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Monday, November 25, 2019

So who is Billy the Kid and what led to his untimely death at the age of 21?

Billy the Kid is believed to have been born Henry McCarty in the Irish slums of New York City in September or November of 1859 - though his birth place, date of birth and even birth name is widely debated
He moved to Wichita, Kansas, as a boy with his single mother, before later migrating west to New Mexico in the early 1870s
The young Henry became an orphan in 1874 at the age of 14 after his mother died of tuberculosis
Left in the care of an absentee stepfather he is said to have quickly fallen into a life of poverty, mixed with a rough crowd and soon found himself on a path of crime
The young lad's first arrest, and subsequent jailbreak, was said to be for stealing clothes from a local Chinese laundry in 1875. He faced a minor sentence but rather than sit it out behind bars the then 16-year-old escaped and fled town
In 1877 he arrived in Lincoln County, New Mexico, under the name William Bonney. In August of that year he is said to have killed his first man during a dispute in an Arizona saloon
He earned a reputation as a gunslinger, a man who was quick to pull the trigger, in 1878 when he participated in the Lincoln County War
The conflict was marked by revenge killings, including one that saw a gang Billy the Kid was affiliated with kill the Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady
In late 1880 Bill the Kid was found guilty of the murder of Sheriff William Brady and sentenced to be hanged. But on the evening of April 28, 1881 he slipped out of his handcuffs and ambushed and shot a couple of guards in his prison break
After his escape from death row the wanted man remained a fugitive from the law till the evening of July 14 1881. Sheriff Pat Garrett and two deputies rode into town where it was believed the fugitive was hiding out. He was taken by surprise, cornered and fatally shot with two bullets by the sheriff
Despite his reputation as an outlaw of the Wild West Billy the Kid did not live the life of a bandit. He had never robbed a bank, train or stagecoach. Outside of his early years and gun-fighting days in the Lincoln County War his main crime was said to be rustling cattle


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