This 7 1/2-inch, .44 single-action colt (serial # 55093) is the actual gun that killed Billy the Kid. (James H. Earle Collection)
He was an awfully nice young
fellow with light brown hair, blue eyes, and rather big front teeth. He always
dressed very neatly.
From The Library of Congress - Also reprinted in the Roswell Daily Record
I arrived at San Patricio in the year 1877. During the first days of October Sheriff Brady appointed a committee to pursue some bandits whom we found at Harry Baker's ranch at Siete Rios. There we arrested them and brought them to the jail at Lincoln.
In November the people of Ponasco went to take the bandits out from jail. Among the people coming from Ponasco, was Billy the Kid.
At about the same time Francisco Trujillo, my brother, Juan Trujillo and I went to Pajarito to hunt deer. We were at the mouth of the Pajarito Canyon skinning a deer, when we saw two persons passing. One was Frank Baker, the other was Billy Mote. One was a bandit and the other a body guard whom Marfe kept at the ranch. The last one was a thief also. When they passed my brother said "Let us get away quickly, these are bad people." So, we got our horses, saddled them and left in the direction of San Patricio. On the way we met the bandits and the
people who were coming from the jail at Lincoln.
The bandits surrounded Juan, my brother. I started to get away but Billy the Kid followed me telling me to stop. I then turned around and saw that he was pointing a rifle at me so I jumped from my horse and aimed my gun at him. He then went back to where the people were and aimed his gun at Juan saying "If Francisco does not surrender I am going to kill you." Lucas Gallegos then shouted "Surrender, friend, otherwise they will kill my compadre, Juan." Billy then took my gun from where I had laid it and we returned to the place where the people were.
Billy then said to me "We have exchanged guns now let us exchange saddles." I said that suited me picking up the gun when another Texan said "Hand it over you don't need it." At this point Lucas Gallegos interposed, saying to my brother, "Let me have the pistol, Compadre." Then my brother gave Lucas the pistol in its holster. Then and there we parted and left for San Patricio to recount our experiences.
In December, Macky Swin and Marfe went to court about a guardianship and a decision was rendered in favor of Macky Swin. When Marfe saw that he had lost out he ordered his men to kill Macky Swin or some of his companions. Macky Swin hearing of the order that Marfe had given gathered his people in order to protect himself. Among those he rounded up was Billy the Kid, Charley Barber and Macky Nane. In addition to these three men, six more got together and Macky Swin made them the same promise, to the effect that a prize of $500 was to be awarded to each person who killed one of the Marfes. It was then and there that Billy the Kid organized his people and went out in search of Frank Baker and Billy Mote whom he apprehended on the other side of the Pecos river and brought to Lincoln where it was planned to execute them.
Later, when they talked it over further with the rest, it was again decided to kill them but not to bring them to Lincoln. One of the gang named McLoska said that he preferred to be shot himself rather than to have one of those men killed. No sooner had he said this, when he found himself shot behind the ear. After they killed McLoska, Frank Baker and Billy Mote were promptly executed. From there Billy's gang left for San Patricio where Billy asked for Francisco Trujillo in order to deliver back to him, his gun. It was here that they hired a Mexican boy to go to Lincoln for provisions and to collet the reward that Macky Swin had promised for the Marfes whom they had just killed.
A few days later Macky Nane, Frank Coe and Alex Coe were on their way to Picacho from Lincoln. When they reached the Ojo Ranch they were confronted by the Marfes. They made Frank Coe prisoner and shot Alex Coe on the leg, while the Indian, Juan Armijo, ran after Macky Nane and killed him. By order of Robert Baker, Macky Nane had been the leader whom Macky Swim had had for a guard. Within a few days a complaint was sworn against the Indian, Juan Armijo, and Sheriff Brady deputized José Chaves y Chaves to arrest him.
Chaves then named seven men, beside himself in order that they should go with him to look for Armijo and he in turn deputized eight Americans and eight Mexicans and altogether they left for Siete Rios, where they found Juan across the Pecos River, as well as two other Texans. When Atanasio Martinez, John Scroggin, Billy the Kid and I arrived at the door of the hut, Juan Armijo spoke up and said "How are you, Kiko?"
"Come on out" I said to Juan. "You have killed Macky Nane", to which he nodded in assent but adding that it was by order of Robert Baker under threat of being prosecuted himself, should he fail to carry out instructions. I then made my way to Macky Nane who had been hiding behind some tree trunks in an effort to defend himself against those who were shooting at the house, and killed him.
When we left the hut, accompanied by Juan, he said to me "Don't let them kill me, Kiko!" Seeing a string of people coming from Siete Rios, we ran to nearby hill and from there towards the plains and then headed for Roswell, on the other side of the Pecos River, and came out two miles below at Gurban. It was here that Billy the Kid, José Chaves y Chaves and Stock proposed to kill the Indian, Armijo. I said to Chaves "Is it not better to take him in and let the law have its course?" Charley Bargar then came up to me and said "Come on Francisco, let us be running along."
As I came up to Charley, I turned and saw the Indian Armijo riding between them very slowly. When Charley and I had gone about fifty yards we noticed that the Indian had gotten away from his captors and was riding away as fast as he could. Billy the Kid and Jose Chaves y Chaves took out after him and began to shoot at him until they got him. Several of us congregated at the place where he fell.
Billy the Kid then said to me, "Francisco, here are the saddle and trappings that I owe you."
I then commanded Banche to do me the favor of bringing me the horse the Indian Armijo had been riding, in order that I might remove the saddle which was covered with blood. Noting my disgust, Doke said that he would take it and clean it and let me have his in the meantime. And so, we exchanged. Our business finished, we turned homeward and crossed the river at a point called "Vado de los Indios". At this side of the Pecos River, we slept. In the morning we arose and went to Roswell to have breakfast. There we found Macky Swin at John Chisum's ranch. Breakfast being over, Macky Swin told us to go into the store and take anything that we wished.
At this point it was decided to leave Captain Stock to guard over Macky Swin. Of the original eight Mexicans in the party, four were left to join the Americans, not having admitted the other four to do so. Macky Swin then asked us to meet him the following Monday at Lincoln because, said he, "As soon as I arrive, Brady is going to try and arrest me and you should not let him get away with it. If I am arrested, I shall surely be hung and I don't want to die, while if you kill Brady, you shall earn a reward."
From there we left for Berino, where we found a fandango in progress. We were enjoying ourselves very thoroughly when don Miguel came up to us and said, "Better be on your way boys, because presently there will arrive about fifty Marfes who are probably coming here to get you."
Esteco, our leader, agreeing with don Miguel, commanded us to saddle our horses. We had not been gone half a mile when we heard shouts and gun-shots, so we decided to wait for the gang and have it out. Our efforts were of no avail, however, as the gang failed to show up. We then pursued our course toward the Capitan Mountains and arrived at Agua Negra at day break, and there we had our lunch. At this point the party broke up, the Anglos going to Lincoln, the Mexicans to San Patricio whence they arrived on Sunday afternoon.
Billy the Kid then said to José Chaves y Chaves, "Let us draw to see who has to wait for Macky Swin tomorrow at Lincoln." The lots fell to Charley Barber, John Milton and Jim French White, whereupon the leader decided that all nine Anglos should go. Bill thought that it was best for none of the Mexican boys to go and when Chaves protested, saying that the Anglos were no braver than he, Bill explained that Brady was married to a Mexican and that it was a matter of policy, all Mexicans being sentimental about their own. Chaves, being appeased, urged the rest to go on, promising to render assistance should a call come for help.
A Texan name Doke said that since his family was Mexican too, he would remain with the others. Stock then gave orders to proceed. The horses were saddled and they left for Lincoln. Doke, Fernando Herrera, Jesus Sais and Candelario Hidalgo left for Ruidoso. The next morning don Pancho Sanches left for Lincoln to make some purchases at the store.
Being in the store about eleven, the mail arrived and with it Macky Swin. There also arrived Brady and a Texan name George Hamilton. At this juncture, Brady also arrived where he found Billy the Kid, Jim French, Charley Barber and John Melton. They were in the corral, from whence two of the gang shot at one, and two others at the other, where they fell.
Billy the Kid then jumped to snatch Brady's rifle and, as he was leaning over, someone shot at him from a house they used to call El Chorro.
Macky Swin then reached the house where the nine Macky Swins were
congregated - the four who were in the corral and five who had been at the river. There they remained all day until nightfall and then proceeded to San Patricio.
The next morning they proposed going to the hills should there be a war and so that it could be waged at the edge of town in order not to endanger the lives of the families living there. The same day, toward evening, six Mexicans came to arrest Macky Swin. They did not arrive at the Plaza, but camped a little further down between the Abequiu and the river at a place where there were thick brambles.
Shortly after the Mexicans arrived, Macky Swin came with his people to eat supper at the house of Juan Trujillo - that being their headquarters, that also being their mess hall, having hired a Negro to prepare the meals. After supper, they scattered among the different houses, two or three in each house.
In one of these at the edge of town, Macky Swin and an American boy whose name was Tome locked themselves in. Next day early in the morning, the six Mexicans who had been looking for Macky Swin showed up. When they arrived at the house where Macky Swin was Tome came out and shot at the bunch of Mexicans and hit Julian, about forty Marfes came down to San Patricio, killing horses and chickens.
At this point there arrived two Marfes, an American and a Mexican. The
American's name was Ale Cu, and the Mexican's Lucio Montoya. When the Macky Swins became aware of them, they began to fire and killed all the horses. The two Marfes ran away to San Patricio where the rest of the Marfes were tearing down a house and taking out of the store everything that they could get hold of. From there all the Marfes went to Lincoln and for about a month nothing of interest occurred.
I don't recall exactly when Macky Swin, who was being hounded down by the Marfes, was killed, but I do remember that he gathered together all his friends and went back home to Lincoln accompanied by eight Mexicans and two Americans, also his wife. When the Marfes found out that he was in the house, they surrounded him, but seeing that they were unable to hurt him, they caused to be brought over a company of soldiers and a cannon from the nearby Fort.
Notwithstanding this, Macky Swin instructed his people not to fire. For this reason the soldiers had to sit until it was dark. The Marfes then set fire to the house and the soldiers returned to the fort. When the first room burned down, Ginio Salazar and Ignacio Gonzales came out to the door, but the Marfes knocked them down and left them there, dazed. When the flames reached the middle room, an American proposed to go out through the doors of the kitchen on the north side. No sooner did he jump than the Marfes knocked him down. Francisco Zamora jumped also, and he too was shot. Vincenté Romero was next, and there the three remained in a heap.
It was then proposed by Billy the Kid and José Chaves y Chaves to take aim at the same time and shoot, first to one side then to the other. Chaves y Chaves took Mack Swin by the arm and told him to go out to which Mack Swin answered by taking a chair and placing it in the corner, stating that he would die right there. Billy and José Chaves y Chaves then jumped to the middle door, one on one side, and the other on the other.
Then Robert Bakers and a Texan jumped and said, "Here is Macky Swin!"
Drawing out his revolver, he shot him three times in the breast. When the last shot was fired, Billy the Kid said, "Here is Robert!" and thrust a revolver in his mouth while José Chaves y Chaves shot at the Texan and hit him in the eye. Billy and Chaves y Chaves then went along the river headed for San Patricio, where they both remained for some time.
In October the Governor, accompanied by seven soldiers and other persons, came to San Patricio camping. Having heard about the exploits of Billy, the Governor expressed a desire to meet him and sent a messenger to fetch him. The interview was in the nature of a heart-to-heart talk wherein the Governor advised Billy to give up his perilous career.
At this point occurred the General Election and George Kimbrall was elected sheriff of the county. Obeying the Governor's orders, he called out the militia, having commissioned Sr. Patron as Capitan and Billy the Kid as First Lieutenant. During that year - that of '79 - things were comparatively quiet and Billy led a very uneventful life.
About the last part of October of the same year, the Governor issued an order that the militia should make an effort to round up all bandits in Chaves County, a task which the militia was not able to accomplish, hence it disbanded. Billy the Kid received an honorable discharge and would probably have gone straight from then on had it not been that at this juncture the District Court met and the Marfes swore a complaint against him and ordered Sheriff Kimbrall to arrest him.
Billy stubbornly refused to accompany the sheriff and threatened to take away his life rather than to be apprehended. Again nothing was heard for a time, and then Pat Garrett offered to bring in the desperado for a reward. The Governor, having been made aware of the situation, himself offered a reward of $500.
Immediately, Pat Garrett, accompanied by four other men, got ready to go after Billy and found him and three other boys, whom they surrounded. One morning, during the siege, one of Billy's companions went out to fetch a pail of water, whereupon Pat Garrett shot at him, as well as the others, hitting him in the neck and thereby causing him to drop the pail and to run into the house. With a piece of cloth, Billy was able to dress the wound of the injured man and at least stop the hemorrhage. He then advised the wounded man to go out and to pretend to give himself up, hiding his fire-arm but using it at the first
opportune moment to kill Pat. Charley did as we was told but when he went to take aim, dropped dead.
Bill and the other three companions were kept prisoners for three days, but finally hunger and thirst drove them out and caused them to venture forth and to give themselves up. Billy was arrested there being no warrant for the others. Then followed the trial which resulted in a sentence to hang within thirty days.
News of the execution having spread about, people began to come in for miles around to be present on the fatal day but Billy was not to afford them much pleasure having escaped three days before the hanging. A deputy and jailer had been commissioned to stand guard over him. On the day of the escape at noon, the jailer told the deputy to go and eat his dinner and that he would then go himself and fetch the prisoners. It was while the jailer and Billy remained alone that the prisoner stepped to the window to fetch a paper. He had somehow gotten rid of his hand-cuffs and only his shackles remained. With the paper in his hand, he approached the officer and, before the latter knew what his charge
was up to, yanked his revolver away from him and the next instant he was dead. Billy lost no time in removing his keeper's cartridge belt as well as a rifle and a "44 W.C.F." which were in the room.
When the deputy heard the shots, he thought that the jailer must have shot Billy who was trying to escape, and ran from the hotel to the jail, on the steps of which he met Billy who said "hello" as he brushed past him, firing at him as he dashed by. Billy's next move was to rush to the hotel and to have Ben Eale remove his shackles. He also provided for him a horse and saddled it for Billy upon the promise that he was to leave it at San Patricio. True to his word, Billy secured another horse at San Patricio from his friend Juan Trujillo promising in turn to return the same as soon as he could locate his own.
Billy now left San Patricio and headed for John Chisum's cattle ranch. Among the cowboys there was a friend of Billy Mote who had sworn to kill the Kid whenever he found him in order to avenge his friend. But Billy did not give him time to carry out his plan killing him on the spot. From there Billy left for Berino where he remained a few days. Here he found his own horse and immediately sent back Juan Trujillo's.
From Berino, Billy left for Puerto de Luna, where he visited Juan Patron, his former captain. Patron did everything to make his and his companion's stay there a pleasant as possible. On the third evening of their stay there was to have been a dance, and Billy sent his companion to make a report of what he saw and heard. While on his way there, and while he was passing in front of some abandoned shacks, Tome was fired upon by one of Pat Garrett's men and killed. No sooner had Billy heard the distressing news than he set out for the house of his friend Pedro Maxwell at Bosqué Grande, where he remained in hiding until
a Texan named Charley Wilson, and who was supposed to be after Billy,
The two exchanged greetings in a friendly fashion and then the stranger asked Billy to accompany him to the saloon, which invitation Billy accepted. There were six or seven persons in the saloon when the two entered. Drinks were imbibed and a general spirit of conviviality prevailed when some one suggested that the first one to commit a murder that day was to set the others up.
"In that case the drinks are on me," said Charley, who commanded all to drink to their heart's content. Billy then ordered another round of drinks and by this time Charley, who was feeling quite reckless, began to shoot at the glasses, not missing a single one until he came to Billy's. This he pretended to miss, aiming his shot at Billy instead. This gave Billy time to draw out his own revolver and before Charley could take aim again, Billy had shot the other in the breast twice. When he was breathing his last Billy said, "Do not whisper you were to eager to buy those drinks." It was Billy's turn now to treat the company.
Quiet again reigned for a few days. In the meantime Pat Garrett negotiating with Pedro Maxwell for the deliverance of Billy. When all details were arranged for, Pat left for Bosque Grande secretly. At the ranch house, Pedro hid Pat in a room close beside the one Billy was occupying. Becoming hungry during the night Billy got up and started to prepare a lunch. First he built a fire, then he took his hunting knife and was starting to cut off a hunk of meat from a large piece that hung from one of the VIGAS when he heard voices in the adjoining room. Stepping to the door he partially opened it and thrusting his head in asked Pedro who was with him. Pedro replied that it was only his wife and asked him to come in. Seeing no harm in this Billy decided to accept the invitation only to be shot in the pit of the stomach as he stood in the door.
Staggering back to his own room, it was not definitely known that the shot had been fatal until a cleaning woman stumbled over the dead body upon entering the room, the following morning.
|MRS. A.E. LESNETT
From The Library of Congress
Early in the spring of 1876, Frank Lesnett, and I were united in marriage in the city of Chicago, Illinois. After a joyous honeymoon, my husband left me in Chicago, he came west and settled on the Ruidoso, located at the foot of the White Mountains. He bought a half interest in the Dowlin Mill, and sent for me. I came by train to LaJunta, Colorado, and from there by stage to Fort Stanton, where my husband met me and we drove on to our ranch home.
When I arrived at the ranch I was happily surprised. There was a river running near the big two-story adobe house that was called the Ruidoso, which means "noisy" in Spanish. There were tall pine trees and wild flowers, that of so many varieties and colors that I would not even attempt to name them, all around everywhere. The ranch was beautiful!
I was very happy in my new home, and to add to our happiness a son was born to us during the first year, whom we called Irvin. The only thing to mar my happiness was the Indians would go on the warpath, and the Lincoln County war, was brewing. When Jennie Mae, my second child, was about nine months old, "The Kid" came to our house. He came with a boy by the name of Jess Evans, and was introduced as Billie Bonney. Could this be the notorious "Billy the Kid?" I thought, surely not. He looked just like any other seventeen year-old boy, and not in the least like a desperado. He was very fond of children, and liked Irvin and Jennie Mae at once. He called my little boy "Pardie" and always wanted to hold the baby. He would take the two of them for a ride on his gray pony. He also had a little dog which was very spirited. He
would jump up on the "Kid" until he would laughingly pull his gun and begin firing into the ground, the dog would playfully follow every puff of dust, yelping joyfully. Little did he realize that if one of those pellets of lead went amiss that he would be no more, but he was perfectly safe, as "The Kid" was one of the quickest, most accurate shots in the Southwest. He often said, however, that he wished he were as accurate with a six-gun as he was with a rifle. He was good with a pistol but excellent with a rifle.
I remember soon after the battle that was fought at Blazer's Mill, that Billy came to our house and was telling me about the fight they had with Buckshot Roberts. He said he heard the shooting and walked around the corner of the house to see what it was all about. One of his men called out to him, but not in time to keep Roberts from shooting at him. The bullet took a nick out of his shirt. During the battle Dick Brewer, wondering why Roberts didn’t shoot, peeked up over the wood pile, and as he did so Roberts fired from the house, and Brewer fell, the top of his head shot off. Early in the battle Roberts had been shot through the abdomen and was weakening rapidly. George Coe stuck his gun up to fire and Roberts shot, taking the thumb off as cleanly as a doctor could have done with his surgical knife. I said, "Billy, don't you think that you did wrong when you killed Roberts?"
"Well, I didn't start it, and I think that Brewer killed him," he answered sullenly.
"But it wasn't fair, seven to one." I protested.
"Well, he was spying on us." The Kid knew it wasn't fair, and he wanted to fight fair.
One incident at the close of the Lincoln County War, which was only one of the things which made it the bloodiest in the history of the West, the two sides, one for Law and the other for Lawlessness, were engaged in a war in which almost every cattleman in the county was somehow involved. Strange as it may seem, the Kid, an outlaw, joined the forces for law and order.
The Lawless, led by Morton, had driven the Kid and his band into the
McSween home in Lincoln. The Kid, having his forces organized, arranged the McSween home with loop holes. As he talked to McSween, who was very religious and always carried a Bible with him, he held out a gun toward him. McSween indignantly pushed it away, saying, "I trust in the Lord, I know he will help me --bring me safely through."
"All right, you trust in your Bible, but I trust in my six-gun," replied The Kid cheerfully, patting it.
The McSween home was soon surrounded by the Murphy gang, and firing
became very heavy. Knowing that all the men would go down fighting, Mrs. McSween decided to go to a troop of soldiers that she knew was near. She got out of the house, but when she arrived, the soldiers firmly refused to help her. Her journey had been in vain! But the soldiers did take an interest in the battle, and decided to go to Lincoln to see the fight. Mrs. McSween saw them and, thinking that they had changed their minds and had come to stop the fight, went out to meet them. After looking things over they decided that there was nothing they could do and retreated out of range of the bullets and watched the fight
continue. Murphy's men knew that they would never get The Kid and his band unless they could drive them out of the house.
So, they soaked a barrel with coal-oil and rolled it down the hill to set the house afire. The house began to burn, but the battle did not stop. The Kid kept moving his men from room to room until they reached the last room. He knew that they would have to take a desperate chance for their freedom. The only escape was to run across a thirty foot space behind the house, roll under the fence and go along the bed of the Bonito River.
He called his men to the back door and explained the plan to them. One by one they started for the fence, and one by one they fell, either dead or mortally wounded. At last McSween was to go.
"Run out of that door like a streak of greased lightning, roll under the fence and head for the Bonita River, then you'll see Mrs. McSween in the morning!"
As McSween reached the door he drew himself up every inch of his height, and stepped dignitly (sic) onto the steps.
"Here I am -I'm McSween," he called in a listless voice. He knew what would follow.
Fifty shots answered him -- and his body was riddled with holes. Then there was a lull in the fray. They knew who was coming next. The Kid hitched his belt a little tighter, inspected his guns, and with one in each hand ran through the blazing door. Immediately he was a target for every man in Murphy's gang, as someone yelled, "Here comes the Kid!"
Many bullets were wasted, for the Kid - jumping from side to side as he ran - was a very illusive target. Each gun was aimed with care and each bullet winged with hatred as it sought to find a way to his heart as he crossed that space of thirty feet.
But not one touched his body, though they ripped his clothes to shreds. His score was one dead and two marked for life -- one shot through the jaws and the other lost the lobe of his left ear.
As he rolled under the fence, a mocking laugh floated back to them.
It is impossible to describe the horror of the deeds that were committed during the Lincoln County War. Many unknown graves dot the surrounding country and many human bones lie bleaching in the sun, for they carried on guerrilla warfare. When one party met the other while riding through the hills, they just opened fire, either pushing forward or retreating as luck chanced to give them opportunity to do. If all the men were accounted for, their graves might reach from Roswell to White Oaks.
One evening when it was peaceful and quite on the ranch and all retired, the silence was broken by a series of shots in quick succession. I snatched Jennie Mae and Irvin from their beds and ran towards the river. As I approached the great triangle used to call the cowboys to meals, I paused to give it several strikes, but this was not necessary for the men were already on their stomachs working their way toward the house.
Thinking that Indians has attacked, they had hardly started toward the house when the firing ceased as quickly as it has began. When the men got into the house and looked around, they found that a box of cartridges that had been on top of the mantle had been knocked by something into the fire. When I told the Kid about this, he asked me if I had a gun.
"Heavens, no," I replied laughing, "I wouldn't know how to shoot even if I had one!"
"Take this one," he said, holding one of his guns out to me, "and I'll teach you to shoot when I come back."
Poor boy never came back to our house. The next time I saw him he was a prisoner, guarded by Bell and Ollinger. Ollinger, knowing that I liked The Kid, gleefully invited me to the hanging, I turned my head and blinked fast to keep back the tears.
Suddenly The Kid turned to me and said, "Mrs. Lesnett, they can't hang me if I'm not there, can they?"
I straightened and turned. "Of course they can't, Billy," I said and it seemed to encourage him. It was just a few days after this that The Kid killed his two guards at Lincoln, and made his escape.
His freedom was not to last very long. Pat Garrett killed him at Fort Sumner, about two months later.
|The following is the
account of the capture of Billy the Kid, Tom Pickett, Billy Wilson and Dave Rudabaugh
at Stinking Springs - as told by posse member Jim East -
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 poles. 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-o-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 hell, you long-legged s-o-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 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 Fort 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.
Was Billy really killed?
|DR. J.R. CARVER
From The Library of Congress
I am what is called a Missionary in the Presbyterian church. Almost all of the churches in the New Mexico towns were through my instrumentality. The hardships and pleasures were common to the settlers of this country, who came from the eastern states.
I do not recall any legend or folk lore of this immediate section of New Mexico. Of course, you are familiar with the Saga of Billy the Kid as told by the romantic and heroic writers, in whose writings there seems to be evidence that Billy the Kid was not killed by Pat Garrett, but that he lived to be an old man down near Marfa, Texas, and died only a few years ago.
There are three, reasons why so many people think that he was not killed, one is that his sister came out to see him and then did not go to his grave, but went directly east. That his horse was never seen again, is another reason. Third, is that Pete Maxwell and Pat Garrett were his friends, and that a Mexican was buried instead of Billy the Kid, and that he, Billy the Kid, went down in Texas on the Rio Grande.