In the davy dark days of the old west was this man shot to death as legend tell us or did he die of heart attack on a Texas street aged 90?
A boy who read comics depicting the raw myth of America cowboys and gun fights in the narrow dusty streets .He became addicted to this way of life and times. An Irish lad who lived with a woman who could have been his mother but more likely his aunt who kept him with washing taken in and any work she could find. The lad too helped at the local store in down tread New York. He is known to have worked hard brushing floors and general duties earning himself a trusted position with owner and staff.He was a pleasant sort of child and very active at work.
He had not known a father until his mother took to a man who looked the part but had one big weakness in the fact he gambled. Macarty he was called and fled soon after never to return.Then came mister Antrim who liked the lad Henry well enough to marry his mother. She died on tuberculosis in 1874 leaving the 14 year old an orphan. He was entered into foster care and boarding house and back into foster care.
That is all we know of young Henry Antrim. What followed is more interesting. At around 16 he came to be a cow rustler with two more lads of poor lot. The then cleans bar rooms for pay. One man called Windy Cahill who was a drunk card player and did some horse shoeing as a side line took umbridge to young Henry and insulted him badly Next he fell upon the lad like a wounded bear in anger. Next thing a gun went off and Cahill rolled off the boy ,dead . It was self defense as Henry had no gun and must have taken cahills in the struggle and fired to say his life.
He rides as far off as he can into New Mexico territory and works for a beef Baron on round up time. He is seen by an English man who owned a farm near by . John Tunstall his name and a rich sort of man he was. He took a shine to young Henry and soon gave him a better job at his place .Henry likes it and settles down to work in safety. Over time John allows him to build a cabin and work his own farm. Henry is now a house owner legally aged only 18 .
It is about now that things become heated as Beef men form a union and headed by Henry old boss James Dolen and Lawrence Murphy plus cartel of many more rich beef men. They tore down the wire fences placed by sheep men so cattle can roam and graze any grass that is there . Sheep men and market gardeners are helpless. Then Dolen brings in the railroad for cattle to be taken into slaughter yards in towns and cities. A war breaks out we call the Lincoln County war . Gun men are enlisted ,hard men with no mercy who shoot dead John Tunstall and his best horse he loved. They cut the horses head off and disfigured the corpse of Tunstall. Henry and the team working for Tuntall take up arms in revenge calling themselves The law sworn in as deputies . This led to a rage of gun fire over many months and the Beef men fired back with more hired guns.
During this a Sheriff was shot dead and Henry got the blame but all said he did not fire at anyone. He had been shot for not dealing with murder of Tunstall. We know know Sheriff Brody he was in the pay of Dolen gang.
Price on the Kids head for two murders he did not commit that of Windy Cahill and now the lawman
When arrested by Pat Garret Henry was now Billy the Kid on posters 500 dollars dead or alive went up to 5000 dollars dead .Garret was once buffalo hunter and hide stripper but we are told he somehow knew Billy . He became Sheriff and arrested Billy. Taken to a court house near by he was chained hands and legs but so he could walk chain was long enough to able this.
Now comes the mystery. how did a man in irons get hold of a gun and shot Bell the deputy working for Garret. He asked to go down to the toilet shed besides the court house as he had stairs he was watched by Bell and his Bob who was to leave to served food to prisoners in jail at other side of road. Billy comes back and tells Bell to unlock him before Bob returns .Billy has a hand gun loaded and ready to fire? Did someone leave it for him in toilet ? It seems strange that Garret was not with his most wanted criminal but miles away on another case it is said. Bell will not allow Billy to be released and takes for the stairs to escape but seeing Bell reach for his gun he shot Bell dead .Instead of running for his life he cool as ice picks up Bobs rifle left behind and owing to Bobs pestering and insults and beating around the head in custody Billy opens the window as Bob racing back after hearing the shot and Billy pokes the rifle out saying “Hello Bob” And shoots him dead on the street. He then takes his time trying to get out of the irons before mounting a horse in the street and irons and all trots out of the town gentle as you like. That is the story so far .
Garret hears later his two deputies are dead and his capture vanished .He traces Billy to the House of Pete Maxwell a store keeper who had made it work and whom knew Billy. Billy liked the Maxwells and had learned Spanish from Petes little sister Paulet and the local people all Mexicans who loved Billy as cheeky innocent lad with a smile. Garret rode in at night and sat in Petes bedroom taking to Pete who was unwell. In the darkness he sat he said in his statement he fired at the man who came to Petes door and who asked who was there.Garret siad later he knew the voice belonged to Billy the Kid and shot him twice .one bullet killed him the other went into Petes wall. Some say Billy was left on bench laid out in a gray suit Garret got to bury him in. Some say he was shot so badly in face no one could recognize him.So say it was not Billy but a young Mexican who was same size as Billy.
Garret lied we know as he said he sat in Petes bed room but its really he hide in the porch and shot him from behind .Who ever it was he had no gun belt and some said only a knife as he was peeling potatoes for dinner in Petes kitchen . No document exists in record of Garrets statement on how it happened but in his book only we have it all in great detail. None of it makes much sense. The only paper found later is Garret telling us he deserves a rise on pay in the third person really.
Did Garret kill Billy the Kid is anyones guess Id say as more one reads of contradictions to hide some of events by Garret I still think he did shot Billy dead in 1881 aged just 21. Billy did not kill so many as claimed 21 men is not right. Id say two Bell and Bob if that is even fact we have only Garret and two witness with out names that it happened at all .if not Billy is as innocent as a lamb only self defense infact did he shoot Cahill. No proof what so ever he shot the lawman .He never robbed a soul not rail not stage coach nor a person .he rustled cattle only to feed the Mexican children and was loved by all for his act.
We come to Texas where a man is said to be Billy the Kid . It is 1923 and he says not a word but all else seem to know him as Billy the Kid. His name is John Miller who was a real spit copy or the real man. DNA was taken from his remains but to date no one will allow search for Billies mother in Silver city to match up to. Billy was excavated for but no bones ever found to be his .One coffin on top on another in graves in Old Fort Sumner dont help recovery. Time can stand still on this case as he is so much Billy and would not say to any one but admitted he was Billy on his death bed to his son. His wife and mother to son said she knew he was Billy the Kid when she married him she patched the hole in his chest that Garret shot through. So jury is out on this one for now.
The other more famous imposter is Brushy Bill Roberts who did really claim to news that he was Billy The Kid who wanted the pardon promised by the Governor of New Mexico Lew Wallace .The man who wrote the book Ben Hur The life of Christ. He had so promised Billy a pardon but only to capture and hang him . He convinced a reporter we was Billy and he did seek a pardon but in front of law he was speechless and made a mess of his story in front of the committee who discredited me as lair. He died a few weeks later on the street of Hico in Texas on way on foot from his a home to post a letter. He fell dead of heart attack in 1950
I dont believe Garret missed the shot in 1881 and Billy lays between his two pals is Fort sumner New Mexico. Until we know for sure that Miller was not Billy the Kid we cannot close off the legend in truth. So there we are up to date with news .
Thank you for reading my last blog .Offered a deal to keep on with it but sadly not enough have subscribed and so I may pack in now. I wish to thank all that have helped keep my active at the keyboard I am frankly one finger bigger than all others after so may words typed each week. I took a months rest and stated today as still have until end of March to think about it . We can only wait and see as i dont know either if Im good enough to blog. Its rest finger time now for me.
God be with you all my dears Sir Kevin takes last bow and curtains close.
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