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View Sample Pages : Oakland Tribune, February 11, 1923

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Oakland Tribune (Newspaper) - February 11, 1923, Oakland, California OAKLAND. TRIBUNE MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY IT, 1923 How Notorious Killer Be- came Central Figure in Lincoln County War Days of New Mexico B OTH the North-west anfl tha Southwest, in- frontier days, had their fun. quota of bad men, many of picturesque typo, names -will live as long as that of Robin Hood. The lives ol such as Slade and Plummer, so interwoven with events ol great historical interest during periods of romance in the West that they will always remain out- standing figures in that great drama of the century, "The "Win- some to his credit. The Southwest has developed many more bad men than the Northwest, due to a larger popula- tion of mixed bloods, and there have been no more desperate out- laws than those of Texas, New Mex- ico and Arizona. Of these one fig- ure stands forth as the most prom- inent in a period- of outlawry along the" Southwestern border which found its climax IB the Lincoln county war, known, first locally, and then nationally, as Billy the Kid. Killed by a sheriff at the age of 21, he had more than a score of killings marked up against him, some to his credit. The true name of this outlaw was William H. Bonney. He was born in the slum district of East Side New York in November, 1859. In 1862 his father removed to Cof- feyville, Kan., on the border of the Indian Nations, in 1862, where soon after he died. Tne mother then moved to Colorado, where she took a second husband, and then, fol- lowing the shifting frontier, the family moved to New Mexico. The Kid was precocious far be- yonu his years, find being roared amid surroundings where lawiess- ness was tile rule, he picked as his heroes men who led as gunfighters, _ "gamblers, or both. When still a little boy, having jnst passed his twelfth birthday, he became in- volved in a saloon, quarrel in whscii a friend was '-being badly beaten, and killed with a pocket knife a man who had previously insulted him. IVith a companion only a in Arizona. There the youngsters killed three Apache Indians, stoie a band of horses and drove them to Tucson, where they sold them. The Kid, despite his tender years, was abie'to make a comfortable living as a monte dealer until, la a. gam- blers' quarrel, be killed anothat man. He fled across the line Into Qld Mexico, where he had his first real gun He accused. a "Mexi- can, Jose Martinez, of cheating. The latter "Was notoriouslsy quicS "with a gun. As. they sprang to their feet both the Kid' and. 'the Mexican drew. The Kid was a second tJie quieter 'and the Mexican fell with a bullet, through his "heart. The Kid was now a confirmed killer. He had served an apprenticeship that fitted him for the Jife of fighting and bloodshed In lie was to play a leading role in the brtet time imh. rwv fi a-r V reality a feud inspired by self-in- terest ranged against self-interest. Bad feeling, which had four years and had resulted in several series of killings, turned to actual border 1874. The Kid went to work-for John Chisum as a cowpuncher, and it is known that when he left his service he cherished a -grudge against .the cattleman. He then got employ- ment with a young Englishman, j. H. Tunstall, to'whom took a great liking. At this time Chisum's right hand man was Alexander A. McSwcen, a- lawyer. Tunstall formed a partner- ship with McSween in the banking and mercantile business, and he also started a cattle ranch of hia own. Being, thus assicated with tha Chisum faction, he won the enmity of Major Murphy, who had by non- gained much power. Murphy, as the result of some legal encounter with McSween, secured a. writ of attachment on the latter's property, and sent out a posse, which claimed legal authority, to levy on McSween's cattle. Members of this posse, meeting Tunstal! alone oa the road, killed, him in a most brutal manner. This act was the beginning of the Lincoln county war. Billy the Kid, hating Chisum, nevertheless ranged himself with Ohisum's lieutenant, McSkeen. is the feud, and swore to avenge Tun- staU's death by killing every mem- ber of the posse that had murdered his friend. Tunstall'3 foreman, Dick Brewer, became leader of, tha McSween fighting men, and Billy the Kid was his chief lieutenant. They organized a. band and started for Murphy's range to seek revenge oa him and hia friends. On the way they carne across a party of five men, two of whom, Morton and been present at the killing of Tunstall. Tile pair sur- rendered to on promise of safety, and were held for a time at Roswell. The kid had .not forgotten his vow to kill all of Tunstall's slayers, but he bided his time. In the possa under .Brewer was one, iicCiosky, who had promised the prisoners, Morton and Baker, his protection. On the trail between Eoswell and Agna Negra, a member of the posse, Joe MeNab, turned suddeni ly-on McClosky and shot him dead. The two. captives, fearing the worst, threw themselves from their horses and fell on their knees, beg- ging to bfr spared. The Kid then doa Murder having now been com- mitted on both sides, the country- side began rapidly to line up with one faction or the other. Every man must take his choice or be under suspicion by both, The next fisht took place when Brewer's; band attacked a house ia which Buckshot- Roberts, a Mur- phy, man was staying. Roberta waa killed, but first shot and mort- ally wounded Brewer. His death left Billy tbe Kid as chief of Chisum arid McSweea forces. A term of the circuit court waa to held at Lincoln, but the dis- trict judge. Warren Bristol, kaew tliat'tlM McSween. men planned kfll him. and sent word to eherUf thathe would not nold court at time. Tba sheriff, Brady, waa on his way to the to apes ft when ht dcwd by the-Sid of bis-men. A deputy sheriff was also killed. Three months later, Jn July, 137S, the Kid and his gang were rounded up" at the McSwcen h-ome in Lin- coin, there being a dozen white -desperadoes and soine Mexicans in their party. The following morning troop of negro cavalry from Fort Stan- ton entered Lincoln, but. declined to take a hand in the combat, the commanding officer saying that the sheriff (a Murphy man) was there and in charge of his own posse. Mrs. McSween, who wag in the besieged house with her hus- band, came out and begged the of- ficer to stop the fighting. He mere- ly offered her a safe escort to tha fort, but she refused to go and re- turned to her husband for what she knew must be the end. That evening tho Murphy forces eet firq to the house in front and rear, and set a keg of powder whera the flames would reach it. Suddenly, out of the back door of the burning dwelling there burst fprtli a .group of desperate men, followed by the one- woman. Ahead ran Billy the Kid and half a dozen of his followers. There was a. flashing of six-shooters at close range. McSween fell dead with three other men. Mrs. McSween escaped unharmed, as did aiao the Kid and several of his men. Murphy forces lost- one or two of their number. This fight cost McSween his life at a time ishen his star seemed on the ascent. Four days before the siege began he had word that the president had deposed Gover- nor Angeli of New Mexico because the latter had appointed a. Murphy man, Ppppln, as sheriff, 'General Lew "Wallace; the famous soldier and author of Ben Hur, was sent to Lincoln to replace the Governor. He promised Mrs. McSween pro- tection, but he quickly reached a thnt snv of the Lincoln county war was im- possible. Governor Wallace recognized however, that the most important figure in the feud that had em- broiled an enormously big county -was Billy the Kid. He asked tha Kid to come-into Lincoln fof a conference, promising him protec- tion. The Kid came in fully armed and the governor was surprised to maet a bright-faced pleasant- epokeu boy. Jn the presence of wit- nesses General Wallace asked the promised to pardon him if he would stand tria! and should be convict- ed 'in the courts. The Kid laughed'In his engaging manner, but declined. "There'is no justice for me in the courts this county he said. "I've fjoiie too He left the room ana returned to his outlaw band and the certain fate that awaited him sooner1 or later. A after this, in Jan- uary, 1880, the KJdJusUfiably kill- ed a bad roan from the ..Texas Pan- handle of the name of Grant, had some to New Mexico to kill Eld.. yonthXul cntlaw by this tims gathered a formidable band of bad men around him and to ior cattle stealing on large In November, 1880, a posse set forth from town to bring in the Kid dead or They hit cant it Great- f 'i-r- Slaying of His Captors One of Pastimes of 'The Pat Gar- rett Ends His Career house ranch and IsUd siege. of the posse. Jimmy Cariyle, after eoma parley; took otT hia pistol belt and went unarmed into tha ranch house lor a conference. Two hours later Cariyle waa seen by tho rest of the posse to break through a window and start to run. Sev- eral shots followed and Carlj'lc fell dead. This murder had a biff effect in sealing the doom of the Kid, for Cariyle waa popular in that district. Tat Oarrett, the new sheriff of Lincoln county, organized a poaso of such size and strength that the Kid finally was run .to earth In a ranch housa and forced to surren- der. His first trial for murder end- ed in his acquittal, but a second trial for the killing of Sheriff Brady at Lincojn resulted in hia conviction and sentence of death. He was held under guard in second story ol a. store building, from which he escaped after killing both his -guards. Then the chasa was on again and Sheriff Garratt after some weeks rode with two deputies into tha little town ot Sumner. The trio went to the house of a mixed-blood, Pete Max- well, who was a friend both to Gar- rett and to tha Kid. The two depu- ties remained on the porch, whila Garrett entered Maxwell's bed- room to talk to him. A few min- utes previously the Kid hac. ridden Into the yard and had started to gtj to feed Jn a cabin behind the house. Being hungry he went to tho Max- well kitchen to gftt food. He was bareheaded and barefooted. Ki8 pistol hung at his side and in hia- hamj he carried a liutchor with, which to .cut the meat. The night was dark, and as the Kiel {stepped onto tho verandah, Garrett'e deputies moved his foot, jingling spur. This mada the Kid suspicious, and he stepped into Maxwfell's bedroom to inquire who was on the porch. Garrett waa sitting on Maxwell's bed. The Kid .spoke to Maxwell.. As he did so Garrett fired at the dim form bft- dead. Ho was 21 years and seven months Old, and had killed 21 men. The date of his death waa July 14, 1881. Pat Garrett, who killed the Kid, was shot and killed'later on tha road between Tularosa and Laa U.t.ilOf it j O f C, ullu the two deputies who stood out- side the door when the Kid -wait killed, is now. a wealthy banker of Eoswell. With the Killing of Billy the Kid the real" end came to ths county war, and the Jaw Regan to assert itself. Not one of the parti- cipants la this conflict the border legally purJBhed. Tha fighting was so desperate and so. it to "held -warfare -and not murder, Ajrfde from the fighting along boundaries of Kansas and Misiwurl jpniect ot wan. ;