Sunday, June 21, 2015

George Archer-Shee and His Dad, a Great Father's Day Story

One of the great Father's Day stories. George Archer-Shee was a 13-year-old cadet at a British Naval Academy in 1908 at Osborne School on the Isle of Wight. One Saturday he went to the local Post Office to buy 15 shilling 5 pence money order from money that his family had given him to buy a model ship.
Unfortunately, someone in his dorm had stolen a money order for 5 Shillings from one of his bunk mates and chose that day to forge and cash it.
The Postmistress didn't remember exactly who cashed the stolen money order, her recollection was very foggy on this point, but remembered that it was about the same time as another money order was purchased.  The only money order purchased that Saturday morning turned out to be George's, of course. Somehow, the police extrapolated that the two were tied together and accused George of the theft. George was Catholic in a school that was overwhelmingly Protestant. He had been the subject of bullying during his time there, making him the perfect scapegoat. George was summarily dismissed from the Academy, a ruined man at 14.
The only thing that set George apart was his family, particularly his Dad. His father was a senior official and executive at the Bank of England, having risen meritoriously through the ranks to one of its highest positions. When almost all senior positions were acquired through the old boy's network and patronage.
When confronted with George's summary expulsion, his Dad immediately wrote the Admiralty, which ran Osborne. He said that he had asked his son whether he had stolen the money order. George told his Dad an unequivocal, No!
Martin continued: My son doesn't lie to me. He did not steal the money order. He had no reason to, he had enough money in his savings account and in his possession to buy the money order for 15 Shillings, Six Pence to pay for the model ship and we can document that fact. I will appeal his summary expulsion, he continued.
At the time, no one did that, because you would have to sue the King to get your day in court. But first you had to ask the King's permission to sue him(actually the government).
Now, his father put his career and his money where his mouth was. He hired the most famous lawyer in the Kingdom, Sir Edward Carson, to defend his son, even though the cost might drive him and his family into bankruptcy.
Martin was told by superiors at the Bank of England to drop the matter. The whole case was an embarrassment to them and told Martin that he was endangering his career. This was not given as advice, but as a warning from the highest officials of the bank. Martin Archer-Shee replied that my son is more important to me, than my career.
Sir Edward decided to take the case, even though he was one the busiest barristers in England. He interviewed George for several hours and came to the same conclusion that George's family did. He was innocent.
Sir Edward opening statement: "A boy 13 years old has been labeled and ticketed for all his future life as a thief and a forger. Gentlemen, I protest against the injustice to a child, without communication with his parents, without his case ever being put, or an opportunity of its ever being put forward by those on his behalf. That little boy from the day that he was first charged, up to this moment, whether in the ordeal of being called in before his Commander and his Captain, or whether under the softer influences of the persuasion of his own loving parents, has never faltered in the statement that he is innocent."
Under intense cross examination, the Postmistress admitted that she had never been sure as to the identity of the boy that cashed the forged money order. The officers of the academy and the police had pushed her to tie George to the crime, as they had no other evidence or suspects. They told her that she was the only one who could "solve the crime".
To the shock of everyone, in the middle of the legal case, the Admiralty admitted that they had no case or evidence against George, then asked for a dismissal of all charges and officially exonerated him. And at the insistence of George's Father, they also apologized to 14-year-old George.
But taking it one step further, George's family went to Parliament and asked for compensation for the false charge, the expulsion and damage to George's reputation. George Archer-Shee and his family were awarded the equivalent of one million dollars in damages in today's money. All because a father believed in his son.

The Forged Money Order of classmate Terrence Back

George Archer-Shee's money order bought to order a model ship

George Archer-Shee with his lawyer Sir Edward Carson. The Crown was forced to admit they had no evidence against George when they expelled him and paid the boy and his family damages to cover the expenses from the case defending a 14-year-old Catholic boy's honor. George proved he deserved it, being one of the first casualties on the battlefields of World War One. 

After his expulsion as a naval cadet in 1908, George Archer-Shee returned to the Roman Catholic Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, where he had been educated before going to Osborne Naval College. After completing his studies, he went to work at the Wall Street firm of Fisk & Robinson in New York.

Having been a cadet sergeant in the Officers' Training Corps at Stonyhurst, he joined the British Army Special Reserve of Officers in 1913.With the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Archer-Shee returned to Britain and served as a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. It was the same regiment that Sir Edward Carson's nephew Francis Robinson had joined recently. Archer-Shee was killed, aged 19, at the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914. His name is inscribed on the war memorial in the village of North Woodchester in Gloucestershire, where his parents lived. His name also appears on the roll of honour of "the men of St Mary’s school and congregation" displayed on the wall at the front of the RC church of St Mary on the Quay, Bristol.Robinson was killed three days before Archer-Shee. Both their names are recorded on tablet 35 of the Menin Gate in Ypres, as neither has a known grave.

Terence Back, the cadet whose postal order for five shillings was taken, served in the Royal Navy in both World Wars. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1944 and died in 1968. Wikipedia

George and his family on the Eve of World War I. George would be among the first to die.

20-year-old George Archer-Shee shortly before his death.

Cool James Dean, showing how cool LOVE is. Hugging his Dad after his Mom died.

Billy the Kid was actually much more popular than Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett, after killing the kid, Garrett was voted out of office.  Billy the Kid was called Henry by his friends.  Billy the Kid's Story

Monday, May 18, 2015

Billy the Kid called Henry McCarty by his Mom and Brother Joe

William Henry McCarty, The one thing that Billy the Kid never got in life, was Justice.

Billy the Kid was a good Kid, but his best friends called him Henry, not Billy

 Many People think that Billy was illiterate, they are 100% wrong. Billy was literate and wrote intelligent, thoughtful letters, possessing elegant Spencerian Penmanship.

Anthony Conner Jr.   “We were just boys together. I never remember Billy doing anything out of the way, anymore than the rest of us. Billy got to be quite a reader. He would scarcely have his dishes washed, until he would be sprawled out somewhere reading a book. It was the same down at the butcher shop, if he was helping around there. The first thing you know, he would be reading. Finally, he took to reading the Police Gazette and dime novels.”  Billy worked in a butcher shop, in a hotel as a waiter, dishwasher and cook, before his career as a cattle rustler, gambler and ranch hand. He loved good music and had quite a good voice and loved to sing in church and out on the plains. Apparently, the people who heard Billy agreed with him. Chauncey Truesdell remembers, “Henry was only a small boy, small for his age and kind of skinny.” Louis Abraham, another schoolmate and friend recalled, “He was just an ordinary boy, I don’t remember him doing anything bad, he was just a little mischievous."

The second photo shows Henry(right) with one of his best friends, Dan Dedrick(left); Billy would use the name William Bonney continuously in the last years of his life, the same name he signed letters to Territorial Governor Lew Wallace. Billy's mother Catherine "Kathleen"  Bonney McCarty Antrim was remembered as a gentle, fun loving Irish soul by all that knew her. His Scottish Presbyterian step-father, William Antrim, was a prospector and absent much of his childhood. He went prospecting during his wife's illness with tuberculosis and  didn't even attend her funeral.  William Antrim only came back to town to sell the family cabin and to hire Billy(14-years-old) and his younger brother Joe(10/11 years old) out as servants. To Antrim, his wife was dead, why the hell would he want someone else's kids as his burden. Part of the difficulty in tracking the family is that Catherine McCarty Antrim was called "Kathleen" by her friends and most who knew her. On her grave stone her name is spelled Kathrine. In the city incorporation documents for Wichita, Kansas, Catherine spelled her name with a "C".

Supposedly, Antrim has met Catherine McCarty at a boarding house in St. Louis, Missouri. Another story had them meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. Both were on the move, going further and further west. New Mexico had just enacted a statute which made it illegal to live together without benefit of clergy(or a wedding by a Justice of the Peace) basically outlawing common law marriage. Since they were traveling together, probably living together as common law husband and wife, they decided to get married in Santa Fe.

 No one had ever had a bad thing to say about the sensitive, bookish Billy before his mother died. The first mention of Billy as a criminal was when the 14-year-old stole some food later that same year.

The only absolutely certain fact about the McCartys before Indianapolis, Indiana is that Henry and Joe's Mom's name was Catherine Devine McCarty. She had two children, Henry born in 1860 or 1861 and Joe born 1863 and that she came from the East. Everyone agreed that she was an incredibly hard worker, earning enough money, on her own, to buy land in Indianapolis and Silver City.  
Conventional wisdom and the story as it has been known for the last 125 years:
 There is some confusion about Billy's name, because he went by three names at different times in his life, first he was called William (Billy) Henry McCarty Jr., after his Dad, who died when he was 7. Before the death of his Dad, everyone called him Henry to distinguish him from his Dad, afterwards, Henry, Billy and/or William McCarty, interchangeably; then William Antrim after his step-father married his Mom in 1873(neighbors called him Kid Antrim), Billy stopped using Antrim after his mother died on September 16, 1874 and his step-father abandoned Joe and Billy. He would occasionally use Antrim when he was fleeing the law; afterwards, Billy used William H. Bonney, using his Mom's maiden name or William H. McCarty, interchangeably. Towards the end of his life he appears to have exclusively called himself William H. Bonney.  
Another possible version of the story: Henry's father was named Bonney. He died and his Mom married a man named Michael McCarty. They had a son Joseph. Several newspapers identified Joe as Henry's half brother after he was shot by Sheriff Garrett.

Variation on a theme:
"The story of Billy the Kid began on June 15, 1851 when 21 year-old Patrick McCarty married 20 year-old Catherine Devine. The ceremony was performed at the Church of St. Peter at 16 Barclay Street in New York City. The Rev. M.A. Madden performed the ceremony. The first of three children born to this union was Bridget McCarty in 1853. The second, and most celebrated, of the McCarty children was born at 210 Greene Street, in New York City, on September 17, 1859(even if the address is correct, the date most certainly is wrong). He was christened Henry McCarty on September 28, 1859 at the same church where his parents had been married. His godparents were Thomas Cooney and Mary Clark." From Wikipedia supplied Jack Matteos
Billy's Obituary in a Ft. Wayne Indiana Newspaper. They list Billy's age as 20 years and 10 months. Their reporter could have taken the short trip to Indianapolis and looked up Billy and Joe's school records which would include his age/birthdate. Billy was most probably born on September 16/17/18 1860.  

Much too early to know for sure, but here is new information from Western Historian Frederick Nolan in True West Magazine which could impact Billy's story.
Apparently, there is a new possible twist in the story. Too early to tell as to the accuracy, but there is reason to believe it as it does fit the facts. Frederick Nolan, "The" Billy the Kid historian has found evidence that Billy may have been illegitimate and from Utica, New York.  He does this by backtracking from the Antrim-McCarty wedding in Santa Fe. First, there was a Kathrine/Catherine McCarty from Liverpool. She worked for a family named Munn from Utica, New York.
Billy and Joe witnessed their Mom's wedding. Additionally there was another witness Harvey Edmonds. Everyone has always assumed him to be a member of the Santa Fe Congregation.  There was a Harvey Edmonds from Utica/Albany/Rome, New York who was a part owner and executive of a telegraph company based in Albany, New, York. He also had a nephew who lived in Santa Fe, Thomas Richardson, Jr. One of the lawyers employed by Richardson was named William McCarty, this is serious speculation, a brother of Catherine?
Through meticulous research, a Catherine McCarty was found who came to America from Liverpool arriving in America April 29th 1854. Another Catherine McCarty shows up in the 1860 Census as a servant to a  wealthy family in Utica, New York called Munn.  Another wealthy family in the same neighborhood, a few houses away, had two sons. Their names John J. Bonney(27-years-old) and Edward Finch Bonney (22-years-old).

First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe, New Mexico where Catherine McCarty married William Antrim, witnessed by her two boys, Henry(written as Harry) and Joe on March 1, 1873. Located at 208 Grant Avenue in Santa Fe.

Note the list of witnesses to the March 1st 1873 wedding of Catherine Devine McCarty to Scot William Antrim. 11-year-old Exchange Hotel Dishwasher William McCarty, who would go on to fame later in life.

No photo description available.

The only reservation to this new theory, is that the US was a nation of 39,818,449 according to the 1870 Census. That only one person named Catherine McCarty has been found is quite daunting and very possibly misleading. More research is needed, but this does put another spin on the story if true.  And tying more characters into the story, can't hurt. But whatever the history, Catherine's Death changed everything. She was everything to her kids, without her their lives would spin out of control. But they remained to the people who knew them best, good kids she would have been proud of.

Occams Razor(named for an English Monk of the first millennium) is a theory of logic, which states that the simplest explanation is by far the most likely correct solution. House MD did an episode illustrating the theory in finding the cause of one patient's illness.
The simplest theory is that Catherine Devine married, either in common law or through the church, a man named Michael McCarty. It is logically possible that she had a first husband named Bonney, which would explain the press reference to Joe as being Henry's half-brother. Whereas Henry was skinny and bookish, Joe was robust, healthy and less prone to be caught reading a book.

Everyone agreed that the loss of his Mother was the worst blow that Billy and his brother Joe ever felt. The debate is whether he used his Mom's name to disguise his true identity when he became a fugitive or to honor her memory. Probably both are true.  

When the Antrim family arrived in Santa Fe, Henry McCarty got a job as a dishwasher at the Exchange Hotel. Henry was 11-years-old in 1871/72. The Exchange Hotel is where many members of the New Mexico Territorial Legislature stayed when in session. One member, Lincoln County DA William Rynerson, is famous for an incident which occurred there in 1867. He murdered the Chief Justice of the New Mexico Territorial Supreme Court. Chief Justice General John Slough, who was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes to clean up New Mexico. Chief Justice Slough was investigating DA Rynerson for corruption and intended to fire him. Rynerson shot and killed the Chief Justice after a chance meeting at the hotel. It is more than probable that a curious 11-year-old Henry McCarty saw and may have met the 6'11" District Attorney while he worked there. Their paths would cross again in 1877.

Billy's Mom worked as a cleaning woman at the Southern Hotel in Silver City. She also took in boarders and ran a laundry. Rare for her time, she was known for her egalitarian viewpoint, never known for any prejudice of any kind. Kathleen was a bright Irish woman who loved good humor and good neighbors. And that was the way she saw everyone and that is how they saw her.  Everyone loved Kathleen and her two boys. She would take Billy and Joe to the Hispanic side of town so they could take part in the food and culture. She would dance the Fandango with her two sons. A habit Billy retained his entire life.  Rare for a gringo, Billy was allowed to court the young girls of the town. Billy showed the local senoritas the respect that the girls and their parents expected. His Mom had raised Billy and Joe to be gentlemen and had done an excellent job of it. That is one fact on which everyone agreed. Sheriff Pat Garret's ghost writer, Ash Upson stayed as a boarder with the Antrims. He described Catherine McCarty Antrim as "about medium in height, straight, and graceful in form, with regular features, light blue eyes, and luxuriant golden hair. She was not what the world calls a beauty, but a fine looking woman. A lady by instinct and education." She was also the mother that all the kids were drawn to, she would bake cookies and she was a great cook, for any kid in the neighborhood; as time progressed almost every kid gravitated to her house after school let out and none ever went home hungry.
In the City Directory for Indianapolis of 1868, an entry lists the following:  "Catherine McCarty, widow of Michael" living at 199 North East Street  (in Indianapolis, Indiana).  Wikipedia  Though the source cast some suspicion that might NOT be her, with such a small amount of information available discounting anything without sufficient grounds, is not justified.
Kathleen met miner William Antrim in Indiana around 1871. They journeyed west together settling in Wichita, Kansas. Catherine became a local entrepreneur, running both a boarding house and a laundry. She was successful enough to be one of the founding "fathers" who incorporated Wichita as a town and her signature is on the first town charter. It was while there that she displayed the first signs of tuberculosis. A decision was made to head west to a drier climate. First, Colorado, then Santa Fe and finally Silver City, New Mexico. 

The first time that the McCarty family can be located again with any certainty is August 10, 1870 when they settled in Kansas. On September 12, 1870 Mrs. Catherine McCarty was given title to a vacant lot in Wichita. During February 1871 William Henry Harrison Antrim was given title to lots adjoining those of Mrs. Catherine McCarty in Wichita. Then, on March 25, 1871, Mrs. McCarty paid $200 for a quarter section of land at the going price of $1.25 per acre. To support her claim, Antrim submitted a sworn statement that read in part: "I have known Catherine McCarty for 6 years last past; that she is a single woman over the age of twenty-one years, the head of a family consisting of two children and a citizen of the United States." Wikipedia

If she came from Ireland, to New York, then it is a real question if Antrim could have known her that long. In theory it could have been a convenience. Antrim was a barkeep before becoming a prospector.

On March 1, 1873, 9-year-old Joe and 12-year old Henry witnessed the marriage of their mother to William Antrim  at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Later, the decision was made to move to Silver City, New Mexico so William could prospect for silver and gold.  

"The official marriage record of New Mexico Territory, dated April 1, 1873, by clerk Samuel Ellison, stated that, on March 1, 1873, the Reverend D.F. McFarland united in matrimony William H. Antrum [sic] and Mrs. Catherine McCarty, both of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Witnesses were Hary [sic] Edmonds, Hary [sic] McCarty, Joseph McCarty, Mrs. A.R. McFarland and Miss Katie McFarland."

Henry is listed as Hary(Harry) McCarty, even as a boy of ten, Henry was building quite a portfolio of aliases. Harry is an affectionate nickname for Henry(including Kings Henry V and VIII)

Catherine was described as a jolly Irish lady, full of life, fun and mischief who could dance
the highland fling as well as the best dancers
Louis Abraham

She was evidently of Irish descent about medium height, straight and graceful in form, with regular
features, light blue eyes and luxuriant golden hair. ...a fine looking woman. Her charity and goodness
of heart were proverbial.
Ash Upson (itinerant sheriff and author, who rented a room from the Antrims)

Timeline for Henry's life in Silver City
Here is what I have on 1874 - 1875: Jan 5, 1874 until March 28, 1874 Henry and Joe attend school in Silver City, NM. The teacher is Dr. Webster. Louis Abraham, Harry Whitehill and Charlie Stevens all confirmed Henry attended school.

May 18, 1874 until August 7, 1874, Henry attends the summer session of school. A Mrs. Pratt is the teacher.

September 14, 1874 (just two days before Catherine McCarty Antrim passed away, public school opens. Henry and Joe attend school.

September 16, 1874 Catherine McCarty Antrim passed away and the funeral service was held at the house at two o'clock the following day. For a while, Henry and Joe stayed at the home of Richard and Mary Hudson who owned the Legal Tender Livery Stable.

As Winter closed in, William Antrim made new arragements for his stepsons. Henry went to live with Gerald and Clara Truesdell who had just bought the old Star Hotel and renamed it the Exchange. Joe would go to live with Joseph Dyer who owned the Orleans Club.

In mid-December 1874, Henry appeared with other kids in a minstrel show to raise money for the school.

During the Summer of 1875 due to domestic difficulties at the Truesdell's home, Henry moved out and found lodging with a Mrs. Brown, probably Sarah, wife of bartender R.H. Brown. Henry earned his keep working after school in Knight's butcher shop.

One of Mrs. Browns boarders was a yound man by the name of George Schaefer, (Sombrero Jack). On September 4, 1875, George Schaefer broke into Charlie Sun's house and stole clothing, two revolvers and a large bundle of blankets. Schaefrer offered Henry a cut if he would hide the clothing for him. Henry made the mistake of hiding the clothing in his room where it was found by Mrs. Brown. She informed Sheriff Whitehill and he picked up Henry on Thursday morning, September 23, 1875. On September 26, 1875, the Grant County Herald has the following: Henry McCarty, who was arrested on Thursday and committed to jail to await the action of the grand jury, upon the charge of stealing clothes from Charlie Sun and Sam Chung, excaped from prison yesterday through the chimney. It is believed Henry was simply the tool of Sombrero Jack who done the actual stealing whilst Henry done the hiding. Jack has skinned out.

Silver City News 

Died in Silver City on Wednesday, the 16th, Catherine, wife of William Antrim, aged 45 years. Mrs. Antrim with her husband and family came to Silver City about one year ago, since which time her health has not been good., having suffered from an affection (infection/tuberculosis) of the lungs, and 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.

Henry and Joe's Mom, Catherine McCarty Antrim's  Gravestone: They didn't even spell her name right, certainly anyone deserves at least that much.

Originally her grave marker was a wooden stake, but later her body was transferred to the Memory Lane Cemetery in Silver City and given a granite tombstone by Silver City. The tombstone was put up as a tourist attraction for Silver City. If it had been put up by her children, it would say the "Catherine McCarty Anrtim (1829-1874), The Much Beloved Mother of Henry and Joe McCarty".  Then you could throw in,  "Mother of Billy the Kid". It is funny that the same people who opposed a pardon for Billy, don't mind naming a highway after him or appropriating his Mom's tombstone for the sake of tourism and their own profit. Not quite a moral or ethical decision on their part. You would think that they could at least spell her name correctly.

 Billy's Mom, Silver City and the Southern Hotel that she worked at, torn down about 1960.


A little trivia, Billy had a crush on his school teacher, Mary Phillipa Richards.  She was an extraordinary woman. She was of English extraction and extremely well educated. She spoke French, English, Portuguese, Italian and German. She most probably learned Spanish in the backwater of Silver City, which was flooded with Mexican émigrés at the time. She lived in Paris, London and Germany before coming to New Mexico.  She came to the Silver City school just in time for the school year which began a few days after Kathleen Antrim passed away.

Billy and Mary were both ambidextrous, Billy was thrilled and intrigued by this and imagined that he his teacher were somehow related. She would say later that she remembered that Billy had an artistic streak though he was a small, "scrawny little fellow with delicate hands and an artistic nature, who was always willing to help with chores around the schoolhouse, who was no more of a problem than any other boy growing up in a mining town".  

The West of Billy the Kid By Frederick Nolan  University of Oklahoma Press (September 15, 1999) has a picture of Mary Phillip Richards, taken while she was living in England. (Available at Amazon/Barnes and Noble) 

There were 29 children in Henry and Joe’s class, among them Louis Abraham, Charley Stevens, Anthony Conner and Harry Whitehill. Little Emma Whitehill, too young to be enrolled, attended anyway and sat braiding and unbraiding the fringe of the tablecloth on the teacher’s desk. Louis Abraham lovingly fashioned a paddle for Miss Richards to punish naughty boys, only to become the first naughty boy to be paddled with it. A monitor was appointed to fill the water bucket twice a day; pupils and teacher used the same dipper. Another monitor carried in wood and another kept the fire going in the open fireplace. There were no desks—just tables and chairs—nor was there a blackboard, but there were slates with slate pencils and a few books, all highly prized by the children. Miss Richards “had their interest excited and their advancement was certain,” reported the editor of the Silver City Mining Life on September 26.

Chauncey Truesdell, the son of his foster parents and employer, said that Henry "was quiet, I remember, and never swore or tried act bad like other kids."

Much later his friends reflected on Henry's character, he loved to gamble, poker and three card monte. He was known to court latino girls, but never known to be attracted to the " whoring in its commercial form does not seem to have interested him at all".

Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life/ By Robert Marshall Utley

Though the Antrims had only in town less than a year, they fit in almost immediately, except the almost continuously absent step-father William. Billy acted in plays and pageants while in school. He is the object of some bullying as a result, but he always stood his ground and gave as good as he got. Eventually, he becomes very popular among the kids in town because he got respect the old fashioned way he earned it. 

Billy was fluent in English and Spanish. His last words were Spanish "¿Quién es?" "¿Quién es? "(Who is there?) Billy's two favorite childhood games were horse racing and playing pirates. Some say that Billy believed that he was descended from LADY Pirate, Anne Bonny(1700-1782, arrested in 1720, she won a reprieve from the hangman because she was pregnant). Billy loved to sing, especially in church and had a reputation as an excellent tenor.  

Billy had a younger brother named Joe(Josie/Joseph) McCarty Antrim(1864-1930). Their Dad died sometime before Kathleen moved West in 1868 with her two boys.  She met William Antrim in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1868.  After Catherine McCarty, Joe's mother, died in 1874, William Antrim left Silver City to continue prospecting, Joe went to stay with Joe Dyer. Joe later went to Arizona, but left there in 1880 for Trinidad, Colorado. In August of 1882, Pat Garrett and Joe met up by chance at the Armijo Hotel in Trinidad, Colorado. They talked there privately for two hours. Garrett and Joe eventually shook hands and parted company, with no hard feelings. Joe worked as a gambler in Colorado and later returned to New Mexico. In 1883, he stopped a lynching at Silver City. He was almost killed by a fellow gambler a few months later, but was able to talk his way out of it. Joe later went to Tombstone, Arizona and from there to Denver. He died a poor man at Denver on November 25, 1930 and his body was given to the Colorado Medical School.

Joe McCarty Antrim Photo discovered by Ray John de Aragon:  Joe probably used the name Antrim to hide his identity and William Antrim was probably the only "father" he could remember.

A recently discovered photo among photos in a scrapbook handed down to Ray John de Aragon through a descendant of a friend of Billy's. On Billy's hand he wore a gamblers pinky ring, present in both pictures.  

Las Vegas Gazette:  “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.” Las Vegas Gazette, December 27, 1881  

One source said Billy had very light blue gray eyes.

How Henry got his nickname

"There's a powerful gang of outlaws harassing the stockmen of the Pecos and Panhandle country, and terrorizing the people of Fort Sumner and vicinity. The gang includes forty or fifty men, all hard characters, the off scourings of society, fugitives from justice, and desperadoes by profession....the gang is under the leadership of 'Billy the Kid,' a desperate cuss, who is eligible for the post of captain of any crowd, no matter how mean or lawless."   J.H. Koogler Las Vegas Gazette, Las Vegas, New Mexico December 3, 1880

Chauncey Truesdell remembers Henry
After escaping from the Silver City Jail, Mother gave him some of my clothes and sent him up to stay with Mr. Dyer until she could see what she could do for him. But Mr. Whitehill and Mr. Givins, two honest old men, and who had no use for a thief, and as Henry had no way of proving his innocence, mother could not do anything for him.
Mr. Dyer was cooking for Ed Moulton at a saw mill up at Bear Mountain, North and West of Silver City. They got next to Henry's being up there, but he managed to get away and come to us. We were then living in the old Wisconsin House in the south part of town. Father had gone up to the Black Hills gold rush. Mother washed Henry's clothes and dried them by the stove. My brother, Gideon, Henry and I slept on the floor that night. The next morning mother stopped the stage as it passed our door and asked the driver to take Henry to Globe City, Arizona. Mother gave Henry all the money she had and a little lunch to eat. The name of the driver was Ben Sincere [St. Cyr].

How Paulita and Billy the Kid met
Note that she met him in 1879 and clearly states that he was 18, which means that he could NOT have been born on November 23, 1859 like Pat Garrett and his ghost writer Ash Upson said in their book. And especially take note that Billy/Henry again is the one trying to stop a fight, not starting trouble.

“I have a perfectly clear picture of Billy the Kid the first time I ever saw him, “ says Mrs. Paulita Jaramillo, Née Maxwell. “He was eighteen years old and I was fifteen and back home for vacation from St. Mary’s convent school in Trinidad. It was the Kid’s first visit to Fort Sumner. He had ridden over form Lincoln with several of his men, among whom was José Chavez y Chavez. This Chavez y Chavez was a bad fellow; he later served a long term in the penitentiary; he was only recently released and now lives near Las Vegas. Telesfor Jaramillo, who was afterward my brother-in-law, was drunk and met Chavez on the street back of our house. Chavez wanted to shake hands with Telesfor and said, ‘You and I are cousins.’ That may have been true; I don’t know; but Telesfor, being drunk, repudiated the relationship. He drew himself up and refused to shake hands. ‘No thief is a cousin of mine,’ he said. That made Chavez very made and he drew his gun. ‘I’ll kill you for that,’ he said.
“My mother saw it all and ran out and caught Telesfor by the arm and tried to drag him away. ‘Don’t shoot him,’ she said to Chavez, ‘he’s drunk. Wait till he’s sober and settle it.’ But Chavez refused to be quieted. ‘I don’t care whether he’s drunk or sober,’ he said. ‘He can’t insult me.’
“Just then we saw a young man walking rapidly across the road toward us and someone in the little crowd that had gathered said, ‘Here comes Billy the Kid.’ I became very much frightened when I heard that name. I had heard many stories of Billy the Kid and his desperate exploits in Lincoln County war and I said to myself, ‘Now we will all be murdered.’
“The Kid had a hard little smile on his face when he came up to us and I was surprised that he looked so boyish and not a bit dangerous.
“‘Don’t let this man kill my friend,’ my mother begged of him.
“The Kid touched his sombrero to my mother. ‘Don’t be afraid, señora,’ he said. ‘I’ll straighten this out.’
“He said something in Spanish to Chavez, who at once put his six-shooter back in its holster, and the Kid took him by the arm and they walked away.
“Telesfor in the meantime was weaving about unsteadily, and we took him into the house. He had had a very narrow escape, which he didn’t seem to realize, being very drunk. But mother and I always thought that he never would have lived to be my brother-in-law if it had not been for Billy the Kid that day.”

Most of the information in this story is grossly wrong in its specifics, but it did give Henry the nickname with which he is known to history.

Pat Garrett's description of Billy in his book:

 "fangs which gave to his features an intensely cruel and murderous expression."

Odd that two different people would see Billy so differently. What people believe and what has been handed down through history are the "House" version through their newspapers or Pat Garrett's self-serving book?

 When his Mom died, Billy was taken to the Truesdell family by his stepfather who hired the boys out. The Truesdell family ran a local hotel, The Star Hotel in Silver City, New Mexico. Billy became very attached to Mom Truesdell and the feeling was apparently mutual.  Billy worked for his keep, waiting on tables, cooking  and doing kitchen chores.  The family would only have nice things to say about Henry. He was a good kid and incredibly hard worker.
 When he got in trouble regarding some stolen laundry, they gave him money and a horse to go to his stepfather William Antrim in Arizona. Antrim said he didn't want anything to do with his step-son.

 The Truesdell's were close friends of "Kathleen" Antrim. They helped plan the funeral, provided the buckboard to transport her body  and even helped William(Billy) and Joe(Josie) dig their mother's grave. Clara Truesdell helped dress and prepare "Kathleen" for burial.  Other friends of Kathleen's helped the boys too. The Knights and the Hudsons. Mary Hudson had been Kathleen's nurse and had a particular fondness for the boys. All of Kathleen's friends had a high opinion of Billy and Joe.

 Many years later when she was asked about Billy, the frail, silver-haired Mrs. Truesdell quietly rocked for a few minutes, then told the interviewer that of all the boys who had worked in her frontier hotel, Billy had been the only one who had never stolen anything. He was polite, worked hard, and obeyed any order. He never really was a bad boy, she said, only a little wild after he got under the influence of an older small town thief named "Sombrero Jack," while living at the Brown's Boarding House in Silver City, Jack was  so called because he wore a large Mexican hat. 

The Silver City Owyhee Avalanche Newspaper printed this story:-

“Henry McCarty, who was arrested Thursday 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, sans cue, sans Joss sticks, escaped from prison yesterday through the chimney.  It’s believed that Henry was simply the tool of Sombrero Jack, who done the stealing whilst Henry done the hiding.  Jack has skinned out.”

One source on Youtube only, repeats a "story" that Billy wet the bed while staying at the Chisum Spring Ranch. There is no documentation or source for this story. So it may be taken with less than a grain of salt.

*Some sources indicate butter and cheese. They also indicate that he ate some of the proceeds and sold the rest.
Again and again, like Sheriff Whitehill, the people who got to know Billy spoke highly of him and genuinely liked him.

Clara and her son Chauncey Truesdell, who was Henry's schoolmate and friend, put Henry on the train to Clifton, Arizona thinking that his step-father would help him. When Henry got there, he discovered that he and Joe really were orphans.  

Henry normally wore a sombrero from the time he was an associate with Sombrero Jack. Sombrero Jack was a young man in his early 20's who got into minor league criminal activity in Silver City. Sombrero Jack's real name was George Schaefer. He was well known to drink too much and give himself the five finger discount when he needed something.
After associating with Sombrero Jack, Henry started wearing a sombrero of his own which had a green ribbon around its base. No cowboy boots either, normally. Henry usually wore moccasins. Henry was an interesting boy and man, going down his own path. Always friendly, always memorable, everybody's pal. 

Philadelphia Times Newspaper(April 1880) reported that an employee of the railroad met "Billy the Kid". An excerpt of which is included below. Supposedly, Duncan was a railroad employee who got lost in the wilderness and came to a ranch in pretty bad shape. The occupants took him in and fed him and nursed him back to health. The leader of the group of rescuers, was supposedly "Billy the Kid".   

"Billy wore a blue dragon's jacket... with scarlet drawers"(?)(a Dragon Coat was a long jacket, like Wyatt Earp has been seen wearing in several movies about the Shootout at the OK Corral). 
"But his hat was the most gorgeous and the crowning feature of his get-up, as it is with the Mexicans. It was what was known as a "Chihuaua," made of costly beaver, with flat crown and brim
10 inches wide. And this whole structure of a hat was covered with gold and jewels until it sparkled and shone in a dazzling and blinding manner when one looked at it. There was a gold cord around the crown as large as a man's thumb  and a great bright rosette at the left side set it off in all its glory. The hat costs nearly $300."

Henry's character references:

Sheriff Harvey Whitehill of Silver City, the man who first arrested Henry in 1875, would later tell people that,  since his son Harry and Henry were best friends, he knew that Henry was a good kid,  he and his wife had talked it over and decided to take Henry in, even adopting him, once he was scared straight from his first experience in jail.  Again, the people who got to know Henry, came to love him. I wish Henry had waited long enough to find this out.

Chauncey Truesdell says his Mom and Dad both felt very kindly disposed to Henry, they would always tell people that Henry was the only employee at the Star Hotel who never stole from them. 14-year-old Henry washed dishes and cooked for them. Times were tough back then, other employees would steal food, some a few cents here or there or even table ware or such, mostly out of necessity, but Henry never did. The Truesdells would always tell people that Henry was the most honest kid they knew.
After Henry escaped from jail, Chauncey continues, "Mother fixed it up for him to go to the lumber camp at Bear Mountain. Mrs. Dyer was cooking for Ed Moulton at the saw mill at Bear Mountain. She took care of Joe for awhile, too.
It was not long before Henry was back. He rapped on our window one night. My mother let him in and he slept with us all night. She washed and ironed some clothes for him and put him on the early stage for Globe(Clifton?), Arizona."

The feeling among locals is that Sheriff Whitehill knew about this and decided that this might be best for Henry, so he let him go unhindered to see his step-father, whose job it was to get the kid on the right path. They expected William Antrim to help his stepson, but it turned out that they were wrong. 

Henry's last trip home to see his brother Joe, as recounted by Chauncey Truesdell: 

I never heard any more of him until one morning down on Charley Nicholy's ranch (where Joe McCarty and I worked as ranch hands) on the Menbres(Mimbres) River and Bear Canyon where Joe and I were trying to get some milk for breakfast. We had roped a cow and tied her head to a post, tied her hind legs, so she could not kick and held her tail while Joe milked her. We were just in the act of taking in about half a tomato can of milk when three men came riding into the corral. I can well remember how carefully Joe sat the milk down on the floor and came up 'with an old Henry rifle and was about to take a shot at the leader, who called to Joe to "hold on Joe, don't you know your brother".

It was Henry and he stayed and visited Joe that night and after sending best regards to mother, they went away by way of Bear Canyon.That was the last I ever saw of Henry Antrim.

His friends actually called Billy the Kid, Henry.   Other names by which he was known

  • Henry McCarty
  • William Henry McCarty
  • Harry McCarty(from Wedding Documents from Santa Fe as a witness to Mom's Marriage)
  • Henry Antrim
  • Billy Antrim
  • William Antrim
  • Kid Antrim
  • Austin Antrim
  • The Kid
  • William H. Bonney
  • Billy Bonney
  • Billy Kid
  • Kid Bonney
  • Billy the Kid
  • Captain Kidd
  • El Chivato
  • El Bandito
  • Little Casino
  • The Young Kid
  • Bilitos
  • Billy Coyle (questionable)
  • Billy Donovan (questionable)
  • Billy Conley (questionable)

I found a new one not included on their list, Harry McCarty from the marriage registry in Santa Fe, however Harry was misspelled "Hary".
Some of Henry's friends indicated that he was originally called Billy until his Mom married William Antrim, to clarify the difference between the two, she called her husband William and her son by his middle name, Henry.  Some sources indicate that he did not like the name change.

Being abandoned by their stepfather after the death of their mother,  proved that he and his brother Joe really were orphans.

  • Late Apr. 1875; Silver City, New Mexico Territory---Billy the Kid, at the time only known as Henry McCarty, is arrested by Grant County Sheriff Harvey Whitehill for throwing rocks at some of the local Chinamen and/or for stealing several pounds of butter* from a local rancher named Abel L. Webb. Apparently, young Henry has been associating with a local gang of ruffians led by 'Sombrero Jack' Schaefer.... Henry apologizes and promises to never break the law again and Sheriff Whitehill, who only arrested the boy in an attempt to ''scare him straight,'' releases him.
  • Sept. 23, 1875; Silver City, New Mexico Territory---Once again, Henry is arrested by Sheriff Whitehill, this time on a charge of stealing clothing from a local Chinese laundry. In actuality, it was Sombrero Jack who stole $200 worth of clothing and blankets from the laundry of Charley Sun and Sam Chung, and then gave Henry the merchandise to hold for him at his home with the Brown family. When Mrs. Sarah Brown discovered the stolen goods, she gave them to Whitehill, who then arrested Henry. Henry is held in jail, but is allowed to walk freely through the corridors and not placed in a cell. On the next day, when he is left unguarded, Henry manages to escape the jail by climbing up the chimney. He then visits his friends, the Truesdell family, who give him money before he flees New Mexico altogether for Arizona. The old jail was located on Hudson Street between Yankie and Market Streets, along Silva Creek. All that is left of the jail  now is an empty parking lot.
  • Feb. 17, 1877; Globe, Arizona Territory---Kid Antrim, the name Henry McCarty is now going by, is arrested by the local constable on a warrant charging him with stealing a horse from Sgt. Louis Hartman at Camp Thomas. The constable takes Henry to Cedar Springs, where he is thrown in jail. Later in the day, through some unspecified means, Antrim manages to escape.
  • Mar. 25, 1877; Hotel de Luna, near Fort Grant, Arizona Territory---Kid Antrim and a rustling friend of his, John Mackie, are arrested by Justice of the Peace Miles Wood as the two eat their breakfast in the hotel. At gunpoint, Wood then walks the two outlaws two-and-a-half miles to Fort Grant, where they are both thrown in the guardhouse. A short time later, the Kid asks his guard to take him out to use the privy, which the guard does. While outside, the Kid allegedly throws a handful of salt in the guard's eyes, yanks his pistol out of his holster, and tries to flee. The blinded guard calls for help, however, and several other guards come running and take down the Kid before he can get very far. Immediately afterwards, he has shackles placed on his ankles and wrists and is thrown back in the guardhouse. That night, a dance is held at the fort and the Kid is left in his cell unguarded. By the time the dance ends, the guards return to the guardhouse to find that the Kid has escaped, shackles and all. The method of his escape is never discovered, but it is believed that one or two local soldiers aided him.

The serious trouble started after he was abandoned by his stepfather, for a second time.

16-year old 140 pound Henry went to his usual haunt, the local saloon in Bonita, Arizona. His nemesis the local blacksmith  200+ pound "Windy" Cahill. Cahill immediately started hectoring Henry as he had done many times before, calling the boy a pimp and a son-of-a-bitch.  We can't tell exactly how it happened, Henry may have called Windy a son-of-a-bitch in return, but everyone agreed that Cahill threw the first punch and then proceeded to beat the crap out of Billy, just like he had a hundred times before. One thing the bully may not have realized, Billy now had an equalizer in his belt and knew how to use it. You could push an orphan too far and there is going to be hell to pay.

One would like to think that like John Belushi once said in a skit on Saturday Night Live, you never, ever talk dirt about an Irish kid's Mom, they all look on them as Saints. Especially a boy who became an orphan when his Mom died. Calling Billy's Mom a Bitch was probably the worst and last mistake this bully ever made.

In 1877 McCarty was involved in an incident with the  blacksmith at Fort Grant, NM named Frank P. "Windy" Cahill. This 6'2", 200 lb, 28-year-old bully took a personal dislike to Billy and was constantly harassing, bullying and beating up the young boy.  On August 17, Cahill reportedly attacked McCarty after a verbal exchange and threw him to the ground and started to beat the hell out of Billy.  Cahill had almost  a hundred pounds on Henry, who was a skinny kid, and no more than 140 lbs. Reliable accounts say that McCarty grabbed his gun as he was being beaten, shooting the bully in self-defense, Cahill died the next day. Henry managed to push Cahill off of him, then ran out of the saloon, grabbed John Murphey's racing point and high tailed it out of Fort Grant.

The coroner's inquest concluded that McCarty's shooting of Cahill was criminal and unjustifiable. There  is some argument that a blacksmith was much more valuable to a town than some scrawny teenage boy.  But most of the witnesses testified that Henry had acted in self-defense.

Years later, Louis Abraham, who had known McCarty in Silver City, but was not a witness, denied that anyone was killed in the altercation. 

A hulking bully beats the hell out of a kid, worst mistake he ever made and it would be his last one.

What would Judge Judy say:

A 16-year-old bully and athlete weighing about 200lbs was on the Judge Judy Show. He had been waiting for a train at a train station when he noticed a slight, skinny kid of 15 with his girlfriend on the platform.  He walked up to the boy and said that he heard "you've been talking trash about me". The boy responded, no, he wasn't,  that he didn't even know who the bully was. Then the bully sucker punched the boy and sent him to the ground. He then proceeded to kick the boy repeatedly. What he didn't know was that the girlfriend had a knife in her purse for self protection. She told the bully to stop. He wouldn't and she stabbed him.  Judge Judy, said that if  you are a bully, then you should be afraid that anyone could have a knife or gun to defend themselves.
Judge Judy gave the boy who had been beaten $5,000 and the bully nothing on his counter suit. The bully's mother was shocked, but shouldn't have been, because all he got was justice.

I wish Judge Judy could have heard Billy's case, she would have ruled self-defense and dismissed the case against the 16-year-old.

At some point in 1877, McCarty began to refer to himself as "William H. Bonney" or Billy McCarty only, he stopped using Kid Antrim.