded Buckshot Roberts down.

Related: 6 Baffling Robert Pattinson Stories That Raise More Questions Than Answers


Billy the Kid First Arrest - HISTORY

MP3 File
William Bonney, known to the world as Billy the Kid, was involved in his first murder today in 1877. As with many famous people from the era of the American Wild West, his legend is much larger than his stature in real life. Although he has been dead for 125 years, Billy the Kid still defines the image of the young, sharp-shooting outlaw.

The man who would one day be called Billy the Kid used several aliases during his short life, including Henry McCarty, Henry Antrim and William Bonney. Since little is known about his youth or his parents, his real name has been lost to the dustbin of the ages. He was short, thin and had blue eyes. Most people who met him described him as friendly, but he could also display a fierce temper at a moment's notice. His abilities with a pistol or rifle were legendary but probably true. He had quick senses, which gave him an almost animal-like ability to sense and escape from danger. His instinct alone saved his life more than once.

Billy's story as a fugitive from justice began in 1875, when he escaped from the Silver City, New Mexico jail while being held on charges of theft. He worked as a ranch hand for the next two years before being hired to drive a team of horses for the Camp Grant Army post. He almost immediately developed a confrontational relationship with Frank Cahill, a civilian blacksmith at the post. On August 17th, 1877, Billy and Cahill exchanged heated words, which resulted in Cahill attacking Billy and throwing him to the ground. Cahill was a large man Billy was 17 years old and thin as a rail. Probably out of fear, he drew his pistol and shot Cahill. The blacksmith died the next day, resulting in Billy's arrest. A local Marshal was sent for, but Billy was able to make an escape before a trial could be held.

That fall, Billy showed up in Lincoln County, New Mexico, working as a cattle guard. The residents of the county were fighting a sort of mini-civil war, a conflagration that would come to be known as the Lincoln County Cattle War. The details of the war could fill several thick volumes suffice it to say that Billy ended up riding with a group known as the Regulators, eventually becoming the gang's leader.

As leader of the Regulators, Billy took part in gun battles that resulted in five deaths, most notably Sheriff William Brady. The group was indicted for murder and went on the run for several months. They were finally tracked to a house in Lincoln, where they held out for five days against a posse of deputies and locals. The house was set on fire, forcing the Regulators to face the posse that encircled them. Billy escaped once again. One of the men killed that day was Alexander McSween, a lawyer who was the leader of one side in the county war. With his death, the Lincoln County Cattle War ended.

In the fall of 1878, a general amnesty was proclaimed for anyone involved in the Lincoln County War who was not already under indictment. Billy was living in Texas at this time and was still under indictment for Sheriff William Brady's murder. However, he came forward and offered to testify against other gun fighters if he was granted amnesty. The state agreed to this concession and Billy turned himself in. After testifying, however, he was returned to jail. As he had proven many times in the past, Billy was not fond of the iron bars of a cell. Before any action could be taken against him, he once again freed himself and headed out of town.

Billy became a cattle rustler and gambler for the next 18 months and was involved in several shootings. The activities of his gang drew attention, and not in a good way. The group was hunted by a posse looking for cattle thieves and Billy once again found himself trapped in a house surrounded by armed men. But the posse accidently shot one of their own men, at which point they broke up and allowed Billy and his crew to escape.

Billy's reputation had grown, so much so that newly-elected sheriff Pat Garrett put a $500 bounty on his head. He and his posse were soon surrounded, captured and hauled off the town of Mesilla to wait for trial. He was convicted of murdering Sheriff Brady after a one day proceeding and was sentenced to hang. While being held in the top room of the local courthouse, Billy killed his two guards and escaped. How he managed to do this remains a mystery, but it is believed that he may have slipped out of his handcuffs and grabbed one of the deputies' weapons.

Billy the Kid met his end on July 14, 1881 at Pete Maxwell's house near Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Sheriff Garrett came to the house to question Maxwell about Billy's whereabouts, not knowing that the 21-year old was only a room away. The exact events of the evening are shaded by time, but one thing is certain: Pat Garrett shot Billy twice, killing him instantly. He was buried the next day in Fort Sumner's cemetery between two of his Regulator companions.

Much has been made of Billy the Kid's body count. Legend has it that he killed 21 men, one for every year of his life. The truth, however, is much less sensational. Most likely, Billy was involved in 9 murders 5 in which he was with a gang and four when he was alone. One year after he died, Pat Garrett, the sheriff who killed Billy, published a book entitled 'The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid', which was wildly inaccurate and told many of the fanciful tales that survive to this day. The legend was born.


Billy the Kid arrested for first time in 1875

On this day in 1875, Billy the Kid is arrested for the first time after stealing a basket of laundry. He later broke out of jail and roamed the American West, eventually earning a reputation as an outlaw and murderer and a rap sheet that allegedly included 21 murders.

The exact details of Billy the Kid’s birth are unknown, other than his name, William Henry McCarty. He was probably born sometime between 1859 and 1861, in Indiana or New York. As a child, he had no relationship with his father and moved around with his family, living in Indiana, Kansas, Colorado and Silver City, New Mexico. His mother died in 1874 and Billy the Kid—who went by a variety of names throughout his life, including Kid Antrim and William Bonney—turned to crime soon afterward.

McCarty did a stint as a horse thief in Arizona before returning to New Mexico, where he hooked up with a gang of gunslingers and cattle rustlers involved in the notorious Lincoln County War between rival rancher and merchant factions in Lincoln County in 1878. Afterward, Billy the Kid, who had a slender build, prominent crooked front teeth and a love of singing, went on the lam and continued his outlaw’s life, stealing cattle and horses, gambling and killing people. His crimes earned him a bounty on his head and he was eventually captured and indicted for killing a sheriff during the Lincoln County War. Billy the Kid was sentenced to hang for his crime however, a short time later, he managed another jail break, murdering two deputies in the process. Billy the Kid’s freedom was brief, as Sheriff Pat Garrett caught up with the desperado at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on July 14, 1881, and fatally shot him.

Although his life was short, Billy the Kid’s legend grew following his death. Today he is a famous symbol of the Old West, along with such men as Kit Carson, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, and his story has been mythologized and romanticized in numerous films, books, TV shows and songs. Each year, tourists visit the town of Fort Sumner, located about 160 miles southeast of Albuquerque, to see the Billy the Kid Museum and gravesite.


Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett was born on June 5, 1850, in Chambers County, Alabama. He was the second of five children born to John Lumpkin Garrett and wife Elizabeth Ann Jarvis. Garrett's four siblings were Margaret, Elizabeth, John, and Alfred. [1] Garrett was of English ancestry, his ancestors migrated to America from the English regions of Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire. [2] [3] When Pat was three years old his father purchased the John Greer plantation in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. The Civil War, however, destroyed the Garrett family's finances. Their mother died on March 25, 1867, at the age of 37. Then the following year, on February 5, 1868, his father died at age 45. The children were left with a plantation that was more than $30,000 in debt. The children were taken in by relatives. The 18-year-old Garrett headed west from Louisiana on January 25, 1869. [1] : 9 [4] : 28

Buffalo hunter Edit

Garrett's whereabouts over the next seven years are obscure. By 1876 he was in Texas hunting buffalo. During this period Garrett killed his first man, another buffalo hunter named Joe Briscoe. Garrett surrendered to the authorities at Fort Griffin, Texas, but they declined to prosecute. [1] : 29–31 When the buffalo hunting declined, Garrett left Texas and rode to the New Mexico Territory. [4] : 267n, 293n When Garrett arrived at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, he found work as a cowboy for Pedro Menard "Pete" Maxwell.

Family life Edit

Garrett's first wife was Juanita Martinez, who died 15 days after their marriage. [5] The reference Leon C. Metz made about Juanita being the older sister of Pat's second wife Apolonia is unfounded. Apolonia only had a sister by the name of Celsa Gutierrez. [1] On January 14, 1880, Garrett married Apolinaria Gutierrez. [1] : 40–41 [4] : 94–96 Between 1881 and 1905 Apolinaria Garrett gave birth to eight children: Ida, Dudley, Elizabeth, Annie, Patrick, Pauline, Oscar, and Jarvis.

Pursuit of Billy the Kid Edit

Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty, and also known as William H. Bonney, was wanted for murder in the aftermath of the Lincoln County War. On November 2, 1880, Garrett was elected sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, having defeated the incumbent, Sheriff George Kimball, by a vote of 320 to 179. [6] Although Garrett's term would not begin until January 1, 1881, Sheriff Kimball appointed him a deputy sheriff for the remainder of Kimball's term. Garrett also obtained a deputy U.S. Marshal's commission, which allowed him to pursue the Kid across county lines. Garrett and his posse stormed the Dedrick ranch at Bosque Grande on November 30, 1880. They expected to find the Kid there, but only succeeded in capturing John Joshua Webb, who had been charged with murder, along with an accused horse thief named George Davis. [7] Garrett turned Webb and Davis over to the sheriff of San Miguel County a few days later, and moved on to the settlement of Puerto de Luna. There a local tough named Mariano Leiva picked a fight with Garrett and was shot in the shoulder. [8]

On December 19, 1880, Billy the Kid, Charlie Bowdre, Tom Pickett, Billy Wilson and Tom O'Folliard rode into Fort Sumner. Lying in wait were deputy Garrett and his posse. Mistaking O'Folliard for the Kid, Garrett's men opened fire and killed O'Folliard. [9] Billy and the others escaped unharmed. Three days later, Garrett's posse cornered Billy and his companions at a spot called Stinking Springs. They killed one man and captured the others. [10] On April 15, 1881, Billy the Kid was sentenced to hang by Judge Warren Bristol, but escaped thirteen days later, killing 2 deputies. [11]

On July 14, 1881, Garrett visited Fort Sumner to question a friend of the Kid's about his whereabouts and learned he was staying with a mutual friend, Pedro Menard "Pete" Maxwell. Around midnight, Garrett went to Maxwell's house. The Kid was asleep in another part of the house, but woke up in the middle of the night and entered Maxwell's bedroom, where Garrett was standing in the shadows. The Kid did not recognize the man standing in the dark. He asked him, repeatedly, "¿Quién es?" ("Who is it?"), and Garrett replied by shooting at him twice. [12] The first shot hit the Kid in the chest just above the heart, while the second missed. Garrett’s account leaves it unclear whether Billy was killed instantly or took some time to die. [13]

His account of Billy the Kid Edit

He coauthored The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid with Ash Upson, [14] and for decades his book was deemed authoritative. [15]

Following Billy the Kid's death, writers quickly went to work producing books and articles that made a folk hero out of Billy the Kid, while making Garrett seem like an assassin. Although filled with many errors of fact, The Authentic Life served afterward as the main source for most books written about the Kid until the 1960s. [16] [17] [18] A failure when originally released, an original copy of the Pat Garrett-Ash Upson book became a rare commodity in 1969 the original 1882 edition of the Garrett-Upson book was described by Ramon F. Adams as being "exceedingly rare." [19] Twentieth-century editions of Garrett's Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid (with alterations to the original title) appeared in 1927, [20] 1946 [21] and 1964. [22]

Texas Ranger Edit

Garrett did not seek re-election as sheriff of Lincoln County in 1882. He moved to Texas, where he ran for office as a state senator and was declined that seat. Garrett became a captain with the Texas Rangers for less than a month, then returned to Roswell, New Mexico. [24]

Irrigation investments and move to Texas Edit

Garrett discovered a large reservoir of artesian water in the Roswell region and went into partnership with two men to organize the "Pecos Valley Irrigation and Investment Company" on July 18, 1885. [25] Garrett kept his irrigation schemes alive for several years, and on January 15, 1887, he purchased a one-third interest in the "Texas Irrigation Ditch Company", but the partners got rid of him. On August 15, 1887, he formed a partnership with William L. Holloman in the "Holloman and Garrett Ditch Company." [26] All of Garrett's forays into the irrigation field, however, resulted in failure. [ citation needed ] By 1892, Garrett had moved his large family to Uvalde, Texas, where he became close friends with John Nance Garner (1868–1967), a future vice president of the United States. [27] Garrett might have lived out the remainder of his life in Uvalde, had it not been for a headline-making event back in New Mexico.

Disappearance of Albert Jennings Fountain Edit

On January 31, 1896, Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain and his eight-year-old son Henry disappeared at the edge of the White Sands area of southern New Mexico. Neither of the Fountains was ever seen again. The mystery was never officially solved, even with the efforts of Apache scouts, the Pinkertons, and an all-out push by the Republican Party. [28] In April 1896, Garrett was appointed sheriff of Doña Ana County, and two years later had gathered sufficient evidence to make arrests, asking a judge in Las Cruces for warrants to arrest Oliver M. Lee, William McNew, Bill Carr and James Gililland. Within hours, he had arrested McNew and Carr. [29]

During the early morning hours of July 12, 1898 Garrett and his posse confronted Oliver M. Lee and James Gililland at a spot called "Wildy Well" near Orogrande, New Mexico. Garrett had hoped to capture the fugitives while they were sleeping, but Lee and Gililland expected trouble and took their bedrolls up to the roof of the bunkhouse to avoid being taken by surprise. One of Garrett's deputies named Kearney heard footsteps on the roof, scaled a ladder, and was mortally wounded by the fugitives. A stray shot nicked Garrett. Due to his concern for his dying deputy, Garrett arranged a truce with the fugitives and withdrew while Kearney was lifted into a wagon. Kearney, however, died on the road to Las Cruces, and Lee and Gililland remained at large for another eight months, before they finally surrendered to Sheriff George Curry. [30] They were found not guilty in the Fountain killings, and the indictments for killing the deputy were also dismissed. [31]

Final kill Edit

Garrett killed his last offender in 1899, a fugitive named Norman Newman, who was wanted for murder in Greer County, Oklahoma. Newman was hiding out at the San Augustin Ranch in New Mexico. Sheriff George Blalock of Greer County went to New Mexico and asked Garrett for his assistance. The lawmen and Jose Espalin, one of Garrett's deputies, rode to the ranch, and on October 7, 1899, Newman was killed in a gunfight. [32]

Presidential appointment in El Paso Edit

On December 16, 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Garrett to the post of collector of customs in El Paso. [33] He also became one of President Roosevelt's three "White House Gunfighters" (Bat Masterson and Ben Daniels being the others). [34] Despite public outcry over his appointment, Garrett was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 2, 1902. [35] Garrett's tenure as El Paso's collector of customs was stormy from the start. On May 8, 1903, he got into a public fistfight with an employee named George Gaither. The following morning, both Garrett and Gaither paid five dollar fines for disturbing the peace. [36] Continued complaints about Garrett's alleged incompetence were sent to Washington. [37] Through it all, President Roosevelt stood by Garrett. As a show of his support, Roosevelt invited Garrett to attend a Rough Riders reunion being held in San Antonio during April 1905. Since Garrett had not been a member of that regiment, Roosevelt's invitation was taken as a snub at those critics who wanted Garrett replaced from his post. Garrett brought a guest of his own to the event named Tom Powers. Garrett introduced Powers to the president as "a prominent Texas cattleman." Garrett and Powers posed for two photographs with Roosevelt, first standing with him in a group and later seated with Roosevelt at dinner. [38] Garrett's enemies obtained copies of the photos and sent them to Roosevelt, informing the president that instead of being the "cattleman" that Garrett claimed, Powers was, in fact, the owner of a "notorious dive" in El Paso called the Coney Island Saloon. That was the final straw for Roosevelt, who replaced Garrett with a new collector of customs on January 2, 1906. [39]

Financial problems Edit

Following his dismissal, Garrett returned with his family to New Mexico. Garrett was in deep financial difficulty. His ranch had been heavily mortgaged, and when he was unable to make payments, the county auctioned off all of Garrett's personal possessions to satisfy judgments against him. The total from the auction came to $650. [40] President Roosevelt had appointed Pat's friend George Curry as the territorial governor of New Mexico. Garrett met with Curry, who promised him the position of superintendent of the territorial prison at Santa Fe, once he was inaugurated. Since Curry's inauguration was still months away, the destitute Garrett left his family in New Mexico and returned to El Paso, where he found employment with the real estate firm of H.M. Maple and Company. During this period Garrett moved in with a woman known as "Mrs. Brown", who was described as an El Paso prostitute. [41] When Governor-elect Curry learned of his involvement with Brown, the promised appointment of prison superintendent was withdrawn. [42]

Last conflict and death Edit

Dudley Poe Garrett, Pat's son, had signed a five-year lease for his Bear Canyon Ranch with Jesse Wayne Brazel. [43] Garrett and his son objected when Brazel began bringing in large herds of goats, which were anathema to cattlemen like Garrett. Garrett tried to break the lease when he learned that the money for Brazel's operation had been put up by his neighbor, W. W. "Bill" Cox. He was further angered when he learned that Archie Prentice "Print" Rhode was Brazel's partner in the huge goat herd. [44] When Brazel refused, the matter went to court. At this point James B. Miller met with Garrett to try to solve the problem. Miller met with Brazel, who agreed to cancel his lease with Garrett – provided a buyer could be found for his herd of 1,200 goats. Carl Adamson, who was related to Miller by marriage, agreed to buy the 1,200 goats. Just when the matter seemed resolved, Brazel claimed that he had "miscounted" his goat herd, claiming there were actually 1,800 – rather than his previous estimate of 1,200. Adamson refused to buy that many goats, but agreed to meet with Garrett and Brazel to see if they could reach some sort of agreement.

Garrett and Carl Adamson rode together, heading from Las Cruces, New Mexico in Adamson's wagon. Brazel appeared on horseback along the way. Garrett was shot and killed, but exactly by whom remains the subject of controversy. Brazel and Adamson left the body by the side of the road and returned to Las Cruces, where Brazel surrendered to Deputy Sheriff Felipe Lucero. More than thirty years later, Lucero claimed that Brazel exclaimed, "Lock me up. I've just killed Pat Garrett!" Brazel then pointed to Adamson and said, "He saw the whole thing and knows that I shot in self-defense." [45] Lucero incarcerated Brazel, summoned a coroner's jury, and rode to Garrett's death site. Brazel's trial for Garrett's murder concluded on May 4, 1909. [46] Brazel was represented at his trial by attorney and future Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall. The only eyewitness to Garrett's murder, Adamson, never appeared at the trial, which lasted only one day and ended with an acquittal. [47] [48] [49]

Identity of the murderer Edit

The coroner's report on Garrett's death states that Brazel shot Garrett. [50] Brazel reportedly confessed, but was acquitted at trial. Four other suspects have been proposed: Adamson, Cox, Rhode, and Miller. In a book published in 1970, Glenn Shirley gave his reasons for naming Miller as the killer of Pat Garrett. [51] Leon C. Metz in his 1974 biography of Garrett related the claim of W.T. Moyers that "his investigations led him to believe that [W. W.] Cox himself ambushed and killed Garrett.", [52] but also wrote that "[t]he Garrett family believes that Carl Adamson pulled the trigger." [53] In his 2010 book on Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Mark Lee Gardner suggests that Archie Prentice "Print" Rhode killed Garrett. [54]

Death site Edit

The site of Garrett's death is now commemorated by a historical marker south of U.S. Route 70, between Las Cruces, New Mexico and the San Augustin Pass. [55] [56] The historical marker is located about 1.2 miles from where Garrett was murdered. In 1940 his son, Jarvis Garrett, marked the spot with a monument consisting of concrete laid around a stone with a cross carved in it. The cross is believed to be the work of Garrett's mother. Scratched in the concrete is "P. Garrett" and the date of his killing. The marker is located in the desert. [57] The city of Las Cruces plans a development that would destroy the site. An organization called Friends of Pat Garrett has been formed to ensure that the city preserves the site and marker. [58] [59]

Funeral and burial site Edit

Garrett's body was too tall for any finished coffins available, so a special one had to be shipped in from El Paso. His funeral service was held March 5, 1908, and he was laid to rest next to his daughter, Ida, who had died in 1896 at the age of fifteen. Garrett's grave and the graves of his descendants are in the Masonic Cemetery, Las Cruces. [59]

Garrett has been a character in many films and television shows, and has been portrayed by: