Sunday, November 30, 2014

The one thing Billy the Kid never got in life, was Justice

People always remembered Billy's infectious smile and his luminescent, light blue eyes

Billy the Kid was considered a good kid by all who knew him growing up and, by the way, his closest friends, his Mom and his brother Joe called him Henry, not Billy

About the Kid, from people who knew him

Arriving in Lincoln, New Mexico in  1877
Even though Henry possessed incredible physical strength and endurance for a boy, he still retained the grace of a cat, according to friend Lily Casey. On horseback he would ride at full gallop, dodging behind the side of his mount to fire his Winchester 73, the same way the Apaches did. He could even retrieve a handkerchief from the ground at full gallop. But she also indicated that you were far more likely to find Henry reading a book, than getting into trouble.  She remembered that Henry was 16 when he came back from Arizona in 1877. “The Kid had a great personality, and could ingratiate himself in peoples good graces very quickly. He had laughing blue eyes always smiling or laughing, quick and more accommodating very good hearted, had an innocent timid look all of this took with the girls at once.” Lily Casey was the girlfriend of one of Billy's greatest enemies, Bob Olinger

Life was hard on the frontier and hard lives made for hard people, except...
Lincoln resident and rancher George Coe would later say, even when he was armed, Henry seemed as gentlemanly, friendly and polite as any college-bred youth from proper society.  Everyone always commented how different Henry was. He was incredibly smart, well read and even tempered, while most cowboys were  reckless, uneducated and drunk. As he went from town to town in his travels and flights, Henry made friends easily, becoming known for his easy going, friendly and generous ways. Almost everybody liked Henry.  He always made many, many times more friends, than enemies.

That Boy knew how to Dance and looked pretty cool in a Sombrero
George's cousin Frank Coe would describe Henry this way:  “He was about seventeen, but looked 14, 5' 8", weight 138 lbs. and stood straight as an Indian, as fine looking a lad as ever I met. He was a lady’s man and the Mexican girls were all crazy about him. He spoke Spanish quite well." He was also a fine dancer, he could do all of the currently popular steps, especially the Irish Jig and the Spanish Fandango, at which Henry excelled. He had a beautiful tenor voice and loved to sing, too.
To Hispanics, wherever he went, he was immediately welcomed into their homes and communities because he spoke Spanish flawlessly, always treated  them as equals and showed the proper respect to their parents and young girls, as dictated by their culture. He dressed the part too, normally wearing a Mexican sombrero and moccasins. To them, he wasn't just Irish, he was also one of them as well. Henry McCarty wasn't just a hyphenated Irish-American, he was, by word and deed, a tri-hyphenated Irish-Hispanic-American.

Las Vegas Gazette,  December 27, 1881
“He is about five feet eight or nine inches tall, slightly built and lithe, weighing about 140; a frank, open countenance, looking like a school boy, with the traditional silky fuzz on his upper lip; clear blue eyes, with a roguish snap about them; light hair and complexion. He is, in all, quite a handsome looking fellow, the only imperfection being two prominent front teeth slightly protruding like squirrel’s teeth, and he has agreeable and winning ways.”

“Billy was an expert at most Western sport, with the exception of drinking. He was a handsome youth with a smooth face, wavy brown hair, an athletic and symmetrical figure, and clear blue eyes that could look one through and through. Unless angry, he always seemed to have a pleasant expression with a ready smile. His head was well shaped, his features regular, his nose aquiline, his most noticeable characteristic a slight projection of his upper front teeth. He spoke Spanish like a native, and although only a beardless boy, was nevertheless a natural leader of men. With his poise, iron nerve, and all-round efficiency properly applied, the Kid could have made a success anywhere.”  Dr. Henry Hoyt   

"He was a wonder, you would have been proud to know him.” Frank Coe

Ruidoso, New Mexico

Frank and Annie Lesnett lived in Chicago during the great fire of October 8, 1871, supposedly started by Mrs. O'Leary's Cow. Frank was in the army and was eventually transferred to Fort Stanton, New Mexico.  In 1877 he purchased a 1/2 interest in a ranch and mill in Ruidoso, New Mexico called Dowlin Mills, which is still there.  Original owner Paul Dowlin, a retired soldier from Fort Stanton, was found murdered a few months after they became partners. The Lesnetts bought the remaining interest from his estate and expanded the property to include a restaurant, bakery, hotel and general store. Anyone traveling through that part of the state, more than likely stayed or ate there. Pat Garrett, William Brady, James Dolan were all known to stop by.
Annie was a great cook, her cookies and donuts were well known in the territory and popular with locals, especially among the Mescalero Apaches, whose reservation was close by.  Their chief,  Geronimo, was a frequent customer, as were travelers through eastern New Mexico on journeys to somewhere else. 
Henry was one of those visitors. He became a very close family friend. The family remembered that Henry was great with their kids mainly because he was still a kid himself. The older children liked playing with Henry and listening to the stories he told about his exciting adventures. He could make them laugh because he knew a lot of funny jokes and was actually quite clever. At the same time he could be quite gentle and affectionate, he would cradle their babies in his arms, only relinquishing them in response to their mother's request.
He would play games with the family dog, shooting bullets in the ground, watching and laughing as the dog chased the puffs of dirt. The Lesnetts were witnesses to Henry's marksmanship, while teaching her husband and boys shooting, Henry proved that he had unerring aim with an incredibly quick draw, which proved that they were learning from the best.
Once Henry was saved from capture by a posse through the swift action of  Annie Lesnett, who hid him in an empty flour barrel as they approached. Again and again, ordinary people would protect Henry because they liked him. Henry became friends the old fashioned way, he earned them. 

Ruidoso/Dowlin Mills is actor Neil Patrick Harris's boyhood hometown, where his Mom and Dad still run a restaurant.

''A precious specimen named ‘The Kid,’ whom the sheriff is holding here in the Plaza, as it is called, is an object of tender regard. I heard singing and music the other night; going to the door, I found the minstrels of the village actually serenading the fellow in his prison.''---Gov. Lew Wallace, in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz, March 31, 1879.

The Montano home and general store, where Governor Wallace was staying when he was in Lincoln, from which he heard the locals serenading Henry while he was in jail.

The Governor's Palace in Santa Fe, New Mexico (1610)

People have gotten the idea that Henry was illiterate. He was actually very intelligent, literate and wrote thoughtful letters in elegant Spencerian Script.

San Patricio    Lincoln County      Thursday (March) 20th 1879 
General Lew Wallace:
   Sir,  I will keep the appointment I made but be sure and have men come that you can depend on I am not afraid to die like a man fighting but I would not like to be killed like a dog unarmed. Tell Kimbal to let his men be placed around the house and for him to come in alone; and he can arrest us. all I am afraid of is that in the Fort we might be poisoned or killed through a window at night, but you can arrange that all right. Tell the Commanding Officer to Watch Lt. Goodwin he would not hesitate to so anything there Will be danger on the road of Somebody Waylaying us to kill us on the road to the Fort. You will never catch those fellows on the road Watch Fritzes. Captain Bacas ranch and the Brewery they will either go up Seven Rivers or Jicarillo Montains they Will stay around close until the scouting come in give a spy a pair of glasses and let him get on the mountain back of Fritzes and watch and if they are there, there will be provisions carried to them. It is not my place to advise you but I am anxious to have them caught and perhaps know how men hid from soldiers better than you. Please excuse me for having so much to say and still remain,

Yours Truly,
 William H. Bonney
P.S. I have changed my mind. Send Kimbal to Gutierese just below San Patricio one mile, because Sanger and Ballard are or were great friends of Campbell's. Ballard told me yesterday to leave for you were doing everything to catch me. It was a blind to get me to leave. Tell Kimbal not to come before 3 o’clock for I may not be there before.

President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Civil War General Lew Wallace Governor of the New
Mexico Territory in response to the Lincoln County War and gave him instructions to settle the dispute, whatever it took. Oddly, he wouldn't bring law and order to the territory, instead he would support the forces of corruption, wiping out anyone who opposed them. Photo from about the time he was Governor and wrote "Ben Hur".

After his appointment, Governor Lew Wallace was given a list of the 36 worst outlaws in the New Mexico Territory. He was advised that they should be arrested immediately. Proof that Billy's press didn't match the facts, Billy was actually only 15th on the list.

The  Correspondence Between Billy and Governor Lew Wallace

On March 13, 1879 
To his Excellency the Governor,
General Lew Wallace
   Dear Sir,  I have heard that You will give one thousand $ dollars for my body which as I can understand it means alive as a witness. I know it is as a witness against those that murdered Mr. Chapman. if it was so as that I could appear at Court I could give the desired information, but I have indictments against me for things that happened in the late Lincoln County War and am afraid to give up because my Enemies would Kill me. the day Mr. Chapman was murdered I was in Lincoln, at the request of good Citizens to meet Mr. J.J. Dolan to meet as Friends, so as to be able to lay aside our arms and go to Work. I was present when Mr. Chapman was murdered and know who did it and if it were not for those indictments I would have made it clear before now. if it is in your power to Annually those indictments I hope you will do so as to give me a chance to explain. Please send me an answer  telling me what you can do You can send answer by bearer I have no wish to fight any more indeed I have not raised an arm since your proclamation. As to my character I refer to any of the citizens, for the majority of them are my friends and have been helping me all they could. I am called Kid Antrim but Antrim is my stepfathers name.                                        
Waiting for an answer, I remain your Obedient Servant
                                                                                                          W.H. Bonney

Governor Lew Wallace donated his personal papers to the Indiana Historical Society, among them the correspondence of the Governor and Billy the Kid:

Lincoln, March 15, 1879
W.H. Bonney,
Come to the house of Squire Wilson (not the lawyer) at nine o'clock next Monday night alone. I don't mean his office, but his residence. Follow along the foot of the mountain south of the town, come in on that side, and knock on the east door. I have authority to exempt you from prosecution, if you will testify to what you say you know.
The object of the meeting at Squire Wilson's is to arrange the matter in a way to make your life safe. To do that the utmost secrecy is to be used. So come along. Don't tell anybody -not a living soul- where you are coming or the object. If you could trust Jesse Evans, you can trust me.
  -Lew Wallace

The Meeting

In March Billy, weary of being hunted, wrote to Governor Wallace offering to come in and discuss his surrender. The simply written letter with few errors is impressive proof Billy the Kid was far from the legendary bucktoothed moron. Wallace, who would always remember that meeting, sat at a table with Wilson, who knew and liked the Kid, in a room on the east side of the adobe building. A coal oil lamp cast wavering shadows on the wall. Promptly at nine o'clock there was a knock at the door. "Come in," Wallace called out.
The door opened and Billy stepped inside. "I was sent to meet Governor Wallace at nine o'clock," he said to Wilson. "Is he here?" Wallace, a well-built man with a dark spade beard, rose and motioned Billy to an empty chair. "I am Governor Wallace," he said. "Your note gave me promise of utmost protection," Billy pointed out. "Yes, I have been true to my promise," the governor replied. "This man here, whom of course you know, and I are the only ones in the house."
Billy slowly lowered the Winchester he was cradling in one arm and advanced to the table where he shook hands with Wallace and Wilson. It was one of the most dramatic and romantic meetings in frontier history: the boy outlaw and the prominent Civil War general. Billy the Kid and Wallace, the man who had been Lincoln's friend, who had saved Washington from capture by Jubal Early's troops, who had investigated the shocking conditions at Andersonville, and who had served on the jury that tried the Lincoln conspirators, studied each other in the dim light as the night wind moaned about the eaves.
They talked for more than an hour with Wallace urging Billy to testify before the grand jury as a people's witness. In return he promised a complete pardon. For Billy a pardon meant many things: to be able to wander about the Bonito and Ruidoso valleys, living the free life, drifting from cow camp to ranch, stopping off at the little Mexican villages to whirl the pretty girls about in a wild fandango, caring not for tomorrow only for today, and never more to sleep under a bush with a Winchester while playing hare and hounds with the sheriff's posse and bounty hunters eager to collect that $500 reward ...
But the Kid pointed out to Wallace that the Dolan-Murphy-Riley Santa Fe forces still controlled the Territory; if he turned state's evidence he could be dead within hours. Wallace assured him he had the power and men to protect him. The Kid finally accepted Wallace's plan; after a planned arrest, he would be taken before a grand jury. Following his appearance as a witness in a trial against Campbell, Evans, and the others, the indictment for the Brady murder would be dismissed. As the governor promised, he would go "scot-free."

Billy said he would think it over and left. Two days later Jesse Evans and Bill Campbell easily escaped from the Fort Stanton guardhouse. The Kid sent a letter to Squire Wilson, asking him to talk to Wallace and find out if the deal was valid.  Wilson's brief note in reply assured him it was.
On March 21, 1879, Billy turned himself in and allowed himself to be "captured" by Sheriff Kimbrell and a posse; Tom O'Folliard insisted he go along. Billy made himself at home in jail with friends constantly visiting him. The amazed Wallace reported that one night he heard music and went outside to find musicians "actually serenading" the Kid in jail.

Billy writes a letter to confirm the deal and to guarantee his safety in the face of Jimmy Dolan's men gunning for him.

San Patricio    Lincoln County     
Thursday March 20th 1879  
General Lew Wallace:
   Sir,  I will keep the appointment I made but be sure and have men come that you can depend on I am not afraid to die like a man fighting but I would not like to be killed like a dog unarmed. Tell Kimbal to let his men be placed around the house and for him to come in alone; and he can arrest us. all I am afraid of is that in the Fort we might be poisoned or killed through a window at night, but you can arrange that all right. Tell the Commanding Officer to Watch Lt. Goodwin he would not hesitate to so anything there Will be danger on the road of Somebody Waylaying us to kill us on the road to the Fort. You will never catch those fellows on the road Watch Fritzes. Captain Bacas ranch and the Brewery they will either go up Seven Rivers or Jicarillo Montains they Will stay around close until the scouting come in give a spy a pair of glasses and let him get on the mountain back of Fritzes and watch and if they are there, there will be provisons carried to them. It is not my place to advise you but I am anxious to have them caught and perhaps know how men hid from soldiers better than you. Please excuse me for having so much to say and still remain, 
Yours Truly,
William H. Bonney
P.S. I had change my mind. Send Kimbal to Gutierrz just below San Patricio one mile, because Sanger and Ballard are or were great friends of Camuls (Campbell’s). Ballard told me yesterday to leave for you were doing everything to catch me. It was a blind to get me to leave. Tell Kimbal not to come before 3 o’clock for I may not be there before.

Billy writes a letter in his own defense to accusations in the Las Vegas(NM) Gazette about cattle rustling and the death of Deputy James Carlyle.

Fort Sumner      
Dec 12th 1880
Gov. Lew Wallace

 Dear Sir,
   I noticed in the Las Vegas Gazette a piece which stated that Billy “the” Kid, the name by which I am known in the County was the Captain of a Band of Outlaws who hold Forth at the Portales. There is no such Organization in existence. So the Gentlemen must have drawn very heavily on his imagination. My business at the White Oaks at the time I was waylaid and my horse killed was to see Judge Leonard who has my case in hand, he had written to me to come up, that he thought he could get Everything Straighend up. I did not find him at the Oaks I should have gone to Lincoln if I had met with no accident. After mine and Billie Wilsons horses were Killed we both made our way to a Station, forty miles from the Oaks kept by Mr. Greathouse. When I got up next morning The house was Surrounded by an outfit led by one Carlyle Who came into the house and Demanded a surrender. I asked for their Papers and they had none. So I concluded it Accounted to nothing more then a mob and told Carlyle that he would have to stay in the house and lead the way out that night. Soon after a note was brought in stating that if Carlyle did not come out inside of five minutes they would kill the Station Keeper (Greathouse) who had left the house and was with them. in a short time a shot was fired on the outside and Carlyle thinking Greathouse was Killed jumped through the window. breaking the sash as he went and was killed by his own Party they thinking it was me trying to make my escape. the party then withdrew.
   They returned the next day and burned an old man named Spencer’s house and Greathouses also. I made my way to the Place afoot and During my absence Deputy Sheriff Garrett Acting under Chisums orders went to the Portales and found nothing. on his way back he went to Mr. Yerbys ranch and took a pair of mules of mine which I had left with Mr. Bowdre who is in charge of Mr. Yerbys Cattle. he (Garrett) Claimed that they were stolen and Even if they were not he had a right to confiscate any Outlaws property. I have been at Sumner Since I left Lincoln making my living Gambling the mules were bought by me the truth of which I can prove by the best citizens around  Sumner. J.S. Chisum is the man who got me into Trouble and was benefited Thousands by it and is now doing all he can against me. There is no Doubt but what there is a great deal of Stealing going on in the Territory and a great deal of the Property is taken across the Plains as it is a good outlet. but as far as my being at the head of a Band there is nothing of it. Several Instances I have recovered Stolen Property when there was no chance to get an Officer to do it.
 Instance for Hugo Zuber Post Office Puerto de Luna, another for Pablo Analla Same Place. if some impartial Party were to investigate this matter they would find it far Different from the impression put out by Chisum and his tools
 Yours Respect-
 William Bonney

Billy starts to worry that the Governor may not keep his word.

 Santa Fe
 Jan 1st 1881
Gov. Lew Wallace
Dear Sir,

I would like to see you for a few moments if you can spare time.

 Yours Respect-
 W.H. Bonney
Santa Fe Jail      New Mexico
March 2nd 1881

Governor Lew Wallace
Dear Sir,

  I wish you would come down to the jail and see me. it will be to your interest to come and see me. I have some letters which date back two years, and there are Parties who are very anxious to get them but I shall not dispose of them until I see you. that is if you will come immediately. 

 Yours Respectfully
 Wm H. Bonney

 Santa Fe in Jail
 March 4, 1881

 Governor Lew Wallace

 Dear Sir
  I wrote You a little note the day before yesterday but have received no answer. I Expect you have forgotten what you promised me, this Month two years ago, but I have not and I think You had ought to have come and seen me as I requested you to. I have done everything that I promised you I would and You have done nothing that You promised me.
   I think when You think the matter over You will come down and See me, and I can then Explain Everything to You.
  Judge Leonard Passed through here on his way East, in January and promised to come and See me on his way back, but he did not fulfill his Promise. It looks to me like I am getting left in the Cold. I am not treated right by Sherman, he lets Every Stranger that comes to see me through Curiosity in to see me, but will not let a Single one of my friends in, Not even an Attorney.
   I guess they mean to Send me up without giving me any Show but they will have a nice time doing it. I am not intirely without friends.
  I shall Expect to See you some time today.

Patiently Waiting

I am truly Yours Respect-
Wm. H. Bonney

Santa Fe New Mexico
March 27th /81

Governor  Lew Wallace

Dear Sir,
For the last time I ask, Will you keep your promise. I start below tomorrow send answer by bearer.
Yours Respectfully
 On April 15, 1881 after having been convicted of the murder of Sheriff Brady, Billy starts to panic,
 writing this letter to Attorney Edgar Caypless.

Dear Sir
   I would have written before this but could get no paper. My United States case was thrown out of court and I was rushed to trial on my Territorial Charge. Was convicted of murder in the first degree and am to be hanged on the 13th of May. Mr. A.J. Fountain was appointed to defend me and has done the best he could for me. He is willing to carry the case further if I can raise the money to bear his expense. The mare is about all I can depend on at present so hope you will settle the case right away and give him the money you get for her. If you do not settle the matter with Scott Moore and have to go to court about it, either give him (Fountain) the mare or sell her at auction and give him the money. Please do as he wishes in the matter. I know you will do the best you can for me in this. I shall be taken to Lincoln tomorrow. Please write and direct care to Garrett sheriff. Excuse bad writing I have my handcuffs on. I remain as ever.
Yours Respectfully

"I have no wish to fight any more, indeed I have not raised an arm since your proclamation" Henry McCarty

''I can’t see how a fellow like him should expect any clemency from me.'' Gov. Lew Wallace to the Las Vegas Gazette, April 27, 1881 

Except that you gave him your word that you would.

 If you are looking for the Truth about Billy and the Lincoln County War, these two websites are where you are going to find it.

Barbara "Ma'am" Jones awoke in the predawn darkness to hear someone moving outside her Seven Rivers ranch house. She got a rifle and stuck it through one of the defensive slots in the wall, "Come out of it," she ordered And out of it came a slender, nice looking boy with blue eyes and rather prominent teeth who "stumbled unsteadily" toward the house. Dropping her rifle and unbolting the door, Mrs. Jones half-carried him into the kitchen and sat down by the fire. He gave his name as Billy Bonney.
She helped him take off his boots-very small boots, she remarked-to find he had no socks and his feet were blistered and swollen. "He'd walked, and he'd walked a long distance," she concluded.
As he got some hot water and a basin to bathe his feet, she asked him when he had last eaten. About three days ago, he told her. She brought milk, heated it, and gave him a cup.
"I don't like milk," he said.

Frederick Nolan (June 1, 2003). The West of Billy the Kid. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 77 ISBN 978-0-8061-3104-7. Retrieved August 1, 2011 Wikipedia

She made him drink the milk and he told her about traveling in the Guadalupe Mountains with a friend named Tom O'Keefe when they were ambushed by some Apaches, who stole their horses. He became separated from Tom in the commotion and wandered in the wilderness for a few days, walking over 25 miles, before finally finding his way to the Jones Farm near Mesilla and Las Cruces. He stayed with them for a couple of weeks to regain his strength, in the process practically becoming  a member of the family. 
Then he struck out for Eastern New Mexico, which was the home Cattle Baron John Chisum and the Chisum Trail, which connected to the more famous Texas Chisholm Trail which led to the railheads of Kansas. If you were a cowboy looking for work, that was the place to go. It soon became a mecca for cowboys and cowboy want-to-be's like Henry.
To show you what the Jones family thought of Henry, they gave him a horse to help him in his travels, which would eventually lead him to Lincoln, New Mexico.  The average cost of a horse in 1880 was about $25, which was also about the average monthly income for a family on the frontier.

Upon arriving in Lincoln, Henry found work helping the local sheriff at his ranch. That sheriff's name was William Brady. But Henry was young and wasn't ready to settle down. He resumed wandering aimlessly throughout eastern New Mexico, finally setting out for Dowlin Mills and Ruidoso and then back to Seven Rivers. It wasn't until he came back to Lincoln in the late summer of 1877 that he stopped his travels-------he was caught stealing a horse from the 3,840 acre Tunstall Ranch* by ranch Foreman Dick Brewer. It was at this point that Henry got his first permanent address, the Lincoln County Jail.
Curious about the young horse thief, Englishman John Tunstall went to talk to Henry in the slammer. John was surprised by the good humor and intelligence of the kid. Henry wasn't anything like what he expected. He took a liking to Henry almost immediately, prompting him to drop charges and hire Henry to work at his ranch.  The surprises didn't stop there.  Henry was an incredibly hard worker. John Tunstall quickly realized his good luck in finding an employee like Henry, rewarding him with a horse, a new saddle and his own Winchester '73, the gun that won the west. 
In the West, ranch hands were expected to supply their own horse, saddle and gun. If you didn't have one, you were given one but billed for it by your employer. What made this different was that John Tunstall gave these to Henry as a gift. John genuinely liked his young protégé and felt that an orphan like Henry deserved a helping hand.

Like most orphans, Henry would never forget this act of love, respect and friendship.  

Henry's expertise with a gun would prove to be a much needed bonus when events leading to the Lincoln County War unfolded before them.

* Originally called the Casey Ranch because a squatter, Robert Casey, took possession of the land in 1868. On August 2, 1875, Casey was murdered by William Wilson, resulting in the first judicially sanctioned hanging in Lincoln. Since he never filed a claim on the land, John Tunstall was able to buy it for taxes and turned it into the Tunstall Ranch. After murdering John Tunstall, his murderers, James Dolan and William Rynerson, the DA who prosecuted Henry "Billy the Kid," took possession of the ranch. Dolan died in 1899.  In 1929, AC Hendricks bought the Ranch and named it the Flying H Ranch which it is called today.

Henry was an orphan, left to make his own way in the world at 14-years-old
Tunstall Foreman Dick Brewer was an exception to the corruption and shady dealing in Lincoln County. He was known as one of the finest examples of what a westerner should be: a totally honest and good man. Meeting Dick was one of the luckiest breaks Henry ever got.  Henry turned to Dick much like he had turned to petty thief George Schaefer(known as Sombrero Jack) when he was 14 or  horse thief John Mackie when he was 15, looking for an older brother.  And it shows Dick's character that he allowed Henry's horse theft to be water under the bridge.  Forgiven and forgotten, a character trait people saw in Henry too.
This time Henry got it right. You couldn't have had a better "big brother" than Dick Brewer.

John Tunstall's opinion of Dick Brewer, he would say in a letter to his parents back in England, Brewer was as brave as a lion, ferocious and fearless and as fine a man as he had ever met.

John Tunstall worked at and lived in the back of his store in Lincoln which was about 28 miles from his ranch along the Rio Feliz. The Tunstall Flying H Ranch was managed by Dick Brewer, who also had his own smaller ranch nearby.

The whole time that Henry worked at the Tunstall Ranch, no one ever had a complaint about him. He worked hard, didn't get in any trouble and was headed in the right direction. Henry seemed to have a bright future. Henry was working on raising enough money to get his own ranch. If you asked the boys who worked with him, they would have told you how much they liked the kid. 

Henry's Mom and Dick Brewer deserve the credit for this moment of happiness in Henry's life. Given half a chance, Henry would do the right thing and not disappoint the people who believed in him. 

"Tunstall saw the boy was quick to learn and not afraid of anything ... he made Billy a present of a good horse, saddle and a new gun ... my, but the boy was proud ... said it was the first time in his life he had ever had anything given to him ..." George Coe describing one of the happiest moments in Henry's short life.

Remember one thing, John Tunstall was English and William Henry McCarty was Irish. The fact that they liked each other says a lot about both men. They didn't let disagreements and heritage stand in their way, if they liked someone, they liked them. That is how a good guy became your pal.

Unfortunately, for all involved, it wouldn't last.

Dick Brewer has a memorial marker in his former hometown Boaz, Wisconsin.

Several surviving accounts portrayed Billy McCarty as friendly, fun loving and loyal, Frank Coe, recalled years after the Kid's death:
I never enjoyed better company. He was humorous and told me many amusing stories. He always found a touch of humor in everything, being naturally full of fun and jollity. Though he was serious in emergencies, his humor was often apparent even in such situations. Billy stood with us to the end, brave and reliable, one of the best soldiers we had. He never pushed in his advice or opinions, but he had a wonderful presence of mind. The tighter the place the more he showed his cool nerve and quick brain. He never seemed to care for money, except to buy cartridges with. Cartridges were scarce, and he always used about ten times as many as everyone else. He would practice shooting at anything he saw, from every conceivable angle, on and off his horse.
“I never liked the picture. I don’t think it does Billy justice.” girlfriend Paulita Maxwell describing Henry's famous photo

The most famous picture of Billy taken outside Beaver Smith's Saloon in Old Fort Sumner, probably in late 1879 or early 1880, the image was published in the first volume of G. B. Anderson's History of New Mexico: Its Resources & People in 1907. The photographer employed a tripod-mounted, box camera with a four-tube lens set that took four identical photographs at the same time. The image shown on this page came from the upper-left hand lens and is known as the 1907 halftone. It had been retouched to eliminate scratches and the original is now lost. The extant un-retouched tintype taken by the lower-right hand lens, known as the Upham-Dedrick tintype, contains more detail and shows a hand holding a board to reflect light onto the subjects unlit side and has the thumbprints of the photographer on the bottom edge. Other details not shown clearly in the 1907 halftone include the holster having a strap to prevent the gun from falling out while riding and Billy wearing a "gambler's pinky ring," so called because it could be used as an aid to cheating at three-card-monte. His shirt appears to have a design (a nautical anchor?) but it may be an illustrated necklace or scarf. Wikipedia

This is the photo which forms most people's opinion of Henry. But this was taken while he was on the run. It shows him, "rode hard and put away wet"(sweaty), but when he was cleaned up, he looked a lot different. He actually had dirty blonde hair and friendly ice blue eyes, which is how the people who knew him remembered him. Pat Garrett would use this picture to describe him, but Billy was both, an outlaw and a good kid and ferociously loyal, good man.

Current historical theory is that Henry took the four photos and gave one to his girlfriend Paulita Maxwell, one to Dulvina Maxwell, the Maxwell maid, who was a second mother to Henry(her copy was burned in a fire in 1930), one copy is thought to have gone to "Celsa Gutierez, another of the Kid’s friends (not a girlfriend). Billy was staying with Celsa and her husband when Sheriff Pat Garrett shot the Kid. Celsa was Garrett’s former sister-in-law. She reportedly gave the sheriff her copy, which he sent to a Chicago publishing house for inclusion in his book The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid. Apparently, somebody there thought the photo was worthless (yikes!) and tossed it." This copy was given to Dan Dedrick by Henry, who passed it down in his family.

Henry was far different than most people of his time
Almost all servants, ranch hands and cowboys, even outlaws, of the late 1800's worked incredibly hard, long hours, so they also played hard. They were well known for getting drunk, gambling and whoring. From the start Henry was different. 

While he was incredibly fearless in tough spots, friends reported that he never needed to drink to steady his nerves, before or after a fight, or after a long, tough day at work, like they did. Henry had been going to saloons since he was 15-years-old, but he hardly ever drank too much, normally just enough to be sociable. 

In the 1870's frontier, any boy who supported himself, was allowed to go to bars and drink. In the West, if you paid your own freight through life,  you were a man.

He gambled, but normally won more than he lost and never lost so much that he put himself in harm's way. 
A lot of gunfights grew out of a losers inability to pay off gambling debts or accusations of cheating. While Henry is seen wearing a gold gambler's pinky ring in the Beaver Smith Saloon photo, which some indicate was a sign that Henry cheated at cards, there is no record of anyone ever accusing Henry of cheating at cards.  
Universally, everyone who knew Henry considered him honest in all his personal dealings.

Furthermore, he wasn't known to be a visitor to the local whore houses, which were second only to saloons in the West in popularity. And were readily available, only a few minutes ride from any hotel or saloon in every town that he went.  He may or may not have gone. On the frontier, most single men went to bordellos since there was a severe shortage of unattached single women. If Henry did go, he didn't make a habit of it and certainly not to a point where anyone ever noticed.
But the one source, who spoke specifically about Henry and prostitution, was adamant that Henry NEVER went to a bordello because he wanted to get married and start a family.  Unfortunately, the chance for his own family was stolen from him when Sheriff Pat Garrett shot him in the back.

Everyone knew that Henry wanted to marry Paulita Maxwell  and as far as history records, he always remained true to her. He is thought to have met her in the summer of 1878.

But at the time, except among the extremely religious, there was no stigma attached to it, even heroes went to bordellos
Long before the gunfight at the OK Corral, Marshal Wyatt Earp served as a bouncer at a bordello. Single men used these facilities to take care of their needs, until they met the woman they wanted to marry. Wyatt's second wife, Sally Heckell, was in the "business", when he met her. 

The Atkins "Hog Ranch" Bordello on Main Street in Fort Grant, Arizona at the time Billy the Kid was working at the Hotel Luna Restaurant as a dishwasher

Henry is only recorded having lost his temper one time, immediately following the murder of his friend John Tunstall. The result was that Henry went looking for revenge. 
Henry did have an intensity which gave others fair warning that he was not someone with whom you should trifle. Sister Blandina Segale would later describe Henry this way,  "peach-complexioned and innocent-looking, except for a steely look in his eyes that  tell a set purpose, good or bad”

Vicious bully Deputy Bob Olinger would have tested the patience of Job with his constant threats, beatings and taunts.  Pat Garrett had to reprimand Bob repeatedly for this. Witnesses commented how weird it was that Henry "seemed" unfazed by Bob's atrocious conduct.  Without a doubt Bob was on Henry's list for being a member of the posse which murdered John Tunstall. But that was enough for Henry, he would bide his time and if the opportunity presented itself, he would make him pay for what he did.  Henry saw himself as an avenging angel, there was no need to make it personal.  

Henry was the straightest outlaw the West ever produced.

Billy the Kid was a Geek
While many used the nickname "The Kid" to describe Henry prior to 1880, it didn't necessarily carry the meaning of juvenile delinquent. It was traditional to call the eldest son, Kid,  then the family name.  And did not have any other meaning, certainly not when he was "Kid Antrim" in Silver City up to age 14, he was simply the oldest boy in the Antrim Family.
But by the time he met horse thief John Mackie in Arizona in 1876 and came under his wing, it would have meant Henry was a kid who got in trouble.
One historian argues that it would be fairer to call Henry the first GEEK Gunslinger. People always remembered and commented on the fact that Henry was always reading books and would describe him as intelligent, well informed and well-read.  That was not something you ran across very often in the West and people noticed.
During his travels, he would use Henry and Billy interchangeably, later only Billy. But his closest friends always called him Henry. 
One other thing, before Henry was given the nickname "Billy the Kid" by J. H. Koogler of the Las Vegas Gazette in 1880, there were several "Billy the Kids" inhabiting the west. After the story was published Henry McCarty became the only "Billy the Kid" that mattered and it became the only name used by the press to describe him. Then came Pat Garrett's "'Authentic' Life of Billy the Kid". Eventually that was the only name he was called, even by people who knew him as Henry their whole lives. Though Henry would have been preferred for people to call him Henry, Billy or William H. Bonney.  One thing, he never felt any affection for William Antrim or the name Antrim after his stepfather had abandoned his sick mother and rejected Henry and Joe McCarty. 

George Coe (Another Regulator and close friend) “Billy was a brave, resourceful and honest boy; he would have been a successful man under other circumstances. I loved the youngster in the old days, and can say now, after the passing fifty years, that I still love his memory. When Billy was killed in 1881 by Pat Garrett, I was in Rio Arriba County. Though I heard the news with sorrow, it was by no means a surprise. His opponents were constantly on his trail, making his capture and killing merely a question of time. It was impossible for him to work or make an honest livelihood; otherwise many of his friends would gladly have hired him and given him a chance to settle down under Governor Wallace’s’ terms of pardon. But the Kid was never permitted to halt his career. His enemies were determined to have his life and would not stop until they had taken it. He was compelled to live the life of an outlaw, though his outlawry consisted more of stealing cattle than of killing. Cattlemen were organizing their associations and employing men to rid the country of thieves, of which Billy the Kid was by no means the most outstanding. But because he was so well-known, he became the target of the officers. The motive behind Pat Garrett’s relentless pursuit of the Kid was that his death meant money and the office of sheriff of Lincoln County. The Kid was a thousand times better and braver than any man hunting him, including Pat Garrett.”

Hijinio (Yginio) Salazar (Regulator and close friend) “Billy the Kid was the bravest man I ever knew. He did not know what fear meant. Everyone who knew him loved him. He was kind and good to poor people, and he was always a gentleman, no matter where he was. When in danger, he was the coolest man I ever saw- he acted like a flash from a gun. He was quick as kitten and when he aimed his pistol and fired, something dropped; he never missed his mark. I lived in Fort Sumner for a while and know many people there who saw Billy’s body after Pat Garrett killed him. I have read some of the accounts claiming he is alive, but I don’t believe them. It is possible that another Billy the Kid might be living and that he might be seeking to connect himself with the famous Billy the Kid. However, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind about William H. Bonney, the Billy the Kid I knew and fought with, having been killed by Pat
Garrett in Pete Maxwell’s bedroom.”

Some cheered Billy's death, but many more cried and some were furious.

Frank Lobato (Friend and Fort Sumner resident, commenting on the night the Kid was killed) “Billy had been very popular at Fort Sumner and had a great many friends, all of who were indignant towards Pat Garrett. If a leader had been present, Garrett and his two officers would have received the same fate they dealt Billy.”

 Myth and Folklore vs. Fact

Even better than the legend, Governor Lew Wallace says in this interview that Billy killed 40 men, not just the 21 that Pat Garrett cited, adding five or six in Mexico.  Almost everything, except the promise of a pardon, is a lie, as time passed the lies got bigger. Of course, the actual number of men gunned down by Henry was probably 9, 2 in self-defense, 5 during the Lincoln County War and 2 during his escape from jail, while waiting to be hanged.  Governor Lew Wallace  also says that Henry "ravished women", meaning that he raped them, but offers no proof of his accusation: this was seen by the people who knew Henry as a vicious, damnable lie, proving to them that the Governor was a vicious liar.

Myth and Fact

Billy is accused of having killed 21 men, one for every year he was alive. Well, first,  Billy was probably only 19 or 20 when he died(he was probably born in 1860 or 1861, most probably in September 1860).

The Lincoln County War

Judge Frank Warner Angel, a special investigator for the Secretary of the Interior, later determined that Tunstall was  deliberately and purposefully murdered in "cold blood" by Sheriff Brady's Posse, specifically posse members Jesse Evans, William Morton, and Tom Hill.
His report to the Secretary of the Interior, who served as administrator of the New Mexico Territory, included these words:

The Territorial Government
has more "corruption, fraud,
mismanagement, plots and murder
than any the history
of the United States and this has
contributed to the lawlessness
that prevailed in much of the territory."

These are the same people who persecuted, framed and executed Henry McCarty, while leaving the worst murderers and outlaws unpunished.

Jesse Evans was a murderer and the worst criminal in New Mexico, but he worked for the Sheriff and the Attorney General
The 300 cattle were actually stolen by Jesse Evans, who worked for the "House" and the "Ring". This was particularly ironic since Jesse worked for the forces of law and order, the corrupt government through the "Ring," as an enforcer and assassin. Admittedly, he did freelance work for his own profit as well.  He was the perfect "Ring" employee.  Especially when Henry got the blame instead, it fit in with their other plans as well.
And always remember, Jesse led the posse which murdered John Tunstall.

Five Killings as a member of the Regulators
As part of the Regulators, Henry actively took part in the killing of five of the 14 "House" soldiers. Many people believe that Billy was on the side of the Angels in the fight against a corrupt government, law enforcement and court system. One thing that everyone remembered about Henry was that he was in every fight and always carried his weight. Yes, he did kill people, but they were murderers and, to Henry, only got what they deserved.

Two Killings were in Self Defense
6'2", 225 lb. Blacksmith Windy Cahill was a vicious bully in Fort Grant, Arizona. For some reason he chose 16-year-old "scrawny" "frail" Henry McCarty as a special target of his wrath. He never passed up an opportunity to terrorize and beat the crap out of the 125 lb. orphan.
Bullies are always looking for easy prey, especially those who are in pain and wounded, such as a lonely, abandoned 16-year-old boy. Then they unleash a reign of terror upon their victims: tormenting and persecuting them for the bully's own sadistic pleasure.  
An orphan like Henry was the perfect target. Henry's Mom had just died, he had just been rejected by his stepfather and was now a homeless, hungry 16-year-old boy. Since no one cared about the kid, Cahill knew that he could do anything he wanted and no one would try to stop him.
Windy Cahill enjoyed beating the crap out of the kid every chance he could. It was never a fair fight and Henry had the bruises to prove it.  But Cahill may have beaten the crap out of  Henry one time too many, because Henry had determined to put an end to it. Henry bought a gun to defend himself and would use it if he had to. Henry wouldn't start trouble, but he was more than willing to end it. Windy learned this lesson on August 17, 1877.

Joe Grant was a mean, drunken cowboy with a gun. He went to Bob Hargrove's Saloon in Fort Sumner on January 10, 1880 looking for trouble, trying to pick a fight and bullying people. He first threatened to shoot Jim Chisum, the brother of Cattle Baron John Chisum. Luckily, Henry was able to talk him out of it.  But then he turned his attention to Henry, pulling a gun on him and fired, but Henry saw it coming and fired much more quickly in self-defense, with much better aim.

Escape from the Hangman's Noose
The two deputies he killed in escaping from the Lincoln County Jail on April 28, 1881 are his responsibility-----but also Governor Lew Wallace's too. If the Governor had kept his word and given him the pardon he promised, then Henry wouldn't have been in jail facing execution by hanging in less than two weeks. The Governor had a choice, Henry didn't.  
Deputy Bob Olinger was a member of the posse which murdered John Tunstall in cold-blood, so Henry had no regrets about shooting him. That gives you a total of four on his own, two of which were in self-defense, five from the Lincoln County War and the two killed while escaping from his hanging, one of whom, it could be argued, deserved it.  

The Most Vicious Lies
A lot of stories appeared after Billy the Kid was killed. Almost all of them were untrue. The spinners of these tales tried to capitalize on Billy the Kid's reputation as an outlaw. Two of the most outrageous stories were about Henry as a child. They were not recorded until after Henry's death. Both were apparently made out of whole cloth.

1) One accusation is that Billy the Kid sadistically tortured and beheaded animals.

That is a VICIOUS LIE. 

Henry may have gotten a pocket knife from his mother as a present, but he never used it to use for torture or behead animals.

Everyone that knew Henry said that he loved animals.  The only thing which could make the murder of his boss, John Tunstall, by Sheriff Brady's posse, worse, was shooting and killing Tunstall's horse as a sick joke. The posse knew that Tunstall's horse was his favorite possession. 
Nobody had ever seen Henry angrier than he was as he watched this slaughter unfold in front of him, along the Rio Feliz on the road to Lincoln.
Having murdered John Tunstall, what purpose was served by taking a gun and shooting the horse, execution style? Then taking a blanket and putting it under Tunstall's head and Tunstall's hat under the horse's head, like pillows for sleep.
They thought it was funny.
They were wrong.

People took note of the affection Henry had for his horses. A ranch hand at the McSween Ranch commented that Henry's favorite horse would follow him around like a dog and would always come running whenever he whistled.
People remembered that his horse was constantly nuzzling him, affectionately, which Henry returned in kind.
Animals know the truth about people. Henry's horse loved him and  Henry loved his horse, just a simple fact. You can't fake that.

Henry was very intelligent, but he was never very complicated. Love and loyalty were always returned in kind by the kid.

2) Historian Frederick Nolan analyzed one of the most famous myths, that 12-year-old Henry had been walking with his Mom on the streets of Silver City, New Mexico, when some unknown man insulted her. Henry supposedly pulled a gun or knife and killed him.  Including this story in "The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid" proves that Sheriff Pat Garrett didn't worry too much about the truth in spinning his tale.

Historian Frederick Nolan calls this accusation ridiculous.

First, Henry probably wouldn't have had his own gun at 12-years-old. Catherine McCarty Antrim worked several jobs to make ends meet and put food on the table for her boys. She was the sole source of support for the family.  There was no extra money for a gun. And she didn't necessarily need one, the family cabin was a few hundred yards from the Silver City Sheriff's Office on Hudson Street. Sheriff Whitehill kept an orderly town, with a very low crime rate.

Second, the Silver City Newspapers had NO reports of any unsolved murders from that time period, much less any involving any mysterious, unknown 12-year-olds. 

This story, too,  is a VICIOUS LIE.

There are no records or reports of Henry ever getting into any trouble while his Mom was alive.

Both stories outraged his friends when they read them. If you repeated one of these stories in front of them, then they were going to beat the hell out of you for lying about their friend. 

Henry should have been in College, not living on the run
It is well known that his mother used what little extra money there was to buy Henry books and periodicals to read, because he was a voracious reader. He haunted the library looking for things to read. Neighbors would loan him their books too.  He was known locally as a very intelligent bookworm. In the West, a kid who read books, by choice, stood out. Henry's only reputation before his mother died was for being a talented, he both sang and danced, good kid, who made excellent grades, read books and never give an inch to a bully.

Most books written about Henry talk about his reading dime novels, which told stories about desperadoes in the old west. But we also know with certainty that Henry read newspapers his whole life, even fishing them out of the trash as a means of saving his Mom money when he was a boy. In the West old, used newspapers had two uses, toilet paper and kindling for fires. Henry would read the paper completely, before using it for anything else.
In fact there is a report that Henry had just finished reading a newspaper when he went to Pete Maxwell's house for a midnight snack on July 14, 1881. It was at this point that he was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett.

We also know that Henry read history.  He must have read stories about American History, Europe's Kings and Queens, Knights, Sailing, Pirates and Tales of the High Seas, because Henry ran across a book about Pirates and found an obscure story about a possible ancestor:

Anne Bonny (c. 1700 - c. 1782) was an Irish woman who became a famous pirate, operating in the Caribbean. What little is known of her life comes largely from Captain Charles Johnson's "A General History of the Pyrates". Wikipedia

Anne had been the scourge of the Caribbean, on the ship "Revenge," though her career only lasted 5 years, she made quite a name for herself. When captured, she escaped hanging only because she was pregnant.

Childhood friends from Silver City remembered that Henry would brag that he was descended from the Pirate Anne Bonny. Perhaps, he can be forgiven for choosing a pirate as a hero, because every boy played, and plays to this day, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, and Pirates. 

All you have to remember is the popularity of Pirate Johnny "Jack Sparrow" Depp as he sails the Black Pearl through the Caribbean. His movies have generated 3.7 Billion Dollars so far at the Box Office, finishing the top 10 movie franchises of all-time.

His stepfather William Antrim was always gone prospecting and offered no support for the family, leaving 12-year-old Henry as man of the house. Henry had to help his Mom cook the cookies, cakes and pies that she sold and wash other people's laundry to support the family. He also had to help take care of his Mom during her terminal illness and at the same time look out for his 10-year-old brother Joe.  That is an incredible burden to put on any 12 or 13 year-old boy's shoulders.
From this and the fact that life on the frontier could be unfulfilling and boring for an extremely intelligent kid like Henry, it is easy to see why he needed an outlet from the stress, because of the worry and burdens placed upon him. 

Books were Henry's refuge. 

We have some evidence of Henry's romantic side and love of the sea. In the famous Beaver Smith Saloon photo, the shirt that Henry is seen wearing, appears to have a nautical theme which includes a ship's anchor. It is exactly this kind of minor detail, which gives you a hint of Henry's sense of romance and his love for the sea. An odd sight for a kid living among the deserts and mountains of New Mexico.

Books opened the door to Henry's imagination.

Myth and Vicious Lie
Billy never shot a man for snoring as folklore suggests. This story is actually about vicious outlaw John Wesley Hardin. 100% innocent

“A bullet to the front of the head demonstrates good  marksmanship.
  A bullet to the back of the head demonstrates good judgment.” 
  John Wesley Hardin

An unreconstructed Confederate, John Wesley Hardin(1853-1895), hated Hispanics, Blacks, Indians, Catholics and Yankees. And he had a hair trigger, ferocious temper. He killed a former slave at 15, his first murder. You were only safe around him if you were a white Protestant Southerner and  hated all the people that he hated. He really did murder someone for snoring. He committed between 27-42 murders, either because of his racism, his greed or his temper.

John Wesley Hardin murdered as many as 42 people, including people he didn't even know and had no provocation or justification for killing. He just liked killing people.

On March 16th, 1894 John Wesley Hardin was given a full pardon by the state of Texas.

Mercy should be reserved for the merciful and the wronged. Billy was far more deserving of a pardon than John Wesley Hardin ever was. 

Some people saw the good in Henry
"I had always believed if Mr. Tunstall had lived, The Kid, under his guidance, would have become a valuable citizen, for he was a remarkable boy, far above the average of the young men of those times and he undoubtedly had the makings of a fine man in him."Susan McSween, wife of Lawyer Alex McSween

Billy was accused of and arrested for cattle rustling. He was guilty as sin. Whenever he needed money it was a fast way to make some money and he was probably guilty of this offense repeatedly.
An inside joke, Billy listed himself as working cattle in response to his profession in the 1880 Census.
John Chisum was one of the main architects of the Lincoln County War. He also had huge herds of cattle, his trail to market would forever be known as the famed Chisum Trail. Chisum was forced to accept low prices from the Dolan-Murphy Store which had a monopoly in Lincoln County. John Tunstall's Store gave him better prices, so Chisum gave Tunstall all his business.
When Tunstall was murdered, Chisum supported the Regulators, providing them with food and money during the War. With their defeat, Henry and some of the other survivors came to John seeking help. Chisum refused them. At that point, Henry and his fellow regulators took the opportunity to "acquire" some Chisum's Cattle as payment for their sacrifices during the war. You can't blame either Henry, the Regulators or John Chisum, they were on the side of right, but the bad guys won.  But this led directly to John Chisum supporting Pat Garrett for Sheriff, in an effort to clean up the county. He was already getting cheated by Dolan and Catron, he couldn't afford rustlers too.

Billy was accused of horse thieving. We do know that he was given one horse by the Jones family that took him in after his had been stolen in the Guadalupe Mountains;  we also know that John Tunstall bought Henry a Winchester 73 and a horse when Henry went to work for him, and that he later, after the Lincoln County War, bought a gray bay mare from a Texan, of which he was extremely proud. After his death, she was sold and renamed "Kid Stewart Moore".

15-year-old Henry went to see his stepfather William Antrim in Clifton, Arizona seeking help. Antrim coldly rejected Henry. Antrim was consistent, when his wife Catherine lay dying of tuberculosis, he wasn't there for her or his stepsons, Joe and Henry, either.

Henry then traveled nearly 80 miles on foot to Ft. Grant, Arizona. When he arrived, the homeless, penniless, hungry and friendless orphan found a friend and mentor in ex-soldier, John Mackie. Unfortunately, Mackie had become a full time horse thief in and around Ft. Grant, Arizona after his discharge from the army. He was also known for stealing saddles.  Mackie like "Sombrero Jack" took Henry under his wing and taught him everything he knew.

Henry actually worked at an honest job too, he was a full time dishwasher at the Hotel Luna in Ft. Grant.

One fascinating footnote, Henry was arrested with his mentor John Mackie for horse theft, but somehow escaped from the Fort Grant Military Stockade.  His first escape at age 15-years-old from the Silver City Jail had been miraculous, by climbing up the jail chimney, but this escape from a military prison is even more amazing. There were soldiers who couldn't navigate its bars, but this was no impediment for a highly motivated kid like Henry. 
The first thing Henry did, upon escaping, was to return the stolen horses to their owners at Fort Grant and Ft. Thomas. The sheriff and victims  must have appreciated that, because Henry was allowed to leave town without being charged or re-arrested.

The one accusation of which he was guilty as sin, was "borrowing" horses for his escapes.  Henry was renowned for his escapes, which were almost always on horseback.  During his escape from Lincoln, Henry took time to make a short apology to the crowd which had gathered to see what the commotion was. As he mounted a horse for his getaway, Henry promised to return it.

A couple of days after Henry fled, the borrowed horse turned up again. Henry always kept his word.

But everyone agrees that Henry was an expert rider who knew and loved horses. Especially anyone who ever pursued him after one of his brilliant, harrowing escapes.


Billy was a juvenile delinquent, but not a bad kid.

Henry was an orphan, having no job and no money. He quickly learned what starvation and hunger were. To survive he  practiced the dine and dash, long before it became well known in our time.

15-year-old Henry had to support himself after fleeing Silver City. He fell into a group of minor league desperadoes led by John Kinney. They did a little rustling, some horse theft and other minor criminal acts. One thing that the broke, hungry boys did to survive was to go into diners and saloons and  order a meal.  When it came time to pay, they would say "Chalk it Up", which meant that the restaurant would have to eat the cost because the boys didn't have any money. Depending on how close the sheriff was geographically speaking or how intimidated the saloon keeper or restaurant owner was, the boys would choose that time to make a quick exit. 
Later Kinney would work for Jimmy Dolan and the House in the Lincoln County War. He was hired by District Attorney William Rynerson. He also served as one of Billy's guards in the ride back to Lincoln for the Kid's hanging, obviously there was little honor or loyalty among gangs in the Lincoln County War.  Dolan offered him $500 in cattle from those that Dolan stole after murdering John Tunstall as payment to murder Alex McSween.

John Kinney around 1919


Billy was certainly one of the greatest marksmen in the West

"He never seemed to care for money, except to buy cartridges with...  Cartridges were scarce, and he always used about ten times as many as anyone else. He would practice shooting at every thing he saw, and from every conceivable angle, on and off his horse ... He spent all his spare time cleaning his six-shooter and practicing shooting. He could take two six-shooters, loaded and cocked, one in each hand, and ...twirl one in one direction and the other in the other direction at the same time.
I've seen him ride his horse on a run and kill snowbirds, four out of five shots." Frank Coe  
Billy was famous for pitching his Winchester in the air and catching it, "always playing with it." Deluvina Maxwell said how he could "whirl his gun about on his finger, and then shoot.
A boy from Vegas(Las Vegas, New Mexico) tried to act like him once and shot and killed himself." Will Chisum  
Billy "shot well under all circumstances, whether in danger or not." Pat Garrett

Being ambidextrous, Henry was terrifying in a gunfight, with a gun in each hand, capable of deadly aim right handed or left handed using his Colt 44 caliber or his 41 caliber "Thunderer" or his 38 caliber "Lightning". What is more amazing is that he was an even better shot with his Winchester '73.

"Billy is said to be the master of the use of a revolver. He is a dead shot and can shoot quicker than any man in New Mexico...his aim with a revolver in each hand, shooting simultaneously, is unerring. With a Winchester rifle he can shoot as well with the gun at his side, without apparently taking any aim...His equal for the quick and unerring use of fire-arms has never been known in New Mexico." The Denver Tribune 1881

Almost exactly the same words were used to describe Billy the Kid and Wild Bill Hickok, their reaction times were lightning fast and effortless. They never seemed to need to aim. Henry was probably the second fastest, most accurate gun in the West, after Wild Bill. And a real indicator of their character, both men would prefer that their reputation kept them from a gun fight, than got them into one.

Billy was even more famous for his escapes than for his crimes. Three things were responsible for this, Billy was an incredibly good marksman, he practiced incessantly, certainly one of the best shots in the West.

But most of all, he was an incredibly good rider, always able to find the best horse available for his escapes. Henry was a small, skinny kid, who loved to run and ride horses. He was damn good at both. Henry was considered the fastest rider in Silver City. On a horse, he was like the wind, there for a moment, gone the next.  Boys being boys, the kids in Silver City would hold horse races and wager on who would win. Around Silver City, smart money was always put on Henry McCarty. And you were rarely disappointed.

And one other thing which may have been a factor, Henry's ability to make friends wherever he went:
One theory is that his escape from jail in Fort Grant/Bonita, Arizona may have been facilitated by  a couple of soldiers with whom he had formed a friendship.  Where ever Henry went he made friends, these friendships would serve him well throughout his life and especially when he was on the run.

Probably a Myth
Henry is said to have met gambler Doc Holiday and lawmen Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp. It is quite possible that he played poker with Doc' Holiday who gravitated between Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas at that time. If there was a good poker game, Doc and Henry would find it. He probably did meet  US Marshal Wyatt Earp, who was looking for one of Henry's friends and fellow Regulator, Dirty Dave Rudabaugh.  Bat Masterson is reputed to have challenged Billy to a shooting contest, who won depended on who told the story. One thing to note, these two honest lawmen had no problem with Henry.

A story was put forth after Henry's death that Jesse James met Billy the Kid in Hot Springs, New Mexico. That is probably untrue. It was not published until after Henry's death.
But Jesse James and Henry were both on the run from the law. Jesse was rumored to be in New Mexico about that time, but then again, he was rumored to be everywhere.
A local doctor, Henry F. Hoyt, was a friend of Henry's and remembered, many years later, that he had been introduced to a friend of Henry's, a Mr. Howard from Tennessee, while they were playing a game of cards at the Old Adobe Hotel. He later ran into them again in the dining room. He recalled years and years later that the man looked like Jesse James.  This story is also verified by future New Mexico Governor Miguel Otero who was a friend of  Henry's and he too recalls being introduced to the same man. 

There is a news story that Jesse James was staying at Old Adobe Hotel from July 26 through July 29, 1879(Las Vegas, New Mexico  Optic Newspaper), but printed many weeks later.

Folklore tells that Henry was offered a job with the James Gang but turned it down. If true, it is to Henry's credit. He had no interest in joining these murderous bank robbers.

Jesse James and Henry McCarty were very different men
Henry and Jesse were exact opposites. Henry did not enjoy killing.  Jesse did.

Jesse bragged about all his killings*, starting with his part, as a 15-year-old, in Quantrill's surprise midnight raid on the anti-slavery town of Lawrence Kansas. He and his brother Frank joined Quantrill's Confederate Raiders, under direct command of Captain "Bloody Bill" Anderson, who was the worst of the worst, a war criminal by any definition.   Boys as young as 11 were "executed" by the rebel raiders, 150 unarmed men and boys were beaten, tortured and murdered altogether. As proof of how sadistic they were, Quantrill's Raiders mutilated the bodies of these boys and men, carrying away trophies from their victims, several of whom were castrated. Girls as young as 13-years-old were raped.
During the Civil War, Jesse, like John Wesley Hardin, was never known to take any black Yankee prisoners alive. Jesse killed when he didn't have to, many people think because he enjoyed killing, making money was just a bonus.
Whereas, people always spoke of Henry's lack of prejudices, Jesse James was always described as a vicious racist, an unreconstructed Confederate and supporter of slavery. Occasionally, people would throw in that he was a Baptist Preacher's son and had studied to be a preacher himself.

Jesse James killed for money and because he enjoyed it, without a moments regret or remorse, but Henry McCarty didn't and even publically apologized for shooting Deputy Bell.

*There is some debate whether Jesse went on this raid, he said he did and boasting proudly of serving with war criminal "Bloody Bill" Anderson. Some historians argue at 15, he was too young. Given his track record, it is easy to believe that he did, also remember that he never had any qualms about murdering people.

During the Battle of Lincoln, Henry showed that he was incredibly brave man, with nerves of steel.
Billy's greatest moment of courage. On July 15th 1878, Billy and the Regulators were holding up in lawyer Alex McSween's house. They were surrounded by a local posse and a Federal Detachment of Army Soldiers. Billy volunteered to create a decoy escape, allowing the rest of the Regulators to get away. He and a few followers went out the back door of the McSween home, bringing an avalanche of gunfire down upon themselves. Somehow Billy escaped this suicide mission. But no one ever questioned Billy fearlessness or loyalty afterwards. He was willing to die for his friends.

Vicious Lie and Myth
The press and Sheriff Pat Garrett, which was controlled by the "House" faction, accused Billy of every crime imaginable, including rape. The one thing that every personal recollection and record from the time shows is that this accusation is a 100% LIE, totally false and without foundation. 
 Though printed in the press after Henry's death and hinted at by Pat Garrett and an open accusation from Governor Wallace, this accusation is a damnable, vicious, self-serving lie.

Sallie Chisum in her late 20's

Girls were quite taken by Henry's courting
On August 22, 1878, Sallie Chisum recorded a gift from Henry in her diary, "Two candi hearts given me by Willi(am) Bonney".  

Sallie Chisum said that the Kid showed up at the “baile’s”(ball) held at the Chisum South Spring Ranch:
“He was brimming over with light hearted gaiety and good humor…He always looked as if he had just stepped out of a band box. In a broad brimmed white hat, dark coat and vest, gray trousers worn over his boots, gray flannel shirt and black four in hand tie, and sometimes-- would you believe it?--a flower in his lapel and quite the dandy.”  Sallie Chisum,  the somewhat smitten niece of John Chisum the largest Cattle Baron in New Mexico, describing Billy the Kid

Sallie even defended Henry
"We never thought that Billy stole any of our cattle, and it would be difficult to make me believe that he did. He had been a good friend of ours for several years, it was hard to change him."
Sallie Chisum venturing an opinion
of Henry's reputation. Everyone said
Henry was always the same, a funny,
friendly boy, the same boy that he
had always been. She may have
overlooked some of his failings,
but she knew his heart.

In a time when cleanliness and hygiene did not have the importance that they have today, George Coe said: “If there was a clean shirt in town it was on Billy’s back”.  I guess that is what happens when your Mom ran a laundry while you were growing up.

Frederick Nolan wrote that Henry had written a letter to Sallie Chisum from the besieged the McSween residence, surrounded by Sheriff Peppin, the Dolan gang members, Colonel Dudley's troops. In midst of what must have seemed to be Armageddon, Henry found time to write a love letter. We don't know what it said, but Mr. Nolan indicates that it was delivered. Thanks, US Postal Service!  If it could be found, it would be a great letter to read.

Billy was actually very smart. While lost in the desert and thirsty, he suggested to his companions that they follow a fresh Indian trail because they would know where the springs were. Billy's companions suggested that following an Indian track might not be the best strategy. Billy responded, they will be doing what they were doing and they would have no reason to know that we are here. Eventually they must go for water. As long as we are on the lookout for them, we will be ready for them, if necessary, and if nothing happens, we'll find water.

"I'll not trouble these red-skins to follow me," said The Kid; "I
shall just trail them awhile."

"Don't you think," said Tom, "it would be better to take our
own trail, and follow that awhile?"

"No," replied The Kid. "Don't you see we have got to have wa-
ter? It's close by. Those breech-clouts are going straight to it. I be-
lieve a little flare up with twenty or thirty of tire sneaking curs would
make me forget I was thirsty, while it lasted, and give water the flavor
of wine after tire brigazee was over."

"Can't we wait," said Tom, "until they leave the water?"

"O," replied The Kid, "we'll not urge any fight with them; but
suppose they camp at the springs a week? They'll smell us out ten
miles off. I'd rather find them than that they should find us. I am
going to have water or blood, perhaps both."

Pat Garrett's version and his vernacular.  Henry wrote intelligently, even his misspellings are educated, phonetic guesses of words with which he wasn't familiar.
Henry probably didn't use these words, but the sentiment is probably accurate, except Garrett's last sentence,  "I am going to have water or blood, perhaps both." Which doesn't even sound like something anyone would say in real life. The people who knew Henry said that he never went looking for trouble, but it too often found him.
Henry had a couple of character traits which everyone recognized. He had both incredible focus and intensity. If he was a lookout, he probably could get away unscathed from even the Mescalero Apaches. Tracking Native Americans to find water was both intelligent and brave, two qualities which defined Henry.   He knew that following Indians would lead to water, if Henry and his friends were careful they would never be detected and no harm would come to anyone. That was the way he preferred it.


Sister Blandina Segale of Santa Fe, New Mexico is being considered for Sainthood.  Her work among the Native American and Hispanic community still resonates in the state. Her schools and hospitals still stand and still serve the people there.

She is reputed to have met Billy the Kid three times. Unfortunately, there were two known Billy the Kid's at the time and she knew both of them.

The first time occurred when one of Billy the Kid's friends had been shot in Colorado. The doctors of Trinidad, Colorado refused to treat the dying man in blinding betrayal of their Hippocratic Oath. Sister Blandina heard of the man's plight and went to him. For three months she took care of him, bringing him back to health.
She then heard a rumor that Billy the Kid was furious that the doctors had refused to treat his friend and were more than willing to allow the man to suffer and die. Billy the Kid supposedly went gunning for them. Sister Blandina intervened, seeking him out and begged him not to seek revenge. Billy the Kid promised he wouldn't.

Sometime later Sister Blandina was transferred to Santa Fe, New Mexico. She heard that Henry McCarty was in jail and  repeatedly went to see him there, spending many hours listening and comforting him.

Some time later, she was riding in a stage coach on June 9, 1878 and a group of masked riders approached.   One of the men on horseback took a moment to peer inside the coach when his eyes met Sister Blandina's eyes. The man gave a sign of recognition, doffed his hat and then bowed to the passengers; whereupon he and his friends rode away.
Sister Blandina later repeated the story and said that she recognized the man as William Bonney.
She would, like so many before her, later say how much she liked Henry.

Orphans are ferociously loyal to their friends and family

After Sister Blandina finds out about Billy the Kid's plan for revenge, she confronts him:

“Do you believe that with this knowledge I’m going to keep still?” Segale demanded, according to her journal.
“What are you going to do about it?” the man asked.
“Meet your gang at 2 p.m. this Saturday.”
She followed through on her promise. When Billy — whom Segale described as peach-complexioned and innocent-looking, except for a steely look in his eyes that “tell a set purpose, good or bad” — asked how he could repay the nun’s care for his friend, she asked that he “cancel” his plans to scalp the town’s doctors.
According to Segale, Billy looked down at his injured friend, who replied “She is game.” Then the outlaw and the nun shook hands.
“Life is a mystery,” Segale mused in her letter to Justina. “… One moment diabolical, the next angelical.”

The term "is game" meant to make a go of it or give something your OK in the Old West.

We do know that Sister Blandina did meet Henry and counseled in him in the Santa Fe Jail. She was well remembered for visiting prisoners. She did report that she liked him in her memoirs. One area of confusion, Sister Blandina may have met Arthur Pond who used the alias William LeRoy, an outlaw in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. He too was sometimes called Billy the Kid(kid was a very common nickname for young cowboys). Some sources think the first and last contact may have been with him. A point against this identification, the description of peach complexioned fit Henry, not Arthur however. Which story applies to which Billy is open to dispute, but historically they have been tied to Henry.
In her diary, published in 1932 as At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, Sister Blandina recorded her encounters with vigilantes and outlaws. Even as she chastised those who took the law into their own hands, she cared for the wounded criminals. In the late 1870s, she gave aid to a member of Billy the Kid’s gang, Happy Jack, after four other doctors had refused to help. The Kid wanted to kill them, but Sister Blandina discouraged him. This wasn’t William Bonney, but Arthur Pond, alias William LeRoy, who also went by the nickname. The outlaw later remembered the sister’s act of kindness and refrained from robbing a stage she was on after recognizing the nun on board.(TrueWest Magazine). She knew both of them and may have confused one with the other, but did right by them either way. But there is a common thread, neither was as bad as portrayed and Sister Blandina saw the good in both of them.

The Lincoln County War

Photo from the 1890's. The Dolan-Murphy Store and Lincoln County Courthouse is to the lower left, the Tunstall Store is down the road at upper center of the photo. Both buildings are still standing. The Tunstall Store was stolen by the "House" after they murdered John Tunstall, but sold after Dolan's death from alcoholism at the age of 49. It is now a US Post Office.

You can't tell the bad guys from the good guy.

  • ''At least two-hundred men have been killed in Lincoln County during the past three years, but I did not kill all of them.''---Billy the Kid to a reporter for the Daily New Mexican newspaper after his capture at Stinking Springs.

The war started when John Tunstall was murdered by Sheriff Brady's Posse of known outlaws. Henry and his friends, John Tunstall's employees, wanted to punish the corrupt people in Lincoln who murdered Tunstall. They called themselves "Regulators", because they wanted a return to law and order  and opposed the corruption of the "House" organization.

The Golden Rule in New Mexico and Lincoln County: He who has the GOLD, makes the rules!

Tunstall’s mercantile business put him into conflict with the powerful political, economic, and judicial structure that ruled New Mexico Territory. This group of men of  English decent was known as the Santa Fe Ring. Ring members included Thomas Catron (1840-1921), the boss, who was the Attorney General/US Attorney and a member of the Territory Council which actually governed New Mexico. He was the powerful man in the territory, integral in appointing sheriffs, DA's and Judges, all of whom owed patronage to him, personally.
Catron owned/STOLE 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km2) of land, and was one of the largest land holders in the history of the United States. Catron numbered the following men among his colleagues: William Rynerson, a district attorney, who had assassinated John P. Slough, the Chief Justice of New Mexico, and gotten away with it; Samuel Beach Axtell, the Territorial governor, who was fired for corruption by President Rutherford B. Hayes after the British Government protested the murder of John Tunstall; and Warren Bristol, a territorial judge, who would be the Judge who sentenced Billy to the death penalty. Judge Bristol was very close friends with Murphy and Dolan and his "Boss" Catron held the mortgage on "The House," so had a direct interest in its success in Lincoln and a vested interest in assuring the failure of the John Tunstall Store.
How did the "Ring" and "House" get so much land. One of their favorite tricks was outright theft or forgery and fraud. Spanish land grants were given by the King of Spain to Hispanic settlers of New Mexico in the 16th and 17th Centuries. They were still valid under US Law. Catron, Axtell, Murphy and Dolan would secretly and fraudulently sell land belonging to Spanish ranchers and homesteaders to new settlers at very steep terms. When these purchasers fell behind on their payments, which was very common waiting on the harvest, the "Ring" would act. Harvest was when farmers and ranchers would make almost all their income for the year. Catron, Axtell, Murphy and Dolan would cut the farmer and ranchers no slack, immediately "repossessing" the land and stealing the crops with expedited help from corrupt judges and DA's. Then they would re-sell the land to some new settler, a neat trick since they never owned the land. They also used every kind of chicanery to steal land through taxes, debts(Dolan-Murphy Store) and lawsuits. Which explains why corrupt Judges like Lincoln County Judge Bristol were so important to the "Ring" and "House".   Fraud and theft was a way of life to these men. They were experts by the time that they stole the Tunstall Store from John Tunstall. Men like Judge Bristol were expected to murder people using the death penalty, if they stood in the "Ring's" way.

The Torreon was built by Spanish inhabitants in Lincoln to protect the towns people from Apache attacks. During the Lincoln County War, it was the most hotly contested piece of territory for its defensive capability. Henry and the Regulators would use it as a refuge repeatedly, when the "House" wasn't in residence.

The Lincoln County War involved Billy and a group of hired guns defending a local merchant, John Tunstall,  who was battling an entrenched and corrupt group which controlled the county. The corrupt group led by the Murphy-Dolan store owners, James Dolan and Lawrence Murphy, and the "Ring" in Santa Fe, which ran the government and had a monopoly on trade, but also had side businesses where thye rustled cattle, stole horses, used beatings of and smearing political opponents,  murder, vandalism, extortion and corruption to get what they wanted.  Lincoln County Sheriff Brady had been an instrument of the conspiracy. Though they were supposedly seizing only his assets, Brady's posse always intended to murder John Tunstall, then take possession Tunstall's cattle, horses, store and the Flying H Ranch. Five of the deaths for which Billy is given credit, arose out of the Lincoln County War. There is no way to tell whether this is accurate, certainly the death toll of 14 "House" soldiers killed(2 wounded) and 8 "Regulator" soldiers killed(7 wounded) would indicate that the "Regulators" were luckier or better shots. Billy certainly had to be a part of the reason, but it would be ridiculous to give him sole credit.

After John Tunstall's funeral, Henry swore: 

"I'll get every son-of-a-bitch who helped kill John if it's the last thing I do."  

Henry explained why, using the terminology of a kid who grew up during the Civil War: 

"John Tunstall was the only man that ever treated me like I was freeborn and white."

Alex McSween's (1843-1878) and John Tunstall's graves (1853-1878) behind the Tunstall Store in Lincoln, along with a photo of the exterior(contemporary, built in 1877) and the interior of the store today.  Henry would actually hide under the floor boards, in the crawlspace, under Tunstall's bedroom in the back while on the run. Tunstall must have seen trouble coming, the adobe walls of his store and home were 3 feet thick, twice the normal--and certainly bullet proof. Also the shutters had steel plates built into them for added protection. Many times portrayed as naïve, in fact, Tunstall was very careful, except in his dealings with the law. He trusted them to be honest. The "House" posse which murdered him proved him wrong.

William H. McCarty becomes William H. Bonney
Henry decided that his new job and new life required a new name, so he took the name William H. Bonney. It was a family name and considering the life that fate chose for him, it seemed appropriate.
Henry worked for 24-year-old Tunstall, but also liked him, many said that Tunstall was like a big brother to Henry. He shared his books with the boy and gave him a gun, horse and saddle. The odd thing was, even though Henry was Irish and John was English,  friendship came naturally when you earned it. Henry took Tunstall's murder personally. Henry gladly took part in the ambush to assassinate the corrupt murderer of his friend and mentor, he had no hesitation because this murderer also happened to be sheriff.

A young McSween ranch hand, Francisco Gomez, described Henry this way for the WPA History  Project:

When I was about eighteen years old I went to work for the McSween's. I stayed with them for about two years. I remember that one winter Billy the Kid stayed with the McSween's for about seven months. I guess he boarded with them. He was an awfully nice young fellow with light brown hair, blue eyes, and rather big front teeth. He always dressed very neatly.
He used to practice target shooting a lot. He would throw up a can and would twirl his six gun on his finger and he could hit the can six times before it hit the ground. He rode a big roan horse about ten or twelve hands high, all that winter and when this horse was out in the pasture Billy would go to the gate and whistle and the horse would come up to the gate to him. That horse would follow Billy and mind him like a dog. He was a very fast horse and could out run most of the other horses around there. I never went out with Billy but once.

Henry is deputized by the Sheriff to help enforce the  Law for the First Time
Captain Baca was sheriff then and once some tough outlaws came to Lincoln and rode up and down the streets and shot out window lights in the houses and terrorized people. Captain Baca told Billy the Kid to take some men and go after these men. Billy took me and Florencio and Jose Chaves and Santano Mayes with him. The outlaws went to the upper Ruidoso and we followed them. We caught up with them and shot it out with them. One of the outlaws was killed and the other ran away. None of us were hurt.
When the Lincoln County war broke out my father did not want to get into it so he made me quit working for the McSween's and come home and stay there.

John Tunstall and Henry McCarty both loved Books
One day the Kid met Coe to help him cut oats on the Brewer ranch. As they rode through the valley, Billy pointed to a row of cowbirds sitting on a branch. As Frank said, he never saw Billy draw but he did see the birds tumble off their perch. As in all tragedies, the peculiar knack that brings success also brings ruination ...
Billy could understand Tunstall who, for all his funny accent and a library valued at $3,000, was also familiar with horses and cattle and loved the majestic country of the Rio Feliz, but McSween made him uncomfortable. The lawyer was a townsman, frail, round-shouldered, with dark hair, smoldering dark eyes, and a deep, rolling voice that sounded like a preacher's when he spoke of the evils of Murphy, Dolan, Riley, their hired gunmen, and the corrupt men who headed the Santa Fe Ring. Frank Coe

Alex McSween had studied to be a Presbyterian Preacher before changing course and becoming a lawyer. But he never lost that arrogant, self-righteous air which he used to express his superiority in the theological seminary.

John Tunstall, a member of a wealthy merchant family from England, who opened a store in Lincoln County creating serious competition for the Dolan-Murphy Store which was the largest commercial enterprise in the county. Tunstall was the employer, friend and mentor to Henry McCarty, Billy the Kid.

Murphy and Dolan; Both men served in the US Army and were suspected of fraud in supplying both the Army and Apache Post in and around Lincoln after the war. They had a monopoly in supplying beef to the US Army and Mescalero Apaches under a US Government Contract. They did not like competition.  Dolan at 5'2" was the more dangerous of the two, willing to do anything, including murder, to get what he wanted. Murphy was the more financially astute, but his health was failing, as it did, the financial well being of their enterprise floundered, aggravated by the fact that both men were suspected alcoholics. Eventually, despite murdering Tunstall, the  "Ring" and the "House" would suffer bankruptcy. Dolan's home is now a restaurant, which, according to Yelp, serves great food. 

Jimmy Dolan as a drummer boy during the Civil War

Sheriff Brady as a younger man from Sallie Chisum photos

Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan, the two men who controlled Lincoln County, New Mexico. The man sitting in the middle is Emile Fritz, whose probate case would lead to the Lincoln County War. They and their rich brethren throughout the state were called the "Ring", the "House", which worked for the "Ring", ran everything in Lincoln County.  After Sheriff Brady murdered John Tunstall, they stole his property and split it among the conspirators. Corrupt Sheriff Brady was later assassinated for his part in the murder.

Sheriff Brady very close to the time he was shot for murdering John Tunstall, From The American Experience PBS Billy the Kid

When too many of the residents of Lincoln switched their business to Tunstall’s store, Murphy-Dolan began a slide into bankruptcy, and Catron’s bottom line was affected. Murphy and Dolan tried to put Tunstall out of business, first harassing him legally, then trying to goad him into a gunfight. They hired the most vicious gunmen, most of whom were members of the Jesse Evans Gang, known as "The Boys" and the Seven Rivers Gang. All men capable of murder, without remorse. 
Tunstall recruited supporters of his own: half a dozen local small ranchers and cowboys from those who disliked Murphy and Dolan. These men worked his ranch and protected him while he tried to settle his conflict with Murphy/Dolan. One of Tunstall's employees was the 17-year-old William Bonney (aka Henry McCarty, aka William Henry Antrim, Austin, El Chivato, Billy the Kid), he would turn out to be the bravest man on either side. 

The event that changed Billy's life, the murder of John Tunstall by the "House" and Sheriff Brady

Lincoln resident Emil Fritz had died leaving his estate to his sister and brother. Since Fritz died in Europe, processing his estate was going to take longer than it would normally. The Executor would have to get a copy of the death certificate, then travel to New York to retrieve $10,000 in life insurance, he then have to come back to Lincoln to inventory assets, pay all claims against the estate, then pay taxes and fees, formally probate the will in court, at which point he could then disburse the remaining estate to Fritz's family.
Originally Sheriff William Brady was the executor of Emil Fritz's estate for over two years, but hadn't  accomplished anything in probate. Since Sheriff Brady hadn't made any progress, the family asked Attorney Alex McSween to take over. By November 1876, Alex McSween arrived in New York and met with the insurance company, but there was going to be a delay in the payment. McSween then proceeded to borrow $700 in the name of the estate from the insurance company so he could begin the probate process. When Alex arrived back in Lincoln, he put the money in a trust account. 
At the same time McSween forms a partnership with another lawyer, David Shield, who is the local Notary.  They set up their law office in the Tunstall building next to the Tunstall Store. Tunstall also is a partner in a bank that will also operate in the Tunstall Building. 
As Executor of Emile's estate, McSween had a duty to pay off all of his debts, pay all outstanding fees and taxes, including his own executor's fee, which governed by law, before releasing any money to the family. He must also put an ad in the paper for a couple of weeks asking anyone with a claim against the estate to present their claim to him, then give them a reasonable amount of time to come forward.  On July, 19, 1877, the New York banking firm of Donnell, Lawson & Co wires the $7,148.49  to McSween, which is put in the trust account. McSween asked the probate court for more time to settle the estate and pay bills. His request was granted.
Dolan went to the Fritz family and told them that McSween had embezzled their money. They went together to Judge Bristol to issue the writ seizing Tunstall's assets, his store and ranch, on the fictitious basis that they were partners in those businesses. 

The bottom line, after all claims, debts, taxes and fees were paid by Alex McSween, only $2,000 remained to be dispersed to the family. The troubles began because Dolan-Murphy wanted all of it for themselves, forget debts, forget taxes.... Certainly if Sheriff Brady had been able to close probate within the 2 years that he was executor, then they would have stolen it all, though they may have given some percentage to the Fritz family. But all the other lien holders and tax payers would have been left high and dry, through the help of Rynerson and Bristol.  The only one stopping them was Executor Alex McSween. He had to go.

It is at this point that Judge Bristol became a part of the conspiracy. 

Now, there is some debate whether Alex McSween deliberately held up probate to delay paying any money to Dolan-Murphy, hoping to push them into bankruptcy. That is quite possible. Dolan-Murphy were legitimate lien holders against the estate. Though John Tunstall treated Henry well, reading his letters home to his family, it appears that he intended to drive Dolan-Murphy out of business, then take their place. So in the end, no one knows how much better off everyone would be.

Frank Coe said that he and Henry weren't particularly close to Alex McSween, but they genuinely liked John Tunstall. This is probably because John adapted to being a Westerner, while Alex always came across as a preachy city slicker. Alex was already having trouble with Murphy-Dolan when he met John Tunstall in Santa Fe. McSween also felt that the Ring/House were corrupt and ruining it for everyone else. He talked the young Englishman into coming to Lincoln and opening a store, to make his fortune. But he failed to tell John about how ruthless Dolan-Murphy and the "Ring" were and the danger of going into business in direct competition with them, including the fact that his life might be at risk.

After the death of her husband, Susan McSween was in contact with the Tunstall family in England, which sent her a great deal of money to pursue retrieving John Tunstall's Store, horses and cattle in court----another fortune on top of the money they had already lost. They eventually became very resentful of everyone involved, on both sides, because they lost two fortunes and got nothing back.  

Like so much of this story, too many people seem to have had an angle, only looking out for themselves and their own personal profit, which makes Dick Brewer and Henry McCarty's integrity and loyalty shine that much brighter. Neither young man was out for money or any other selfish goal; they were only seeking justice for their dead friend. 

The people who knew them, respected them, liked them and enjoyed their company. Both men were just one of the guys. If there are heroes in this story, those heroes are Dick and Henry, because they were brave, selfless and honorable. And they put their own lives on the line for their friends.

February 18, 1878, the War Begins
On 18 February 1878, Tunstall and several of his ranch hands, including William Bonney, were driving nine horses from Tunstall's ranch on the Rio Feliz to Lincoln. A posse deputized by Lincoln Sheriff Brady went to Tunstall's ranch on the Feliz to attach his cattle on a fraudulent warrant that had been issued against his business partner, McSween. Finding Tunstall, his hands, and the horses gone, a sub-posse broke from the main posse and went in pursuit. But the odd thing was that the horses that Billy was helping drive were not covered by the writ, which was specifically to seize Tunstall's cattle. It turned out that that really didn't matter.

It is now believed that US Attorney Tom Catron, Member of the Territorial Council and US Attorney as head of the "Ring," came up with the plan to seize Tunstall and McSween's assets with the fraudulent writ, then murder the two men.  Nothing personal, it was just business.

 Thomas Catron stole 3,000,000 acres of land from Hispanics settlers and Native Americans and also gave the order to murder John Tunstall, Alex McSween and Billy the Kid. If there is a villain in this story, Catron certainly qualifies. Catron was the most corrupt of the corrupt, with no morals or conscience and as cold-blooded a murderer as the west ever saw.

This  is the fraudulent writ issued to "House" Sheriff Brady by "House" Judge Bristol, which allowed the posse to STEAL/seize the assets of John Tunstall as a "partner" of Alex McSween, including 360 head of cattle.  It also provided an excuse for these corrupt men to murder Tunstall and McSween as well.

Though nominally headed by Deputy Bill Mathews, the Tunstall murder posse was in fact led by vicious outlaw Jesse Evans. Sheriff Brady and James Dolan wanted Tunstall and McSween dead, there was no better man for the job than cold-blooded murderer Jesse Evans, shown above.
Jesse J. Evans was believed to have been born in Missouri, although some historians believe he was born in Texas. He was half-Cherokee, and a graduate of Washington and Lee College in Virginia. It is unknown as to what caused Evans to go from a promising life to that of an outlaw. A turning point: he was arrested with both his mother and his father on June 26, 1871, in Elk City, Kansas, for passing counterfeit money. He was released shortly thereafter, and by 1872 he moved to New Mexico.
Sheriff Brady did not accompany the posse, but testimony later indicated that James Dolan had, because he wanted to witness Tunstall's killing. Later during trial testimony to this effect, "House" District Attorney William Rynerson objected and "House" Judge Bristol peremptorily ruled this testimony inadmissible, helping guarantee that Dolan would be acquitted of the murder that he ordered and orchestrated.

Rancher and Store owner John Tunstall and his Lawyer and partner Alex McSween.

The first act or justice or revenge by the Regulators, well told though not strictly told according to the facts: Scene from Phantom of Lincoln, the Regulators Strike Back

Billy would later say that John Tunstall "was the only man who ever treated me decent".

Judge Bristol appointed by the corrupt New Mexico Territory Governor Axtell at the prompting of corrupt Ring Boss New Mexico Attorney General Thomas Catron. This group ran New Mexico. Judge Bristol was a close friend of Dolan and Murphy, he was the "House's" corrupt Judge. He sentenced Billy to die on May 13th 1880, which was also Friday the 13th, probably for the humor.  He was the prime enforcer of the corrupt Ring in Lincoln. Helping implement Catron swindle of Tunstall and McSween's assets and actively protected their murderers.  Probably the second most dishonest law enforcement official in New Mexico, only because DA Rynerson set the bar so high. District Attorney Rynerson murdered the Chief Justice of New Mexico and obstructed the Grand Jury investigation of the cold-blooded murder of John Tunstall by Sheriff Brady, but Bristol was a close second, committing the legal murder of Henry McCarty.

A Fraud and Murder committed by “House” Lincoln County Judge Warren Bristol, the same man who would sentence Billy the Kid to hang

We now know that Dolan-Murphy had offered a reward to anyone who would murder McSween or Tunstall, but the two men were too cautious, so they turned to Judge Bristol as a means to murder them.

Attorney Alex McSween's reaction to this fraudulent writ by Judge Bristol was to send a note to John Tunstall, outlining a strategy to reclaim their property from Murphy Dolan in court.

What he didn't realize was that by this point Attorney General Catron had taken over the "House," because of the lien he held against its assets. He governed Lincoln County through his brother-in-law and made it clear that he had no intention of a peaceful settlement. He would kill people and steal Tunstall's store, ranch, cattle, horses. Judge Bristol would give him the means to do it.

Brady's Posse, made up of Evans, Hill, Morton (and probably Frank Baker) rode ahead after Tunstall. Evans, Morton, and Hill caught Tunstall and his men a few miles from Lincoln, in an area covered with scrub timber. Tunstall, the nine horses, and his hands were spread out along the narrow trail. Bonney, who was riding drag, alerted the others. The deputies began firing without warning. Tunstall's hands galloped off through the brush to a hilltop overlooking the trail. 

Henry screamed a warning to his boss to run.

Henry knew these guys were up to no good and high-tailed it for the hills, far enough away that he was safe, but close enough to see what was going on.  If he stayed, Henry knew that he would be dead too.

But Tunstall stayed with his horses, thinking all he had to do was speak to the posse and he could straighten the matter out.

Only the three deputies survived the confrontation. Most historians believe that Tunstall approached the posse slowly and asked to speak to them, as reported by witnesses, having his hands up. He mistakenly believed that he could reason with the posse, surrender the horses, then settle the matter in court later.

CRY HAVOC And Let Slip The Dogs of War
William Shakespeare JULIUS CAESAR

That was never the intent of Sheriff Brady's Posse.  As Tunstall approached them with his hands up, they shot him through the breast with a rifle, another approached him on the ground where he had fallen, to administer a "coup de grace" shot in the back of his head with a revolver. The posse faked the crime scene, removing Tunstall's gun and firing it, then arranging it near his body. This type of set-up was a common gambit in the Wild West. Tunstall's hands reported the ambush and murder, so no one in Lincoln  believed the deputies' "resisting arrest" account. As perverted final note, the posse killed Tunstall's horse and put Tunstall's hat under its head as a joke, then they took a blanket and put it under Tunstall's head as a pillow, to make it look like they were both napping.

Small Town Politics in Lincoln, New Mexico could echo the Byzantine Empire: Regulator Florencio Chavez, Henry McCarty's close friend and ally, was married to Theodora Brady, the daughter of Sheriff William Brady.

Henry was actually a sworn officer of the Law twice, this time he was legally deputized by the Lincoln Justice of the Peace or Alcade, John "Green" Wilson, to look for the murderers of John Tunstall

"House" Sheriff Brady had orchestrated the murder of storeowner John Tunstall, then proceeded to STEAL/seize all of Tunstall's assets. John Tunstall's employees and friends went to a local justice of the peace, Squire "Green" Wilson, asking him to swear out  warrants for the arrest of the posse members who murdered John Tunstall. They received the warrants and Henry and his friends were sworn in and deputized to help with the arrest.

When the deputies went to arrest the murderers, Sheriff Brady got the drop on them and instead arrested Henry and the other deputies. Out of sheer viciousness, Sheriff Brady kept Henry in jail 3 days, so he missed John Tunstall's funeral. Sheriff Brady admired Henry's new Winchester '73 so much that he seized it, some would say he stole it. Though he dropped the phony charges almost immediately, he failed to return Henry's gun to him.  John Tunstall gave the gun and a horse to Henry when he came to work for him. Another example of petty vindictiveness by Sheriff Brady and the "House".

''Because I had the power.'' Sheriff William Brady, when asked why he arrested Special Deputies Fred Waite, William H. Bonney and Constable Atanacio Martinez. Charges were dropped after Tunstall's funeral.

A photo of the Regulators in 1878, Billy is in the middle on the left.

April 1, 1878, April Fools Day

With the murder of Tunstall, the arrest of Billy and the other deputized Regulators, the Lincoln County War moved into high gear. Estimates vary, but the death toll falls between 50 and 200. Both sides engaged in ambushes, battles and summary executions. 
The most famous event was the ambush of Sheriff Brady and four of his deputies on Main Street in Lincoln on April Fools Day 1878. The Sheriff and his House henchmen intended to arrest Tunstall lawyer Alex McSween.  McSween was being arrested based on the perjured accusation of embezzlement.  McSween did not carry a gun. The Regulators had no doubt that Alex would never make it to jail alive.
Sheriff Brady and his deputies were walking down main street when they were ambushed by Regulators who hid themselves in the alley behind the fence leading to the Tunstall Corral. Sheriff Brady and Deputy George Hindman are hit and fall, everyone else scatters. Billy took a moment to retrieve his Winchester 73 from Sheriff Brady, who had stolen it when he arrested Billy. While picking up his rifle, Billy is shot, a glancing wound in his butt or thigh.

Out of the possible 50 deaths in the Lincoln County War, this would be the only killing ever prosecuted and Billy would be the only one ever convicted. 

Billy the Kid, one of the Regulators, probably barely 17-years-old; note that Henry is wearing his famous Sombrero with a green band, which would become his trademark. Most people think of a straw hat, but a sombrero was actually a round hat with a very large brim of any material, this is the kind that Henry wore. He also appears to be wearing a highly ornate Mexican shirt with a colorful design.

"When I was a kid, I always thought that I would grow up to be a hero," Butch Cassidy, Western Gentleman Bandit
In April 1878, a grand jury under control of Judge Bristol was convened in Lincoln to look into recent events, including charges that Alex McSween embezzled the Estate of the Emil Fritz.  They looked into John Tunstall's murder. A newspaper report gives you an idea of where Judge Bristol's prejudices lay.  Bristol spent over an hour and hundreds of words, taking up 3 columns in the newspaper, discussing McSween's "embezzlement", but less than 60 words on the posse's murder of  John Tunstall.  The Grand Jury refused to indict Alex McSween. Jurors in Lincoln knew the truth and wouldn't indict an innocent man.
  • April 28, 1878 Dolan and Riley decide to temporarily suspend all business at the Dolan Store.
  • On May 3, 1878 D Attorney General Catron sends his brother in law, Edgar Walz, to take over the House Store. As the owner of the mortgage on the House, he is 100% in charge from this point on.

The Convento, which served as the Courthouse of Lincoln County until Dolan-Murphy Store was converted later. The Grand Jury under Judge Bristol met here. The name arises from the fact that it was later sold to the Catholic Church as a home for Nuns.

Battle of Blazer's Mill

Buckshot Roberts had been one of the nineteen men who murdered John Tunstall. Three days after the regulators ambushed Sheriff Brady and Deputy George Hindman,  they went looking for other members of the "House's" murderer's posse. They caught up with Buckshot at Blazer's Mill. He was able to barricade himself in an out building and put up one hell of a fight. He wounded 5 of the regulators and killed Dick Brewer, who led the posse, he also shot off the trigger finger of George Coe and grazed Henry's arm.   Buckshot and Dick Brewer were buried together, sharing the same grave.

George Coe showing off his wound from Buckshot Roberts in later life, a contemporary photo of George from the time of the Lincoln County War.  The Coes were very close friends of Henry McCarty. Frank Coe said that Buckshot was afraid of Henry, because Henry had sworn revenge against the murderers of John Tunstall and he meant it----and Buckshot knew he meant it.

Dick Brewer, John Tunstall's Foreman, and close friend and Big Brother to Billy the Kid. Dick had performed a citizen's arrest of Henry for stealing a horse from the Tunstall ranch. Jailed, John went to talk to Henry, found out that he liked the Kid, he chose to drop the charges and hired Henry to work on his ranch. Dick Brewer became a big brother to Henry. John Tunstall's murder and Dick Brewer's death were devastating to Henry.  Like most orphans, Henry showed ferocious loyalty to people who were good to him. Though his nature was generous and forgiving, for the murder of Tunstall, Brewer and McSween, Henry showed them that those who sow the wind, will reap the whirlwind. He was going to get justice one way or the other.

The Battle of Lincoln

An exchange from the beginning of the siege of Alex McSween's House by Dolan forces:

"What do you want?" McSween called out.
"I have warrants for you and others in the house," Turner shouted. "Will you surrender?"
"We have warrants for you," McSween replied.
"Show us your warrants," Turner yelled, "Where are they?"
Jim French replied for McSween, "They're in our guns, you cocksucking, sons of bitches"

The West of Billy the Kid, Frederick Nolan, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1998. Page 161

On July 15, 1878, when the Regulators were surrounded in Lincoln at the McSween home, along with Alex McSween and his law partner Harvey Morris. Facing them were the Dolan/Murphy/Seven Rivers cowboys, led by Sheriff George Peppin. On July 19, after numerous exchanges of gunfire over a four-day period, 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 p.m., the Regulators and McSween made plans to break free of the 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 Morris. Some US Cavalry troopers had arrived by that time, with instructions to make arrests to avoid executions by the Dolan Faction, and they'd taken up position in the back yard to take those left into custody. However, a close-order gunfight erupted, and McSween was killed, as was Seven Rivers cowboy Bob Beckwith.
With McSween dead, the Lincoln County War was effectively over. Wikipedia

Today the McSween Compound is a vacant lot. 

Attorney Alex McSween died in the Battle of Lincoln, by Linda P. Hart, shows the McSween house as it appeared on July 19.  Dolan/Murphy men, wanted the US Army involved, even though the Commander of Fort Stanton, Colonel Dudley, was under orders to stay out of the "local matter".

General Pope telegraphed headquarters, New Mexico, to instruct the commanding officer at Fort Stanton to take no action, whatever, in any disturbances, until summoned by U.S. officers as a posse to execute the mandates of a U.S. Court.

Fort Stanton, New Mexico

The man who ended the Lincoln County War,  Colonel Nathan Dudley, Commander of Fort Stanton 11 miles away from the town of Lincoln. The Posse Comitatus Act made it illegal for soldiers to be used for police actions against American Citizens.
However, James Dolan requested, some say bribed, Colonel Dudley to send a company of soldiers and a Gatling Gun to Lincoln, NM. the next time they needed supplies for Fort Stanton. Dolan's hope was that the soldiers would get caught in the cross fire and then come to the House's aid. Which is exactly what happened.
Commander Dudley had his excuse to help Dolan-Murphy, The Regulators didn't stand a chance. The Regulators couldn't fire on the soldiers, didn't want to in fact, but the Dolan men hid among the army soldiers as cover. Most Regulators were hold up at Alex McSween's compound on Main Street(now called Billy the Kid Trail) or at the Ellis Hotel just outside of town. The Regulators were hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded.  Realizing their peril, Alex McSween tried to negotiate the Regulators surrender. When he attempted to meet with Dolan to surrender, waving his handkerchief as a white flag, Alex McSween was shot and killed by Dolan's men who broke out in laughter.

As one western historian put it, the forces of law and order were more corrupt than any but the worst criminals. It must be remembered that when Dolan hired the Jesse Evans Gang and the Seven Rivers Gang to murder John Tunstall. They were the worst outlaws in New Mexico by every measure. By having Sheriff Brady deputize these outlaws, law and order went, if it hadn't already, over to the dark side.

After the war ended, Colonel Nathan Dudley was brought up on charges of violating the Posse Comitatus Act.  Henry went to Ft. Stanton and testified on July 19, 1878, as did many other Regulators.  Susan McSween was one of the star witnesses, telling how Alex had come forward waving a white handkerchief, then being gunned down to a cascade of laughter from Dolan and his men. She never forgave Colonel Dudley for the murder of her husband. Since the facts were not in dispute and self-evident, offering proof that Colonel Dudley fired on civilians outside his jurisdiction. But, the fix was in and he was acquitted of all charges. The power of the Ring and the House in Santa Fe got the Colonel an acquittal. More proof that Governor Lew Wallace didn't have any problem helping people who broke the law, if their politics were Republican and corrupt.

The bravest person during the Lincoln County War
The only one in total control of his faculties during the Siege of Lincoln was Henry McCarty. Susan McSween visited the Regulators and was very much impressed by the fearlessness and clear headed mind of the boy. Even 40 years later living in White Oaks, she still spoke fondly and respectfully of Henry. She understood the hopelessness of her husband and most others there, but it was Henry's refusal to give in to despair which stood out in her memory. Henry took charge and devised a plan in which some of them escaped alive. The murder of Alex McSween proves that the soldiers and Dolan men were intent on a massacre.
Years later Susan McSween would become a wealthy rancher herself in White Oak, New Mexico, long after Dolan and Murphy were broke and dead. She at least came out a winner, but at an incredible cost.

Probable photo of Alex McSween, lawyer and friend of Billy the Kid, Sallie Chisum photo collection. McSween had originally intended to become a Presbyterian Minister, but dropped out before completing his education. He then chose law school. People who knew him said that he preached at people and wouldn't let things go. Some described him as a self-righteous prig.

Billy actually sought peace and an end to the War...

Billy the Kid asked Dolan for a meeting, saying too many people had been killed. They reached an agreement and everyone expected the agreement to last. Unfortunately, during the war, strangers and desperados had come into town to take part in the fight, including one sociopath named William Campbell who worked for Murphy/Dolan. 
A few days after the agreement, William Campbell shot and killed Attorney Huston Chapman in cold blood. Chapman had no connection to the war. Chapman  had been hired by Susan McSween to get pardons for the Regulators, including Henry.  He was also serving as Susan McSween's personal lawyer in suing Colonel Dudley and the "House" for murdering her un-armed husband and burning down the McSween house.  And to retrieve assets stolen by Dolan-Murphy.

Chapman's murder ended the truce. The only question which remained was whether Campbell was acting on his own volition or at the direction of the "House"/"Ring".  Historians are divided as to which. But the suspicion remains that he was acting under orders. If true, this shows the pure evil and vindictiveness of the Ring. By now Attorney General Catron was managing partner of the Murphy-Dolan Store, with the passing of Lawrence Murphy in 1878. Catron had already murdered Tunstall and McSween, he had one more murder for a clean sweep. Henry McCarty was the only threat left to Catron's total control and corruption of Lincoln County.

Governor Wallace never gave Billy the Kid the pardon he promised. He lied to Henry. 

Over 50 men were indicted for their part in the war, including multiple murders. DA William Rynerson and his deputy Simon Newcomb dropped charges against most of them, orchestrated acquittals for the rest. Susan McSween had pushed to have Colonel Dudley indicted for arson in burning down the McSween home, Bristol threw out the charge on jurisdictional grounds. 

The British Government filed a formal complaint over the murder of John Tunstall and demanded an investigation. Responding to their pressure and the turmoil created by the Lincoln County War, President Hayes fired Governor Axtell and appointed General Lew Wallace to replace him.  Then a grand jury was impaneled to investigate his murder and to satisfy the British.

In a meeting with Governor Lew Wallace, Billy offered to give testimony in return for a pardon,  he would turn himself in and testify before the grand jury about the murder of John Tunstall and the Lincoln County War. He kept his word. The evidence shows that every word Henry said to the Grand Jury was the truth.  

A change of Venue and the Fix is in
The Grand Jury indicted 50 people, mostly "House" soldiers, involved in the Lincoln County War. The Grand Jury had been made up of citizens of Lincoln County. Bristol and Rynerson knew that they could suppress physical evidence and damning eyewitness testimony against "House" operatives, by using orchestrated objections and suppression motions by DA Rynerson, which Judge Bristol would grant.
But their chances for winning convictions against Regulators were less assured. The people of Lincoln knew the truth and knew Henry and his friends personally.  He would have gotten a fair trial in Lincoln and Catron, Rynerson and Bristol couldn't allow that to happen. They wanted Henry dead, not Justice.

Henry's trial was moved from Lincoln because Bristol and Rynerson weren't sure that they could get a conviction in Lincoln because of Henry's popularity. That eliminated Fort Sumner as well.  Mesilla was far enough away that the two conspirators thought that they could ram through a conviction.  Mesilla was the home of Attorney General Thomas Catron. Many of its citizens were tenant farmers on his land. Voting against his interests could get them kicked off the land they farmed, leaving them, their wives and children, homeless and hungry. 
Thomas Catron had been the Republican District Attorney for Dona Ana County. In 1868, President Rutherford B. Hayes(R) appointed him the territorial Attorney General allowing Catron to appoint his successor and Billy the Kid prosecutor, Simon Newcomb, who had been his protégé. Both men were members of the "Ring".

Judge Bristol chose a jury which couldn't speak English.  Ring DA and Rynerson Ally, Simon Newcomb was appointed to prosecute the case.  Judge Bristol barred Henry's lawyer, Ira Leonard, from representing him in the Brady trial and then proceeded to appoint counsel for him.  Leonard was a damn good lawyer, he had gotten a charge of murder against Henry thrown out in regard the Andrew Buckshot Roberts killing on Mescalero Apache tribal land. Appointing substitute counsel, Albert Fountain, someone unfamiliar with the case, made Henry's defense that much more difficult if not impossible.

Though everyone agreed that Henry had not fired the shot which killed Sheriff Brady, Judge Bristol's Jury Instructions made it clear that he wanted a conviction and the death penalty: He told the jury, if Henry was anywhere near the shooting, he was guilty and should hang.  

Before his trial in Mesilla, Henry was given a haircut in this barber chair. 

The Mesilla Courthouse where Henry was tried and convicted later became the Elephant Butte Saloon and a feed store, when the new courthouse was built, today it is the Billy the Kid Gift Shop. Note that at some point the corner of the building was shaved off.

Governor Lew Wallace and Sheriff Pat Garrett knew that John Selman was guilty of multiple murders, robberies and rapes. But they chose to go after, and kill, Henry "Billy the Kid" McCarty. Selman never spent a day in jail. Pretty good for a rapist-murderer and armed robber.

As a rancher in New Mexico, ex-Confederate John Selman was a vigilante, who pursued rustlers and outlaws, employing summary execution as punishment. Then John Selman's wife died. He sent his four kids away and formed a vicious outlaw gang. He was accused of multiple cases of horse theft, robbery, cattle rustling, violent rape and murder. He was a violent rapist, which in the West was regarded an unpardonable crime. More men were lynched for rape than any other cause.  He was smart, so he and his gang never left any witnesses. It was believed that the rape of women and girls as young as 13 put him beyond the pale of even the worst criminals. Since he never left any witnesses, he was not arrested or tried for his crimes. 
He later went to Texas and became a lawman, his most famous act was shooting John Wesley Hardin. Probably one of the few good things he ever did in his life. 

Pat Garrett never solved the many crimes committed by John Selman, proving that while he was a pretty good bounty hunter in hunting down "Billy the Kid",  he wasn't nearly as good when it came to solving crimes which required an actual criminal investigation.  If it took hard work to solve a crime, Pat Garrett was the man who couldn't catch the worst criminals.

Jesse Evans, the worst criminal in New Mexico

Pat Garrett knew Jesse Evans personally, going back to when Garrett had been a bartender at Bob Hargrove's Saloon in Fort Sumner. Billy knew him too, he had temporarily joined him and his gang after he left the Jones Ranch, but decided they were too vicious and far outside of the law for him. Pat knew Jesse was guilty of multiple murders, for profit.  And horse theft, rustling and several assaults. He was also a paid "House" assassin.
The Regulators couldn't shoot at Dolan's men during the Siege of Lincoln, because they were afraid of hitting US Soldiers. Jesse Evans had no such problem, he murdered with impunity. 
Jesse and a couple of his buddies had a verbal disagreement with some US ARMY  Cavalry Officers from Fort Seldon at a bar in Las Cruces, NM on December 31, 1875. After Jesse and his men left the bar, they hid in wait to ambush the soldiers. They murdered two of the Officers, plus one civilian and wounded several others soldiers and civilians.  Later, on the lamb after another crime spree, he murdered a Texas Ranger who had been in pursuit of him.
But the fix was in for this "Ring" Assassin. Jesse knew that he could do anything he wanted and he could get away with it. He knew that William Brady and Pat Garrett knew it to.  Justice didn't mean Justice for all in New Mexico, it meant injustice for some and a free ride for others.
Only the Hispanic Ranchers and Farmers he stole from, assaulted and murdered would have to pay for John Selman's and Jesse Evan's crime sprees.
Jesse died of old age in his own bed, proving crime pays.

 BILLY THE KID     $500 Reward I will pay $500 reward to any person or persons who will capture William Bonny, alias The Kid, and deliver him to any sheriff of New Mexico. Satisfactory proofs of identity will be required.

Governor Lew Wallace placed this ad in the Las Vegas, New Mexico Gazette December 1880, the only existing wanted poster/notice about "The Kid".    Any other poster is phony, a latter day creation aimed at tourists.

November 30, 1880.  The killing of Deputy James Carlyle. Carlyle was mistakenly shot and killed by his own posse who thought that they were shooting Billy during the siege of the Greathouse Ranch. Of course the posse blamed the killing on the Kid, which caused him to lose what little favor he had with the public and not to mention any hopes of receiving a pardon from the governor. After looking into the shooting by reading the eyewitnesses' accounts and the posse's behavior at the scene of the crime, evidence appears to be absolutely convincing against the posse. If the Kid had been tried for this murder, he most likely would've been acquitted due to circumstantial evidence and the testimony of some posse members who admitted that it was their error. Billy the Kid would not get the credit for his innocence, nor the facts as they were then known, either by law enforcement or by the press, so Henry was blamed regardless for killing Carlyle, even though he was innocent. 

Sheriff Pat Garrett caught up with Henry and the Regulators at remote Stinking Springs after trailing them from Fort Sumner. He lay siege to the remote house in which they took shelter against the snow and cold.

Around this time, Garrett sparks a conversation with the Kid, by asking him how he and his men are doing inside the house. "Pretty well, but we have no wood to get breakfast," replied the Kid.
"Come out and get some. Be a little sociable," said Garrett.
"Can't do it, Pat. Business is too confining. No time to run around," responded the Kid.

Stinking Springs hideout of Billy and the Regulators. Pat Garrett and his "Panhandle Posse"(Cowboys recruited from Texas) forced the surrender of Billy and his friends. 

And one of the most respected historians of the period and for Billy in particular is Frederick Nolan.   Here is a great article which gives you the facts about Billy's capture at Stinking Springs:

Sheriff Pat Garrett confiscated Henry's beloved nameless horse, nameless only because no one ever recorded or mentioned her name after Henry died. He gave it to  a member of the Texas posse, Frank Stewart. Stewart later received an expensive gun from his friend, Hotel Owner Scoot Moore. Out of reciprocity, he gave Henry's horse to Scoot Moore's wife. The family kept the horse and named it, Kid Stewart Moore. Everyone agreed that she was a fantastic mare, fast and strong, but never doubted that her heart belonged to Henry.

Governor Wallace implied that Henry was a homosexual in an interview 20 years after "the Kid's" death to smear him; Proof that the governor was a liar, from the deputies guarding Henry in Fort Sumner

After their capture at Stinking Springs, Henry and his compatriots were taken to Ft. Sumner: "At the Maxwell house, the men found "Mother" Maxwell, Deluvina, and Paulita. Mrs. Maxwell asked if Billy could be freed long enough to go into the next room with Paulita and "talk awhile". Although the two probably had things other than escape in mind, East and Hall believed "it was only a stall of Billy's: to make a run for liberty." They refused, and as East told it, "The lovers embraced, and she gave Billy one of those soul kisses that novelists tell us about, till it being time to hit the trail for Vegas, we had to pull them apart, much against our wishes, for you know all the world loves a lover." Billy the Kid, A Short Violent Life/Robert M. Utley University of Nebraska Press(1989)/Amazon/Barnes and Noble

In 1881, after Pat Garrett shot and killed Henry, Governor Wallace gave an interview in which he accused Henry of being a rapist, without any evidence whatsoever. Afterwards this vague story was repeated by the press and Pat Garrett included it in his "Authentic Life of Billy the Kid". Only one problem, no woman ever made this accusation on or off the record during Henry's lifetime, no Sheriff ever made this charge, no member of the press ever offered any details or proof, other than to repeat Wallace's baseless accusation.
Henry's friends were unanimous, even acquaintances and townspeople who didn't know Henry personally, said it was not true, that this accusation was a VICIOUS LIE.

Two legally accepted reasons for justifiable homicide in the US in the 1880's, were, accusing someone of being a homosexual or accusing them of rape. That was not acceptable conduct by anyone in decent society and actually constituted criminal libel and/or slander.  You had the legal right to kill anyone who made such an accusation.
Any psychologist or psychiatrist can tell you that these two behaviors are almost always mutually exclusive, unless their is mental illness.  No one ever thought Henry was mentally ill.

Why did Governor Wallace and Pat Garrett lie about Henry McCarty?
Both men expected to be hailed as heroes after killing Henry, but it didn't turn out that way.
Immediately after Billy's death, Pat Garrett decided to run for the Council/Senate which governed New Mexico Territory, of which Thomas Catron was also a member, but lost in a landslide and proceeded to lose almost every other election that he ran in New Mexico afterwards. He was appointed Sheriff of Dona Ana County by Attorney General Catron who owned 80% of the county, but that was political patronage, not popularity. 
Henry's death on July 14, 1881 was the beginning of a downward spiral for Pat.

Things were no better for Governor Wallace. He submitted his resignation to President-Elect Garfield March 9, 1881. He was waiting on a replacement when Henry was shot and killed.
Other than a school and a couple of streets named for him, Lew Wallace has been forgotten in New Mexico.  He is not even included in most books about New Mexico History.  If he is mentioned, he is usually judged a failure by those that do.

But Henry McCarty is still revered in the Hispanic and Native American communities of New Mexico to this day. Liberals too see him as a hero, fighting against the rich and corrupt, to them he is a Robin Hood. His name and heroic tales still echo through the rural enclaves and hills of eastern New Mexico.
Henry is the hero of the Aaron Copland popular ballet, Billy the Kid. He has been the subject of songs, including Bob Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door."  Bob isn't the only one who believes that Henry made it to heaven to be with his Sainted Mother.  

''William Bonney was incarcerated here first time December 22, 1878; second time March 21st, 1879, and hope I never will be again.'' 

While Henry was incarcerated in Lincoln, he was in a "pit", which was actually in a locked crawlspace or unventilated cellar, chained and shackled under guard; later in a room at the Ellis Hotel and at the Casa de Patron then chained to the floor in Lawrence Murphy's bedroom on the second floor at the Courthouse, which also served had served as the Murphy-Dolan Store(the partitions for the rooms have since been removed). With the bankruptcy of Dolan-Murphy, Catron sold the store to the county for a courthouse and jail.  Dolan took over Tunstall's store and inventory as his new store, after Catron gave the order to kill them, again the monopoly was in place. 

The Ellis Hotel, Lincoln, New Mexico, still in business as hotel, where Henry was held at least part of the time by Pat Garrett. Henry was also held at the Casa de Patron, which is now a bed and breakfast in Lincoln.  On one of its doors is carved the word "KID", purportedly by Henry during his incarceration there. It had been a headquarters for the Regulators before the intervention of Colonel Dudley.

Casa de Patron
"If only I had my Winchester, I would have licked the whole crowd" Life Magazine

 ''People thought me bad before, but if ever I should get free, I'll let them know what bad means.'' An obviously frustrated Henry after reading his bad press, in comments to a reporter, after his capture in Stinking Springs

"Hell, Pat, I thought you had two hundred Texans in your posse, if I knew it was just a few men, I would have fought it out."

''Hello, doc! Thought I'd just drop in and see how you fellers in Vegas are behavin' yourselves!''
---Billy the Kid to his friend Dr. J. H. Suftin, as he is taken by the Garrett posse into Las Vegas.

''What's the use of looking on the gloomy side of everything? The laugh's on me this time. Is the jail at Santa Fe any better than this? This is a terrible place to put a fellow in.''---Billy the Kid to a reporter in the Las Vegas jail after his capture at Stinking Springs.

In response to the Lincoln County Troubles and the anarchy that it created, Governor Axtell came to Lincoln on March 30, 1878. He was escorted on his tour by Jimmy Dolan and Lawrence Murphy. He openly refused to talk to the Regulators and hear there side of the story. He took the step of revoking the credentials of Justice of the Peace Wilson, rendering the deputizing of the Regulators invalid. There was a legal question as to whether it was retroactive. He took a bad situation and made it much worse. Had he implemented any kind of legal action against the murderers of Tunstall, there may have not been any further trouble.

In the Autumn of 1878, President Hayes fired corrupt Governor Axtell and appointed Lew Wallace, a former Union Army general, as his successor, the Governor of the New Mexico Territory. In an effort to restore peace to Lincoln County, Wallace proclaimed an amnesty for any man involved in the Lincoln County War who was not already under indictment. McCarty, who had fled to Texas after his escape from McSween's house, was under indictment, but sent Wallace a letter requesting immunity in return for testifying in front of the Grand Jury.
In March 1879, Wallace and McCarty met in Lincoln County to discuss the possibility of a deal. McCarty greeted the governor with a revolver in one hand and a Winchester rifle in the other. After taking several days to consider Wallace's offer, McCarty agreed to testify in return for amnesty.
The arrangement called for McCarty to submit to a token arrest and a short stay in jail until the conclusion of his courtroom testimony. Although McCarty's testimony helped to indict John Dolan and 50 others,  the district attorney—one of the powerful "House" faction leaders—disregarded Wallace's order to set McCarty free after his testimony. After the Dolan trial, McCarty and O'Folliard escaped on horses supplied by friends.

April 15th 1881: This is an interview with the Mesilla News after Billy the Kid’s trial.
“Well, I had intended at one time to not say a word in my own behalf, because persons would say, ‘Oh, he lied’; Newman (editor of  a Las Cruces newspaper) gave me a rough deal; has created prejudice against me, and is trying to incite a mob to lynch me. He sent me a paper which shows it; I think it a dirty, mean advantage to take of me considering my situation and knowing I could not defend myself by word or act. But I suppose he thought he would give me a kick down hill. Newman came to see me the other day; I refused to talk to him or tell him anything; but I believe the News is always willing to give its readers both sides of a question.”
“If mob law is going to rule, better dismiss judge, sheriff, etc., and let all take chances alike. I expected to be lynched in going to Lincoln. Advise persons never to engage in killing.”
Editor- “Think you will be taken through safe? Do you expect a pardon from the Governor?”
“Considering the active part Wallace took on our side and the friendly relations that existed between him and me, I think he ought to pardon me. Don’t know that he will do it. When I was arrested for that murder, he let me out and gave me freedom of the town and let me go about with my arms. When I got ready to go I left. Think it hard that I should be the only one to suffer the extreme penalties of the law.”
Editor- “Here the sheriff led us away and said we had talked long enough.”

Probable Myth
He was found guilty by corrupt "House" Judge Bristol who sentenced Billy to death, telling the Kid that he would hang "until you are dead, dead, dead!"  They say the Kid laughingly said back to the stern judge that "you can go to hell, hell, hell!"  Apocryphal, folklore, not disputed because there is no transcript of the trial

Judge Bristol set Henry's execution date as Friday the 13th, 1878, probably for the humor of it.

"You know boys that in order to make this hanging a success, you must have me there, and I do not intend to be present." Billy was very clear about his plans while under arrest in Lincoln

"Be careful, Bob," Henry warned quietly, "I'm not hung yet." Addressing sadistic Deputy Bob Olinger after being hit, threatened and taunted repeatedly on the coach drive to Lincoln from Santa Fe, while Henry was fully shackled. 

He was popular with ordinary people, but the people who ran the towns and owned the newspapers never warmed to Henry.

The press was very often run by the richest person in town or obliging to them. The rich and powerful bought the ads which paid the bills. Despite stories like this in the press, locals tended to make up their own mind. Billy could have never avoided capture without the aid of everyday regular people. He was offered food and shelter where ever he went. Locals, especially Hispanics, always felt that Henry was one of them, fighting against evil. One of Henry's hideouts was in Tunstall's Store, in the back bedroom, remove a few floorboards and you had a hiding place.

Lawrence  Murphy died on October 20, 1878, around the age of 47. After that, the war was under the control of James Dolan and Attorney General Thomas Catron.

"House" leader James Dolan and Deputy Bob Olinger(Ollinger), taken in 1879 after Olinger had conspired with Dolan to murder John Tunstall in cold-blood. He also murdered Billy's close friend John Heiskel Jones by sneaking up behind him while he was talking to some friends, as John was shaking hands, Bob blew his brains out.
In 1876, Bob was appointed marshal of Seven Rivers, New Mexico. His first claim to notoriety was when he was playing poker with Juan Chavez in the Royal Saloon, Bob won the hand but was accused of cheating. Bob pulled his gun and killed Chavez. Some say that Chavez was unarmed, as Bob pulled his gun, a patron threw Juan a gun, an instant too late.  As he walked away, Bob said, "All's well, that ends well."
Bob was accused of cheating at cards several times, a couple of times which ended in shootings, including one other murder.
One other story, Olinger accompanied Deputy Pierce Jones in serving a misdemeanor warrant upon rancher Bob Jones. Jones was in his yard chopping wood, while his three children were playing in the yard under the supervision of his wife.  Jones voluntarily surrendered, only asking to be allowed to talk to his wife, so he could explain to her that he would be right back after paying a small fine. After he finished, he walked towards Deputy Pierce, as he passed his rifle, which leaned against a post on the porch, gunfire erupted. Though he made no move towards the weapon, Olinger fired three shots in Jones' back and killed him. Deputy Pierce was shocked by the murder, very much affected by the screams of Jones' wife and children who saw the shooting.
Appalled by what he had witnessed, Deputy Jones brought murder charges against Olinger, and Lincoln County authorities issued warrant number 282 for his arrest. Sheriff George Kimball arrested him and brought him to Lincoln for trial.
The warrant read, "To arrest and take body of Robert Olinger to Lincoln the 1st Monday of October 1879 to answer charge of murder." This warrant is still in the file at the Lincoln County Courthouse. The case was dismissed without going to court.

The prosecuting DA who waived charges against Olinger was, of course, corrupt District Attorney William Rynerson.  Rynerson would later be co-owner, with James Dolan, of John Tunstall's ranch, after Dolan and Sheriff Brady had him murdered.

Bob Olinger was a member of the "House's" murderer's posse which murdered John Tunstall. Olinger was one of the deputies guarding Billy during his incarceration in Lincoln, he   also took a particular joy in taunting and terrorizing Billy. While Deputy Bell's death may have been the necessary result of a struggle to escape and Billy's effort to avoid the hangman's noose, I have no doubt that killing Deputy Olinger was Henry's final act of just retribution for his friend John Tunstall. In that one regard, Henry was on the side of the angels.

Henry must have thought, heads you win, tales I lose. He knew that he was a dead man walking.

"Bob was a murderer from the cradle, and if there is a hell hereafter then he is there." Deputy Bob Olinger's Mother describing her son.

After Sheriff Brady was gunned down there was a ray of hope, when John Copeland was appointed sheriff. Copeland refused to take sides in the conflict and determined that he was going to enforce the law and arrest any "House" gunmen or Regulators who started trouble, without fear or favor. James Dolan used his influence with the "Ring" to have  Governor Axtell fire Copeland and replace him with corrupt George Peppin, a "House" deputy who promised to continue the murder and persecution of the Regulators. The "Ring" was all powerful in the New Mexico Territory, they had the new Governor  revoke Henry's deputy status too.
By this point, Governor Wallace was as much a member of the Ring as former Governor Axtell had been.

With the next election, the "House" supported candidate, Pat Garrett, won and was able to finish wiping out any Regulators who hadn't fled the jurisdiction. Garrett's primary mission at that point, however, was to execute Henry, capture him so that he could be hanged or kill him outright, since he was the one man that the "House" and "Ring" feared.  

I don’t blame you for writing of me as you have. You had to believe other stories but... then I don’t know, as anyone would believe anything good of me anyway. I wasn’t the leader of my gang, I was for Billy all the time. About that Portales business, I owned the ranch with Charlie Bowdre. I took it up and was holding it because I knew that sometime a stage would run by there and I wanted to keep it for a station. But I found that there was certain men who wouldn’t let me live in the country and so I was going to leave. We had all our grub in the house when they took us in and we were going to a place about six miles away in the morning to cook it and then light out.

I haven’t stolen any stock. I made my living by gambling but that was the only way I could live. They wouldn’t let me settle down; if they had I wouldn’t be here today” and then he held up his left hand with the bracelet. “John Chisum got me into all this trouble and then wouldn’t let me get out. I went up to Lincoln to stand my trial on the warrant that was out for me, but the Territory took a change of venue to Dona Ana and I knew that I had no show, and so I skinned out. When I went up to White Oaks the last time, I went there to consult with a lawyer, who had sent for me to come up. But I knew I couldn’t stay there either.”

The conversation then drifted to the question of the final round up of the party. “If it hadn’t been for the dead horse in the doorway I wouldn’t be here today. I would have ridden out on my bay mare and taken my chances escaping. But I couldn’t ride over that (the dead horse) for she would have jumped back and I would have got it in the head. We could have stayed in the house but there wouldn’t have been anything gained by that for they would have starved us out. I thought it was better to come out and get a good square meal-don’t you?”

Life Magazine May 4, 1959

I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.
Chief Joseph, Chief of the Nez Pierce

Henry sought peace and to live in peace, but they murdered his lawyer. They wouldn't give Henry the pardon they promised him, they didn't give him a fair trial, they wouldn't let him settle down, get married and raise a family. They wanted to kill him, as the last of the Regulators, because he had become a symbol to all those who had had their land stolen, to those who had had their friends and family murdered, to all of those who were the victims of injustice and prejudice.  
While Jimmy Dolan lived at the stolen Tunstall Ranch in peace, while Judge Bristol and District Rynerson took their bribes and perverted justice at other people's expense for several more years. While Henry was a dead man walking, on a journey to nowhere.

On the run...
Henry escaped from the Santa Fe jail after the Governor went back on his promise of a pardon. Henry was on the run eventually reaching Tacosa, Texas in the Texas panhandle, along the Canadian River with four former Regulators. They were tracking some of John Chisum's cattle which were grazing in the vicinity on part of the Chisum Trail. John Chisum was one of the great Cattle Barons of the West.  Henry had worked for John Chisum off and on through the 70's, though he was not working for him at this point, Billy and four companions, Tom O'Folliard, John Middleton, Henry Brown and Fred Waite, followed in the cattle's wake through the Canada Valley on the trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Abilene, Texas Though it is a little foggy, they were apparently tracking some stolen horses, which they planned to "acquire" and sell in Texas themselves. 
Generally these Regulators, who were now refugees from New Mexico, were well received, being friendly, well-behaved and spending money. The great conundrum of the West, Cowboys spent money, but they were also a little rowdy. Usually the money won the day and the cowboys were allowed to camp unhindered and unmolested.
One story arises out of this trip, Ellsworth Torrey, from Boston and 70-years-old, told a story how these boys had somehow insulted his wife and daughters(cooking? appearance?). He kicked the boys off his land.
Hospitality was the custom on the open range when strangers straggled in from the wilderness.  Henry had nothing to do with the incident, he wasn't even there. When a bru-ha-ha developed, Henry's friends were asked to leave, at this point Henry is creatively and fictionally brought into the story: Henry supposedly went to Torrey and demanded an apology for the "eviction"----at gun point.  Some speculate that it was a sea story told by Torrey to enhance his reputation, a meeting with Henry would make the panhandle newspapers and give him his 15 minutes of fame. 
Some reports indicate that the Regulators sold Sheriff Brady's horse Dandy Dick to a Dr. Henry Hoyt.  By the spring of 1879, Henry and  Tom O'Folliard had returned to Lincoln/Fort Sumner New Mexico where they were soon joined by Charlie Bowdre and Dave Rudabaugh. All, except Rudabaugh, would soon meet their maker at the hands of Sheriff Pat Garrett.

One time Henry McCarty Broke Into Jail
Legend says Billy the Kid traveled from Las Cruces into San Elizario after learning that his friend, Melquiades Segura has been arrested in San Elizario.  Upon his arrival at around 3am, Billy the Kid knocked on the door of the jail waking up the Hispanic guards.  Billy the Kid posed as a Texas Ranger and told the guard he had two American Prisoners.  As the guard opened the door, he found himself eye to eye with Billy’s 44 revolver. 
Billy quickly retrieved the guard’s guns, helped his friend out, put the guards in the jail and threw away the key.  Immediately, Billy the Kid and his friend Segura crossed the river into Mexico, which at that time was only two and a half miles away from San Elizario.

"I am fighting the whole world for my life and I mean business!"  after his escape from the Lincoln Jail.

Henry was able to get one of his handcuffs off, so he looped the loose chain to his belt, but he wasn't able to get the leg irons and chain off, which forced him to ride side saddle. The horse  wasn't familiar with Henry, so it bucked him, throwing him on the ground, but no one came forward to arrest him or impede his escape.  Someone did help him get back on the horse and make his getaway.

Henry's cell was located in the taped off section of the floor of the Courtroom to the left. The Lincoln County Courthouse and 2nd floor Jail was formerly the Murphy/Dolan Store.  At the time of Henry's escape, there were partitioned rooms on the second floor, Henry was kept chained to the floor in Lawrence Murphy's bedroom. 



Dirty Dave Rudabaugh, fellow Regulator and terrific marksman. He also had a ferocious temper. Billy actually tried to always remain on Dave's good side, because he was as good a shot as Billy. Dave was so nicknamed, because he didn't take baths and wore clothes till they wore/fell off him. Surprisingly he survived the Lincoln County War and either died from Smallpox in Arkansas (1882) or beheaded in Mexico, supposedly because Mexicans(Government) intended to use his death as an object lesson for American Outlaws thinking of coming to Mexico (1886). Also famous because Wyatt Earp was pursuing him and questioned a poker player who had beaten him,  Doc Holiday. Doc and Wyatt would become life long friends because of this meeting. Telegraphed Sheriff Bat Masterson to be on the lookout, Dave was headed his way according to Doc.

Rudabaugh was quoted as saying that he “carried a gun because he enjoyed it.”

Billy The Kid was quoted as having said   “I carry a gun for self defense.”

Love Killed Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid was counseled to leave the territory by his friends, but one fact prevented him. He was in love with Paulita Maxwell. That is why he fled to the Maxwell Ranch. And it was Love that cost Billy his life. Eventually a rumor got back to Pat Garrett that Billy was in Fort Sumner. And then Pat made his move. 

Paulita would go on with her life, but she would always hold the memory of her Billy dear.  She never had an unkind word to say about him. And she knew him better than anyone else. Her opinion should count for something.

Posse Member Jim East recalls guarding Billy the Kid

...I was put on guard by myself with a long adobe room and a fireplace in one end and a door in the other. We had Rudabaugh and the Kid chained together. The others were not chained. They put me in there and locked us all in. I sat down on a pile of wood by the door and the prisoners were in the other end.
"After we sat there awhile, Billy said, 'Jim, do you have anything to smoke?"
"I said, 'Yes, I have some tobacco."
"He said he had some papers."
"I said, 'Billy, I'll throw you the tobacco."
"He said, 'No, I'll come and get it,' and he and Dave started across the room toward me.
"I said, 'Hold on, Billy! If you come any farther, I'm going to shoot you."
"They started on and I said, 'Hold on, Billy, if you make another step, I'll shoot you."
"He stopped and said, 'You're the most suspicious damn man I ever saw.' He turned back and I pitched him my tobacco. He threw it back and said he didn't want any of my tobacco.
"The boys were gone about an hour to get dinner. I was locked in and Pat had the keys in his pocket, and that was a mighty foolish thing to do. He got two of his deputies killed in somewhat the same way."

Now, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

''I’m outlawed and it wasn’t long since I was a law and old Pat was an outlaw. Funny thing, the law.''--Billy the Kid to Heiskell Jones, 1880 speaking about Pat Garrett's shady past.  Jones would later be murdered by Deputy Bob Olinger, who shot him in the back while he was shaking someone's hand. In the West, that was an incredibly rotten and unmanly thing to do. A real man faced you, if he had the drop on you, you surrendered or ran, if you got away you were free, if you didn't you were dead. Bob Olinger had a reputation as bad as any outlaw, the only saving grace for him was that he murdered anyone anytime his corrupt bosses asked him and they protected him. As a footnote, Heiskell Jones was the son of Barbara "Ma'am" Jones, the Seven Rivers resident who took Henry in after the Apaches stole his horse.

Immediately following his appointment, New Mexico Territory Chief Justice General John Slough started cleaning up the courts and law enforcement in the territory by launching investigations and firing people. Before he could implement many of his reforms, he was murdered by Lincoln County District Attorney Rynerson after a chance meeting in a Santa Fe Hotel. District Attorney Rynerson was one of the men the Chief Justice accused of corruption and intended to fire.  He had initiated an investigation of the DA. The shooting shut down the investigation. The "Ring" DA for Santa Fe refused to prosecute Rynerson.
If Slough had fired Rynerson, chances are Henry would have never been prosecuted for the Lincoln County War; that Henry would have settled down, gotten married and had about 10 kids. And he would have been a terrific Dad too, he knew how much a good, loving Mom and Dad mean to a kid, all orphans do.

A Grand Jury was created to investigate the Lincoln County War. It was created in response to the pressure brought by Queen Victoria's Government to find the murderer of British Citizen John Tunstall. Attorney General Catron used the Grand Jury as a fraud to placate the British.  In charge of the Grand Jury was "Ring" District Attorney William Rynerson.

What kind of man was the Lincoln County District Attorney, 6 foot 11 inch William Rynerson? He had been accused of corruption by the Territorial Chief Justice, General John Slough, who was waging a campaign to clean up New Mexico. Rynerson ran into the Chief Justice in a hotel in Santa Fe and pulled a gun on him demanding that Slough take back his "slander", accusations of Rynerson's corruption; when Slough refused, Rynerson pulled his gun, fired and killed him. As he fell, Slough was able to pull his Derringer, but died before he could fire it in self-defense.
The murder was ruled self-defense by the local corrupt "Ring"  Santa Fe Republican DA.

Rynerson took the 50 indictments handed down by the Grand Jury investigating the murder of John Tunstall, refused to prosecute most of them, orchestrated acquittals for the rest. The only conviction he got, through associate and "Ring" Dona Ana District Attorney Simon Newcomb, was Henry McCarty, alias Billy the Kid. He did this even though they knew that Governor Lew Wallace had promised Henry a pardon. Rynerson was certainly as corrupt as Sheriff Brady, New Mexico Attorney General Catron or Governor Axtell. 

A true villain, Rynerson was a criminal and a murderer, many times worse than Henry McCarty ever was.

Was Rynerson impartial? He loaned Dolan the money to buy into Murphy's "House" Store and engineered the false documents to steal Tunstall's store and cattle. He also received part of the Tunstall's "Flying H Ranch" as payment for helping murder Henry and Tunstall.

May his name live in infamy.
Billy told the truth and earned his pardon. But the result was that he was the only man tried and convicted for the carnage of the Lincoln County War. Billy tried to end the war and was the only one who did his civic duty and told the truth to grand jury investigating it.
Many people believe that Democratic Governor of New Mexico, Arthur T. Hannett, moved the proposed route of US Route 66 from Santa Fe to Albuquerque in 1925, for the purpose of destroying the money and  power of the Republican "Ring".

A Death Warrant signed by Governor Wallace a few weeks after he submitted his resignation, allowed Dolan to give Garrett the command to kill Henry. Pat ambushed Billy in Fort Sumner and then went Santa Fe to collect the $5,000 reward. He never got a cent, they cheated him out of that too. Sounds like justice to me.

Henry was cool before it was cool to be cool!

One Historian described Henry as history's first good bad boy, a little bit of Errol Flynn and James Dean but with a good heart Henry is quoted as giving the following response after being threatened with being shot on sight by notorious murderer, rustler, thief, gang leader, House/Ring assassin, Jesse Evans(hired by Sheriff Brady as the leader of the posse which murdered Tunstall). Evans was dangerous, a dead shot, and he didn't care about fair fights, 10 to 1 odds in his favor was just fine with him. Evan's threatened to kill Henry in public, in front of Evans's boss, Jimmy Dolan and his gang. Henry never ran away from a threat or a bully, he stood nose to nose and would tell them, give me your best shot.

''I don't care to open negotiations before a fight, but if you'll come at me three at a time, I'll whip the whole damned bunch of you!'

Billy's Final Chronology

March 13, 1879 Billy writes a letter Gov. Wallace offering to turn himself in and testify in return for a pardon.
March 17, 1879 The Governor and Billy meet and reach an agreement. Testimony for a Pardon.
March 21, 1879 Billy turns himself in.
For the next three months Billy testified, leading to more than 50 men involved in the Lincoln County War being indicted. But not one word is mentioned about his pardon afterwards. Then Billy finds out that he is going to be tried for murder. He writes a letter after letter to the Governor asking if he is going to keep his word. The Governor ignores him.
It suddenly dawns on Henry that Governor Wallace lied to him. Everything which happens after this date is the responsibility of Governor Wallace, Henry kept his word and testified before the Grand Jury, while Governor Wallace broke his by not giving Henry the pardon he promised.
June 17, 1879            Billy escapes from jail.
November 2, 1880     Pat Garrett is elected Sheriff of Lincoln
November 27, 1880   Deputy Carlyle is killed by his own posse
December 15, 1880   Governor Wallace offers a $500 reward for Billy
December 23, 1880   Billy is captured at Stinking Springs New Mexico
December 25, 1880   Christmas dinner in Puerto de Luna, while under guard
April 6,  1881         Billy's first trial in La Messila for the murder of Buckshot Roberts is dismissed.
April 8,  1881         Billy's trial for the murder of Sheriff Brady begins
April 9,  1881         Billy is found guilty after Judge Bristol gives the instruction if  Henry was within 10 miles of Lincoln when Sheriff Brady was shot,  he is guilty.
April 13, 1881        Billy is sentenced to hang, May 13th between 9AM and 3PM in Lincoln NM.
April 15, 1881        Billy leaves La Messila, arrives in Lincoln April 21st.
April 21, 1881        Billy arrives in Lincoln, waiting on his execution
April 28, 1881        Billy escapes shooting his two guards in the process.
July 14,  1881         Billy is killed by Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner at Peter Maxwell's House

"I made my living by gambling but that was the only way I could live. They wouldn’t let me settle down; if they had I wouldn’t be here today” Billy the Kid after his arrest explaining his life after the Governor failed to keep his word.

Governor Wallace had two choices when appointed the Governor of New Mexico by President Rutherford B. Hayes, he could have continued the work of Chief Justice John Slough to reform and bring Justice to the territory by prosecuting the corrupt judges, prosecutors and peace officers in the state or he could join the forces of corruption in stealing. torturing and murdering. He chose to do the easy thing. He chose to help corruption grow and thrive at the expense of the people. Shame on him.  He made the wrong choice and Henry was killed because of it.

The Victim of a Sadist
Henry told his friends, after his escape, that he regretted killing Deputy Bell, that it had been unintentional, but he had no choice but  to escape any way he could or he was a dead man. But Billy said that he had no such regrets about shooting Deputy Olinger. Henry felt that he  gave him exactly what he deserved. Olinger had been one of the posse of murderers of John Tunstall and had bullied and beaten Henry repeatedly while he was incarcerated at the Lincoln County Jail. Bob was a sadist too, he had a calendar where he would mark off every day counting down the days to Henry's hanging. He did it with great ceremony and relish. Bob was a heartless, cruel man. He repeatedly told Henry the fun he was going to have watching Henry strangling at the end of the rope. He hoped Henry stayed alive a good long while, so he would have a pleasant afternoon's entertainment and a good laugh. The longer Henry strangled the more fun it would be for him. Every day he would taunt and sadistically bully the kid.

Pat Garrett rewrote history, when the truth wasn't exciting enough.
Pat Garrett "Authentic Life of Billy the Kid" describes the shooting of Bell, but it doesn't fit the facts.
Billy told Bell that he had to go to the bathroom/outhouse. Bell took him, coming back into the courthouse, going up the stairs, Billy shot Bell. Garrett said Billy had found a gun hidden in the outhouse by a friend. He pulled the gun and shot Bell at the bottom of the staircase.
Maybe not.

Probably close to the truth
During his incarceration, Henry had shown his jailers that his large wrists and small hands made it possible to wiggle his hands, with some effort, out of the fixed screw type handcuffs. Pat Garrett and his deputies laughed. What they didn't realize was that Henry was a hell of a lot smarter than they gave him credit for having been.  Pat Garrett would preach to his deputies over and over again, don't underestimate the Kid.

He was right.

In the outhouse, Henry may have worked his hands almost free. Since Bell apparently didn't check the cuffs too closely coming out of the outhouse, he may have sealed his doom. Going back into the courthouse, as they ascended the stairs almost to the landing of the second floor(where Henry was chained to the floor), Henry freed one of his hands and turned on Bell. A struggle ensued,  during which the gun went off striking Bell.
Not at the bottom of the stairs as Pat Garrett says, but at the top of the stairs when he would least expect it, since at that point he had almost been returned him to his cell. Evidence actually supports this version. Luminol has been sprayed at the bottom of the stairs in the last few years, with no results. At the top of the stairs a massive amount of blood was found. Records indicate that the new sheriff's(Pat Garrett ran for the Territorial Council/Senate and lost) wife scrubbed the upper stairs and landing to remove the blood.

Henry knew that Olinger would come running from Wortley's Hotel and Restaurant across the street, where he had taken the other 5 prisoners for lunch.    Henry could have used the pistol he secured from Bell, but didn't.  Henry chose to shoot Olinger's own, brand new shotgun, the same gun with which Olinger  had repeatedly beaten, taunted and threatened Henry. He broke into the armory on the second floor and found Bob Olinger's new shotgun    Henry then went to the window over the stairs that Olinger would have to use to enter the courthouse. When he saw Olinger approach, Henry yelled, "Hello Bob!" and fired both barrels from Olinger's Eli Whitney double barrel shotgun, leaving 36 pellet wounds in him, as Bob fell dead.
Henry took Olinger's shotgun and smashed it against the window sill, breaking the stock. He took the broken gun and threw it on top of Olinger.
"You damned son-of-a-bitch, you won't corral me with that again,"  Henry yelled at his now dead foe.

Another of John Tunstall's murderers paid for his crime.

The date of Henry's escape from Lincoln and freedom was April, 28, 1881, he had 77 days to live.

Henry fled the courthouse struggling with his shackles all the way to the stairs. On the landing, he made a speech to the people of Lincoln who had gathered because of the disturbance. Henry said that he regretted what had happened, but he had been forced to do it: it hadn't been his choice. He then stumbled down the steps to the ground level. Some of the townspeople, favorably disposed to Henry, found a pick and helped break his shackles. Whenever Henry was in trouble, he always seemed to have friends nearby who would help him. Henry grabbed the best horse available, owned by City Clerk Billy Burt, apologized promising to return it, then he made his get away.

"Tell Billy Burt I'll send his pony back, and don't look for me this side of Ireland. Adios, boys!"

Frederick Nolan the great Western Historian said that the boy rode out of Lincoln like a bat out of hell, singing the whole way.

Amelia Church was a little child in Lincoln and described Henry's escape this way for the WPA History Project:

The "Kid" then threw the gun on Olinger who lay dying and told Goss, the jail cook, to saddle a horse that was feeding in a field nearby. The cook helped get the shackles off the Kid's hands but, because they were welded on he couldn't get them off his legs. That is why he was thrown from the horse because of having to ride side-wise on account of the shackles. He rode a mile and a half west before they were removed by a Mexican man, who afterwards gave the shackles to George Titsworth, who lived at Capitan, and possessed an interesting collection at that place.

Henry kept his word, a couple of days later, the borrowed horse showed up in town again.

During his escape from Lincoln, Henry reached into his boot and pulled out a folded piece of paper.

"I don't think I need that now."

Later Dr. Tomlinson determined that it contained strychnine. Henry had determined not to be a part of the House's freak show execution. He would join his friends quietly and alone and deny his enemies their moment of ill-gotten triumph. Had he not escaped, he never intended to go to the gallows. This story included in Pat Garrett's book is verified by Henry's friend John Meadows.  

"I did not want to kill Bell, but I had to do so in order to save my own life. It was a case of having to, not wanting to. I stuck the gun through the window and said, ‘Look up... and see what your getting,’ Bob looked up and I let him have both barrels right in the face and breast. I never felt so good in all my life as I did when I pulled the trigger and saw Olinger fall to the ground.  He used to work me up until I could hardly contain myself.”  John Meadows, Lincoln County

The Wortley Hotel was built in 1872 in Lincoln, New Mexico. Deputy Bob Olinger had taken 5 inmates for lunch there, when he heard gunfire from the courthouse, he rushed across the street. He was greeted by Henry with "Hello, Bob" and a surprise from the open second floor window, falling dead where this marker is placed a few feet from the courthouse. Notice the misspelling on the contemporary memorial.

One of the conundrums of the Lincoln Jail Break, Deputy Bell was shot in his side, the bullet traversing his torso. Billy thought that the bullet must have ricocheted and struck Bell during the struggle. But he wasn't sure.
Pat Garrett said that Billy the Kid shot Bell in the back as the deputy fled. That was a lie. Another version has him shooting the unarmed deputy in the heart from the front, that too is a lie.
Two possible legitimate scenarios which fit the facts: Bell was shot as the men struggled for the gun or Billy's version that the bullet ricocheted off something and struck Bell.
Which raises an interesting question about the bullet in the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Whatever happened between Bell and Billy occurred at the top of the stairs, because that is where the blood was. Traversing Bell's chest, seems to indicate that the bullet could not have had a downward trajectory. Or the force necessary to imbed itself deep into the wall at bottom of the stairs, after having traveled through Bell's chest. A cynical historian has said this bullet must be similar to the JFK Assassination's Magic Bullet, doing gymnastics in mid-air before striking the wall.  Or was it simply the result of someone from the local chamber of commerce shooting a bullet into the wall long after the event to generate tourist dollars.
Another possibility, there may have been two shots during the struggle, so it is possible, but it wasn't a magic bullet.

Paulita Maxwell, girlfriend of Henry McCarty,  about 20 years after Henry's death, when she was in her 30's

Henry ran, hiding out all over Lincoln County. But he gravitated to Fort Sumner and Paulita, his girlfriend, by July it was his home and he was among friends, except the one person who betrayed  him
It is somewhat Shakespearean and Tragic that someone to whom loyalty mattered so much would die betrayed by someone he trusted. Loyalty was the most important thing to the Kid. He knew what it felt like to be totally alone and have no one to turn to. So he chose to stand by his friends and "family" because they were everything to him. Something every orphan can appreciate and understand.

Sheriff Pat Garrett's Opinion of the Kid

Billy possessed two buck teeth, "fangs, which gave to his features an
intensely cruel and murderous expression." Pat Garrett

All who ever knew Billy will testify that his polite, cordial, and gentlemanly bearing invited confidence and promised protection - the first of which he never betrayed, and the latter he was never known to withhold. Those who knew him best will tell you that in his most savage and dangerous moods his face always wore a smile. He eat and laughed, drank and laughed, rode and laughed, talked and laughed, fought and laughed, and killed and laughed. No loud and boisterous guffaw, but a pleasant smile or a soft and musical "ripple of the voice." Those who knew him watched his eyes for an exhibition of anger. Had his biographers stated that the expression of his eyes - to one who could read them - in angry mood was cruel and murderous, they would have shown a more perfect knowledge of the man. One could scarcely believe that those blazing, baleful orbs and that laughing face could be controlled by the same spirit.
Billy was, at this time, about five feet seven and one half inches high, straight as a dart, weighed about one hundred and thirty-five pounds, and was as light, active, and graceful as a panther. His form was well-knit, compact, and wonderfully muscular. It was his delight, when he had a misunderstanding with one larger and more powerful than himself, but who feared him on account of his skill with weapons, to unbuckle his belt, drop his arms, and say: "Come on old fellow: I've got no advantage now. Let's fight it out, knuckles and skull."
He usually won his fights; if he got the worst of it, he bore no malice. There were no bounds to his generosity. Friends, strangers, and even his enemies, were welcome to his money, his horse, his clothes, or anything else of which he happened, at the time, to be possessed. The aged, the poor, the sick, the unfortunate and helpless never appealed to Billy in vain for succor.

Sheriff's description of Billy's Death

"I then concluded to go and have a talk with Peter Maxwell, Esq., in whom I felt sure I could rely. We had ridden to within a short distance of Maxwell's grounds when we found a man in camp and stopped. To Poe's great surprise, he recognized in the camp, Pat Garrett and his former partner, in Texas, named Jacobs. We unsaddled here, got some coffee, and, on foot, entered an orchard which runs from this point down to a row of old buildings, some of them occupied by Mexicans, not more than sixty yards from Maxwell's house. We approached these houses cautiously, and when within earshot, heard the sound of voices conversing in Spanish. We concealed ourselves quickly and listened; but the distance was too great to hear words, or even distinguish voices. Soon a man arose from the ground, in full view, but too far away to recognize. He wore a broad-brimmed hat, a dark vest and pants, and was in his shirtsleeves. With a few words, which fell like a murmur on our ears, he went to the fence, jumped it, and walked down towards Maxwell's house.
Little as we then suspected it, this man was the Kid. We learned, subsequently, that, when he left his companions that night, he went to the house of a Mexican friend, pulled off his hat and boots, threw himself on a bed, and commenced reading a newspaper. He soon, however, hailed his friend, who was sleeping in the room, told him to get up and make some coffee, adding: 'Give me a butcher knife and I will go over to Pete's and get some beef; I'm hungry.' The Mexican arose, handed him the knife, and the Kid, hatless and in his stocking-feet, started to Maxwell's, which was but a few steps distant.
When the Kid, by me unrecognized, left the orchard, I motioned to my companions, and we cautiously retreated a short distance, and, to avoid the persons whom we had heard at the houses, took another route, approaching Maxwell's house from the opposite direction. When we reached the porch in front of the building, I left Poe and McKinney at the end of the porch, about twenty feet from the door of Pete's room, and went in. It was near midnight and Pete was in bed. I walked to the head of the bed and sat down on it, beside him, near the pillow. I asked him as to the whereabouts of the Kid. He said that the Kid had certainly been about, but he did not know whether he had left or not. At that moment a man sprang quickly into the door, looking back, and called twice in Spanish, 'Who comes there?' No one replied and he came on in. He was bareheaded. From his step I could perceive he was either barefooted or in his stocking-feet, and held a revolver in his right hand and a butcher knife in his left.

He came directly towards me. Before he reached the bed, I whispered: 'Who is it, Pete?' but received no reply for a moment. It struck me that it might be Pete's brother-in-law, Manuel Abreu, who had seen Poe and McKinney, and wanted to know their business. The intruder came close to me, leaned both hands on the bed, his right hand almost touching my knee, and asked, in a low tone: -'Who are they Pete?' -at the same instant Maxwell whispered to me. 'That's him!' Simultaneously the Kid must have seen, or felt, the presence of a third person at the head of the bed. He raised quickly his pistol, a self-cocker, within a foot of my breast. Retreating rapidly across the room he cried: 'Quien es? Quien es?' 'Who's that? Who's that?') All this occurred in a moment. Quickly as possible I drew my revolver and fired, threw my body aside, and fired again. The second shot was useless; the Kid fell dead. He never spoke. A struggle or two, a little strangling sound as he gasped for breath, and the Kid was with his many victims."

Another version of that night, supposedly told by Deputy Thomas McKinney to his friend Frederick Grey, was that Garrett had Paulita Maxwell spirited away from her bedroom(or had her bound and gagged), then waited for Henry to enter the bedroom. When Henry came in, Pat killed him.

Billy the Kid was unarmed and shot in the back
The posse waiting outside didn't know what to think, until Garrett ran out of the house, yelling "I killed the Kid, I killed the Kid!".  He stayed outside for some time, trembling and saying nothing.  He then went back into the house, where he saw Deluvina Maxwell cradling the Kid's head in her arms, crying.  She accused Garrett of shooting Billy in the back, adding "You didn't have the nerve to kill him face to face."

Paulita Maxwell would later confirm the charge that Pat Garrett had shot Henry in the back, which may account for Pat's demand that the coroner re-write the death certificate before the original was filed. Both women reported that Pat and his posse sought refuge in the Maxwell house for fear of retribution from the residents of Fort Sumner.

The local Mexican-Americans, after hearing what happened, ran to the Maxwell house, Billy was their friend.  They demanded they be allowed to prepare his body for burial.  They then moved his body to a carpenter's shed and lay him on a bench, where they set candles all around him and cleaned him, dressing him in clean clothes.  The next day he was buried on the Maxwell property.  Deluvina Maxwell put a white cross on his grave that said "Duerme bien, Querido" (Sleep well, my beloved child).

Something not included in Pat Garrett's book.

Garrett allowed the Kid’s friends to take his body across the plaza to the carpenter's shop to give him a wake. The next morning, a Justice of the Peace, Milnor Rudulph, viewed the body and made out the death certificate, but Garrett rejected the first one and demanded that another one be written more in his favor. The Kid's body was then prepared for burial, and was buried at noon at the Fort Sumner cemetery between O'Folliard and Bowdre. Wikipedia

Henry's body was loaded in Vincente Otero's wood hauling wagon and taken to the cemetery. Every person in town came to the funeral, with many a tear shed in remembrance to their hometown boy.
Even the bars closed, something no one had ever seen before.  The Sanctified Texan, an itinerant man of God, Hugh Leeper, made a few remarks about "our beloved young citizen," closing with the words "Billy cannot come back to us, but we can go to him and we will see him up yonder"

A Grave Matter, The Outlaw Gazette, December 1993 Issue, page 12, cited in Frederick Nolan's The West of Billy the Kid  University of Oklahoma Press/September 15, 1999. For sale on Amazon

Pat Garrett told various versions of his confrontation with Henry. This is the final version, with Henry brandishing a pistol and knife, is most favorable to Pat. Another version has Henry coming into the room unarmed, alternately with a dinner knife, apparently which he  intended to use to get a midnight snack.  And conventional wisdom holds that Henry was about 8-10 feet from Pat, when Pat shot him by ambush. Henry noticed Garrett's Deputies in the yard, he thought that he was speaking to his friend Pete Maxwell,  asking "Who is it" in Spanish. Henry didn't expect any trouble in the room itself.  That is why Pat Garrett was able to ambush him.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid knew each other. Pat had been a bartender at Bob Hargrove's Saloon in Fort Sumner and Buffalo Hunter. He and Henry had both worked for Pete Maxwell as ranch hands. Pat had been accused of rustling cattle himself,  causing Henry to say that they both had played both sides of the law. It was a different time then, you did what you had to do to survive. And that applies especially to 15-year-old orphans like Henry McCarty.

Several years later, Pat Garrett was in Colorado and ran into Joe McCarty, by then using the name Joe Antrim, apparently for the purpose of hiding his relationship to Henry. They spoke over an hour and parted with a handshake.
One story reports that stepfather William Antrim came to see Henry in Lincoln before his hanging. The report continues that "Billy" escaped before Antrim arrived in town.

Maxwell's House, Billy was killed in the room on the first floor on the extreme left front. At the time the building was only one story. It had originally been a part of Fort Sumner which was abandoned after the Civil War. Beaver Smith's Saloon was located a few paces down around the corner, where Henry's famous photo was taken. The course of the Pecos River, immediately behind the house, has changed over time, and eventually ate away at the foundation of the house leading to its abandonment and destruction.

On Henry's Gravestone, which he shares with his buddies, Tom and Charlie, eloquently inscribed, is the word which defines Henry,

The Maxwell's House where Billy was killed by Pat Garrett is a short distance away, Henry's final resting place buried next to his friends Charles Bowdre and Tom O'Folliard and their gravestone. Like Mafia Don, Francesco Castiglia (Frank Costello), and Comedian, Louis Cristillo (Lou Costello), Tom Fulliard(Tom O'Folliard), who was French, decided that choosing an Irish name made him sound more American. Charlie Bowdre and Tom O'Folliard were killed by Pat Garrett and his posse on December 18, 1880.  The fencing was set up because people tried to retrieve mementos from Billy's grave or dig Billy's body up in the years since his death. No man ever had a better inscription on his tombstone, Henry was everybody's pal.

One of Henry's best friends and future grave mate Tom O'Folliard from Sallie Chisum's photo collection. Tom was present at the Siege of Lincoln and showed what kind of guy he was. Having escaped the massacre and fire, himself, he turned back to rescue a young law student, named Harvey Morris, who had gotten trapped inside McSween's House. Harvey had no involvement with the War. In trying to rescue Harvey, Tom was shot in the shoulder and Harvey was killed. Another example of who the good guys were.  Tom's most famous quote, addressing Pat Garrett,  "Go to Hell, you long legged son-of-a-bitch!" His original French name Fulliard, but he "Irished" it to fit in with Henry McCarty/Bonney and the other boys with whom he rode. In his saddlebags, Sheriff Garrett found a letter from Tom to his Nana in Texas, saying that he and Billy were coming to visit her in a couple of weeks.

 Charlie Bowdre, when shot and killed in the siege of Stinking Springs, had this photo of his wife in his pocket. It was recovered before his burial and given to his wife. Supposedly, Pat Garrett said he regretted shooting Bowdre. Charlie was liked by everyone except members of the House.  It has Charlie's blood on it:

It is odd that Billy would have to ask Governor Wallace if he was going to keep his word. With a lot of people, you know that they are going to keep their word because their word is important to them; some you know never will because the only thing that matters to them is what is in it for me; but Billy needed to hear the Governor confirm his promise because he wasn't sure which category he fell into. History has answered that question. John Tunstall was right about Billy, he was a good kid who was doing the best he could under the circumstances. Others cannot make that claim.

Henry McCarty had excellent character references:
“I have been told that Billy had an ungovernable temper; however, I never saw evidences of it. He was always in a pleasant humor when I saw him------laughing, sprightly, and good natured.”
Miguel Otero, Governor of New Mexico 1897 to 1906, and  friend of Henry McCarty 

In 1936, Governor Otero published "The Real Billy the Kid, With New Light on the Lincoln County War," excerpts below:

The Governor met Henry as one of his guards during his incarceration while awaiting trial.

After William Bonney was jailed in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1880, Otero and his brother Page rode with the prisoner as he was transported by train from Las Vegas to Santa Fe. Remaining in Santa Fe for a while, the pair visited the Kid in jail many times, bringing him tobacco, gum, and sweets, and finding him a sympathetic, if misguided, figure. He stated that Henry had a pronounced sweet tooth and begged them to bring him more candy and chocolate. 

Showed why Henry was called a kid.

In doing research for his book, he found the people of Silver City, New Mexico had many fond memories about Henry McCarty.

General impression the people of Silver City had about Henry
Henry was no phony, he was a good boy with a good heart. He treated poor people exactly the same as he treated rich people. Race and religion didn't matter to him either. A lot of people brought their prejudices with them as they went west. Catherine, Henry and Joe were among the exceptions. Particularly endearing to many people was the deep love and respect that he showed for his mother when she was alive and, after she died, her memory. His character obviously echoed his Mom's.

Henry and Joe's Mom, Catherine, was called the Saint of the Frontier
Her warm-hearted chartable good works and kindness were well known throughout Silver City. Many a penniless, hungry tenderfoot or stranger got help and a free meal from this Saint of the Frontier and had cause "to bless her memory.... She was a genuine lady----a lady by instinct and education".

Henry and Joe's Stepfather, William Antrim
In contrast many people commented on the fact that Scottish William Antrim was a cold, mean-spirited man. Never showing any affection to his two stepsons and only passing affection to his wife. He was believed to have beaten the boys repeatedly.

Henry was a "Boy Scout"
People noticed that Henry always took his hat off when speaking to ladies and young girls from earliest childhood, always showing them proper, if outdated, respect. Most people considered it charming. In the West pleasantries were kept to a minimum, but Catherine obviously instilled a sense of what and who a gentleman was. This was part of his charm with the Hispanic Community.  Many residents remembered that Henry went out of his way to show kindness to  ladies, the infirmed and the elderly. He was  literally a "boy scout," someone who would  help the elderly cross the street. Proof that he was his Mom's son.

Henry was generous and unselfish
There were no bounds to his generosity; friends, strangers, even enemies were welcome to his money, horse, clothes or anything he owned without complaint or reservation. The old, the poor, the sick or the unfortunate always found help if they needed it from Henry. He is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. This is the same picture that was painted of Henry by everyone who knew him right up until his death in Fort Sumner.  There is a real contrast between people's assessment of Henry's generous, decent character and everyone else's lack of it who are involved in this story.

Henry was clean and well-dressed as circumstance allowed
When circumstances permitted, his clothes were scrupulously clean and neat: he usually wore a black frock-coat, dark trousers and vest, well-fitting boots and a Mexican sombrero.
He always made a good first impression. People always remembered that the first thing he greeted them with was an infectious smile and friendly ice blue eyes.

One comment recorded in Governor Otero's book is particularly revealing,

Henry had no bark, but he had one hell of a bite. 

You would never even know that he had a temper, unless you pushed him way too far.  Henry would take almost any amount of abuse or insults, only smiling in return, never betraying his true feelings. Henry must have been a great poker player, because you could never know what was in his heart or what he was thinking----but the real insight was that he was always thinking.  But fair warning, you could push him too far and then all hell would break loose.  Bullies learned this lesson the hard way.

But Henry was never known to carry a grudge, outside of seeking retribution for John Tunstall's murder: normally if Henry got angry, which was very seldom, he would just as quickly forgive and forget.

Governor Otero concluded that Henry was killed because the forces of corruption were afraid of the "Kid". He was like an avenging angel. Even Pat Garrett would later confide in Governor Otero that he regretted killing Henry both on moral grounds and because nothing good came of it.

The Governor's final conclusion about Henry, he genuinely liked him.

Ring Leader Thomas Catron fought against Otero becoming Governor, he wanted a "Ring" Anglo Governor. At least for two terms, Catron lost, the Otero Administration was uneventful and scandal free.

A Lawman's Career Goes Downhill
The best analysis of Sheriff Pat Garrett's behavior, character and morals is not the story of Garrett's being shot and killed on February 29, 1908 while he peeing along the trail to his ranch, by ambush, most probably because of a feud with a neighbor about goats grazing on his land which Pat felt decreased the value of the Garrett Ranch.
Pat might have been viewed more favorably by history if he had been more like Tombstone Sheriff Wyatt Earp or Silver City Sheriff Whitehill . Enforcing the law fairly and equally against everyone, which meant against the "House" faction as effectively as he had against Henry and the Regulators. Winning the Lincoln County War meant corruption won.  In the end he was just another "House" Sheriff.  Not a bad guy, but neither was he  a good sheriff.   If the "Ring" was calling the shots, then the Sheriff was not enforcing Law and Order or Justice, only following the orders of Jimmy Dolan and Thomas Catron, just like Sheriff Brady had done.

Pat had been appointed a Captain in the Texas Rangers by Governor John Ireland in 1894.  Nobody knows why, but Pat quit after a few weeks. Some suspected that Henry's friends in Texas made him feel unwelcome.  
President Teddy Roosevelt appointed Pat a Custom's Collector in El Paso, Texas in 1901 because of his reputation as a lawman. That changed at an official reception when Pat took a friend of his, notorious gambler and alcoholic Tom Powers, to an event at the White House. When President Roosevelt found out about this, from a reporter, he sent a message to Pat that he would not be appointed to serve another term in that post. 
The fact that the people of Lincoln voted him out of office after killing Henry must account for something too. By any analysis, Henry was much, much more popular than Pat Garrett ever was. After he published his book, he temporarily enjoyed cachet as the country's most famous lawman, but that faded with time. Eventually all he became was an ex-sheriff, who became a bankrupt gambler with a big mortgage on his ranch, who didn't like goats, who had killed a kid that everybody liked.

Corruption Pays
The corrupt men who gave the order to kill Henry continued to use and corrupt the legal system for their own profit, continuing to steal land from poor Hispanic Ranchers and Farmers and killing anyone who stood in their way.  Thomas Catron was even selected by the legislature to be the first United States Senator after statehood in 1912.  Back then the people didn't vote for their Senator, they were elected by the state legislature. In New Mexico, that meant the most corrupt men in the state electing one of their own. Certainly, Catron was the richest of the rich, most corrupt of the corrupt, he was the perfect choice.
To the people of New Mexico, Pat Garrett was one of them, not one of us.

New Mexico's Noble Knight Errant
Anyone who stood up against them was a hero, battling the forces of darkness.   To them, Henry McCarty was Robin Hood. A flawed hero,  certainly, but a man who stood with them through all their trials and tribulations. Whether you called him Henry or Billy, the people knew who he was and would always remember that he was their friend and their champion.  Even today, 140 years later,  his name still echoes through the hills of Eastern New Mexico.  And people smile when you mention his name.
In 1905, Pat Garrett would write his friend author Emerson Hough,  offering the opinion that all of his troubles grew out of killing Billy the Kid in 1881.  Very few people would disagree with him. What started out as a killing of "desperado" Billy the Kid, a murder instigated by the corrupt, the  rich and the powerful, ended up as a Shakespearean Tragedy about the end of the life of the good and noble Henry McCarty, New Mexico's Knight Errant.

How Corrupt was the government of the New Mexico Territory? After Sheriff Pat Garrett  arrested Billy at Stinking Springs, he applied for but may not have received the advertised $500 reward. Later, after he ambushed Henry at Pete Maxwell's house, Pat applied for the $5000 reward that had been offered for Billy the Kid dead or alive, after Henry's escape from Lincoln. Pat was surprised to find out that the he was denied by the territorial treasurer because the offer was determined to have been from Governor Wallace as a private person, not as governor of the territory. Either way the corrupt Ring swindled their less than astute sheriff Pat Garrett. He didn't understand how devious the people he was dealing with were.You'll never plumb the depths of these corrupt thieves and murderers.
Some rich businessmen did pay Pat a reward, but it was much less than the $5,000. In response, Pat did the next best thing, he wrote a book, "The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid". Much of the mythology which surrounds Billy's life grows out of this book of tall tales, which is the best representation of the "House's" version of the story and too little of Billy's side of the story, much less the truth.

Who is civilized and who are the barbarians?

Fort Sumner resident LW Hale sold what he said was Henry's trigger finger to the Editor of Las Vegas, New Mexico Optic newspaper, Russell A. Kistler. It was supposedly cut off Billy's hand by one of Pat Garrett's deputies. The editor would show the finger to anyone interested in seeing it but they had to buy an annual subscription to the paper first.
On September 10, 1881 the Optic had a much more grisly story: The Optic reported that Henry's grave had been dug up, his corpse stolen  and the flesh was boiled off his bones and trophies, 
his trigger finger and skull, were sold to interested collectors. 

Tall Tales and Half Truths of Billy the Kid/ John Lemay and Elvis Fleming    Publisher: Arcadia Publishing 06/29/2015   To purchase a copy:

Billy couldn't have killed 21 people, one for every year of his life...

Henry McCarty was not born November 23, 1859
Ash Upson, Pat Garrett's ghostwriter for "The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid," did not know when Billy the Kid was born, so he had to guess. For his birthday, Ash chose his own birthday, November 23rd. For the year, he chose a year which would show the kid was at least 21-years old when he died, which when coupled with Ash's birthday would show that Billy the Kid was almost 22-years-old. Except he wasn't.

Many people feel that Sheriff Garrett deliberately lied about Billy's age to make killing Henry, THE KID,  more palatable. At 21 you were a legal adult under the common law, less than that you were still considered a minor.  Most sources and Billy's friends say that he was born in late 1860 or 1861. Which would make him 19/20 at the time he was killed. Any way you look at it, killing a kid would have given you bad press, so Pat Garrett had to lie and did.

The only contemporary document which may show Henry's true age is an article printed on July 26, 1881 edition of the Fort Wayne Daily Gazette published in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  It  mentions Garrett's shooting Henry the week before and states that Billy the Kid was 20 years 10 months old when he was killed.  Since Catherine, Joe and Henry lived in Indianapolis, Indiana for four or five years, 123 miles away from Fort Wayne, family records and documents were accessible.  Since Henry went to school in Indianapolis, the reporter probably consulted Henry's school registration forms, which would reveal that Henry was born, apparently, in September 1860, most probably September 17, 1860.

An Act of Kindness from a Good Boss
Henry rode like the wind and came to a "hay camp" near Fort Thomas, Arizona, run by HE "Sorghum" Smith. He asked for work and seeming to be an agreeable sort, he hired the kid to help clean up and do chores. Smith never believed that the kid was 17 like he said. He looked more like a boy of 14.
At some point the Kid came to him and asked for an advance on his salary, $40, a lot of money since the kid was only earning $1 a day. Liking Henry, his boss gave him the money. Henry bought some decent clothes, which fit him and some city shoes, an odd choice, which made the kid stick out because everyone else was wearing boots. Henry also bought a gun with what he had left, when added to the money he saved while working at the Hotel Luna as a dishwasher. The West of Billy the Kid By Frederick Nolan  University of Oklahoma Press September 15, 1999

Eyewitness Account
Cowboy Gus Gildea met Henry in 1877 when he came to Fort Grant.
"It was in the Fall of '77 when I first met Billy the Kid. He was an easy going, likeable youth, still in his teens, dressed like a "Country Jake," with store pants on and shoes instead of boots. He wore a six-shooter stuck inside his trousers.
Shortly after the kid came to Fort Grant, Windy started abusing him. He would throw Billy to the floor, ruffle his hair, slap his face and humiliate him before the men in George Adkin's Saloon.
One day he threw the youth to the floor, pinned his arms down and started slapping his face.
"You are hurting me. Let me up!" Cried the Kid.
"I want to hurt you," was Windy's reply.
Then there was a deafening roar. Windy slumped to the floor as the kid squirmed free and
ran to the door, vaulted into the saddle on John Murphy's racing pony and left Fort Grant.
When I came to town the next day...
Murphy was storming and cursing the Kid, calling him a horse thief, murderer and similar names. I told him he would get his horse back, for the "Kid" was no thief. 
In about a week one of Murphy's friends rode into town on Cashaw, Murphy's horse, saying the "Kid" had asked him to return him to return the animal to the owner.
Tucson Citizen January 31, 1931

Arizona Weekly Star of August 23, 1877: Frank P. Cahill was shot by Henry Antrim alias Kid at Camp Grant on the 17th, and died on the 18th. The following are the dying words of the deceased: I, Frank P. Cahill, being convinced that I am about to die, do made 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 Antrim, otherwise known as Kid, during which he shot me. I had called him a pimp, and he called me a S____ of a b____, we then took hold of each other: I did not hit him, I think: saw him go for his pistol, and tried to get ahold 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.

The Arizona (Weekly) Citizen printed that Henry Antrim alias Kid was tried before M.L.Wood, J.P., and the jurors were M. McDowell, Geo. Teague, T. McCleary, B.E. Norton, Jas. L. Hunt, and D.H. Smith which isn't true, but the coroner's jury did that the death was at the hands of William Antrim.

Odd isn't it, that the bully would say "I did not hit him, I THINK" when every other witness said he beat the crap out of Henry, just like he had done time and time before. Yeah, right.  And almost every bully always feels that they are the victim, when they finally experience retribution, even though it is their victims who have all the bruises from the beatings and torture.

January 10th, 1880, January 10, 1880; Bob Hargrove's saloon, Fort Sumner, San Miguel County, New Mexico Territory---In the afternoon of this chilly winter day, Billy Bonney and two of his rustling cohorts, Charlie Thomas and Barney Mason, walk into the Hargrove saloon. With them are Jim Chisum (John Chisum's brother) and three cowboys. Earlier in the day, the Chisum men, who were camping near Fort Sumner, were recovering stolen Chisum cattle with altered brands when into their camp rode up on Billy with his two companions. Billy asked to be allowed to inspect the cows himself "to make sure they weren't his", although it was well-known by everyone present that it had been he and his men that stole the cattle to begin with. After his inspecting was finished, Billy invited Chisum and his cowboys to accompany him back to Sumner, where he would buy the men drinks, probably in an attempt to "bury the hatchet". Accepting the invitation, Chisum and his men rode with the three Rustlers to Sumner.

Already in the saloon is a drunk and rowdy patron from Texas known as Joe Grant, sometimes called "Texas Red." Grant, who is apparently looking for a reputation as a bad man, confronted Billy earlier in the day and said, "I'll bet $25 I kill a men today before you do." Billy laughed off the bet though, possibly upsetting Grant. While Grant gets drunker, Billy buys drinks for Chisum and his men. At some point, Grant walks over to Chisum cowboy Jack Finan and pulls an ivory-handled pistol out of Finan's holster, then places his own pistol in Finan's holster. Finan, apparently scared of the drunk man, makes no attempt to stop him. Suspecting, that shooting could start, Billy walks over to Grant, says he admires his new pistol, and casually pulls it out of Grant's holster. Billy knows something that Grant doesn't, namely that earlier in the day, Finan fired three shots with this pistol and never reloaded. Without Grant noticing, Billy spins the cylinder so that the next three shots will fall on the three empty cartridges. Just as casually, Billy slips the gun back into Grant's holster.
Grant gets steadily more drunk and just as quarrelsome. He walks behind the bar and begins smashing the bottles to the ground, as Billy, not wanting to provoke a fight, joins him. At some point, Grant pulls out his pistol, points it at Jim Chisum, and shouts, "I'm going to kill John Chisum!" Billy then steps in and says to Grant, "Hold on, you got the wrong sow by the ear, this is Jim Chisum, old Uncle John's brother." Infuriated, Grant proclaims that Billy is a liar. As Billy turns his back to ignore him, Grant turns his pistol towards Billy's back and pulls the trigger. CLICK! Hearing the noise, in one swift motion, Billy turns around, pulls out his own pistol, and fires off three shots. The three bullets hit Grant in the head and he crumples to the ground, dead, never knowing what hit him. Billy then walks over to the fresh corpse, looks down at it, and says, "Joe, I've been there too often for you." With the excitement over, the rest of the patrons finish their drinks. Shortly thereafter, Grant is buried in the Sumner military cemetery, without ceremony.
A few days later, when Billy, Tom Folliard, Charlie Bowdre, and Charlie Thomas are in the Sunnyside Springs post office, Postmaster Milnor Rudulph asks the Rustlers about the recently killed man. In an offhand manner, Billy's only comment on the matter is that it was nothing, "a game of two and I got there first." The killing receives next to no notice in the papers and no charges are ever filed. If the man who killed Texas Joe Grant was not Billy the Kid, he almost definitely would have been completely forgotten from history. Grant had wanted a reputation and, ironically, he received one, being "made famous" by the Kid.

Young Guns(1988)

Was Billy the Kid a Dangerous Smart-Ass Gunslinger or was Henry "Billy the Kid" McCarty an Intelligent Young Man, someone you underestimated at your own peril?

Young Guns is a very good movie and Emilio Estevez is an entertaining Billy the Kid, but there is a problem.

Emilio portrays Billy as a smart ass. Now, generally, people who knew Billy/Henry described him as a clever and funny nice guy, more a straight arrow with rough edges than anything else. To them, he was never a smart ass. And, remember, a little smart ass humor goes a long way. They are two radically different kinds of people. Billy kept friends for a lifetime, he couldn't have done that if he was a full-time smart-ass.
Smart-asses tend to hang around with other smart-asses. They also tend to be bullies, their humor is almost always at someone else's expense.  Their intent is to hurt and demean. More than that, it tends to be cruel humor and almost always directed at someone poorer, younger, weaker or less intelligent.
Henry and people like him very often directed their humor at people stronger, richer and more powerful than they were.  Like a guy with a gun waving it around threatening people. Trying to disarm them with humor.  But he could also make himself the butt of a joke.  Henry was always looking for a laugh, not a target. Many times he used humor to break-up himself and his buddies because they were bored or to give an excuse to escape from the tension of a hopeless situation, like the siege of Lincoln. For Henry the glass was always half full.
There was nothing funny in the following scene, whether in this movie or the real life event on which it was based. 
Remember Billy walked over to the all too real corpse and said "Joe, I've been there too often for you." He meant, you made me do this. This isn't what I wanted, I've been your friend and then you tried to shoot me in the back.  Those are words of regret. Billy did not enjoy killing people. That is the real Billy the Kid.

The best scene in the movie, it is generally agreed, is when Billy interacts with the bounty hunter and stranger, Joe Grant. And nothing shows the difference between the two Billy's, the real kid and the character in the movie, better than that scene.

First, the movie is wrong, Henry knew Joe Grant.
Though the whistling scene is a clever device to introduce the ignorant bounty hunter to his quarry, Billy the Kid. This never happened.  Pretty good smart-ass humor, but that isn't who Billy was.

Henry knew everyone in Fort Sumner, New Mexico and they knew him. He knew Joe Grant. Henry treated everybody as a friend and called them  his PAL. When Sheriff Pat Garrett shot and killed the Kid, everyone in town turned out for his funeral, there were very few dry eyes.

The real Henry was riding in a stagecoach, wearing leg irons, on his way to be HANGED, when they stopped in Las Cruces. A crowd gathered around the coach and asked which passenger was Billy the Kid.  Henry took his hand and placed it on fellow passenger's, Judge Leonard's, shoulder and said "this is your man". Even Judge Leonard is said to have been amused by that.  If you wonder what kind of humor his friends enjoyed, this gallows humor is 100% the real Henry "Billy the Kid" McCarty.
Second, Billy/Henry never went looking for a fight.
He had just finished talking the drunken cowboy out of shooting Jim Chisum. Jim was the father of Henry's one time sweetheart, Sallie Chisum.
Why in the world would he pick a fight with a guy who he would have been completely justified in shooting and killing only moments before. The idea that Henry would bait Joe, at that point, looking for a showdown and shootout, is ridiculous on its face.
Third, Billy didn't take bullets out of the gun that Joe had "borrowed" from Billy's friend, Jack Finan. 
Henry and Jack had been shooting earlier in the day. Henry knew that some of Jack's gun's cylinders were empty as a result. Additionally, in the west, you always left the cylinder under the hammer empty, in case you fell off your horse or tripped, so you wouldn't get shot accidentally. A lot of cowboys had hair-trigger guns, so this happened a lot more often than you would expect, until they implemented this safety step.
When Henry asked Joe to let him look at Jack's gun, Henry did two things, first he made sure the hammer was over the empty cylinder and that the next cylinders were empty too, he knew that from earlier in the day. Now, if Joe had let things go, nothing would have happened. But Henry knew Joe was a mean drunk and the more he drank, the meaner he became. Obviously, Catherine McCarty Antrim didn't raise any stupid kids, they knew enough to be careful and take out insurance.
Fourth, when Billy turned his back on Joe to walk back to his friends at their table, he heard the click of Joe's gun's hammer striking the empty chamber, he immediately turned and fired with deadly aim. Joe had tried to shoot Billy in the back.
Young Guns has Billy start whistling a sad ballad, which is supposedly a habit of and a tip off for identification for Billy the Kid. Then Joe and Billy draw on each other, face to face, Billy gets their first and kills Joe. That NEVER happened.
Henry calmed Joe down once, then turned around and walked away, then Joe drew and fired. Biggest mistake he ever made and his last.
Everything Henry did was extremely intelligent self-defense. The "Kid" was smart and nothing shows it better than how he dealt with a dangerous drunken bully named Joe Grant.

A good way to judge how accurate a movie is in telling the story of Billy the Kid is whether they show Sheriff Pat Garrett shooting the unarmed Kid in the BACK. Witnesses Deluvina and Paulita Maxwell both say that is exactly what happened. Circumstantial Evidence: We know that Garrett ordered the coroner to re-write Henry's death certificate.

Not exactly the stuff of which heroes are made.

 ''Billy never talked much of the past. He was always looking into the future.''  Frank Coe

Three documentaries about Billy the Kid

Footnotes:   The best single resource about Billy. An awesome amount of original source material.

''In return for your doing this(testifying), I will let you go scot free with a pardon in your pocket for all your misdeeds.'' Governor Lew Wallace to Billy the Kid, March 17, 1879.

If Henry had gotten this pardon, Deputies Carlyle, Bell and Olinger would have been alive and Henry would probably have settled in Ft. Sumner, raised a family and probably would have never entered public consciousness again.
One has a suspicion that Deputy Olinger would have been killed by someone else, he was not a good man and earned the hate that was directed at him.
Today people talk about what happened and don't spend too much time thinking about why things happened. If you do think about them, you form a much different opinion of William H. Bonney. And I think most people would consider themselves lucky to have a friend like Henry.

That is because, as Josephine Tey(pen name for Elizabeth MacKintosh) author of a great detective story about Richard III said,

TRUTH is the "Daughter of Time"

1880 Census

Page: 436B            17, 18, 19 Jun 1880
Bowdre, Charles    W M 32                  Work in Cattle       MS  MS  MS
Manuela                 W  F  25   Wife       Keeping House     NM  NM
Bonny, Wm.         W M 25                  Work in Cattle     MO MO MO       
Bennet, A. B.         W M 38                   Stock Raiser          IL IL IL
Pruitt, Wilis           W M 20                   Work in Cattle      TX TX TX

Year: 1880;
Lincoln, Lincoln, New Mexico; (Town of Lincoln) Enumeration District: 18;
Page: 389C       1 Jun 1880

McSween, Sue        W F 32                  Keeping House      PA PA PA Widowed

Year: 1880;
Silverton, San Juan, Colorado; Enumeration District: 103;
Page: 367C       1 Jun 1880

Rockwood, Thos.     WM 27              Hotel Prop.        OH  NY 
Antrim, Joseph         WM 17              Miner                 NY  NY  England
Note: They don't use dwelling/family numbers in Silverton, nor do they specify anything but immediate family relationships. Joseph is 6th person listed below Thos. Rockwood, proprietor of a hotel.  So Joseph is probably staying in this hotel along with a whole bunch of other miners.

Year: 1880;
Tucson, Pima, Arizona; (City of Tucson)
Enumeration District: 39;
Page: 330D              24 Jun 1880        Main St. Palace Hotel

Anthrum, W. H.       W M 37              Miner       Mass NY NY Widower

Year: 1920
State: California ED: 183 County: Sutter  Township: Yuba
Page: 13A        6 Feb 1920
Antrim, Joseph         W  M   64 S        Miner      IN 

Joe McCarty probably took the name Antrim for the sake of anonymity. If he was a McCarty, then people might connect him to his famous brother. It isn't known if he had any relationship with his step father after he abandoned Joe(11) and his brother Henry(14), upon the death of their mother, Catherine.

Affluenza: Dolan was tried and acquitted for his part in the Lincoln County War even though he and Murphy started the war, planned the first murder and were responsible for the carnage which followed, none of the other House officials ever served time. Billy, Attorney McSween, John Tunstall and almost all of the other Regulators were killed.

*Affluenza is the defense used by 16-year-old Ethan Couch when he was driving drunk and killed four people. His parents were Texas Millionaires. The judge sentenced the boy to a health spa/rehab as punishment, first in Malibu California then in Texas. The Best Defense Money Can Buy

For the full story on the pardon, go here, again this is a great website which gives you the complete story about Billy the Kid

Susan McSween took out her anger on the Army
The Lincoln County War ended when the Army intervened and supported James Dolan and his "House" forces. It was during this military action and the siege of the McSween homestead that Alex McSween was murdered while trying to negotiate a surrender. Susan was driven to get justice for her husband. Alex was no gunfighter, but felt, like Dick Brewer, that John Tunstall deserved justice. Susan was furious that her husband had tried to surrender, waving his handkerchief as a white flag, but was instead  murdered, in cold blood, by the House assassins and soldiers.   She pressed charges again Colonel Dudley. Governor Wallace, James Dolan and Pat Garrett attended the trial. Some feel that a deal was struck, behind closed doors, between the Governor, Attorney General, Sheriff and the Military. They devised a strategy to protect themselves and end the crisis. Acquittals for the House,  an Acquittal for Colonel Dudley and the murder of  Henry McCarty.  Henry was furious with righteous indignation and they were all afraid that he would never stop coming after them. They murdered his boss and friend, John Tunstall, the killed his "big brother", Dick Brewer,  they killed his pals Charlie Bowdre and Tom O'Folliard, Henry would never forgive or forget that. No honorable man could. Murdering Henry was their only solution.

Susan McSween Barber shortly before her death at age 86. After the murder of her husband Alex McSween, she pursued justice for her dead husband and fought to retrieve the family assets that his murderers stole. She eventually built a fortune and became a very wealthy rancher living in White Oak, New Mexico, eventually acquiring over 8,000 head of cattle.

Till her dying day, Susan McSween Barber would hold Henry McCarty up as an example of one of the great heroes of the old west and her personal champion.

Corruption Loses
The Dolan-Murphy "House" eventually went bankrupt, as did many members of the Santa Fe Ring. Their dream of statehood would have to wait 30 years. 

Pat Garrett's Shady Past Catches up with Him
But Pat got in trouble for huge gambling debts and bad investments, with no ability to pay, the money from his book about Billy long gone.  Supposedly his death grew out of a dispute over a neighboring rancher's lease of grazing rights on Pat's land to graze his goats. Pat thought that the goats would lower his property values.  Though details are a little foggy, Pat was shot by ambush while peeing along the trail. No one was ever convicted of the crime.
If suspicions are correct, Pat may have been able to outgun Billy, when he drew on him in the dark and by surprise ambush, shooting him in the back, but he couldn't outgun a goat farmer.

Everybody has an opinion, but the truth is harder to find
Recently a couple of books have come out which illustrate the problem of who is the real Billy the Kid. One book discusses Pat Garrett's cattle rustling and another the criminal offenses of Sheriff William Brady offering two defenses.
First, the cattle Pat rustled were strays and newborns, which hadn't been branded yet. Supposedly everybody did it. Not much of a defense. Stealing is stealing, not even sophistry can overcome that. If Henry was a rustler, then so was Pat Garrett.
Next, another book which argues that the posse's murder of John Tunstall was OK, since it was under the color of law. While the Regulators execution/shooting Morton and Baker were murder.  Only one problem with that theory, Henry and his fellow Regulators had been legally deputized to bring in John Tunstall's murderers. So they were acting under color of law too.
Since shooting an unarmed Henry McCarty was OK, then the shooting of armed murderer Sheriff William Brady was too.
The one crime for which no one was ever tried was the murder of John Tunstall. He was murdered in cold blood, despite Judge Bristol's best efforts to trivialize it, it was murder and the planners, the men who executed the plan and those who covered it up were criminals who got away with it. Except the men that Henry McCarty held accountable. He gave them justice. 

Truth is the Daughter of Time

"When I was 5 years old, my mom told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

It rarely ends well, when you leave children to raise themselves. And no kid, should ever grow up alone.

One has the feeling that Henry has more in common with Colton Harris-Moore, another lonely, smart kid,  stuck in a very unhappy life, betrayed by the adults around him. Is anyone really surprised that Henry and Colton felt driven to do something about it. The amazing thing is, if people took the trouble to get to know them, they came to like them and became their friends.

I read recently that some locals, including an executive from Boeing have come forward to help Colton get his life together and give him the encouragement to finish school(like Henry, Colton is considered very intelligent by those who know him) and help plan for his future once he gets out of jail. I'm sure that Henry is pulling for Colton too.
His friends call him Colt, in case you are curious.

On May 30, 2010, police found a handwritten note and $100 at a veterinary clinic in Raymond, Washington, approximately 95 miles southwest of Seattle. The note read: 
Drove by, had some extra cash. Please use this money for the care of animals
—Colton Harris-Moore, (AKA: "The Barefoot Bandit"), Camano Island, WA.

"A local woman who spent years as a crisis worker counseling at-risk youth, and who asked to remain anonymous, says she believes "Colt didn't intend for all this to happen. It's gotten away from him now." She met Colt when he was about 14 and had been sentenced to serve a week of community service at the park where she works. She says Colt showed up without food or anything to drink but had to work full days outdoors. "I fed him, gave him water, and he was just so very grateful." Colt worked hard sawing and hauling wood, pulling weeds, and cutting brush, she says, and was very smart, showing a "ridiculous amount" of knowledge about the local plants.
Colt, she says, wasn't anything like the extreme cases she's seen. "He really struck me as a good-hearted kid who'd always been looked at with negative expectations and didn't have a lot of motivation to feel good about his life. Yet when given an opportunity, I mean he just worked his butt off. How is it possible," she wonders, "that all these groups of people and systems in place miss children like this, over and over again?"
Two weeks after Colt finished his community service, he rode his bike the ten miles back to the park. "He was kinda shy, handed me three small bags and just said, 'Here.' I'd told him we had a very small budget for new plants, and he'd gone out and hand-harvested seeds from local flowers that he thought would grow well in the park. I said, 'Oh my God, thank you so much!' And he's like 'Yeah, all right. Well, I guess I'll go, bye.' He started to walk away but then turned around and said, 'Thank you for being so nice to me.' I was literally teary-eyed.""

A really great article about Colt, well worth your time.

I think Henry would have liked Colt and Colt would have liked Henry. I hope we do a better job leading Colt back to the light than we did with Henry. So much promise, such a great loss. We can't afford to lose another kid like that, again.  

If you ever have a minute free sometime late at night, say a prayer for Colt.

William Henry Bonney/McCarty was a victim of bullying even after he was dead. No one deserves that.

20 years after Henry died, Governor Lew Wallace gave an interview about "Billy the Kid" in the Washington Times dated September 21, 1902

"General Lew Wallace Queer Interview With A Noted Outlaw"

"The lights of the candles flickered against the boyish face, yet the man who stood in the doorway was the most notorious outlaw in New Mexico. He had killed scores of men... In facial features "Billy the Kid", the notorious bandit and fugitive from justice, was a mere stripling. His narrow shoulders were rounded, his posture slightly stooped, his voice was low and effeminate. But his eyes were cold and piercing, steady, alert, gray, like steel.  ... in the feminine voice that was part and parcel of his character."

Made out of whole cloth.
No one else ever commented about Henry's voice not changing in the normal time frame for an average adolescent, Wikipedia states anywhere between 12 and 15. And no one else ever indicated that there was anything effeminate about the way Henry spoke, his character or his behavior, in word or deed. No one ever reported that he had a lisp or any other speech impediment.  No one, not one soul.  No where else is this even hinted at in the written records and history of the times, except in this self-serving interview by Governor Wallace. He hoped to improve his own reputation by appealing to the prejudices of the time. The truth of the matter didn't matter at all.  He smeared Henry because by then, people had tied the ex-Governor to the corruption of "the Ring" which haunted New Mexico and its reputation nationally. Many people believe that it was this corruption which prevented New Mexico from being admitted to the Union, until 1912.

 A little etymology:
The Marquis of Queensberry(Queensberry's Rules of Boxing are his) was the man Oscar Wilde sued for libel, after he left a calling card for Oscar at one of his social clubs with the hand written message "posing as a sodomite". Wilde had taken Queensberry's son, Lord Alfred Douglas, called Bosie by his friends, as his lover. Queensberry's defense in court to the libel action was that the accusation was true.
In a letter of 1894, the Marquis of Queensberry wrote a letter to a friend in which he described Oscar and his friends as "Snob Queers" and "Jew Nancy Boys". Originally, queer did not have the pejorative meaning that it has today, but by the time of Wallace's interview it had come to mean gay. Wallace knew what he was doing, smearing Henry gratuitously which would make him, Pat Garrett and their actions sound better.

In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Second Stain" Inspector Lestrade chastises a constable, "It's lucky for you, my man, that nothing is missing, or you would find yourself in Queer Street."
In another Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place", Watson observes that a character in debt is "by all accounts, so far down Queer Street, he may never find his way back again."
Apparently its initial meaning was going down the wrong road or getting into trouble. 

One footnote, one boy who went to school with Henry said that he was the most handsome boy in school, one student commented almost girlishly pretty. He was also a skinny kid and a geek, always reading books.  Both of which made him a prime target for bullies.  But Henry was a good kid, while he never started a fight, he ended a lot of them.  Henry was a ferocious fighter and would never give up, much less give an inch to a bully. If you picked on him, there was going to be a fight and all hell was going to break loose and you were probably going to lose.  Bullies very quickly learned that "scrawny" Henry McCarty was the one guy you did not want to fight, unless you wanted to get the hell beaten out of you.
No one ever said this about Henry before Governor Wallace did here, twenty years after "Billy the Kid's" death. Much like Pat Garrett, who had to write a "biography" of Henry to redeem his character and smear "Billy the Kid's" after receiving an avalanche of criticism for ambushing Henry/Billy, Wallace used this interview to justify his own actions, by belittling and insulting Henry.
In the West, gunfights are too often portrayed as they were in Gunsmoke's opening scene, face to face, on Main Street at High Noon. That was TV. This almost never happened in real life. Although Wild Bill Hickok had a long career as a Peace Officer, he only had one such incident.
Regardless, it was considered unmanly, in a one to one confrontation, to ambush someone in the West. You faced them man to man and face to face, if you had the drop on them they surrendered, if you didn't, they got away.
Pat Garrett came in for intense criticism for shooting Henry. The only things which made it worse was that Henry was underage and unarmed. The people of Lincoln knew that Henry was under 21. Word soon spread that Pat had shot the unarmed Henry in the back.  There is no way Lew Wallace and Sheriff Pat Garrett could spin that, so they had to lie. That is why Pat lied and said armed man with a gun and knife and guilty of 21 murders in his 21 years. As a gimmick it worked perfectly, as long as nobody checked further and found out the truth.

But it didn't work as well as hoped, people who knew Henry, knew the truth: Pat lost his race for Territorial Council/Senate, which would have put on a par with Thomas Catron, in a landslide. Garrett blamed Henry's popularity for his loss.  His book was full of phony facts, always putting his and Wallace's actions in the best possible light, even if he had to lie. Both men felt the need to smear "Billy the Kid" since their own actions and character had been called into question.  

Ash Upson, itinerant sheriff and Pat Garrett's ghost writer did get one thing right, although he did a lot of "creative" writing about large portions of "Billy the Kid's life", especially his early childhood, he did write truthfully about Henry, Joe and their Mom in Santa Fe and  Silver City, because he knew them, having rented a room from them at one point.  He stated that "Kathleen" McCarty was loved by everyone who met her. Her two boys, Henry and Joe, were seen as fine, good boys and universally well liked as well. Maybe that is the fairest and most accurate way to remember them.

Wyatt Earp and Henry McCarty had a lot in common

A historian once remarked that "The Gunfight at the OK Corral" is more romantic and has a better ring than  "The Gunfight on the Vacant Half of Lot 2 of Tombstone City, Block 17 Between Camillus Fly's Boarding House and Photography Shop and the House Owned by William Harwood."  There really is and was an OK Corral, but the most famous gunfight in the history of the west never happened there. It happened in a little 15-foot wide alley, about 50 yards away from  the historical address  of the OK Corral, 326 East Allen Street, Tombstone, Arizona.

Reputed to be a photo of Wyatt Earp across from the OK Corral about 1881

Wyatt Earp was the brother of Tombstone, Arizona town Marshal Virgil Earp. Both men took part in the famous gunfight at the OK Corral.  The gunfight arose from a law that all guns had to be deposited with the sheriff's office upon entering the city limits. This was very common in most towns in the west. This was done because rowdy, drunken cowboys caused a lot of problems when they had a gun in their hands.  Since towns people liked the cowboy's money, they were marginally obliging to the cowboys, but kept them on a short leash.  
On one trip to town, the Clanton brothers failed to turn in their guns. When Virgil Earp became aware of this, he told County Sheriff Behan that he needed to secure their weapons. Sheriff Behan had ties to the Cowboy faction.  Behan told Virgil Earp that the boys refused to turn them in.  It was at this point that the Clantons were joined by the McLauries.  The Clantons had a bad reputation as bullies and troublemakers, while the McLauries were well respected local ranchers.
Marshal Virgil Earp and his Deputies Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday went to confront them. After giving an order to disarm, Doc Holiday was heard cocking his shotgun. Then the Clantons drew their weapons and gunfire erupted. The shooting was over in about 30 seconds. The battle left three dead cowboys and two wounded law officers.  
A few days later, in retaliation, Virgil Earp was shot and wounded in an ambush by the cowboys. Then Morgan Earp was assassinated by a sniper while playing billiards.
At which point, Wyatt Earp, like Henry McCarty before him, took the law into his own hands. He stopped being an officer of the law and became an avenging angel seeking justice for his dead brother. He had no interest in bringing them to trial, which would be subject to a jury of towns people and cowboys. The best he could hope for was a hung jury.  He wasn't going to take that chance. Wyatt hunted his brother's killers down. He caught up with four of them. He gave them frontier justice, summary execution, then fled the territory, slightly ahead of local Sheriff Johnny Behan.
As if the situation wasn't complicated enough, he took Johnny Behan's fiancé, Josephine,  with him. They later got married and remained together for 47 years.
If only Henry had followed Wyatt's example and made it to California and Freedom. And Henry would have found happiness, because wherever Henry went he made friends and fit in immediately.

Wyatt Earp

A new photo, possibly of Henry, has turned up recently in regard to a National Geographic Special about Billy the Kid.  Looking at the photo, take note of the boy's hat and the over sized sweater worn by the boy on the right, Henry lived on the range and needed to layer his clothes to survive the cold New Mexico winters, especially when he was on the run.  Notice the bulge under his sweater, apparently Henry was packing guns. Both are very reminiscent of the Beaver Smith photo. A final determination will have to wait until they release the topography and geographic studies and a detailed analysis of the building, which "appears" to match a building on the Tunstall Ranch.

And by the way, the two young men are playing croquet, which was a great fad in the 1880's. The young man on the left is thought to be Tom O'Folliard and on the right Henry.  Historical  research indicates that this photo was taken after a cattle drive at the Tunstall's Ranch to celebrate Charlie Bowdre and Manuela's wedding in 1878. Charlie is on horseback to the right.
One thing to remember, the photos which are labeled Billy the Kid have been examined and re-examined, with almost every one turning out to be a fraud. But an odd photo like this, intriguing on its own might be saved, then pass unrecognized through several hands before someone realized its importance, instead of its charm.

In 2012, the famous Beaver Smith Bar photo of Henry sold for $2,300,000.00 in the Denver, Colorado Auction, making it the sixth most expensive photo in history. Current wisdom is that if it came back on the market, it would sell for much, much more.  The auction house's original estimate for the photo's value was between $300,000 and $400,000. It actually sold for six times more than the estimate. The Old West Show and Auction's audience rose and gave a standing ovation when the auction ended and the winning bid was announced.

Turning point in Henry's life, his Mom's death as recorded in the Silver City Mining Life on September 19, 1874: "Died in Silver City, on Wednesday the 16th inst., Catherine, wife of William Antrim, aged 45 years. Mrs. Antrim and her husband and family came to Silver City about one year and a half ago, since which time her health has not been good, having suffered from an affliction of the lungs. For the last four months she has been confined to her bed. The funeral occurred from the family residence on Main Street, at 2 o'clock on Thursday."

Harvey Whitehill was the Sheriff of Silver City, New Mexico from the early 1870's on. He was elected to 6 four year terms in office, very rare in the turbulent and corrupt politics which plagued the West. Everyone who knew Sheriff Whitehill testified to his good character and courage.
He also had a good heart.
Everyone noticed that Henry had lost weight since his Mom died,  that he was dressed in tattered clothes which he had obviously outgrown.  Sheriff Whitehill would describe Henry as a frail, basically good boy.

When Henry was accused of stealing 2lbs. of butter from Rancher Abel L. Webb, Sheriff Whitehill took Henry aside and asked him to promise not to do it again. Though Henry was 14-years-old at the time, the sheriff then had Henry take down his pants and drawers and proceeded to spank him.

At the same time Henry was working as a waiter and dishwasher at the Star Hotel. The Star Hotel was owned by McCarty/Antrim family friends the Truesdells. The Truesdells always spoke highly of Henry as an honest, good boy and the best employee they ever had. He worked hard, but the pay was meager, paying for his room left little money for anything else.
Unfortunately, it was at this point that Henry met 24-year-old George Schaefer, better known around Silver City as "Sombrero Jack" because he always wore a sombrero.  He was a local stonemason better known for his secondary careers as gambler, drunk and a petty thief.
Sombrero Jack broke into Charlie Sun's laundry on September 4, 1875, stealing laundry and two guns, worth about $150-200.

"Henry McCarty, who was arrested on Thursday September 16, 1875 and committed to jail to await the action of the Grand Jury upon the charge of stealing clothes from Charley Sun and Sam Chung, celestials(slang for someone Chinese), sans cues(slang for with no queue, no family), sans joss sticks(with no incense), escaped from prison yesterday through the chimney. It's believed that Henry was simply the tool of "Sombrero Jack," who done the stealing while Henry done the hiding. Jack has skinned out." Grant County Herald September 26, 1875

Schaefer had been introduced to Henry by his former landlady Sarah Brown, who had rented a room to Henry while he worked as a dishwasher at the Truesdell's Star Hotel.  
As the most likely suspect, Schaefer had asked the much younger Henry to hide the proceeds in his room instead as a favor. Mrs. Brown found the things and contacted the Sheriff, who then arrested Henry. 
But Sheriff Whitehill didn't intend to keep Henry in jail very long, just long enough to scare him straight. He knew that Sombrero Jack was the thief, but he lit out as soon as Henry was arrested. Orphans treasure loyalty, because they so seldom see it in others. Sheriff Whitehill recognized that 15-year-old  Henry had fallen  under the spell and influence of Sombrero Jack.  He hoped that Sombrero Jack's abandonment of Henry put an end to any loyalty Henry felt for him. It probably did, Henry never mentioned him again.  But he did keep one remembrance from this association, Henry routinely wore a sombrero from this point forward.

Sheriff Whitehill felt obligated to step in and help Henry; he wanted Henry to get back on track.  He figured a few days in jail would scare him and get him thinking right.
If he had just been able to communicate his intent to the terrified Henry, things may have turned out differently. 

What was Sheriff Whitehill's opinion of "the Kid"?  While Henry was in jail, Sheriff Whitehill and his wife, Harriet, decided that they would take him into their home, adopting Henry. They had both been close friends of Henry and Joe's Mom, Catherine, their oldest son Harry was Henry's best friend and they both liked Henry personally, just like everyone else did.

Life on the frontier could be tough, boring and lonely, there was a huge amount of hard work to do, but also very little to do beyond work, especially since entertainment was hard to come by. Under Henry's direction, the local kids took some initiative, they formed a burlesque and minstrel show of singing, dancing and comedy at Morrill's Opera House in Silver City. As much to give themselves something to do in their "free time" as to entertain their parents and town folk. Everyone  in Silver City would always say how smart Henry was and how much he loved to sing and dance. Apparently, he did quite well, for years afterwards, people in Silver City would remember seeing Henry with a book in his hands reading or his stage performances, because that was the person they knew. Billy the Kid was just someone they read about in the newspaper.
As a lark, any photo of Henry in his minstrel show would probably bring $10 Million Dollars!

Both Grant County Sheriff Whitehill and his wife, Harriet, cared about Henry. Had a terrified Henry not escaped from the Silver City jail that night, he might have found the happiness he sought, living with people who loved him, the sheriff, his wife and 12 siblings.

Henry would have loved one piece of irony. In winning six terms as Sheriff, one of the men Whitehill defeated was Pat Garrett, who had come to Silver City after losing re-election in Lincoln.
Sheriff Whitehill never liked Garrett. He never considered him a real lawman. He looked on him as a bounty hunter, only looking for money, not justice.

Henry's first arrest in 1875: Sheriff Whitehill allowed Henry outside of his cell during his incarceration, so the boy could get some exercise. Henry was allowed the run of the jail behind a locked main door. Somehow Henry managed to shimmy up the jail chimney and escape.

“I ran outside and around the jail and a Mexican standing on a ridge at the rear asked whom I was hunting. I replied in Spanish, a prisoner. ‘He came out of the chimney,’ answered the Mexican. I ran into the jail, looked up the big old-fashioned chimney and sure enough, I could see where in an effort to obtain a hold, his hands had clawed into the thick layer of soot which lined the chimney. The chimney hole itself did not appears large as my arm and yet that lad squeezed his frail slender body through it and gained his liberty,” the Silver City Enterprise newspaper quoted Whitehill in 1902

Sheriff Whitehill

His wife Harriet Whitehill

The Whitehill children, Harry is in the back row, center, probably in the very early 1880's, after Henry's death.

There is some debate as to who put Henry on the train to his stepfather, Chauncey Truesdale said that he and his Mom put him on the train. Henry's landlady Sarah Brown and the Knights may have chipped in and helped pay for Henry's ticket as well.  Obviously, Mrs. Brown may have come to regret turning Henry in for receiving stolen goods. One gets the feeling, that Sheriff Whitehill may have known about Henry's flight from justice as well and allowed Henry to get away, hoping that his stepfather would step up and give Henry some direction and support. Regrettably that didn't happen.

Silver City was a center of reform and open government
Silver City was the county seat of Grant County, along the Arizona border. In 1876, as a direct result of "Ring" corruption at the state capitol, Grant County government officials announced that they would apply to Washington to have the county transferred to the Arizona Territory from New Mexico. Shocked Republicans of the "Ring" in Santa Fe immediately tried to placate the county. They were allowed to incorporate Silver City, the county was allowed to create an independent school system and Grant County was granted almost autonomous self-government with no interference from Santa Fe.

Deluvina Maxwell was a full blooded Navajo Indian who had been orphaned as a child. By the time Henry knew her she had become a housekeeper at the Maxwell ranch.  She loved Henry, she would always call him her little boy.  Describing the night Henry was killed, "Garrett was afraid to go back in the room to make sure of whom he had shot. I went in and was the first to discover that they had killed my little boy. I hated those men and am glad that I lived long enough to see them all dead and buried."

Deluvina with granddaughter in her 70's

For Billy the Kid's Childhood, click link below
Billy's  childhood and early life

Footnote One, What are the odds? Possible, but unlikely. A pickaxe was found in the yard of the
Lincoln County Courthouse under about 8" of dirt. It had a clean break in the handle. The reality show investigators speculated that this could be the pickaxe Henry and his friends used to break his shackles after he escaped from the Lincoln County Jail. As demonstrated on the show, a pickaxe would need to be broken to effectively maneuver to break shackles, exactly as found on the show.
Footnote Two, the Antrim home was torn down long ago, but was located approximately at the corner of Broadway and Hudson Streets, next to the big ditch. Actor/Director Ron Howard donated a log cabin to Silver City from his film "The Missing", which should be quite similar to Catherine, Henry and Joe's home.
Broadway runs east/west, while Main Street was north/south. Main Street was an arroyo when the town was first populated. It was flat and sandy, so it was very easy to use as a road.
Horses, wagons, herds of cattle, etc., were constantly being run in the arroyo. The trees in the nearby hills were cut for housing, fencing and heat, so over the years as the rains hit, there was nothing to hold back the water from rushing into the arroyo. Erosion whittled away at the soil. There
were several enormous floods late in the 19th century (and later) that tore away the soil of Main Street down to bedrock. When we were building the Panama Canal, it got the nickname of The Big Ditch, so the locals in Silver City started calling what was left of Main Street The Big Ditch, which is what it is called today. The area downtown where the Big Ditch is located is now a park. Information provided by the Silver City Historical Society.
Footnote Three, the land of the old city jail is currently a US Forest Service Warehouse When the county offices moved to the newly constructed courthouse at the top of Broadway in 1883, the group
of women who started Silver City's first hospital the year before asked for the county buildings on Hudson so they could care for more patients. They used the jail as a storage facility and a morgue. They were in that location until 1918. Today, the US Forest Service (Gila District) has its warehouse
on that spot. Information provided by Silver City Historical Society
Footnote Four, Tucson named one of its streets Bonney Street after Henry in 2012
Footnote Five,  Henry's Tombstone "was bought in 1930, after MGM did a movie on Billy the Kid," Don Sweet, owner of the Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner, New Mexico said. "King Vidor (Director) and Johnny Mack Brown, the actor who played Billy, donated $150 for the headstone." Huffington Post
Footnote Six, James Dolan took possession of John Tunstall's Flying "H" Ranch at the end of the Lincoln County War, after he had Tunstall murdered. He would die there in 1898 at the age of 49.
Footnote Seven, Experts want to compare DNA from Henry's grave or Brushy Bob's grave with blood traces taken from a 19th-century bench that is believed to be the one the Kid's body was placed on at Pete Maxwell's House after he was shot by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881. The bench was discovered on a Fort Sumner ranch.
Footnote Eight,  an effort is underway to get to Henry/Billy's death certificate and autopsy. The big questions which remains unanswered, did Sheriff Pat Garrett shoot Henry in the back? If he did, that means everything Pat Garrett said in his book is suspect.
Footnote Nine, The portrait of Henry at the top of the page is taken from a photo of Henry and his buddy Dan Dedrick. The photo was found in New Mexico. The boys' clothing is appropriate to the time period, 1870/1880's.
A forensic analyst has identified Dedrick (the whole photo is on Billy's early childhood page), using sophisticated forensic identification software.
Sister Blandina Segale described Henry as being peach-complexioned and innocent-looking. That certainly seems to be an appropriate description of the young man in  this photo.   Even though the photo is taken in less than ideal lighting, this person's hair shows signs of being light brown or dirty blonde. Bad lighting makes thicker hair look darker. That fits Henry's description as having dirty blonde hair.
The age of the subject is important as well. It is not unreasonable to assume that the kid in the photo is under 25, most probably under 21 from his appearance. Certainly, using the standards of the time, it would not be inappropriate to call him a kid.
An observation on my part, Henry's ears in the Ft. Sumner photo are quite prominent. The photo with Dedrick's Henry shows the same prominent ears.
Another consideration, both Henrys show a male with a generally triangular face; Dedrick in contrast has a roughly square face.
Though it might be me, I seem to detect a slight indication that Dedrick's Henry has buck teeth under his closed mouth. Of course, in the Ft. Sumner photo, Henry's teeth are showing.
But the most compelling piece of evidence supporting the picture's legitimacy, "Billy/Henry's" eye color in the photo. Everyone said Billy/Henry had ice blue eyes, except Governor Lew Wallace who said they were light gray. Both are incredibly rare. Using the chart below you can see about 1.5% of people of these specific nationalities have those colors. A mixed population would have a much lower percentage.
Next you would divide that in half since only 50% of these people are males. So the actual number of people would be approximately .75%, less than one percent, which works out to 1 in 133.  In 1880 the population of New Mexico was 119,565. Which means in the whole Territory of New Mexico, 121,589 square miles, there were only 896 men with that eye color.
But probably a much lower number or percentage once you take into account the larger proportion of the population who were of Hispanic and Native American extraction living in New Mexico at that time. Add to that the percentage of men around 20 years of age when this young man photographed, the final number would probably be less than 100.
In regard to photography at the time, small towns like Lincoln, Ft. Sumner, Ruidoso, Roswell and Downlin Mills had very few photographers, photography was very complicated, things very often could and would go wrong in the making of a photo, making the photo unusable, so photographs in the frontier were incredibly rare.
And it is far more likely that a photo from New Mexico would migrate to another state, than a photo from outside New Mexico would migrate to New Mexico. So the fact that it was found in New Mexico must be a factor to take into account.
The photo was reportedly handed down in Sheriff  Pat Garrett's family. When you killed someone under a death warrant in the old west, you seized all of their possessions. The sheriff was allowed to sell/dispose of those possessions any way he saw fit. In other words he stole them, which, in Sheriff Pat Garrett's case, apparently included this photo.

The only justice John Tunstall ever received, was the justice which "Billy the Kid" and his fellow regulators gave him. Catron, Murphy, Dolan, Rynerson were all were afraid of Henry, because he was absolutely determined to make them pay for what they did. They knew it was him or them. Henry was a Dead Man Walking because they would stop at nothing. Today very few people, if any, remember them, but everyone remembers Billy the Kid. If you remember Henry, remember him for the person that his friends knew him to be and not the person that they say he was. By that, Henry will have gotten his first full measure of justice.

And one other thing, Henry's Mom's gravestone says Kathrine Antrim (1829-1874) Mother of Billy the Kid. They didn't even spell her name right. I doubt that Catherine ever forgot that she had two sons, but who ever put up this stone as a tourist attraction apparently did. That is not the tombstone that Henry or his brother Joe would want on their mother's grave. She was a popular, well respected and a much loved woman and a wonderful mother. I want to replace her gravestone with one her children would be proud of.

Catherine McCarty Antrim (1829-1874) Beloved Mother of Joe and Henry McCarty, better known to history as "Billy the Kid" She was one of the founders of the city of Wichita, Kansas. Catherine was a friend to everyone who met her. 

One of the stories told about Catherine is that all the children in town would flock to her house after school for cookies, pies and cakes. She had actually had her own restaurant at one point and was considered a great cook. In Silver City, Catherine baked to support her own family, but there was always enough left over for her boys or any other kid who happened to come by. Everyone  was welcome in her home and no one ever left hungry.

The least we can do is to give Henry "Billy the Kid" McCarty the Pardon he was promised and his mother a gravestone which spells her name right. It is much deserved and long overdue.

We each have an issue which makes us angry. My issue is people mistreating orphans, abandoning their children or a parent's death leading to children becoming homeless. When Henry/Billy's Mom died, his Scottish stepfather abandoned his family, Henry and his brother Joe.  Both knew what it was to be homeless and hungry. Both boy's became the victims of bullies. Pretty bad dose of reality for 12 and14-years-old boys to find yourself homeless and starving.
This kid was kicked out of his house and is living on the street, where he was mugged. He too was a victim of bullying.  To learn more about him and other kids who were bullied click on this link: 
Homeless Kids and Orphans


Anonymous said...

You should probably steer clear of using photos supposedly from Sallie Chisum. Not only is there no proof Chisum actually owned the photos, most of the look-a-likes look very little like the people they are actually purported to be.

Brian Keith O'Hara said...

We do know that Sallie took photos, she was well known for that. Several websites list these photos as having been hers. Admittedly, there might be a question. I absolutely believe the Sheriff Brady photos are really him, it isn't that great a leap to assume Sallie took them.
As to the photo at the top of the page of Billy/Henry, there is now a general agreement that the original photo, of Billy/Henry and Dan Dedrick(originally the German name Dietrich)is him. Presents a much better picture of "the Kid" when he was all cleaned up. Explains why he was called the Kid and shows you his light blue eyes which everyone remembered.

Unknown said...

The man you have pictured at the top of your website (with the jug ears) is not Billy the Kid.

Brian Keith O'Hara said...

There are several experts who would disagree with you. It has not been concluded to absolute certainty, but there is evidence, which puts it in the ball park. More research needs to be done, but there is a strong argument.
The only way to conclusively determine that it isn't Henry, would be to identify who the photo is actually of, proving that it is a known second person. If you have any information, I am willing to listen to any proof that you can offer.
Or prove using a close-up photo of the real Henry, circa 1877/1878, which shows that this photo is not Henry "Billy the Kid" McCarty.
If you have information in this regard, I am more than willing to listen.

When I was about 14, in the early 1970's, I got really caught up in the Anna Anderson Mystery. Remember the movie "Anastasia" with Ingrid Bergman and Yul Brynner? I love history. I bought several books with as many photos of both the real Anastasia and the woman called Anna Anderson that I could find and afford. I knew that she eventually married a professor and moved to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. I even wrote her a letter. I never received a response, however. After a couple of years of my best adolescent analysis, I came to the conclusion that the experts, even Gleb Botkin, the son of Tsar's family doctor, were 100% wrong. 25 years later, after DNA testing the experts came to the same conclusion that I did. I was kind of proud of myself.
To borrow from Captain Quint in "Jaws," I hope that I have enough education to admit that I am wrong, if I am. Present your proof and I'll look at it. Until then it is open question, requiring more research. But I do have a strong feeling about this photo. Not that I am channeling Henry, but just a feeling.

Anonymous said...

"Several websites list these photos as having been hers." Regardless of how many websites claim it, that doesn't change the fact that they are simply repeating the word of the collections owner; who bought the photo album in an antique store. It had no provenance whatsoever; she just made a huge leap in assuming it is Sally Chisum's photographs (and to be honest, some of the "identifications" are laughable. As for their now being "general agreement" that the other photo is Billy the Kid, who exactly agrees? None of the known experts (such as Nolan, Utley, Gomber) agree. So where exactly does this "general agreement" come from?

Brian Keith O'Hara said...

It is a question of whether the second figure is Dan Dedrick, who was the owner of the original Beaver Smith, Billy the Kid photo. I think that is the legitimate first step to analyze this photo: Is the second figure Dan Dedrick? I think it is. For the reasons enumerated above. Given that premise and the fact that it was found in New Mexico and the dress of the two subjects seems compatible with 1870's/1880's, again a point in its favor.

Next, we know that Dan was one of Billy/Henry's best friends. If a photo survives it could be with him. We know that there are a lot of photos of Dan. Apparently Dan asked Billy/Henry to have the Beaver Smith photo taken. That is the story that I have heard. One website suggested that Billy/Henry knew that he was a dead man walking, if Dan knew, which I am sure he did, he would want to have something to remember his pal.

The cynicism of Utley, Gomber and Nolan is understandable. There have seen thousands of photos, almost everyone of them frauds. I think it is ridiculous that people would even put forth some of these photos which are obviously wrong.

Most recently someone found a photo in North Carolina. My first question, how in the world did it get to North Carolina? Next, I don't see Billy/Henry's prominent ears or his teeth, like Billy/Henry has in the Beaver Smith photo. I may be channeling Henry but all that photo is funny. Not a chance.

As I indicated, more research must be done, but Historian Frank Parrish's word must count for something. The Forensic identification of Dedrick matters too.

Again, it may just be a strong feeling that I have, but I think it is Billy/Henry. The same instinct and suspicion that led me to believe that Anna Anderson was a fraud, tells me this is Henry. It is just the friendly face of someone you could call your pal.

Brian Keith O'Hara said...

The first step in proving your case is to prove that the second man in the photo is NOT Dan Dedrick. If it isn't, then I'll admit that the photo at best is probably a fraud or a mistake. If it is Dan, then there is 75%+ chance that it is Billy/Henry. And my personal feeling is for whatever reason, again, is that it is him. A likeable face, a guy who could be your buddy or your pal I remember Billy/Henry on his way to being hung, when a crowd gathers around his coach inquiring which guy is Billy the Kid, taking his hand and placing it on Judge Leonard's shoulder, saying this is your man. Cheeky little rascal, this guy is someone who could get away with that. Even Judge Leonard must have had a laugh at that.

Brian Keith O'Hara said...

Blue Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Keith O'Hara said...

As to the Wyatt Earp photo, it is purported to be Wyatt. There is not enough detail in the photo to make a determination either way. So you have the option of taking it or leaving it. Being dismissive, however, is not proof. As to the Billy the Kid photo, I said that the other person in the photo has been determined to be Dan Dedrick. We know that he was one of Henry's closest friends. That is a fact. So do your research and use your best evidence to prove that it isn't Dan, then we can go from there. The clothes are appropriate to the time period. As Sallie Chisum said, Henry cleaned up pretty good. And I do see similarity in the ears. You don't see it, but I do. The first and biggest obstacle for you to overcome is the identification of Dan, if you can do that, then you don't have to prove anything else. Take the photo from North Carolina as an alternative, which I think is a fake/mistake. I don't see any resemblance to Henry or Pat Garrett at all. More than that why would they have their photo taken together? Then you have to explain how it got to North Carolina. Then there is the fact that the skinny man identified with Pat Garrett, doesn't look anything like him. The Dedrick/Bonney photo was found in New Mexico. A point in its favor. The young man's eyes are incredibly light blue. And that is an important factor because eyes of that color are incredibly rare. We know that Henry "Billy the Kid" McCarty had incredibly light blue eyes. That is how people knew him describe him. New Mexico Governor Wallace met Henry and describes Henry's eyes as light gray. In a dark room, light blue might be mistaken for light gray, but light would never be mistaken for dark, the operative word is "LIGHT". Not absolute proof, but a reasonable position for me to take. After 130 years, you can't have 100% certainty, but there is a case to be made. The croquet photo, fits the old school house and geographically fits the mountains behind it at the Tunstall/Flying "H" Ranch, but the dismissive critics won't even allow for that. I do think it is Charlie Bowdre and Manuela's wedding party from 1878. I call him Henry because that is what his Mom called him. He was a good kid while his Mom was alive. After she died he did what he had to do to survive, including using multiple aliases. We did it to him, long before he did anything to anyone else. After Koogler's article everyone started calling him Billy. You may put for the argument that you feel it PROBABLY isn't him, but your absolutes, like the croquet critics, undermine your argument, because it implies arrogance far more than evidence. I note that your counter argument is 100% opinion, while I have offered scientific experts who support my opinion. Like I said, I may be wrong, but I do believe that it is Dan Dedrick. And I may be channeling Henry, but I just "know" it is the Kid. PROVE ME WRONG, with proof, but just saying it is so carries no weight.

Anonymous said...

This website perpetuates the inaccurate statement that Milnor Rudulph was the Justice of the Peace who appointed the coroner's jury for the Kid's death.
Milnor Rudulph was a rancher and businessman in Sunnyside, who served as President of the coroner's jury that investigated Kid's death. Nearby rancher, Alejendro Segura, also a rancher, was the elected Justice of the Peace who appointed the jury as well as Rudulph to serve as President. In those days in rural New Mexico JPs had the constitutional duty of appointing and overseeing the work of a coroner's jury and getting the final report to the Clerk of the County Court. A JP appointed the coroner's jury that investigated the deaths of Deputies Olinger and Bell in Lincoln after Garrett returned to Lincoln from White Oaks. A sheriff could not appoint or interfere with the activities of a coroner's jury.


Brian Keith O'Hara said...

Maybe, but 17-year-old Deven Guilford was driving home from church. A car approached with his brights on, Deven flashed his own lights to let him know. Turned out to be a police car, which pulled him over. Deven accused the Eaton County Michigan Sheriff's Sgt. of a phony traffic stop. He asked for a supervisor be sent to the scene. Instead, the boy was yanked out of the car, slammed on the ground, his camera phone kicked out of his hand, kicked viciously with the officer's military boots, tasered, shot 7 times, blowing out the kid's brains. Funny thing, while the officers body cam show incredibly blurry images, his dash cam which would have had a perfect position to the traffic stop, mysteriously broke that evening. A Blue Wall DA had no issue with this odd coincidence and refused to present the matter to the Grand Jury for further investigation. A law professor at the Univ. of Michigan said this never happens. Even the DA who sabotaged the Tamir Rice Grand Jury, Jury members were deeply troubled by the DA attacking witnesses who questioned the actions of the police.
Paulita, Henry's girlfriend, and Dulvina, the Maxwell's maid, both said that Pat shot the kid in the back and that the kid was unarmed. I don't like Fox's Bill O'Reilly, but his Western Series got that right, unarmed kid shot in the back. Legally Pat had a right to kill him anyway he wanted, Thanks to the liar in the Governor's Palace in Albuquerque. But then again Pat lied about Henry killing a man for insulting his Mom when the kid was 12. Sheriff Whitehill would get furious when he heard this lie, he liked Henry and intended to adopt him when his Mom died.
Somebody lied. Sheriff Whitehill of Silver City called Pat a bounty hunter and never a law officer. In some ways Pat comes across in a good light, but including this story in his book, proves that the truth didn't matter that much to him. William Rynerson is an example how it worked in corrupt Lincoln County.
Just remember the mysterious broken dash cam, dead kid, broken, never once in the 2 years before that.

Bad Man of the West said...

I appreciate your site, but one thing you said is at the crux of all the photo dispute for me. We can't know for certain if a picture is Billy the Kid or not, but we also can't know for certain that it isn't. There seems to be a nonsensical compulsion to immediately dismiss anything that is conjectured, but if we don't ask the questions, then how do we get the answers? I have a whole folder full of all the supposed Billy the Kid pictures that I can find; instead of insisting they are or aren't Billy, I simply try to find out whatever I can on each one and get a feel for how likely or unlikely it is.

I don't think people see the irony in calling someone out for labeling something to be one thing, then inverting that behavior to claim with equal adamancy that something is not. Anyone who insists on the absolute status of Billy the Kid pictures is being just as foolish as the person on the other side of the claim.

So again, thank you for the webpage, it's a fun read and great to look at the pictures. Hopefully some of these are actually Billy, and hopefully people can keep an open mind to investigate.

Brian Keith O'Hara said...

I am almost certain that the guy on the left is Dan and it is only a hunch that the guy on the right is Henry/Billy. He does fit the general description. And like I said eyes that light are very rare. Look at the regulator photo, the boy does seem to have a triangular face as best you can make out. A round hat, a sombrero and a Mexican shirt. The croquet photo is too blurred. Henry/Billy either flinched, sneezed, etc. Now, the Dedrick photo's Henry/Billy has a closed mouth. I read somewhere that he sensitive about his teeth. I've added a comparison photo to help people make up their own minds. Like I said, I may be channeling the Kid, but I do think that it is him.

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Anonymous said...

Geronimo was Chiricahua Apache not Mescalero Apache

Brian Keith O'Hara said...

I rechecked my sources, you are 100% right, he was living on the Mescalero Reservation. I tried editing the note but there is some glitch which won't allow me to, as soon as it is fixed I will change it. Thanks

_mark said...
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_mark said...

Although there is plenty of conflicting / questionable content on this page, I appreciate that you brought it all together in one place. Great reading. The pictures however are likely not BTK starting with the first one at the top. Otherwise, thanks for the information!

EDIT: now you've compelled me to do a side-by-side comparison..

It certainly is debatable. the face shape is a near exact match. you can even see a protruding lip, suggesting his buck-teeth are behind it. the ears look slightly different, although his hair could be covering them in the confirmed photo. I'm on the fence about it.

Blue Brown said...
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_mark said...

I would certainly be disappointed if that alleged geek was BTK. The kid should be more of a badass, and definitely looks tougher in the confirmed tintype.

Unknown said...

The photo is Billy, I have no doubt myself, and yes, you can tell by his mouth shape that he does have the buck teeth, tho his lips are closed here.

Anonymous said...

He was born William H Bonney in Missouri in 1855

Anonymous said...

1870Census Place: Puerto de Luna, San Miguel, New Mexico
Household Members: Name Age
Jose D Gutierrez 42
Feliciana Gutierrez 28
Celsa Gutierrez 13{1857)
Apolonaria Gutierrez 12

City :Ft Sumner -San Miguel County, New Mexico; (1880census)
37;Sabal Gutierres W M 30 Sheep Herder NM NM NM
Celsa W F 24 Wife Keeping House NM NM NM
Mauricia? W F 3 Dau NM NM NM
Aragon, Isidore W M 20 Boarder Sheep Herder NM NM NM
Maxwell, B. Luz W F 48 Keeping House NM Canada NM
Pedro? W M 32 Son Farm & Stockraiser NM IL NM
Paulita W F 16 Dau Attending School NM IL NM
Odila W F 10 Dau Attending School NM IL NM
Deluvina I F 22 Servant NM NM
Bowdre, Charles W M 32 Work in Cattle MS MS MSNM
Bonny, Wm. W M 25 Work in Cattle MO MO
1920census Ft Sumner New Mexico
Household Members: Name Age
Ramon Lovato 46
Eudalda Lovato 39
Placida Lovato 18
Fermandoz Lovato 17
Jose Lovato 12
Benino Lovato 6
Candido Gurtierres 46(1874-)
1900 census Las Vegas, San Miguel, New Mexico
HouseholdRoleSexAgeBirthplace1900 census.
Feliciana Valdez HeadFemale58New Mexico
Juana GutienisBoarderFemale12New Mexico
Feliciana GutierezBoarderFemale15New Mexico
Candido Gutierez BoarderMale23New Mexico (1877)
Dolores GutierezBoarderMale17New Mexico

Unknown said...

CoreyRecko said...

We don't know Sallie took the photos. They were found in an antique store in Oregon with no record of where they came from, and no record of who is in the photos (all of the IDs were made by the man who purchased the photos). Furthermore, the ones that do have an identifying mark (the paper mat they are in) show they were taken by G. W. Morgan, who was a photographer in Viroqua, Wisconsin.

W. L. Schafer said...

W. L. Schafer said...

W. L. Schafer said...
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