Billy the Kid
1859 - 1950
Billy the Kid was one of the most notorious outlaws of the
American West. According to legend, he killed at least 21 men,
one for every year of his young life, before he was gunned down
in the Chihuahuan Desert by New Mexico Sheriff Pat Garrett.
While fact and myth are often difficult to separate, it seems
Billy the Kid earned his reputation as one of the the Desert
Southwest's most prolific killers. History records that in a
period of just 4 years, he fought in at least 16 shootouts,
killed at least 4 men himself, and assisted in the murder of at
least 5 others.
Billy's Early Years
Also known as William Bonney, Kid Antrim and William Antrim,
Billy was born Henry McCarty on New York City's east side
November 23, 1859. His father soon died, and his mother
Catherine migrated with Henry and his brother to Indiana in
1865. There, Catherine met (and eventually married) Bill Antrim.
The family moved on to Wichita Kansas, then to Santa Fe and,
finally, Silver City, New Mexico by 1873, where Catherine died
of tuberculosis the following year.
In Silver City, Kid Antrim, as he was then called, was arrested
for theft but escaped jail and began wandering the Desert
Southwest and northern Mexico. In Arizona, he took up horse
rustling, and on August 17, 1877, shot and killed his first man
-- blacksmith, F.P. Cahill -- in a Camp Grant Saloon.
Billy fled Arizona and an indictment for murder, eventually
arriving in Lincoln County, New Mexico where he became known as
Billy Bonney, a young horse rustler fluent in Spanish and
popular with Mexican women.
Billy & the Lincoln County War
Billy soon found employment with the young English rancher John
Tunstall, who together with his partners John Chisum and
Alexander McSween, was embroiled in bloody Lincoln County Range
War. When Tunstall was murdered February 18, 1878, Billy joined
a force called the "Regulators," led by Tunstall's foreman Dick
Brewer, who vowed vengeance and loyalty to partner McSween.
The Regulators embarked on a killing spree of those suspected of
involvement in the assassination. Billy then hatched and carried
out an ambush plot for the leader of Tunstall's murders, Lincoln
County Sheriff William Brady. On April 1, Billy and the
Regulators murdered Sheriff Brady and his deputy George Hindman
as they strolled through the town of Lincoln.
The Lincoln County War came to a bloody end during the 5-day
Battle of Lincoln in mid-July. After being besieged in McSween's
house with a dozen other Regulators, opponents (reinforced by
soldiers from Fort Stanton), burned the house to the ground and
shot McSween dead. Billy escaped unhurt, but with a price on his
head, he surrendered in exchange for amnesty.
But Billy soon formed another gang and took up cattle rustling
throughout the county again. In December 1880, after two of his
partners were shot and killed, Billy was captured at Stinking
Springs by Sheriff Pat Garrett. After standing trial for murder
in Mesilla, New Mexico in April 1881, he and was found guilty
and sentenced to hang. On April 28, Billy escaped jail once
again, killing two deputies in the process.
Billy's Untimely End
On July 14, Pat Garrett, together with two deputies, sat in a
darkened bedroom at the Fort Sumner ranch home of Billy's
friend, Pete Maxwell. Garrett was asking Maxwell about Billy's
whereabouts when Billy, in his stocking feet, unexpectedly
entered Maxwell's quarters, spotting, but not recognizing
Garrett in the dim light.
"Quien es? Quien es?" -- "Who is it? Who is it?" were the last
words Billy ever uttered. Garret pumped two shots from his
revolver, one of which went straight into Billy's heart. Billy
the Kid was buried the next day at Fort Summer cemetery between
his two outlaw pals, Tom O'Folliard and Charlie Bowdre, where
his grave can be seen to this day. Although he didn't live to
celebrate his 22nd birthday, Billy the Kid remains one of the
notorious legends of the AmericanWest.
There are those who still question whether Henry McCarty or
William H. Bonney, Jr. (the name he used at his trial), was
Billy the Kid's true name. Others maintain that Billy the Kid
was, in fact, Ollie L. "Brushy Bill" Roberts, who actually
escaped Pat Garrett's bullets, hid out in Mexico and the Desert
Southwest, rode in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and finally
died in Hico, Texas in 1950.
JACANA HOME PAGE
CLASSIC VIDEO CLIPS
JACANA ASTRONOMY SITE
JACANA PHOTO LIBRARY |
OLD MAUN PHOTO GALLERY |
MAUN PHONE DIRECTORY
FREE FONTS |
PIC OF THE DAY
GENERAL LIBRARY |
MAP LIBRARY |
HOUSE PLANS LIBRARY
MAUN E-MAIL, WEBSITE & SKYPE LIST
BOTSWANA GPS CO-ORDINATES
MAUN SAFARI WEB LINKS |
FREE SOFTWARE |
JACANA WEATHER PAGE
JACANA CROSSWORD LIBRARY |
JACANA CARTOON PAGE |
This web page was last updated on:
09 December, 2008