the Kid is one of the American Old Westís most notorious
outlaws. His short 21 year life was full of action as according
to legend, he killed at least one man for every year of
his life. In a period of 4 years, he fought in at least
16 shootouts, assisted in killing 5 men and killed 4 single
Born as Henry McCarty in New
York on November 23, 1859, his father died at an early age.
Shortly after his fathers death, his mother and he moved
west to Indiana where she met and married Bill Antrim. Henry
then became known as William Antrim or Kid Antrim. By 1873,
the family had moved to Silver City, New Mexico where his
mother died of Tuberculosis. William moved in with the Truesdall
family who owned a hotel and it was there he took up poker.
Kid Antrim, as he was then
called, was arrested in Silver City for theft of clothes
from two Chinese men but soon escaped jail and began a gypsy
lifestyle in the southwest. He changed his name yet again
to William H. Bonney. William killed his first man, a blacksmith
named Windy, on August 17, 1877 at a saloon near Camp Grant,
Arizona. Windy had been picking on William and William had
finally had enough. He shot Windy and fled town continuing
his gypsy lifestyle.
Next, William ended up in Lincoln
County, New Mexico and started going by the name of Billy.
He was taken in by a man named John Tunstall who was owned
a ranch and was involved in the Lincoln County Range War.
Tunstall was murdered on February 18,1878, and Billy joined
a gang called the "regulators" to avenge his death.
He went after the "Dolan" gang but was not quite
as prepared as they were and Billy wound up in jail. A few
days later when he got out, he and some friends went after
Billy Morton and Frank Baker, members of the opposing clan,
and captured them. Soon after that, Billy was involved in
a shootout with Sheriff William Brady and his deputy George
Hindman. Billy and his gang won but it is unclear who did
the actual killing.
Billy continued to be involved
in the Lincoln County War until the new governor, Lew Wallace,
put out a $500 reward to bring Billy in to be a witness
to the MsCween murder. Wallace arranged a secret meeting
with Billy as he was afraid to come in where he knew they
might find out about his past charges. The governor offered
to give Billy a pardon if he would testify and Billy agreed.
A fake arrest was set up and Billy was taken in and given
full protection as he testified before the grand jury. But,
it was all for not as corruption in the law officials led
to no convictions and Billy wound up about to be tried for
the murder of Sheriff Brady.
He had no choice but to escape
from jail once again. For nearly a year, Billy worked on
ranches near Fort Sumner. Then, on December 19,1880, Billy
and friends were jumped by Pat Garrett and friends and narrowly
escaped only to be cornered hours later at Stinking Springs.
At first light, one of Billyís friends, Charlie Bowdre,
tried to make a run for it but was killed instantly. Billy
didnít want to give up but his friends did so they were
all taken into custody and transported to Santa Fe, New
Billy was tried and convicted
and sentenced to hang by Judge Warren Bristol who was suspected
to be corrupt. Before they could hang him, Billy once again
escaped jail. He killed the two jailers and headed for his
hideout near Fort Sumner. He was encouraged to flee to Mexico
but decided against it. Meanwhile, Garrett and deputy John
Poe got word Billy was hiding out near Fort Sumner and set
out to find him. While at Fort Sumner, they visited a local
rancher named Pete Maxwell. Ironically, Billy walked in
at that same time and was shot dead by Garrett. "Quien
es?" or "who is it" were Billys last words.
He is buried at the Fort Sumner Cemetery next to two of
his fellow outlaws.