By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: History of 'Billy the Kid'
Author: Siringo, Chas. A.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of 'Billy the Kid'" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

  HISTORY OF .. .. .. .. "BILLY THE KID"

  A cowboy outlaw whose youthful
  daring has never been equalled in
  the annals of criminal history.

  When a bullet pierced his heart
  he was less than twenty-two years
  of age, and had killed twenty-one
  men, Indians not included.




The true life of the most daring young outlaw of the age.

He was the leading spirit in the bloody Lincoln County, New Mexico, war.
When a bullet from Sheriff Pat Garett's pistol pierced his breast he was
only twenty-one years of age, and had killed twenty-one men, not counting
Indians. His six years of daring outlawry has never been equalled in the
annals of criminal history.


Author of:

"Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony," "A Cowboy
Detective," and "A Lone Star Cowboy."

To my friend, George S. Tweedy--an honest, easy-going, second Abraham
Lincoln; this little volume is affectionately dedicated by the author,


  Copyrighted 1920, by Chas. A. Siringo.
  All rights reserved.


The author feels that he is capable of writing a true and unvarnished
history of "Billy the Kid," as he was personally acquainted with him, and
assisted in his capture, by furnishing Sheriff Pat Garrett with three of
his fighting cowboys--Jas. H. East, Lee Hall and Lon Chambers.

The facts set down in this narrative were gotten from the lips of "Billy
the Kid," himself, and from such men as Pat Garrett, John W. Poe, Kip
McKinnie, Charlie Wall, the Coe brothers, Tom O'Phalliard, Henry Brown,
John Middleton, Martin Chavez, and Ash Upson. All these men took an active
part, for or against, the "Kid." Ash Upson had known him from childhood,
and was considered one of the family, for several years, in his mother's

Other facts were gained from the lips of Mrs. Charlie Bowdre, who kept
"Billy the Kid," hid out at her home in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, after he
had killed his two guards and escaped.




In the slum district of the great city of New York, on the 23rd day of
November, 1859, a blue-eyed baby boy was born to William H. Bonney and his
good looking, auburn haired young wife, Kathleen. Being their first child
he was naturally the joy of their hearts. Later, another baby boy

In 1862 William H. Bonney shook the dust of New York City from his shoes
and emigrated to Coffeeville, Kansas, on the northern border of the Indian
Territory, with his little family.

Soon after settling down in Coffeeville, Mr. Bonney died. Then the young
widow moved to the Territory of Colorado, where she married a Mr. Antrim.

Shortly after this marriage, the little family of four moved to Santa Fe,
New Mexico, at the end of the old Santa Fe trail.

Here they opened a restaurant, and one of their first boarders was Ash
Upson, then doing work on the Daily New Mexican.

Little, blue-eyed, Billy Bonney, was then about five years of age, and
became greatly attached to good natured, jovial, Ash Upson, who spent much
of his leisure time playing with the bright boy.

Three years later, when the hero of our story was about eight years old,
Ash Upson and the Antrim family pulled up stakes and moved to the booming
silver mining camp of Silver City, in the southwestern part of the
Territory of New Mexico.

Here Mr. and Mrs. Antrim established a new restaurant, and had Ash Upson
as the star boarder.

Naturally their boarders were made up of all classes, both women and
men,--some being gamblers and toughs of the lowest order.

Amidst these surroundings, Billy Bonney grew up. He went to school and was
a bright scholar. When not at school, Billy was associating with tough men
and boys, and learning the art of gambling and shooting.

This didn't suit Mr. Antrim, who became a cruel step-father, according to
Billy Bonney's way of thinking.

Jesse Evans, a little older than Billy, was a young tough who was a hero
in Billy's estimation. They became fast friends, and bosom companions. In
the years to come they were to fight bloody battles side by side, as
friends, and again as bitter enemies.

As a boy, Mr. Upson says Billy had a sunny disposition, but when aroused
had an uncontrollable temper.

At the tender age of twelve, young Bonney made a trip to Fort Union, New
Mexico, and there gambled with the negro soldiers. One "black nigger"
cheated Billy, who shot him dead. This story I got from the lips of "Billy
the Kid" in 1878.

Making his way back to Silver City he kept the secret from his fond
mother, who was the idol of his heart.

One day Billy's mother was passing a crowd of toughs on the street. One of
them made an insulting remark about her. Billy, who was in the crowd,
heard it. He struck the fellow in the face with his fist, then picked up
a rock from the street. The "tough" made a rush at Billy, and as he passed
Ed. Moulton he planted a blow back of his ear, and laid him sprawling on
the ground.

This act cemented a friendship between Ed. Moulton and the future young

About three weeks later Ed. Moulton got into a fight with two toughs in
Joe Dyer's saloon. He was getting the best of the fight. The young
blacksmith who had insulted Mrs. Antrim and who had been knocked down by
Ed. Moulton, saw a chance for revenge. He rushed at Moulton with an
uplifted chair. Billy Bonney was standing near by, on nettles, ready to
render assistance to his benefactor, at a moment's notice. The time had
now arrived. He sprang at the blacksmith and stabbed him with a knife
three times. He fell over dead.

Billy ran out of the saloon, his right hand dripping with human blood.

Now to his dear mother's arms, where he showered her pale cheeks with
kisses for the last time.

Realizing the result of his crime, he was soon lost in the pitchy darkness
of the night, headed towards the southwest, afoot. For three days and
nights Billy wandered through the cactus covered hills, without seeing a
human being.

Luck finally brought him to a sheep camp, where the Mexican herder gave
him food.

From the sheep camp he went to McKnight's ranch and stole a horse, riding
away without a saddle.

Three weeks later a boy and a grown man rode into Camp Bowie, a government
post. Both were on a skinny, sore-back pony. This new found companion had
a name and history of his own, which he was nursing in secret. He gave his
name to Billy as "Alias," and that was the name he was known by around
Camp Bowie.

Finally Billy, having disposed of his sore-back pony, started out for the
Apache Indian Reservation, with "Alias," afoot. They were armed with an
old army rifle and a six-shooter, which they had borrowed from soldiers.

About ten miles southwest of Camp Bowie these two young desperados came
onto three Indians, who had twelve ponies, a lot of pelts and several
saddles, besides good fire-arms, and blankets. In telling of the affair
afterwards, Billy said: "It was a ground-hog case. Here were twelve good
ponies, a supply of blankets, and five heavy loads of pelts. Here were
three blood-thirsty savages revelling in luxury and refusing help to two
free-born, white, American citizens, foot-sore and hungry. The plunder had
to change hands. As one live Indian could place a hundred United States
soldiers on our trail, the decision was made.

"In about three minutes there were three dead Indians stretched out on the
ground, and with their ponies and plunder we skipped. There was no fight.
It was the softest thing I ever struck."

About one hundred miles from this bloody field of battle, the surplus
ponies and plunder were sold and traded off to a band of Texas emigrants.

Finally the two young brigands settled down in Tucson, where Billy's skill
as a monte dealer, and card player kept them in luxuriant style, and gave
them prestige among the sporting fraternity.

Becoming tired of town life, the two desperadoes hit the trail for San
Simon, where they beat a band of Indians out of a lot of money in a
"fake" horse race.

The next we hear of Billy Bonney is in the State of Sonora, Old Mexico,
where he went alone, according to his own statement.

In Sonora he joined issues with a Mexican gambler named Melquiades Segura.
One night the two murdered a monte dealer, Don Jose Martinez, and secured
his "bank roll."

Now the two desperadoes shook the dust of Sonora from their feet and
landed in the city of Chihuahua, the capital of the State of Chihuahua,
several hundred miles to the eastward, across the Sierra Madres



In the city of Chihuahua, the two desperadoes led a hurrah life among the
sporting elements. Finally their money was gone and their luck at cards
went against them. Then Billy and Segura held up and robbed several monte
dealers, when on the way home after their games had closed for the night.
One of these monte dealers had offended Billy, which caused his death.

One morning before the break of day, this monte dealer was on his way
home; a peon was carrying his fat "bank roll" in a buckskin bag, finely
decorated with gold and silver threads.

When nearing his residence in the outskirts of the city, Segura and young
Bonney made a charge from behind a vacant adobe building. The one-sided
battle was soon over. A popular Mexican gambler lay stretched dead on the
ground. The peon willingly gave up the sack of gold and silver.

Now towards the Texas border, in a north-easterly direction, a distance of
three hundred miles, as fast as their mounts could carry them.

When their horses began to grow tired, other mounts were secured. Their
bills were paid enroute, with gold doubloons taken from the buckskin sack.

On reaching the Rio Grande river, which separates Texas from the Republic
of Mexico, the young outlaws separated for the time being.

Billy Bonney finally met up with his Silver City chum, Jesse Evans, and
they became partners in crime, in the bordering state of Texas, and the
Territories of New Mexico and Arizona. Many robberies and some murders
were committed by these smooth-faced boys, and they had many narrow
escapes from death, or capture. Fresh horses were always at their command,
as they were experts with the lasso, and the scattering ranchmen all had
bands of ponies on the range.

On one occasion the boys ate dinner with a party of Texas emigrants, and
were well treated. Leaving the emigrant camp, a band of renegade Apache
Indians were seen skulking in the hills. The boys concealed themselves to
await results, as they felt sure a raid was to be made on the emigrants,
who were headed for the Territory of Arizona. There were only three men in
the party, and several women and children.

Just at dusk, the boys, who were stealing along their trail in the low,
flint covered hills, heard shooting.

Realizing that a battle was on, Billy Bonney and Jesse Evans put spurs to
their mounts and reached the camp just in time.

By this time it was dark. The three men had succeeded in standing off the
Indians for awhile, but finally a rush was made on the camp, by the reds,
with blood curdling war whoops.

At that moment the two young heroes charged among the Indians and sprang
off their horses, with Winchester rifles in hand.

For a few moments the battle raged. One bullet shattered the stock of
Billy's rifle, cripping his left hand slightly. He then dropped the rifle
and used his pistol.

When the battle was over, eight dead Indians lay on the ground.

The emigrants had shielded themselves by getting behind the wagons. Two of
the men were slightly wounded, and the other dangerously shot through the
stomach. One little girl had a fractured skull from a blow on the head
with a rifle. The mother of the child fainted on seeing her daughter fall.

In telling of this battle, Billy Bonney said the war-whoops shouted by
himself and Jesse, as they charged into the band of Indians, helped to win
the battle. He said a bullet knocked the heel off one of his boots, and
that Jesse's hat was shot off his head. He felt sure that the man shot
through the stomach died, though he never heard of the party after

Soon after the Indian battle Billy Bonney and Jesse Evans landed in the
Mexican village of La Mesilla, New Mexico, and there met up with some of
Jesse's chums. Their names were Jim McDaniels, Bill Morton, and Frank

During their stay in Mesilla, Jim McDaniels christened Billy Bonney,
"Billy the Kid," and that name stuck to him to the time of his death.

Finally these three tough cowboys started for the Pecos river with Jesse
Evans. "Billy the Kid" promised to join them later, as he had received
word that his Old Mexico chum, Segura, was in jail in San Elizario, Texas,
below El Paso. This word had been brought by a Mexican boy, sent by

The "Kid" told the boy to wait in Mesilla till he and Segura got there.

It was the fall of 1876. Mounted on his favorite gray horse, "Billy the
Kid" started at six o'clock in the evening for the eighty-one mile ride to
San Elizario.

A swift ride brought him into El Paso, then called Franklin, a distance of
fifty-six miles, before midnight. Here he dismounted in front of Peter
Den's saloon to let his noble "Gray" rest. While waiting, he had a few
drinks of whiskey, and fed "Gray" some crackers, there being no horse feed
at the saloon.

Now for the twenty-five mile dash down the Rio Grande river, over a level
road to San Elizario. It was made in quick time. Daylight had not yet
begun to break.

Dismounting in front of the jail, the "Kid" knocked on the front door. The
Mexican jailer asked; "Quien es?" (Who's that?)

The "Kid" replied in good Spanish: "Open up, we have two American
prisoners here."

The heavy front door was opened, and the jailer found a cocked pistol
pointed at him. Now the frightened guard gave up his pistol and the keys
to the cell in which Segura was shackled and handcuffed.

In the rear of the jail building there was another guard asleep. He was
relieved of his fire-arms and dagger.

When Segura was free of irons the two guards were gagged so they couldn't
give an alarm, and chained to a post.

The two outlaws started out in the darkest part of the night, just before
day, Segura on "Gray" and the "Kid" trotting by his side, afoot.

An hour later the two desperadoes were at a confederate's ranch across the
Rio Grande river, in Old Mexico.

After filling up with a hot breakfast, the "Kid" was soon asleep, while
Segura kept watch for officers. The "Kid's" noble "Gray" was fed and with
a mustang, kept hidden out in the brush.

Now the ranchman rode into San Elizario to post himself on the jail break.

Hurrying back to the ranch, he advised his two guests to "hit the high
places," as there was great excitement in San Elizario.

Reaching La Mesilla, New Mexico, the two young outlaws found the boy who
had carried the message to "Billy the Kid," from Segura, and rewarded him
with a handful of Mexican gold.



After a few daring raids into Old Mexico, with Segura, the "Kid" landed in
La Mesilla, New Mexico.

Here he fell in with a wild young man by the name of Tom O'Keefe.
Together, they started for the Pecos river to meet Jesse Evans and his

Instead of taking the wagon road, the two venturesome boys cut across the
Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, which took in most of the high
Guadalupe range of mountains, which separates the Pecos and Rio Grande

First they rode into El Paso, Texas, and loaded a pack mule with

A few days out of El Paso, the boys ran out of water, and were puzzled as
to which way to ride.

Finally a fresh Indian trail was found, evidently leading to water. It was
followed to the mouth of a deep canyon. For fear of running into a trap,
the "Kid" decided to take the canteen and go afoot, leaving his mount and
the pack mule with O'Keefe, who was instructed to come to his rescue
should he hear yelling and shooting.

A mile of cautious traveling brought the "Kid" to a cool spring of water.
The ground was tramped hard with fresh pony and Indian tracks.

After filling the canteen, and drinking all the water he could hold, the
"Kid" started down the canyon to join his companion.

He hadn't gone far when Indians, afoot, began pouring out of the cliff to
the right, which cut off his retreat down the canyon. There was nothing to
do but return towards the spring, as fast as his legs could carry him.

The twenty half-naked braves were gaining on him, and shouting
blood-curdling war-whoops.

Like a pursued mountain lion, the "Kid" sprang into the jungles of a steep
cliff. Foot by foot his way was made to a place of concealment.

The Indians seeing him leave the trail, scrambled up into the bushy cliff.
Now the "Kid's" trusty pistol began to talk, and several young braves, who
were leading the chase passed to the "happy hunting ground." The "Kid"
said the body of one young buck went down the cliff and caught on the
over-hanging limb of a dead tree, and there hung suspended in plain view.

Many shots were fired at the "Kid" when he sprang from one hiding place to
another. One bullet struck a rock near his head, and the splinters gave
him slight wounds on the face and neck.

Reaching the extreme top of a high peak, the young outlaw felt safe, as he
could see no reds on his trail. Being exhausted he soon fell asleep. On
hearing the yelling and shooting, Tom O'Keefe stampeded, leaving the
"Kid's" mount and the pack mule where they stood.

Reaching a high bluff, which was impossible for a horse to climb, O'Keefe
quit his mount and took it afoot. From cliff to cliff, he made his way
towards the top of a peak. Finally his keen eyesight caught the figure of
a man, far away across a deep canyon, trying to reach the top of a
mountain peak. He surmised that the bold climber must be the "Kid."

At last young O'Keefe's strength gave out and he lay down to sleep. His
hands and limbs were bleeding from the scratches received from sharp
rocks, and he was craving water.

Being refreshed from his long night's sleep, the "Kid" headed for the big
red sun, which was just creeping up out of the great "Llano Estacado,"
(Staked Plains), over a hundred miles to the eastward, across the Pecos

Finally water was struck and he was happy. Then he filled up on wild
berries, which were plentiful along the borders of the small sparkling
stream of water.

Three days later the young hero outlaw reached a cow-camp on the Rio
Pecos. He made himself known to the cowboys, who gave him a good horse to
ride, and conducted him to the Murphy-Dolan cow-camp, where his chum,
Jesse Evans, was employed. In this camp the "Kid" also met his former
friends, McDaniels, Baker, and Morton.

Here the "Kid" was told of the smouldering cattle war between the
Murphy-Dolan faction on one side, and the cattle king, John S. Chisum, on
the other.

Many small cattle owners were arrayed with the firm of Murphy and Dolan,
who owned a large store in Lincoln, and were the owners of many cattle.

On John S. Chisum's side were Alex A. McSween, a prominent lawyer of
Lincoln--the County seat of Lincoln County--and a wealthy Englishman by
the name of John S. Tunstall, who had only been in America a year.

McSween and Tunstall had formed a co-partnership in the cattle business,
and had established a general trading store in Lincoln.

It was now the early spring of 1877. Jesse Evans tried to persuade "Billy
the Kid" to join the Murphy-Dolan faction, but he argued that he first had
to find Tom O'Keefe, dead or alive, as it was against his principles to
desert a chum in time of danger.

For nearly a year a storm had been brewing between John Chisum and the
smaller ranchmen. Chisum claimed all the range in the Pecos valley, from
Fort Sumner to the Texas line, a distance of over two hundred miles.

Naturally there was much mavericking, in other words, stealing unbranded
young animals from the Chisum bands of cattle, which ranged about
twenty-five miles on each side of the Pecos river.

Chisum owned from forty to sixty thousand cattle on this "Jingle-bob"
range. His cattle were marked with a long "Jingle-bob" hanging down from
the dew-lap. In branding calves the Chisum cowboys would slash the dew-lap
above the breast, leaving a chunk of hide and flesh hanging downward. When
the wound healed the animal was well marked with a dangling "Jingle-bob."
Thus did the Chisum outfit get the name of the "Jingle-bobs."

Well mounted and armed, "Billy the Kid" started in search of Tom O'Keefe.
He was found at Las Cruces, three miles from La Mesilla, the County seat
of Dona Ana County, New Mexico. It was a happy meeting between the two
smooth-faced boys. Each had to relate his experience during and after the
Indian trouble.

O'Keefe had gone back to the place where he had left the "Kid's" mount
and the pack mule. There he found the "Kid's" horse shot dead, but no sign
of the mule. His own pony ran away with the saddle, when he sprang from
his back.

Now O'Keefe struck out afoot, towards the west, living on berries and such
game as he could kill, finally landing in Las Cruces, where he swore off
being the companion of a daring young outlaw.

"Billy the Kid" tried to persuade O'Keefe to accompany him back to the
Pecos valley, to take part in the approaching cattle war, but Tom said he
had had enough of playing "bad-man from Bitter Creek."

Now the "Kid" went to a ranch, where he had left his noble "Gray," and
with him started back towards the Pecos river.



Arriving back at the Murphy-Dolan cow-camp on the Pecos river, "Billy the
Kid" was greeted by his friends, McDaniels, Morton and Baker, who
persuaded him to join the Murphy and Dolan outfit, and become one of their
fighting cowboys. This he agreed to do, and was put on the pay-roll at
good wages.

The summer and fall of 1877 passed along with only now and then a scrap
between the factions. But the clouds of war were lowering, and the "Kid"
was anxious for a battle.

Still he was not satisfied to be at war with the whole-souled young
Englishman, John S. Tunstall, whom he had met on several occasions.

On one of his trips to the Mexican town of Lincoln, to "blow in" his
accumulated wages, the "Kid" met Tunstall, and expressed regret at
fighting against him.

The matter was talked over and "Billy the Kid" agreed to switch over from
the Murphy-Dolan faction. Tunstall at once put him under wages and told
him to make his headquarters at their cow-camp on the Rio Feliz, which
flowed into the Pecos from the west.

Now the "Kid" rode back to camp and told the dozen cowboys there of his
new deal. They tried to persuade him of his mistake, but his mind was made
up and couldn't be changed.

In the argument, Baker abused the "Kid" for going back on his friends.
This came very near starting a little war in that camp. The "Kid" made
Baker back down when he offered to shoot it out with him on the square.

Before riding away on his faithful "Gray," the "Kid" expressed regrets at
having to fight against his chum Jesse Evans, in the future.

At the Rio Feliz cow camp, the "Kid" made friends with all the cowboys
there, and with Tunstall and McSween, when he rode into Lincoln to have a
good time at the Mexican "fandangos" (dances.)

A few "killings" took place on the Pecos river during the fall, but "Billy
the Kid" was not in these fights.

In the early part of December, 1877, the "Kid" received a letter from his
Mexican chum whom he had liberated from the jail in San Elizario, Texas,
Melquiades Segura, asking that he meet him at their friend's ranch across
the Rio Grande river, in Old Mexico, on a matter of great importance.

Mounted on "Gray," the "Kid" started. Meeting Segura, he found that all he
wanted was to share a bag of Mexican gold with him.

While visiting Segura, a war started in San Elizario over the Guadalupe
Salt Lakes, in El Paso County, Texas.

These Salt Lakes had supplied the natives along the Rio Grande river with
free salt for more than a hundred years. An American by the name of
Howard, had leased them from the State of Texas, and prohibited the people
from taking salt from them.

A prominent man by the name of Louis Cardis, took up the fight for the
people. Howard and his men were captured and allowed their liberty under
the promise that they would leave the Salt Lakes free for the people's

Soon after, Howard killed Louis Cardis in El Paso. This worked the natives
up to a high pitch.

Under the protection of a band of Texas Rangers, Howard returned to San
Elizario, twenty-five miles below El Paso.

On reaching San Elizario the citizens turned out in mass and besieged the
Rangers and the Howard crowd, in a house.

Many citizens of Old Mexico, across the river, joined the mob. Among them
being Segura and his confederate, at whose ranch "Billy the Kid" and
Segura were stopping.

As "Billy the Kid" had no interest in the fight, he took no part, but was
an eye witness to it, in the village of San Elizario.

Near the house in which Howard and the Rangers took refuge, lived Captain
Gregario Garcia, and his three sons, Carlos, Secundio, and Nazean-ceno
Garcia. On the roof of their dwelling they constructed a fort, and with
rifles, assisted in protecting Howard and the Rangers from the mob.

The fight continued for several days. Finally, against the advice of
Captain Gregario Garcia, the Rangers surrendered. They were escorted up
the river towards El Paso, and liberated. Howard, Charlie Ellis, John
Atkinson, and perhaps one or two other Americans, were taken out and shot
dead by the mob. Thus ended one of the bloody battles which "Billy the
Kid" enjoyed as a witness.

The following year the present Governor of New Mexico, Octaviano A.
Larrazolo, settled in San Elizario, Texas, and married the pretty
daughter of Carlos Garcia, who, with his father and two brothers, so nobly
defended Howard and the Rangers.

Now "Billy the Kid," with his pockets bulging with Mexican gold, given him
by Segura, returned to the Tunstall-McSween cow camp, on the Rio Feliz, in
Lincoln County, New Mexico.

In the month of February, 1878, W. S. Morton, who held a commission as
deputy sheriff, raised a posse of fighting cowboys and went to one of the
Tunstall cow-camps on the upper Ruidoso river, to attach some horses,
which were claimed by the Murphy-Dolan outfit.

Tunstall was at the camp with some of his employes, who "hid out" on the
approach of Morton and the posse.

It was claimed by Morton that Tunstall fired the first shot, but that
story was not believed by the opposition.

In the fight, Tunstall and his mount were killed. While laying on his face
gasping for breath, Tom Hill, who was later killed while robbing a sheep
camp, placed a rifle to the back of his head and blew out his brains.

This murder took place on the 18th day of February, 1878.

Before sunset a runner carried the news to "Billy the Kid," on the Rio
Feliz. His anger was at the boiling point on hearing of the foul murder.
He at once saddled his horse and started to Lincoln, to consult with
Lawyer McSween.

Now the Lincoln County war was on with a vengeance and hatred, and the
"Kid" was to play a leading hand in it. He swore that he would kill every
man who took part in the murder of his friend Tunstall.

At that time, Lincoln County, New Mexico, was the size of some states,
about two hundred miles square, and only a few thousand inhabitants,
mostly Mexicans, scattered over its surface.

On reaching the town of Lincoln, the "Kid" was informed by McSween that E.
M. Bruer had been sworn in as a special constable, and was making up a
posse to arrest the murderers of Tunstall.

"Billy the Kid" joined the Bruer posse, and they started for the Rio Pecos

On the 6th day of March, the Bruer posse ran onto five mounted men at the
lower crossing of the Rio Penasco, six miles from the Pecos river. They
fled and were pursued by Bruer and his crowd.

Two of the fleeing cowboys separated from their companions. The "Kid"
recognized them as Morton and Baker, his former friends. He dashed after
them, and the rest of the posse followed his lead.

Shots were being fired back and forth. At last Morton's and Baker's mounts
fell over dead. The two men then crawled into a sink-hole to shield their
bodies from the bullets.

A parley was held, and the two men surrendered, after Bruer had promised
them protection. The "Kid" protested against giving this pledge. He
remarked: "My time will come."

Now the posse started for the Chisum home ranch, on South Spring river,
with the two handcuffed prisoners.

On the morning of the 9th day of March, the Bruer posse started with the
prisoners for Lincoln, but pretended to be headed for Fort Sumner.

The posse was made up of the following men: R. M. Bruer, J. G. Skurlock,
Charlie Bowdre, "Billy the Kid," Henry Brown, Frank McNab, Fred Wayt, Sam
Smith, Jim French, John Middleton and McClosky.

After traveling five miles they came to the little village of Roswell.
Here they stopped to allow Morton time to write a letter to his cousin,
the Hon. H. H. Marshall, of Richmond, Virginia.

Ash Upson was the postmaster in Roswell, and Morton asked him to notify
his cousin in Virginia, if the posse failed to keep their pledge of

McClosky, who was standing near, remarked: "If harm comes to you two, they
will have to kill me first."

The party started out about 10 A. M. from Roswell. About 4 P. M., Martin
Chavez of Picacho, arrived in Roswell and reported to Ash Upson that the
posse and their prisoners had quit the main road to Lincoln and had
turned off in the direction of Agua Negra, an unfrequented watering place.
This move satisfied the postmaster that the doom of Morton and Baker was

On March the eleventh, Frank McNab, one of the Bruer posse, rode up to the
post-office and dismounted. Mr. Upson expressed surprise and told him that
he supposed he was in Lincoln by this time. Now McNab confessed that
Morton, Baker and McClosky were dead.

Later, Ash Upson got the particulars from "Billy the Kid" of the killing.

The "Kid" and Charlie Bowdre were riding in the lead as they neared
Blackwater Spring. McClosky and Middleton rode by the side of the two
prisoners. The balance of the posse followed behind.

Finally Brown and McNab spurred up their horses and rode up to McClosky
and Middleton. McNab shoved a cocked pistol at McClosky's head saying:
"You are the s-- of a b-- that's got to die before harm can come to these
fellows, are you?"

Now the trigger was pulled and McClosky fell from his horse, dead, shot
through the head.

"Billy the Kid" heard the shot and wheeled his horse around in time to see
the two prisoners dashing away on their mounts. The "Kid" fired twice and
Morton and Baker fell from their horses, dead. No doubt it was a put up
job to allow the "Kid" to kill the murderers of his friend Tunstall, with
his own hands.

The posse rode on to Lincoln, all but McNab, who returned to Roswell. The
bodies of McClosky, Morton and Baker were left where they fell. Later they
were buried by some sheep herders.

Thus ends the first chapter of the bloody Lincoln County war.



On returning to Lincoln, "Billy the Kid" had many consultations with
Lawyer McSween about the murder of Tunstall. It was agreed to never let up
until all the murderers were in their graves.

The "Kid" heard that one of Tunstall's murderers was seen around Dr.
Blazer's saw mill, near the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, on South
Fork, about forty miles from Lincoln. He at once notified Officer Dick
Bruer, who made up a posse to search for Roberts, an ex-soldier, a fine
rider, and a dead shot.

As the posse rode up to Blazer's saw mill from the east, Roberts came
galloping up from the west. The "Kid" put spurs to his horse and made a
dash at him. Both had pulled their Winchester rifles from the scabbards.
Both men fired at the same time, Robert's bullet went whizzing past the
"Kid's" ear, while the one from "Billy the Kid's" rifle, found lodgment in
Robert's body. It was a death wound, but gave Roberts time to prove his
bravery, and fine marksmanship.

He fell from his mount and found concealment in an outhouse, from where he
fought his last battle.

The posse men dismounted and found concealment behind the many large saw
logs, scattered over the ground.

For a short time the battle raged, while the lifeblood was fast flowing
from Robert's wound. One of his bullets struck Charlie Bowdre, giving him
a serious wound. Another bullet cut off a finger from George Coe's hand.
Still another went crashing through Dick Bruer's head, as he peeped over a
log to get a shot at Roberts; Bruer fell over dead. This was Robert's last
shot, as he soon expired from the wound "Billy the Kid" had given him.

A grave yard was now started on a round hill near the Blazer saw mill, and
in later years, Mr. and Mrs. George Nesbeth, a little girl, and a strange
man, who had died with their boots on--being fouly murdered--were buried
in this miniature "Boot Hill" cemetery.

Two of the participants in the battle at Blazer's saw mill, Frank and
George Coe, are still alive, being highly respected ranchmen on the
Ruidoso river, where both have raised large families.

After the battle at Blazer's mill, the Coe brothers joined issues with
"Billy the Kid" and fought other battles against the Murphy-Dolan faction.
In one battle Frank Coe was arrested and taken to the Lincoln jail.
Through the aid of friends he made his escape.

Now that their lawful leader, Dick Bruer, was in his grave, the posse
returned to Lincoln. Here they formed themselves into a band, without
lawful authority, to avenge the murder of Tunstall, until not one was left
alive. By common consent, "Billy the Kid" was appointed their leader.

In Lincoln, lived one of "Billy the Kid's" enemies, J. B. Mathews, known
as Billy Mathews. While he had taken no part in the killing of Tunstall,
he had openly expressed himself in favor of Jimmie Dolan and Murphy, and
against the other faction.

On the 28th day of March, Billy Mathews, unarmed, met the "Kid" on the
street by accident. Mathews started into a doorway, just as the "Kid" cut
down on him with a rifle. The bullet shattered the door frame above his

Major William Brady, a brave and honest man, was the sheriff of Lincoln
County. He was partial to the Murphy-Dolan faction, and this offended the
opposition. He held warrants for "Billy the Kid" and his associates, for
the killing of Morton, Baker, and Roberts.

On the first day of April, 1878, Sheriff Brady left the Murphy-Dolan
store, accompanied by George Hindman and J. B. Mathews to go to the Court
House and announce that no term of court would be held at the regular
April term.

The sheriff and his two companions carried rifles in their hands, as in
those days every male citizen who had grown to manhood, went well armed.

The Tunstall and McSween store stood about midway between the Murphy-Dolan
store and the Court House.

In the rear of the Tunstall-McSween store, there was an adobe corral, the
east side of which projected beyond the store building, and commanded a
view of the street, over which the sheriff had to pass. On the top of this
corral wall, "Billy the Kid" and his "warriors" had cut grooves in which
to rest their rifles.

As the sheriff and party came in sight, a volley was fired at them from
the adobe fence. Brady and Hindman fell mortally wounded, and Mathews
found shelter behind a house on the south side of the street.

Ike Stockton, who afterwards became a killer of men, and a bold desperado,
in northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado, and who was killed
in Durango, Colorado, at that time kept a saloon in Lincoln, and was a
friend of the "Kid's." He ran out of his saloon to the wounded officers.
Hindman called for water; Stockton ran to the Bonita river, nearby, and
brought him a drink in his hat.

About this time, "Billy the Kid" leaped over the adobe wall and ran to the
fallen officers. As he raised Sheriff Brady's rifle from the ground, J. B.
Mathews fired at him from his hiding place. The ball shattered the stock
of the sheriff's rifle and plowed a furrow through the "Kid's" side, but
it proved not to be a dangerous wound.

Now "Billy the Kid" broke for shelter at the McSween home. Some say that
he fired a parting shot into Sheriff Brady's head. Others dispute it. At
any rate both Brady and Hindman lay dead on the main street of Lincoln.

This cold-blooded murder angered many citizens of Lincoln against the
"Kid" and his crowd. Now they became outlaws in every sense of the word.

From now on the "Kid" and his "warriors" made their headquarters at
McSween's residence, when not scouting over the country searching for
enemies, who sanctioned the killing of Tunstall.

Often this little band of "warriors" would ride through the streets of
Lincoln to defy their enemies, and be royally treated by their friends.

Finally, George W. Peppin was appointed Sheriff of the County, and he
appointed a dozen or more deputies to help uphold the law. Still bloodshed
and anarchy continued throughout the County, as the "Kid's" crowd were not

San Patricio, a Mexican plaza on the Ruidoso river, about eight miles
below Lincoln, was a favorite hangout for the "Kid" and his "warriors," as
most of the natives there were their sympathizers.

One morning, before breakfast, in San Patricio, Jose Miguel Sedillo
brought the "Kid" news that Jesse Evans and a crowd of "Seven River
Warriors" were prowling around in the hills, near the old Bruer ranch,
where a band of the Chisum-McSween horses were being kept.

Thinking that their intentions were to steal these horses, the "Kid" and
party started without eating breakfast. In the party, besides the "Kid,"
were Charlie Bowdre, Henry Brown, J. G. Skerlock, John Middleton, and a
young Texan by the name of Tom O'Phalliard, who had lately joined the

On reaching the hills, the party split, the "Kid" taking Henry Brown with

Soon the "Kid" heard shooting in the direction taken by the balance of his
party. Putting spurs to his mount, he dashed up to Jesse Evans and four of
his "warriors," who had captured Charlie Bowdre, and was joking him about
his leader, the "Kid." He remarked: "We are hungry, and thought we would
roast the 'Kid' for breakfast. We want to hear him bleat."

At that moment a horseman dashed up among them from an arroyo. With a
smile, Charlie Bowdre said, pointing at the "Kid;" "There comes your
breakfast, Jesse!"

With drawn pistol, "Old Gray" was checked up in front of his former chum
in crime, Jesse Evans.

With a smile, Jesse remarked: "Well, Billy, this is a h--l of a way to
introduce yourself to a private picnic party."

The "Kid" replied: "How are you, Jesse? It's a long time since we met."

Jesse said: "I understand you are after the men who killed that
Englishman. I, nor none of my men were there."

"I know you wasn't, Jesse," replied the "Kid." "If you had been, the ball
would have been opened before now."

Soon the "Kid" was joined by the rest of his party and both bands
separated in peace.



As time went on, Sheriff Peppin appointed new deputies on whom he could
depend. Among these being Marion Turner, of the firm of Turner & Jones,
merchants at Roswell, on the Pecos river.

For several years, Turner had been employed by cattle king John Chisum,
and up to May, 1878 had helped to fight his battles, but for some reason
he had seceded and became Chisum's bitter enemy.

Marion Turner was put in charge of the Sheriff's forces in the Pecos
valley, and soon had about forty daring cowboys and cattlemen under his
command. Roswell was their headquarters.

Early in July, "Billy the Kid" and fourteen of his followers rode up to
the Chisum headquarters ranch, five miles from Roswell, to make that their

Turner with his force tried to oust the "Kid" and gang from their
stronghold, but found it impossible, owing to the house being built like a
fort to stand off Indians, but he kept out spies to catch the "Kid"

One morning, Turner received word that the "Kid" and party had left for
Fort Sumner on the upper Pecos river. The trail was followed about twenty
miles up the river, where it switched off towards Lincoln, a distance of
about eighty or ninety miles.

The trail was followed to Lincoln, where it was found that "Billy the
Kid" and gang had taken possession of McSween's fine eleven-room
residence, and were prepared to stand off an army.

On arriving in Lincoln with his posse, Turner was joined by Sheriff Peppin
and his deputies, and they made the "Big House," as the Murphy-Dolan store
was called, their headquarters.

For three days shots were fired back and forth from the buildings, which
were far apart.

On the morning of July 19th, 1878, Marion Turner concluded to take some of
his men to the McSween residence and demand the surrender of the "Kid" and
his "warriors." With Turner were his business partner, John A. Jones and
eight other fearless men.

At that moment the "Kid" and party were in a rear room holding a
consultation, otherwise some of the advancing party might have been

On reaching the thick adobe wall of the building, through which portholes
had been cut, Turner and his men found protection against the wall between
these openings.

When the "Kid" and party returned to the port-holes they were hailed by
Turner, who demanded their surrender, as he had warrants for their arrest.

The "Kid" replied: "We, too, hold warrants for you and your gang, which we
will serve on you, hot from the muzzles of our guns."

About this time Lieut. Col. Dudley, of the Ninth Cavalry, arrived from Ft.
Stanton with a company of infantry and some artillery.

Planting his cannons midway between the belligerent parties, Col. Dudley
proclaimed that he would turn his guns loose on the first of the two, who
fired over the heads of his command.

Despite this warning, shots were fired back and forth, but no harm was

Now Martin Chavez, who at this writing is a prosperous merchant in Santa
Fe, rode up with thirty-five Mexicans, whom he had deputized to protect
McSween and the "Kid's" party.

Col. Dudley asked him under what authority he was acting. He replied that
he held a certificate as deputy sheriff under Brady. Col. Dudley told him
that as Sheriff Brady was dead, and a new sheriff had been appointed, his
commission was not in effect. Still he proclaimed that he would protect
the "Kid" and McSween.

Now Col. Dudley ordered Chavez off the field of battle, or he would have
his men fire on them. When the guns were pointed in their direction, the
Chavez crowd retreated to the Ellis Hotel. Here he ordered his followers
to fire on the soldiers if they opened up on the "Kid" and party with
their cannon.

Toward night the Turner men, who were up against the McSween residence,
between the port-holes, managed to set fire to the front door and windows.
A strong wind carried the blaze to the woodwork of other rooms.

Mrs. McSween and her three lady friends had left the building before the
fight started. She had made one trip back to see her husband. The firing
ceased while she was in the house.

In the front parlor, Mrs. McSween had a fine piano. To prevent it from
burning, the "Kid" moved it from one room to another until it was finally
in the kitchen.

The crowd made merry around the piano, singing and "pawing the ivory," as
the "Kid" expressed it to the writer a few months later.

After dark, when the fiery flames began to lick their way into the
kitchen, where the smoke begrimed band were congregated, a question of
surrender was discussed, but the "Kid" put his veto on the move. He stood
near the outer door of the kitchen, with his rifle, and swore he would
kill the first man who cried surrender. He had planned to wait until the
last minute, then all rush out of the door together, and make a run for
the Bonita river, a distance of about fifty yards.

Finally the heat became so great, the kitchen door was thrown open.

At this moment one Mexican became frightened and called out at the top of
his voice not to shoot, that they would surrender. The "Kid" struck the
fellow over the head with his rifle and knocked him senseless.

When the Mexican called out that they would surrender, Robert W. Beckwith,
a cattleman of Seven Rivers, and John Jones, stepped around the corner of
the building in full view of the kitchen door.

A shot was fired at Beckwith and wounded him on the hand. Then Beckwith
opened fire and shot Lawyer McSween, though this was not a death shot.
Another shot from Beckwith's gun killed Vicente Romero. Now the "Kid"
planted a bullet in Beckwith's head, and he fell over dead. Leaping over
Beckwith's body, the band made a run for the river. The "Kid" was in the
lead yelling: "Come on, boys!" Tom O'Phalliard was in the rear. He made
his escape amidst flying bullets, without a scratch, although he had
stopped to pick up his friend Harvey Morris. Finding him dead he dropped
the body.

McSween fell dead in the back yard with nine bullets in his body, which
was badly scorched by the fire, before he left the building.

It was 10 P. M. when the fight had ended. Seven men had been killed and
many wounded. Only two of Turner's posse were killed, while the "Kid" lost
five,--McSween, Morris and three Mexicans.



After their escape from Lincoln, "Billy the Kid" got his little band
together, and made a business of stealing stock and gambling. Their
headquarters were made in the hills near Fort Stanton--only a few miles
above Lincoln. The soldiers at the Fort paid no attention to them.

Now Governor Lew Wallace, the famous author of "Ben Hur," of Santa Fe, the
capital of the Territory of New Mexico, issued a proclamation granting a
pardon to "Billy the Kid" and his followers, if they would quit their
lawlessness, but the "Kid" laughed it off as a joke.

On the 5th day of August, "Billy the Kid" and gang rode up in plain view
of the Mescalero Indian Agency and began rounding up a band of horses.

A Jew by the name of Bernstein, mounted a horse and said he would go out
and stop them. He was warned of the danger, but persisted in his purpose
of preventing the stealing of their band of gentle saddle horses.

When Mr. Bernstein rode up to the gang and told them to "vamoose," in
other words, to hit the road, the "Kid" drew his rifle and shot the poor
Jew dead. This was the "Kid's" most cowardly act. His excuse was that he
"didn't like a Jew, nohow."

During the fall the government had given a contract to a large gang of
Mexicans to put up several hundred tons of hay at $25 a ton. As they drew
their pay, the "Kid" and gang were on hand to deal monte and win their

When the contract was finished, there was no more business for the "Kid's"
monte game, so with his own hand, as told to the author by himself, he set
fire to the hay stacks one windy night.

Now the Government gave another contract for several hundred tons of hay
at $50 a ton--as the work had to be rushed before frost killed the grass.

When pay day came around the "Kid's" monte game was raking in money again.

The new stacks were allowed to stand, as it was too late in the season to
cut the grass for more hay.

During the fall the "Kid" and some of his gang made trips to Fort Sumner.
Bowdre and Skurlock always remained near their wives in Lincoln, but
finally those two outlaws moved their families to "Sumner," where a
rendezvous was established. Here one of their gang, who always kept in the
dark, and worked on the sly, lived with his Mexican wife, a sister to the
wife of Pat Garrett. His name was Barney Mason, and he carried a curse of
God on his brow for the killing of John Farris, a cowboy friend of the
writer's, in the early winter of 1878.

On one of his trips to Fort Sumner, "Billy the Kid" fell desperately in
love with a pretty little seventeen-year-old half-breed Mexican girl, whom
we will call Miss Dulcinea del Toboso. She was a daughter of a once famous
man, and a sister to a man who owned sheep on a thousand hills. The
falling in love with this pretty, young miss, was virtually the cause of
"Billy the Kid's" death, as up to the last he hovered around Fort Sumner
like a moth around a blazing candle. He had no thought of getting his
wings singed; he couldn't resist the temptation of visiting this pretty
little miss.

During the month of September, 1878, the "Kid" and part of his gang
visited the town of Lincoln, and on leaving there stole a large band of
fine range horses from Charlie Fritz and others.

This band of horses was driven to Fort Sumner, thence east to Tascosa in
the wild Panhandle of Texas, on the Canadian river.

While disposing of these horses to the cattlemen and cowboys, the "Kid"
and his gang camped for several weeks at the "LX" cattle ranch, twenty
miles below Tascosa.

It was here, during the months of October and November, 1878, that the
writer made the acquaintance of "Billy the Kid," Tom O'Phalliard, Henry
Brown, Fred Wyat, John Middleton, and others of the gang whose names can't
be recalled.

The author had just returned from Chicago where he had taken a shipment of
fat steers, and found this gang of outlaws camped under some large
cottonwood trees, within a few hundred yards of the "LX" headquarter ranch

For a few weeks, much of my time was spent with "Billy the Kid." We became
quite chummy. He presented me with a nicely bound book, in which he wrote
his autograph. I had previously given him a fine meerschaum cigar holder.

While loafing in their camp, we passed off the time playing cards and
shooting at marks. With our Colt's 45 pistols I could hit the mark as
often as the "Kid," but when it came to quick shooting, he could get in
two shots to my one.

I found "Billy the Kid" to be a good natured young man. He was always
cheerful and smiling. Being still in his teens, he had no sign of a beard.
His eyes were a hazel blue, and his brown hair was long and curly. The
skin on his face was tanned to a chestnut brown, and was as soft and
tender as a baby's. He weighed about one hundred and forty pounds, and was
five feet, eight inches tall. His only defects were two upper front teeth,
which projected outward from his well shaped mouth.

During his many visits to Tascosa, where whiskey was plentiful, the "Kid"
never got drunk. He seemed to drink more for sociability than for the
"love of liquor."

Here Henry Brown and Fred Wyat quit the "Kid's" outlaw gang and went to
the Chickasaw Nation, in the Indian Territory, where the parents of
half-breed Fred Wyat lived.

It is said that Fred Wyat, in later years, served as a member of the
Oklahoma Legislature.

Henry Brown became City Marshal of Caldwell, Kansas, and while wearing his
star rode to the nearby town of Medicine Lodge, with three companions and
in broad day light, held up the bank, killing the president, Wiley Payne,
and his cashier, George Jeppert. This put an end to Henry Brown, as the
enraged citizens mobbed the whole band of "bad men."

The snow had begun to fly when the "Kid" and the remnant of his gang
returned to Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

One of his followers, John Middleton, had sworn off being an outlaw and
rode away from Tascosa, for southern Kansas, where the author met him in
later years. He had settled down to a peaceful life.

The "Kid" made his headquarters at Fort Sumner, so as to be near his
sweetheart. He made several raids into Lincoln County to steal cattle and
horses. On one of these trips to Lincoln County, his respect for women and
children, avoided a bloody battle with United States soldiers.

In the month of February, 1879, Wm. H. McBroom, at the head of a United
States surveying crew, established a camp at the Roberts ranch on the
Penasco creek, in the Pecos valley.

While absent with most of his crew, Mr. McBroom left a young man,
twenty-two years of age, Will M. Tipton, in charge of the camp and extra
mules. A young Mexican by the name of Nicholas Gutierez was detailed to
help young Tipton care for the stock.

Their camp was within a few hundred feet of the Roberts home, on the bank
of the creek. One morning Mr. Roberts started up the river to Roswell to
buy supplies, leaving his wife, grown daughter, and five-year-old son at
the ranch.

Late that evening, Captain Hooker and some negro soldiers pitched camp
near the Roberts home. They had several American prisoners with them, to
be taken to Fort Stanton and placed in jail.

That night after supper, Mr. Will M. Tipton, who at this writing, 1920, is
a highly respected citizen of Santa Fe, New Mexico, says he and Nicolas
Gutierez were sitting on the bank of the creek in their camp. He was
playing a guitar while Nicolas was singing. Just then a horseman climbed
up the steep embankment from the bed of the creek, and dismounted.

This stranger began asking questions about the soldiers' camp, where the
camp-fires blazed brilliantly in the pitchy darkness.

Finally the stranger gave a shrill whistle, and soon a companion rode into
camp, out of the bed of the creek.

This second visitor was a slender, boyish young man, who seemed anxious to
learn all about the soldiers' camp.

In a few moments three negro soldiers strolled into camp and chatted
awhile. When they left to return to their quarters, the two strangers bade
Tipton and his companion goodnight, and rode down the bed of the creek.

At noon next day, Mr. Roberts returned from Roswell. On meeting young
Tipton, he remarked: "You boys had 'Billy the Kid' as a visitor last
night." He then told of meeting the "Kid" and his band of "warriors" that
morning, and of how the "Kid" told of his visit to the McBroom camp. He
told Will Tipton that the small young man was the "Kid."

"Billy the Kid" had told Roberts that they had planned to make a charge
into the soldiers' camp and liberate the prisoners, who were friends of
theirs, but finding that Mrs. Roberts and the children were alone, and
that the soldiers' camp was so near the Roberts home, they gave up the
proposed battle, knowing that the shooting would disturb Mrs. Roberts and
the family.

Mr. Roberts explained to Mr. Tipton that he had always fed the "Kid" and
his "warriors" when they happened by his place, hence their friendship for

Now the "Kid" and his party rode to Lincoln to use their influence in a
peaceful way to liberate their friends, whom Capt. Hooker intended to
turn over to the new sheriff of Lincoln County.

In Lincoln the "Kid" met his former chum, Jesse Evans, and they started
out to celebrate the meeting. With Jesse Evans was a desperado named
William Campbell.

One night a lawyer named Chapman, who had been sent from Las Vegas to
settle up the McSween estate, was in the saloon, when Campbell shot at his
feet to make him dance. The lawyer protested indignantly and was shot dead
by Campbell.

Jimmie Dolan and J. B. Mathews, being present, were later arrested, along
with Campbell, for this killing.

Dolan and Mathews came clear at the preliminary trial, and Campbell was
bound over to the Grand Jury. He was taken to Fort Stanton and placed in
jail. There he made his escape and has never been heard of in that part of
the country since.

Now "Billy the Kid" and Tom O'Phalliard rode back to Fort Sumner, but soon
returned to Lincoln, where they were arrested by Sheriff Kimbrall and his
deputies--merely as a matter of performing their duty, but with no
intention of disgracing them. They were turned over to Deputy Sheriff T.
B. Longworth and guarded in the home of Don Juan Patron, where they were
wined and dined.

On the 21st day of March, 1879, Deputy Sheriff Longworth received orders
to place his two prisoners in the town jail--a filthy hole.

Arriving at the jail door, the "Kid" told Mr. Longworth that he had been
in this jail once before, and he swore he would never go into it again,
but to avoid making trouble, he would go back on his pledge.

On a pine door to one of the cells, the "Kid" wrote with his pencil:
"William Bonney was incarcerated first time, December 22nd, 1878--Second
time, March 21st, 1879, and hope I will never be again. W. H. Bonney."

This inscription showed on the old jail door for many years after it was

The first time the "Kid" was put in this jail he walked right out, and
this second time, he broke down the door when he got ready to go.

After breaking out of the jail, the "Kid" and O'Phalliard spent a couple
of weeks in Lincoln, carrying their rifles whenever they walked through
the street, in plain view of the sheriff.

In April, they returned to Fort Sumner and were joined by Charlie Bowdre
and Skurlock. Jesse Evans had left for the lower Pecos, where he was later
killed, according to reports.

The summer was spent by the "Kid" and his followers stealing cattle and

In October they went to Roswell and stole 118 head of John Chisum's
fattest steers, and later sold them to Colorado beef buyers. The "Kid"
claimed that Chisum owed him for fighting his battles during the Lincoln
County war, and he was using this method to get his pay.

From now on, for the next year, the "Kid" and gang did a wholesale
business in stealing cattle. Tom Cooper and his gang had joined issues
with the "Kid" and party, and they established headquarters at the
Portales Lake--a salty body of water at the foot of the Staked Plains,
about seventy-five miles east of Fort Sumner.

Here a permanent camp was pitched against a cliff of rock, at a fresh
water spring, and it afterward became noted as "Billy the Kid's" cave. A
rock wall had been built against the cliff to take in the spring, and
afforded protection as a fort in case of a surprise from Indians or

They had the whole country to themselves, as there were no
inhabitants--only drifting bands of buffalo hunters.

Raids were made into the Texas Panhandle, the western line being a few
miles east of their camp, and fat steers stolen from the "LX" and "LIT"
cattle ranges on the Canadian river.

These herds of stolen steers were driven to Tularosa, in Dona Ana County,
New Mexico, and turned over to Pat Cohglin, the "King of Tularosa," who
had a contract to furnish beef to the U. S. soldiers at Ft. Stanton.
Cohglin had made a deal with "Billy the Kid" to buy all the steers he
could steal in the Texas Panhandle, and deliver to him in Tularosa.

In January, 1880, the "Kid" added another notch on the handle of his
pistol as a mankiller. He and a crowd of the Chisum cowboys were
celebrating in Bob Hargroves' saloon in Fort Sumner. A bad-man from Texas,
by the name of Joe Grant, was filling his hide full of "Kill-me-quick"
whiskey, in the Hargroves' saloon.

Grant pulled a fine, ivory-handled Colt's pistol from the scabbard of
Cowboy Finan, putting his own pistol in place of it.

Here the "Kid" asked Grant to let him look at this beautiful,
ivory-handled pistol. The request was granted. Then the "Kid" revolved the
cylinder and saw there were two empty chambers. He let the hammer down so
that the first two attempts to shoot would be failures.

Now the pretty pistol was handed back to Grant and he stuck it in his

A little later Grant stepped behind the bar, so as to face the crowd, and
jerking his pistol, he began knocking glasses off the bar with it. Eyeing
"Billy the Kid," he remarked: "Pard, I'll kill a man quicker than you
will, for the whiskey."

The "Kid" accepted the challenge. Grant fired at the "Kid," but the hammer
struck on an empty chamber. Now the "Kid" planted a ball between Grant's
eyes and he fell over dead.

At the Bosque Grande, on the Pecos river, the three Dedrick boys, Sam,
Dan, and Mose, owned a ranch, which became quite a rendezvous for the
"Kid's" and Tom Cooper's gangs. From here the herds of stolen Panhandle,
Texas, cattle were started across the waterless desert to the foot of the
Capitan mountains, a distance of about one hundred miles.

Here Dave Rudabaugh, who had the previous fall killed the jailer in Las
Vegas in trying to liberate his friend, Webb, joined "Billy the Kid's"
gang. Also Billy Wilson and Tom Pickett joined the party, and their time
was spent stealing cattle and horses.



In the year 1879, rich gold ore had been struck on Baxter mountain, three
miles from White Oaks Spring, about thirty miles north of Lincoln, and the
new town of White Oaks was established, with a population of about one
thousand souls.

The "Kid" had many friends in this hurrah mining camp. He had shot up the
town, and was wanted by the law officers.

On the 23rd day of November, 1880, the "Kid" celebrated his birthday in
White Oaks, under cover, among friends.

On riding out of town with his gang after dark, he took one friendly shot
at Deputy Sheriff Jim Woodland, who was standing in front of the Pioneer
Saloon. The chances are he had no intention of shooting Woodland, as he
was a warm friend to his chum, Tom O'Phalliard, who was riding by his
side. O'Phalliard and Jim Woodland had come to New Mexico from Texas
together, a few years previous. Woodland is still a resident of Lincoln
County, with a permanent home on the large Block cattle ranch.

This shot woke up Deputy Sheriffs Jim Carlyle and J. N. Bell, who fired
parting shots at the gang, as they galloped out of town.

The next day a posse was made up of leading citizens of White Oaks with
Deputy Sheriff Will Hudgens and Jim Carlyle in command. They followed the
trail of the outlaw gang to Coyote Spring, where they came onto the gang
in camp. Shots were exchanged. "Billy the Kid" had sprung onto his horse,
which was shot from under him.

When the "Kid's" gang fired on the posse, Johnny Hudgens' mount fell over
dead, shot in the head.

The weather was bitter cold and snow lay on the ground. Without overcoat
or gloves, "Billy the Kid" rushed for the hills, afoot, after his horse
fell. The rest of the gang had become separated, and each one looked out
for himself.

In the outlaws' camp the posse found a good supply of grub and plunder.

Jim Carlyle appropriated the "Kid's" gloves and put them on his hands. No
doubt they were the real cause of his death later.

With "Billy the Kid's" saddle, overcoat and the other plunder found in the
outlaws' camp, the posse returned to White Oaks, arriving there about

It would seem from all accounts that "Billy the Kid" trailed the posse
into White Oaks, where he found shelter at the Dedrick and West Livery
Stable. He was seen on the street during the night.

On November 27th, a posse of White Oaks citizens under command of Jim
Carlyle and Will Hudgens, rode to the Jim Greathouse road-ranch, about
forty miles north, arriving there before daylight. Their horses were
secreted, and they made breastworks of logs and brush, so as to cover the
ranch house, which was known to be a rendezvous of the "Kid's" gang.

After daylight the cook came out of the house with a nosebag and ropes to
hunt the horses which had been hobbled the evening before.

This cook, Steck, was captured by the posse behind the breastworks. He
confessed that the "Kid" and his gang were in the house.

Now Steck was sent to the house with a note to the "Kid" demanding his
surrender. The reply he sent back by Steck read: "You can only take me a

The proprietor of the ranch, Jim Greathouse, accompanied Steck back to the
posse behind the logs.

Jimmie Carlyle suggested that he go to the house unarmed and have a talk
with the "Kid." Will Hudgens wouldn't agree to this until after Greathouse
said he would remain to guarantee Carlyle's safe return. That if the "Kid"
should kill Carlyle, they could take his life.

A time limit was set for Carlyle's return, or Greathouse would be killed.
This was written on a note and sent by Steck to the "Kid."

When Carlyle entered the saloon, in the front part of the log building,
the "Kid" greeted him in a friendly manner, but seeing his gloves sticking
out of Carlyle's coat pocket, he grabbed them, saying: "What in the h--l
are you doing with my gloves?" Of course this brought back the misery he
had endured without gloves after the posse raided their camp at Coyote

Here he invited Carlyle up to the bar to take his last drink on earth--as
he said he intended to kill him when the whiskey was down.

After Carlyle had drained his glass the "Kid" pulled his pistol and told
him to say his prayers before he fired.

With a laugh the "Kid" put up his pistol, saying, "Why, Jimmie, I wouldn't
kill you. Let's all take another friendly drink."

Now the time was spent singing and dancing. Every time the gang took a
drink, Carlyle had to join them in a social glass.

The "Kid" afterwards told friends that he had no intention of killing
Carlyle, that he just wanted to detain him till after dark, so they could
make a dash for liberty.

The time had just expired when the posse were to kill Jim Greathouse, if
Carlyle was not back. At that moment a man behind the breastworks fired a
shot at the house. Carlyle supposed this shot had killed Greathouse, which
would result in his own death. He leaped for the glass window, taking sash
and all with him. The "Kid" fired a bullet into him. When he struck the
ground he began crawling away on his hands and knees, as he was badly
wounded. Now the "Kid" finished him with a well aimed shot from his

The men behind the logs were witnesses to this murder,--as they could see
Carlyle crawling away from the window. Now they opened fire with a
vengeance on the building. The gang had previously piled sacks of grain
and flour against the doors, to keep out the bullets.

In the excitement, Jim Greathouse slipped away from the posse and ran
through the woods. Finding one of his own hobbled ponies, he mounted him
and rode away. He was later shot by desperado Joe Fowler, with a
double-barrel shot gun, as he lay in bed asleep. This murder took place on
Joe Fowler's cattle ranch west of Socorro, New Mexico.

After dark the posse concluded to return to White Oaks, as they were cold
and hungry. They had brought no grub with them, and they dared not build a
fire to keep warm, for fear of being shot by the gang.

A few hours later the "Kid" and gang made a break for liberty, intending
to fight the posse to a finish, they not knowing that the officers had

All night the gang waded through the deep snow, afoot. They arrived at Mr.
Spence's ranch at daylight, and ate a hearty breakfast. Then continued
their journey towards Anton Chico on the Pecos river.

About daylight that morning, Will Hudgens, Johnny Hurley, and Jim Brent
made up a large posse and started to the Greathouse road-ranch. Arriving
there, they found the place vacated. The buildings were set afire, then
the journey continued on the gang's trail, in the deep snow.

A highly respected citizen, by the name of Spence, had established a
road-ranch on a cut-off road between White Oaks and Las Vegas. The gang's
trail led up to this ranch, and Mr. Spence acknowledged cooking breakfast
for them.

Now Mr. Spence was dragged to a tree with a rope around his neck to hang
him. Many of the posse protested against the hanging of Spence, and his
life was spared, but revenge was taken by burning up his buildings.

The "Kid's" trail was now followed into a rough, hilly country and there
abandoned. Then the posse returned to White Oaks.

In Anton Chico, the "Kid" and his party stole horses and saddles, and rode
down the Pecos river.

A few days later, Pat Garrett, the sheriff of Lincoln County, arrived in
Anton Chico from Fort Sumner, to make up a posse to run down the "Kid" and
his gang.

At this time the writer and Bob Roberson had arrived in Anton Chico from
Tascosa, Texas, with a crew of fighting cowboys, to help run down the
"Kid," and put a stop to the stealing of Panhandle, Texas, cattle.

The author had charge of five "warriors," Jas. H. East, Cal Polk, Lee
Hall, Frank Clifford (Big-Foot Wallace), and Lon Chambers. We were armed
to the teeth, and had four large mules to draw the mess-wagon, driven by
the Mexican cook, Francisco.

Bob Roberson was in charge of five riders and a mess-wagon.

At our camp, west of Anton Chico, Pat Garrett met us, and we agreed to
loan him a few of our "warriors." The writer turned over to him three men,
Jim East, Lon Chambers and Lee Hall. Bob Roberson turned over to him three
cowboys, Tom Emmory, Bob Williams, and Louis Bozeman.

We then continued our journey to White Oaks in a raging snow storm.

Pat Garrett started down the Pecos river with his crew, consisting of our
six cowboys, his brother-in-law, Barney Mason, and Frank Stewart, who had
been acting as detective for the Panhandle cattlemen's association.

At Fort Sumner, Pat Garrett deputized Charlie Rudolph and a few Mexican
friends, to join the crowd which now numbered about thirteen men.

Finding that the "Kid" and party had been in Fort Sumner, and made the old
abandoned United States Hospital building, where lived Charlie Bowdre and
his half-breed Mexican wife, their headquarters, Pat Garrett concluded to
camp there. He figured that the outlaws would return and visit Mrs.
Charlie Bowdre, whose husband was one of the outlaw band.

In order to get a true record of the capture of "Billy the Kid" and gang,
the author wrote to James H. East, of Douglas, Arizona, for the facts. Jim
East is the only known living participant in that tragic event. His
reputation for honesty and truthfulness is above par wherever he is known.
He served eight years as sheriff of Oldham County, Texas, at Tascosa, and
was city marshal for several years in Douglas, Arizona.

Herewith his letter to the writer is printed in full:

    "Douglas, Arizona,
      May 1st, 1920.

    Dear Charlie:

    Yours of the 29th received, and contents noted. I will try to answer
    your questions, but you know after a lapse of forty years, one's
    memory may slip a cog. First: We were quartered in the old Government
    Hospital building in Ft. Sumner, the night of the first fight. Lon
    Chambers was on guard. Our horses were in Pete Maxwell's stable.
    Sheriff Pat Garrett, Tom Emory, Bob Williams, and Barney Mason were
    playing poker on a blanket on the floor.

    I had just laid down on my blanket in the corner, when Chambers ran in
    and told us that the 'Kid' and his gang were coming. It was about
    eleven o'clock at night. We all grabbed our guns and stepped out in
    the yard.

    Just then the 'Kid's' men came around the corner of the old hospital
    building, in front of the room occupied by Charlie Bowdre's woman and
    her mother. Tom O'Phalliard was riding in the lead. Garrett yelled
    out: 'Throw up your hands!' But O'Phalliard jerked his pistol. Then
    the shooting commenced. It being dark, the shooting was at random.

    Tom O'Phalliard was shot through the body, near the heart, and lost
    control of his horse. 'Kid' and the rest of his men whirled their
    horses and ran up the road.

    O'Phalliard's horse came up near us, and Tom said: 'Don't shoot any
    more, I am dying.' We helped him off his horse and took him in, and
    laid him down on my blanket. Pat and the other boys then went back to
    playing poker.

    I got Tom some water. He then cussed Garrett and died, in about thirty
    minutes after being shot.

    The horse that Dave Rudabaugh was riding was shot, but not killed
    instantly. We found the dead horse the next day on the trail, about
    one mile or so east of Ft. Sumner.

    After Dave's horse fell down from loss of blood, he got up behind
    Billy Wilson, and they all went to Wilcox's ranch that night.

    The next morning a big snow storm set in and put out their trail, so
    we laid over in Sumner and buried Tom O'Phalliard.

    The next night, after the fight, it cleared off and about midnight,
    Mr. Wilcox rode in and reported to us that the "Kid," Dave Rudabaugh,
    Billy Wilson, Tom Pickett, and Charlie Bowdre, had eaten supper at his
    ranch about dark, then pulled out for the little rock house at
    Stinking Spring. So we saddled up and started about one o'clock in the

    We got to the rock house just before daylight. Our horses were left
    with Frank Stewart and some of the other boys under guard, while
    Garrett took Lee Hall, Tom Emory and myself with him. We crawled up
    the arroyo to within about thirty feet of the door, where we lay down
    in the snow.

    There was no window in this house, and only one door, which we would
    cover with our guns.

    The "Kid" had taken his race mare into the house, but the other three
    horses were standing near the door, hitched by ropes to the vega

    Just as day began to show, Charlie Bowdre came out to feed his horse,
    I suppose, for he had a moral in one hand. Garrett told him to throw
    up his hands, but he grabbed at his six-shooter. Then Garrett and Lee
    Hall both shot him in the breast. Emory and I didn't shoot, for there
    was no use to waste ammunition then.

    Charlie turned and went into the house, and we heard the 'Kid' say to
    him: 'Charlie, you are done for. Go out and see if you can't get one
    of the s--of--b's before you die.'

    Charlie then walked out with his hand on his pistol, but was unable to
    shoot. We didn't shoot, for we could see he was about dead. He
    stumbled and fell on Lee Hall. He started to speak, but the words died
    with him.

    Now Garrett, Lee, Tom and I, fired several shots at the ropes which
    held the horses, and cut them loose--all but one horse which was half
    way in the door. Garrett shot him down, and that blocked the door, so
    the 'Kid' could not make a wolf dart on his mare.

    We then held a medicine talk with the Kid, but of course couldn't see
    him. Garrett asked him to give up, Billy answered: 'Go to h--l, you
    long-legged s-- of a b!'

    Garrett then told Tom Emory and I to go around to the other side of
    the house, as we could hear them trying to pick out a port-hole. Then
    we took it, time about, guarding the house all that day. When nearly
    sundown, we saw a white handkerchief on a stick, poked out of the
    chimney. Some of us crawled up the arroyo near enough to talk to
    'Billy.' He said they had no show to get away, and wanted to
    surrender, if we would give our word not to fire into them, when they
    came out. We gave the promise, and they came out with their hands up,
    but that traitor, Barney Mason, raised his gun to shoot the 'Kid,'
    when Lee Hall and I covered Barney and told him to drop his gun, which
    he did.

    Now we took the prisoners and the body of Charlie Bowdre to the
    Wilcox ranch, where we stayed until next day. Then to Ft. Sumner,
    where we delivered the body of Bowdre to his wife. Garrett asked Louis
    Bousman and I to take Bowdre in the house to his wife. As we started
    in with him, she struck me over the head with a branding iron, and I
    had to drop Charlie at her feet. The poor woman was crazy with grief.
    I always regretted the death of Charlie Bowdre, for he was a brave
    man, and true to his friends to the last.

    Before we left Ft. Sumner with the prisoners for Santa Fe, the 'Kid'
    asked Garrett to let Tom Emory and I go along as guards, which, as you
    know, he did.

    The 'Kid' made me a present of his Winchester rifle, but old Beaver
    Smith made such a roar about an account he said 'Billy' owed him,
    that at the request of 'Billy,' I gave old Beaver the gun. I wish now
    I had kept it.

    On the road to Santa Fe, the 'Kid' told Garrett this: That those who
    live by the sword, die by the sword. Part of that prophecy has come
    true. Pat Garrett got his, but I am still alive.

    I must close. You may use any quotations from my letters, for they are
    true. Good luck to you. Mrs. East joins me in best wishes.

        Sincerely yours,
          JAS. H. EAST."

The author had previously written to Jim East about "Billy the Kid's"
sweetheart, Miss Dulcinea del Toboso. Here is a quotation from his answer,
of April 26th, 1920: "Your recollection of Dulcinea del Toboso, about
tallies with the way I remember her. She was rather stout, built like her
mother, but not so dark.

"After we captured 'Billy the Kid' at Arroyo Tivan, we took him, Dave
Rudabaugh, Billy Wilson, and Tom Pickett--also the dead body of Charlie
Bowdre--to Fort Sumner.

"After dinner Mrs. Toboso sent over an old Navajo woman to ask Pat Garrett
to let 'Billy' come over to the house and see them before taking him to
Santa Fe. So Garrett told Lee Hall and I to guard 'Billy' and Dave
Rudebough over to Toboso's, Dave and 'Billy' being shackled together. As
we went over the lock on Dave's leg came loose, and 'Billy' being very
superstitious, said: 'That is a bad sign. I will die, and Dave will go
free,' which, as you know, proved true.

"When we went in the house only Mrs. Toboso, Dulcinea, and the old Navajo
woman were there.

"Mrs. Toboso asked Hall and I to let 'Billy' and Dulcinea go into another
room and talk awhile, but we did not do so, for it was only a stall of
'Billy's' to make a run for liberty, and the old lady and the girl were
willing to further the scheme. The lovers embraced, and she gave 'Billy'
one of those soul kisses the 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."

It was December 23rd, 1880, when the "Kid" and gang, Dave Rudebaugh, Tom
Pickett and Billy Wilson--were captured, and Charlie Bowdre killed.

The prisoners were taken to the nearest railroad, at Las Vegas, where a
mob tried to take them away from the posse, to string them up.

They were placed in the County jail at Santa Fe, the capital of the
Territory of New Mexico, as the penitentiary was not yet completed.

Dave Rudebaugh was tried and sentenced to death for the killing of the
jailer in Las Vegas. Later he made his escape and has never been heard of



In the latter part of February, 1881, "Billy the Kid" was taken to Mesilla
to be tried for the murder of Roberts at Blazer's saw mill. Judge Bristol
presided over the District Court, and assigned Ira E. Leonard to defend
the "Kid." He was acquitted for the murder of Roberts.

In the same term of court, the "Kid" was put on trial for the murder of
Sheriff Wm. Brady, in April, 1878. This time he was convicted, and
sentenced to hang on the 13th day of May, 1881, in the Court House yard in

Deputy United States Marshall, Robert Ollinger, and Deputy Sheriff David
Wood, drove the "Kid" in a covered back to Fort Stanton, and turned him
over to Sheriff Pat Garrett.

As Lincoln had no suitable jail, an upstairs room in the large adobe Court
House was selected as the "Kid's" last home on earth--as the officers
supposed, but fate decided otherwise.

Bob Ollinger and J. W. Bell were selected to guard "Billy the Kid" until
the time came for shutting off his wind with a rope.

The room selected for the "Kid's" home was large, and in the northeast
corner of the building, upstairs. There were two windows in it, one on the
east side and the other on the north, fronting the main street.

In order to get out of this room one had to pass through a hall into
another room, where a back stairs led down to the rear yard.

In a room in the southwest corner of the building, the surplus firearms
were kept, in a closet, or armory. One room was assigned as the Sheriff's
private office.

The "Kid's" furniture consisted of a pair of steel hand-cuffs, steel
shackles for his legs, a stool, and a cot.

Bob Ollinger, the chief guard, was a large, powerful middle-aged man,
with a mean disposition. He and the "Kid" were bitter enemies on account
of having killed warm friends of each other during the bloody Lincoln
County war. It is said that Ollinger shot one of the "Kid's" friends to
death while holding his right hand with his, Ollinger's, left hand. After
this local war had ended, the fellow stepped up to Ollinger to shake hands
and to bury the hatchet of former hatred. Ollinger extended his left hand,
and grabbed the man's right, holding it fast until he had shot him to
death. Of course this cowardly act left a scar on "Billy the Kid's" heart,
which only death could heal.

J. W. Bell was a tall, slender man of middle age, with a large knife scar
across one cheek. He had come from San Antonio, Texas. He held a grudge
against the "Kid" for the killing of his friend, Jimmie Carlyle,
otherwise there was no enmity between them.

In the latter part of April, Cowboy Charlie Wall had four Mexicans helping
him irrigate an alfalfa field, above the Mexican village of Tularosa, on
Tularosa river.

A large band of Tularosa Mexicans appeared on the scene one morning, to
prevent young Wall from using water for his thirsty alfalfa.

When the smoke of battle cleared away, four Tularosa Mexicans lay dead on
the ground and Charlie Wall had two bullet wounds in his body, though they
were not dangerous wounds.

Now, to prevent being mobbed by the angry citizens of Tularosa, which was
just over the line in Dona Ana County, Wall and his helpers made a run, on
horseback, for Lincoln, to surrender to Sheriff Pat Garrett.

The Sheriff allowed them to wear their pistols and to sleep in the old
jail. At meal times they accompanied either Bob Ollinger or J. W. Bell, to
the Ellis Hotel across the main street, which ran east and west through

Charlie Wall did his loafing while recovering from his bullet wounds, in
the room where the "Kid" was kept.

On the morning of April 28th, 1881, Sheriff Garrett prepared to leave for
White Oaks, thirty-five miles north, to have a scaffold made to hang the
"Kid" on. Before starting, he went into the room where the "Kid" sat on
his stool, guarded by Ollinger, who was having a friendly chat with
Charlie Wall--the man who gave the writer the full details of the affair.
J. W. Bell was also present in the room.

Garrett remarked to the two guards: "Say, boys, you must keep a close
watch on the 'Kid,' as he has only a few more days to live, and might
make a break for liberty."

Bob Ollinger answered: "Don't worry, Pat, we will watch him like a goat."

Now Ollinger stepped into the other room and got his double-barrel shot
gun. With the gun in his hand, and looking towards the "Kid," he said:
"There are eighteen buckshot in each barrel, and I reckon the man who gets
them will feel it."

With a smile, "Billy the Kid" remarked: "You may be the one to get them

Now Ollinger put the gun back in the armory, locking the door, putting the
key in his pocket. Then Garrett left for White Oaks.

About five o'clock in the evening, Bob Ollinger took Charlie Wall and the
other four armed prisoners to the Ellis Hotel, across the street, for
supper. Bell was left to guard the "Kid."

According to the story "Billy the Kid" told Mrs. Charlie Bowdre, and other
friends, after his escape, he had been starving himself so that he could
slip his left hand out of the steel cuff. The guards thought he had lost
his appetite from worry over his approaching death.

J. W. Bell sat on a chair, facing the "Kid," several paces away. He was
reading a newspaper. The "Kid" slipped his left hand out of the cuff and
made a spring for the guard, striking him over the head with the steel
cuff. Bell threw up both hands to shield his head from another blow. Then
the "Kid" jerked Bell's pistol out of its scabbard. Now Bell ran out of
the door and received a bullet from his own pistol. The body of Bell
tumbled down the back stairs, falling on the jailer, a German by the name
of Geiss, who was sitting at the foot of the stairs.

Of course Geiss stampeded. He flew out of the gate towards the Ellis

On hearing the shot, Bob Ollinger and the five armed prisoners, got up
from the supper table and ran to the street. Charlie Wall and the four
Mexicans stopped on the sidewalk, while Ollinger continued to run towards
the court house.

After killing Bell, the "Kid" broke in the door to the armory and secured
Ollinger's shot-gun. Then he hobbled to the open window facing the hotel.

When in the middle of the street, Ollinger met the stampeded jailer, and
as he passed, he said: "Bell has killed the "Kid." This caused Ollinger to
quit running. He walked the balance of the way.

When directly under the window, the "Kid" stuck his head out, saying:
"Hello, Bob!"

Ollinger looked up and saw his own shotgun pointed at him. He said, in a
voice loud enough to be heard by Wall and the other prisoners across the
street: "Yes, he has killed me, too!"

These words were hardly out of the guard's mouth when the "Kid" fired a
charge of buckshot into his heart.

Now "Billy the Kid" hobbled back to the armory and buckled around his
waist two belts of cartridges and two Colt's pistols. Then taking a
Winchester rifle in his hand, he hobbled back to the shot gun, which he
picked up. He then went out on the small porch in front of the building.
Reaching over the ballisters with the shotgun, he fired the other charge
into Ollinger's body. Then breaking the shotgun in two, across the
ballisters, he threw the pieces at the corpse, saying: "Take that, you s--
of a b--, you will never follow me with that gun again."

Now the "Kid" hailed the jailer, old man Geiss, and told him to throw up a
file, which he did. Then the chain holding his feet close together was
filed in two.

When his legs were free, the "Kid" danced a jig on the little front porch,
where many people, who had run out to the sidewalk across the street, on
hearing the shots, were witnesses to this free show, which couldn't be
beat for money.

Geiss was hailed again and told to saddle up Billy Burt's, the Deputy
County Clerk's, black pony and bring him out on the street. This black
pony had formerly belonged to the "Kid."

When the pony stood on the street, ready for the last act, the "Kid" went
down the back stairs, stepping over the dead body of Bell, and started to
mount. Being encumbered with the weight of two pistols, two belts full of
ammunition, and the rifle, the "Kid" was thrown to the ground, when the
pony began bucking, before he had got into the saddle.

Now the "Kid" faced the crowd across the street, holding the rifle ready
for action.

Charlie Wall told the writer that he could have killed him with his
pistol, but that he wanted to see him escape. Many other men in the crowd
felt the same way, no doubt.

When the pony was brought back the "Kid" gave Geiss his rifle to hold,
while he mounted. The rifle being handed back to him when he was securely
seated in the saddle, then he dug the pony in the sides with his heels,
and galloped west. At the edge of town he waved his hat over his head,
yelling: "Three cheers for Billy the Kid!" Now the curtain went down, for
the time being.



A few days after the "Kid's" escape, Billy Burt's black pony returned to
Lincoln dragging a rope. He had either escaped or been turned loose by the

The next we hear of the "Kid" he visited friends in Las Tablas, and stole
a horse from Andy Richardson. From there he headed for Fort Sumner to see
his sweetheart, Miss Dulcinea del Toboso. It was said he tried to persuade
her to run away with him, and go to old Mexico to live in happiness ever
afterward. But that sweet little Dulce refused to leave mamma.

The "Kid" found shelter and concealment in the home of Mrs. Charlie Bowdre
and her mother. One night a few weeks after his escape, the writer was
within whispering distance of "Billy the Kid."

Myself and a crowd of cowboys had attended a Mexican dance. Mrs. Charlie
Bowdre was there, dressed like a young princess. She captured the heart of
the author, so that he danced with her often, and escorted her to the
midnight supper.

About three o'clock in the morning the dance broke up and the writer
escorted the pretty young widow, Mrs. Charlie Bowdre, to her adobe home.
At the front door, I almost got down on my knees pleading for her to let
me go into the house and talk awhile, but no use, she insisted that her
mother would object.

Now a wine-soaked young cowboy with jingling spurs on his high-heel boots,
staggered into camp and "piled" into bed, spread on the ground under a
cottonwood tree, to dream of Mexican "Fandangos," where the girls have no
choice of partners. Without an introduction the man walks up to the girl
of his choice and leads her out on the floor to dance to his heart's

About six months later, in the fall of 1881, after the "Kid" had been
killed, the writer was in Fort Sumner again, and attended a dance with
Mrs. Charlie Bowdre. Now she explained the reason for not letting me enter
the house. She said at that time, "Billy the Kid," who was in hiding at
her home, was on the inside of the door listening to our conversation.
That he recognized my voice.

Here Mrs. Bowdre told me the facts in the case, of how "Billy the Kid" met
his death, bare-headed and bare-footed, with a butcher knife in his hand.

While in hiding in Fort Sumner the "Kid" stole a saddle horse from Mr.
Montgomery Bell, who had ridden into town from his ranch fifty miles
above, on the Rio Pecos.

Bell supposed the horse had been ridden off by a common Mexican thief. He
hired Barney Mason and a Mr. Curington to go with him to hunt the animal.
They started down the stream, Bell keeping on one side of the river, while
Mason and Curington headed for a sheep camp in the foot hills.

Riding up to the tent in the sheep camp, the "Kid" stepped out with his
Winchester rifle, and hailed them.

Barney Mason was armed to the teeth, and was on a swift horse. He had on a
new pair of spurs and nearly wore them out making his get-away.

Mr. Curington rode up to his friend, "Billy the Kid," and had a friendly

The "Kid" told Mr. Curington to tell Montgomery Bell that he would return
his horse, or pay for him.

When Curington reported the matter to Mr. Bell, he was satisfied and
searched no more for the animal.

After the "Kid's" escape from Lincoln, Sheriff Pat Garrett "laid low," and
tried to find out the "Kid's" whereabouts through his friends and

In March, 1881, a Deputy United States Marshal by the name of John W. Poe
arrived in the booming mining camp of White Oaks. He had been sent to New
Mexico by the Cattlemen's Association of the Texas Panhandle. Cattle King
Charlie Goodnight, being the president of the association, had selected
Mr. Poe as the proper man to put a stop to the stealing of Panhandle
cattle by "Billy the Kid" and gang.

After the "Kid's" escape, Pat Garrett went to White Oaks and deputized
John W. Poe to assist him in rounding up the "Kid."

From now on Mr. Poe made trips out in the mountains trying to locate the
young outlaw. The "Kid's" best friends argued that he was "nobody's fool,"
and would not remain in the United States, when the Old Mexico border was
so near. They didn't realize that little Cupid was shooting his tender
young heart full of love-darts, straight from the heart of pretty little
Miss Dulcinea del Toboso, of Fort Sumner.

Early in July, Pat Garrett received a letter from an acquaintance by the
name of Brazil, in Fort Sumner, advising him that the "Kid" was hanging
around there. Garrett at once wrote Brazil to meet him about dark on the
night of July 13th at the mouth of the Taiban arroyo, below Fort Sumner.

Now the sheriff took his trusted deputy, John W. Poe, and rode to Roswell,
on the Rio Pecos. There they were joined by one of Mr. Garret's fearless
cowboy deputies, "Kip" McKinnie, who had been raised near Uvalde, Texas.

Together the three law officers rode up the river towards Fort Sumner, a
distance of eighty miles. They arrived at the mouth of Taiban arroyo an
hour after dark on July 13th, but Brazil was not there to meet them. The
night was spent sleeping on their saddle blankets.

The next morning Garrett sent Mr. Poe, who was a stranger in the country,
and for that reason would not be suspicioned, into Fort Sumner, five miles
north, to find out what he could on the sly, about the "Kid's" presence.
From Fort Sumner he was to go to Sunny Side, six miles north, to interview
a merchant by the name of Mr. Rudolph. Then when the moon was rising, to
meet Garrett and McKinnie at La Punta de la Glorietta, about four miles
north of Fort Sumner.

Failing to find out anything of importance about the "Kid," John W. Poe
met his two companions at the appointed place, and they rode into Fort

It was about eleven o'clock, and the moon was shining brightly, when the
officers rode into an old orchard and concealed their horses. Now the
three continued afoot to the home of Pete Maxwell, a wealthy stockman, who
was a friend to both Garrett and the "Kid." He lived in a long, one-story
adobe building, which had been the U. S. officers' quarters when the
soldiers were stationed there. The house fronted south, and had a wide
covered porch in front. The grassy front yard was surrounded by a picket

As Pat Garrett had courted his wife and married her in this town, he knew
every foot of the ground, even to Pete Maxwell's private bed room.

On reaching the picket gate, near the corner room, which Pete Maxwell
always occupied, Garrett told his two deputies to wait there until after
he had a talk with half-breed Pete Maxwell.

The night being hot, Pete Maxwell's door stood wide open, and Garrett
walked in.

A short time previous, "Billy the Kid" had arrived from a sheep camp out
in the hills. Back of the Maxwell home lived a Mexican servant, who was a
warm friend to the "Kid." Here "Billy the Kid" always found late
newspapers, placed there by loving hands, for his special benefit.

This old servant had gone to bed. The "Kid" lit a lamp, then pulled off
his coat and boots. Now he glanced over the papers to see if his name was
mentioned. Finding nothing of interest in the newspapers, he asked the old
servant to get up and cook him some supper, as he was very hungry.

Getting up, the servant told him there was no meat in the house. The "Kid"
remarked that he would go and get some from Pete Maxwell.

Now he picked up a butcher knife from the table to cut the meat with, and
started, bare-footed and bare-headed.

The "Kid" passed within a few feet of the end of the porch where sat John
W. Poe and Kip McKinnie. The latter had raised up, when his spur rattled,
which attracted the "Kid's" attention. At the same moment Mr. Poe stood up
in the small open gateway leading from the street to the end of the porch.
They supposed the man coming towards them, only partly dressed, was a
servant, or possibly Pete Maxwell.

The "Kid" had pulled his pistol, and so had John Poe, who by that time was
almost within arm's reach of the "Kid."

With pistol pointing at Poe, at the same time asking in Spanish: "Quien
es?" (Who is that?), he backed into Pete Maxwell's room. He had repeated
the above question several times.

On entering the room, "Billy the Kid" walked up to within a few feet of
Pat Garrett, who was sitting on Maxwell's bed, and asked: "Who are they,

Now discovering that a man sat on Pete's bed, the "Kid" with raised pistol
pointing towards the bed, began backing across the room.

Pete Maxwell whispered to the sheriff: "That's him, Pat." By this time the
"Kid" had backed to a streak of moonlight coming through the south window,
asking: "Quien Es?" (Who's that?)

Garrett raised his pistol and fired. Then cocked the pistol again and it
went off accidentally, putting a hole in the ceiling, or wall.

Now the sheriff sprang out of the door onto the porch, where stood his two
deputies with drawn pistols.

Soon after, Pete Maxwell ran out, and came very near getting a ball from
Poe's pistol. Garrett struck the pistol upward, saying: "Don't shoot

A lighted candle was secured from the mother of Pete Maxwell, who occupied
a nearby room, and the dead body of "Billy the Kid" was found stretched
out on his back with a bullet wound in his breast, just above the heart.
At the right hand lay a Colt's 41 calibre pistol, and at his left a
butcher knife.

Now the native people began to collect,--many of them being warm friends
of the "Kid's." Garrett allowed them to take the body across the street to
a carpenter shop, where it was laid out on a bench. Then lighted candles
were placed around the remains of what was once the bravest, and coolest
young outlaw who ever trod the face of the earth.

The next day, this, once mother's darling, was buried by the side of his
chum, Tom O'Phalliard, in the old military cemetery.

He was killed at midnight, July 14th, 1881, being just twenty-one years,
seven months and twenty-one days of age, and had killed twenty-one men,
not including Indians, which he said didn't count as human beings.

A few months after the killing of the "Kid," a man was coining money,
showing "Billy the Kid's" trigger finger, preserved in alcohol. Seeing
sensational accounts of it in the newspapers, Sheriff Garrett had the body
dug up, but found his trigger-finger was still attached to the right hand.

During the following spring in the town of Lincoln, the sheriff auctioned
off the "Kid's" saddle, and the blue-barrel, rubber-handled, double
action Colt's 41 calibre pistol, which the "Kid" held in his hand when

There were only two bidders for the pistol, the writer and the deputy
county clerk, Billy Burt, who got it for $13.50. Its actual value was
about $12.00.

Since then many pistols have been prized as keepsakes from the supposed
idea that the "Kid" had held each one of them in his hand when he fell.
Many were presented to friends with a sincere thought that they were

As an illustration we will quote a few lines from a friendly letter, dated
May 10th, 1920, written by the present game warden, Mr. J. L. DeHart of
the state of Montana: "Later in March, 1895, I was ushered into office as
sheriff of Sweet Grass County, Montana, and a former resident of New
Mexico, and an acquaintance of 'Billy the Kid,' later a resident of
Livingston, Montana, by the name of William Dawson, upon this momentous
occasion, presented me with a splendid Colt's six-shooter, forty-five
calibre, seven inch barrel, and ivory handle, said to have been the
property of the notorious "Billy the Kid," when killed by Sheriff Pat
Garrett, at the Maxwell ranch house. I have always considered this piece
of artillery a valuable relic, and with much trouble have retained it.
Most of my diligent watch, however, upon this gun, was brought about as a
result of being named as state game warden in 1913, by His Excellency,
Governor S. V. Stewart."

"Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise," is a true saying.

No doubt Mr. DeHart has felt proud over the ownership of the pistol "Billy
the Kid" was supposed to have in his hand at the time of his death.

This is not the only "Billy the Kid" pistol in existence. It would be a
safe gamble to bet that there are a wagon load of them scattered over the
United States.

The Winchester rifle taken from the "Kid" at the time of his capture at
Stinking Spring, was raffled off in the spring of 1881, and the writer won
it. He put it up again in a game of "freeze out" poker. As one of my
cowboys, Tom Emory, was an expert poker player, I induced him to play my
hand. I then went to bed. On going down to the Pioneer Saloon, in White
Oaks, early next morning, the night barkeeper told me a secret, under
promise that I keep it to myself. He said he was stretched out on the bar
trying to take a nap. The poker game was going on near him. When he lay
down all had been "freezed out" but Tom Emory and Johnny Hudgens. Just
before daylight, Emory won all the chips, in a big show down, and I was
the owner of "Billy the Kid's" rifle for the second time, but only for a
moment, as Johnny Hudgens gave Tom Emory $20.00 for the gun, under the
pretense that Hudgens had won it. Emory almost shed tears when he told me
of losing the rifle in what he thought was a winning hand. Of course I
didn't dispute it, as I had given a promise to keep silent.

"Billy the Kid" came very near having a stone monument placed on his grave
for the benefit of posterity--so that the curious among the unborn
generations would know the exact spot where this "Claude Duval" of the
southwest was planted.

One day, on the Plaza in the city of Santa Fe, in about the year 1916, the
writer met Mrs. Gertrude Dills, wife of Lucius Dills, the Surveyor General
of New Mexico, a daughter of Judge Frank Lea of White Oaks, and a niece
to that whole-souled prince among men, the father of the city of Roswell,
Captain J. C. Lea. She suggested that the writer get up a subscription to
place a lasting monument on the grave of "Billy the Kid," so that future
generations would know where he was buried. As a little girl, Mrs. Dills
was once tempted to crawl under the bed, when "Billy the Kid" and gang
shot up the town of White Oaks.

I at once went to the monument establishment of Mr. Louis Napoleon, and
selected a fine marble monument, with the understanding that the
inscription not be cut on it until after I had located the grave.

Many years ago, Will E. Griffin, who is still a resident of Santa Fe,
moved all the bodies of the soldiers buried in the old military cemetery,
at Fort Sumner, to the National Cemetery at Santa Fe. He says, when the
work was finished, the only graves left in the grave-yard, were those of
"Billy the Kid" and his chum, Tom O'Phalliard. On these two graves, close
together, still remained the badly rotted wooden head boards.

Since then the old cemetery has been turned into an alfalfa field, and the
chances are, all signs of this noted young outlaw's resting place have
been obliterated.

Soon after selecting the monument, I happened to be in the town of
Tularosa, and brought up the subject to my old cowboy friend, John P.
Meadows. He at once subscribed five dollars towards the erection of the
monument. He said "Billy the Kid" had befriended him in 1879, when he
needed a friend, and for that reason he would like to perpetuate his
memory. He thought it would be no trouble to raise the desired amount in
Tularosa, but the first man he struck for a subscription, Mr. Charlie
Miller, former state engineer, discouraged him. Mr. Miller went straight
up in the air with indignation at the idea of placing a monument at the
grave of a blood-thirsty outlaw. Soon after this, Mr. Miller was murdered,
when Pancho Villa made his bloody raid on Columbus, New Mexico.

This is as far as the grave of "Billy the Kid" came to being marked, as
the writer has been too busy on other matters, to visit Fort Sumner and
try to locate his last resting place.

In closing, I wish to state that with all his faults, "Billy the Kid" had
many noble traits. In White Oaks, during the winter of 1881, the writer
talked with a man who actually shed tears in telling of how he lay almost
at the point of death, with smallpox, in an old abandoned shack in Fort
Sumner, when the "Kid" found him. A good supply of money was given by the
"Kid," and a wagon and team hired to haul him to Las Vegas, where medical
attention could be secured.

Since the killing of the "Kid," Kip McKinney has died with his boots off,
while Pat Garrett died with them on, being shot and killed on the road
between Tularosa and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Hence the only man now living
who saw the curtain go down on the last act of "Billy the Kid's" eventful
life, is John W. Poe, at the present writing a wealthy banker in the
beautiful little city of Roswell, New Mexico. He has served one term as
sheriff of Lincoln County, and has helped to change that blood-spattered
county from an outlaw's paradise, to a land of happy, peaceful homes.

Peace to William H. Bonney's ashes, is the author's prayer.


A Lone Star Cowboy

Being the recollections of fifty years spent in the saddle, as cowboy and
New Mexico Ranger, on nearly every cow-trail in the wooly old west, when
the cowboys, buffalo hunters, and Indians had room to come and go, before
the "hoe-man" and wire fences cut off the trails.

Fine cloth binding, 300 pages, with fourteen illustrations. Price
postpaid, $1.25.

A Cowboy Detective

Being the twenty-two years experience with Pinkerton's National Detective
Agency, in all parts of the United States, British Columbia, Alaska and
Old Mexico.

Fine cloth binding 525 pages and 22 illustrations. Price $1.50, post-paid.

The Song Companion of A Lone Star Cowboy

A booklet of old favorite cow-camp songs. Price postpaid, 35 cents.

  Address the author:
  P. O. Box 322,
  Santa Fe, N. M.

[Illustration: PAT GARRETT

The fearless sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, who killed "Billy the
Kid." They had met by accident in a dark room, which meant that one, or
both, had to die quick.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of 'Billy the Kid'" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.