You take a small town such as Fort Sumner we are very, very, very dependent upon our tourism base..

Roberts and his wife decided to retire to Texas after moving around between many different southern states because of the low cost of living there. Well go as far as we can go with it, Fort Sumner Mayor Raymond Lopez told

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. As Motavalli explains, People are always willing to believe alternative theories.. That scene was also witnessed by a U.S. marshal who filed notice of it, according to Land. I want to get straightened out before I die, I do..

He tried to convince him to admit the fact and Brushy reluctantly did that after some time. When you listen to his real story, he talks about how he wasnt an outlaw, how he never robbed banks or stagecoaches, how he resented the fact that Governor Lew Wallace reneged on his promise of a pardon in 1879 and left him to die, Edwards says. Morrison was initially unsure as to the truth of the claims, but quickly began to believe them, particularly as some of the activities of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War in which he was involved, were too in depth not to be true. [11] Patrolling the Bandit Belt, T. F. Dawson Scrapbooks cited in Prassel, F. R., The Great American Outlaw, p. 152. Billy the Kid Historic Preservation Society. They say the only reputed heir of Billy the Kid, self-proclaimed great-grandson Elbert Garcia, supports the request. The story of a man named Ollie Roberts, a.k.a. We want to get to the bottom of it, Richardson said in a Voice of America report. Land said Billy did what he had to do to survive."

Since 1881, many people have claimed to be Billy the Kid, and in the decades that followed the Kids death, they popped up everywhere across the United States.

Im the governor, I want to see promotion, I want to see tourism go up. Retired Arizona State University history professor Robert J. Stahl tried unsuccessfully in 2015 to convince New Mexico officials to issue a belated death certificate for the outlaw, but his petition was rejected by the states Supreme Court. As Edwards wrote in his book, In a matter of months during the years 1880 and 1881, he was transformed from a relatively minor player in a small-town cattle war to the most wanted outlaw in the West., Edwards explained that Billy found himself the last man standing against what was then known as the Santa Fe Ring, a corrupt group of politicians, businessmen, and lawmen that operated on both sides of the law., The book states that Billy even appealed many times to Governor Lew Wallace for assistance and offered to testify regarding the corruption that was rife in the territory. I love anything history.

After catching the last part of the film Young Guns recently, I suddenly realised I didnt know the end of Billy the Kids life. The tests proposed for Antrim and her purported progeny would analyze mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down virtually intact from a mother to her children. Of course, Roberts was unsuccessful. After receiving this information Morrison was convincedthat Brushy is, in fact, Billy the Kid. Believe nothing you hear, and only half of what you see.. Hico had its first Billy the Kid Film Festival in 2015, and plans are in the works to bring it back this fall.

Sue Land, director of the Billy the Kid Museum, said she wasnt really a believer in the Brushy Bill claim until she read Edwards book. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

Billy couldnt grow a beard, said Land, who at first had worked at the museum but took over as director in 2009 to prevent it from shutting down. So which story is correct?

Billy the Kid realized that someone besides Maxwell was there in the darkness, and raised his pistol within a foot of Garretts chest.

An attorney named William Morrison overheard a rumor that Billy the Kid was not killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett, as is the traditional wisdom, but instead survived and lived on in Hico, where he was mostly known as Brushy Bill. But lacking a pronouncement from the grave, the showdown over Billy the Kid wont be over soon. Leaving the two deputies on the porch, Garrett slipped into the darkened house and quickly found the room where Maxwell was in bed.

WATCH: 'Shootouts in the Wild West' on HISTORY Vault.

', Land then added her own take on Billy and the museums visitors, saying, He was fighting in a time that was wild and vicious. He was accused of murdering a blacksmith in Arizona Territory in 1877. MSNBCs Alan Boyle reports.

[2] Jameson, W. C., Billy the Kid: Beyond the Grave (Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishers, 2005), pp. More than a century after Billy the Kids heyday, the Old West outlaw is still stirring up trouble., End of 2021 Thanks and Update Voyager of History. Roberts had all of the scars Billy the Kid had according to records. A more recent stone marker has been placed in the graveyard but its uncertain whether it lies anywhere near the original grave location.

One source claims there have been more than 50 movies that included a Billy the Kid character. Billy the Kid, aka William Bonney, aka William Henry Roberts, had a rough start in life and became an orphan at age 14. She said at one point Billy even worked in law enforcement, using his cowboy skills to hunt down horse rustlers. Then the writer states, As with the slaying of Tunstall, the only witnesses were the killers themselves., Land said, I always tell everybody to research it yourself. However, the book was more like a traditional dime novel, which often featured cowboy figures. [10] Jameson, W. C., Billy the Kid: Beyond the Grave, p. 7. Instead of hiding the body, Garretts intention was to let people see whom he had shot and to let those who desired pay their final respects to this muchliked young man, Stahl noted. Garrett quickly drew his revolver and fired two shots. Both Garrett and Billy were armed, but Garrett shot first, killing Billy. Western outlaw Billy the Kid met his demise at about 12:30 a.m. on July 14, 1881, when he went to his friend Pete Maxwells home in Fort Sumner, New Mexico in search of a slice of beef for a late-night snack. Guess what happens? Fort Sumner Mayor Lopez asked. That man, Edwards concluded, was the infamous wild West character Billy the Kid.

That angle is one reason why New Mexico Gov. The consensus seems to be that Billy the Kid died at age 21 on July 14, 1881 in the town of Fort Sumner in New Mexico Territory, shot dead by Garrett. One remarkable passage, under the header, A page from an interview with Brushy Bill Roberts, June 16, 1949, at Hamilton, Texas, quotes Billy as saying: All these years I have been running and hiding when I knew I wasnt wrong.

Among those who signed affidavits were Jim McDaniels of the Evans Gang, Severo Gallegos, Martile Able, and Jose Montoya. And that means a fascination with New Mexico.. New Mexico Billy the Kid Legendcomments that Some who have studied the case are scornful, saying that Brushy Bill was not old enough, and he was illiterate while Billy the Kid had beautiful handwriting..

In 1990, the University of Texas, with scientists Scott Acton and Alan Bovik, used facial recognition techniques frequently used by the FBI to see how closely Brushy Bill Roberts and Billy the Kid resembled each other. I want to see people fascinated by Billy the Kid.

Thats because the grave markers in Fort Sumners Old Military Cemetery were washed away in a flood in September 1904, according to Richard Melzers book Buried Treasures: Famous and Unusual Gravesites in New Mexico History. We dont have much to live off of other than the legend, so we have to protect it..

Been thinking about it more since I dont have long here anymore. Billys headstone was washed away as a result of the flood, and, even though a new one was erected in 1932, there is no way to know for certain the location of his original grave in the cemetery. He never spoke, Garrett recalled. Roberts niece, Geneva Pittmon, showedthat her uncles (Oliver P. Roberts, not Oliver L.) date of birth had been recorded in the Family Bible. They were rustling cattle, Edwards said in a recent telephone interview. Did thefamed gunslinger Billy the Kidfake his owndeath? Could DNA testing resolve once and for all who lies buried beneath the Kids New Mexico headstone, or would it merely cast fresh doubt on a 122-year-old legend? However it comes out, it keeps the legend alive, Metz said. Every dollar that has been spent on this has been either private money or out of our own pocket, he said. Those that liked him (Billy) helped him get out of town, Land said. 15-16.

It was the first time, during all his life of peril, that he ever lost his presence of mind, or failed to shoot first, Garrett wrote. His wife, Lizzie, had him buried at a cemetery on the north side of Hamilton. The man Pat Garrett killed had black hair and was dark-complected, and a black beard.

Nobody questioned the newspaper description, Land said.

Moreover, there is no DNA support.

Even though a widely-accepted account says the outlaw was shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett in New Mexico, murky details have led to other theories. However, the problem with her statement is that Brushy Bill claimed that Oliver P. had been his distant cousin, and after Oliver P. died, he had assumed his deceased cousins identity. Roberts died later that year, and is now buried in Hamilton, Texas. Saunders, who lives in Seattle, said she became involved in the controversy because she was enthralled by the unspoiled charms of the Old West and worried that the campaign to dig up the old cemeteries would backfire. Ive got attorneys coming out of the woodwork on a pro bono basis.. Change), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Unfortunately,Roberts died a month later, and neither Billy the Kid nor Brushy Bill Roberts ever received a pardon. View all posts by voyagerofhistory. I think, rather than having a positive effect on tourism there, its having just the opposite: Its really devastating the economy of those small towns, and really cheapening the historical authenticity of those small villages and cemeteries., Graves sees it differently: When were dead and gone, all thats left is a shell, he said. The Kids fame definitely did not end in July 1881 and he fascinates the public up to this day.

Science and the kidTheoretically, DNA testing could indeed show which individuals are related to each other, and which are not, all on the basis of samples taken from remains. William H. Bonney, Henry McCarty, Kid Antrim) was killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett back in 1881 and buried in Fort Sumner, N.M. Roberts was on a small state pension and this had to be supplemented by his elderly wife taking on laundry to bring in a relatively small income. (LogOut/

In November 1950, Morrison filed a petition on behalf of Brushy Bill.

Some have claimed that Garrett shot the wrong man and Billy escaped. After all, similar stories have arisen after the deaths of other people who captured the public imagination, from Elvis Presley to Adolf Hitler. The only thing that worries me is that I have been to Catherines grave, and she has a nice marker on her grave, and I assume thats her grave but is it?, Over the decades, remains have been moved and gravestones have been shuffled to such an extent that its not crystal-clear that Antrim is buried precisely where her markers now stands. Morrison managed to track down Brushy in 1949. The results would confirm one of the stories, or at least disprove the impostors claims.

And if it means New Mexico gets a little attention, so be it. I have purposefully not gone into the full ins and outs of the case for Brushy Bill Roberts either being or not being Billy the Kid, in the hopes that you will investigate it and make up your own mind. Evans Gang members and others who knew The Kid signed affidavits declaring Brushy Bill Roberts was indeed Billy the Kid. The day after the shooting, a Coroners inquest ruled that the body was that of Billy the Kid and that Garrett had shot him as a justifiable homicide. 2022 A&E Television Networks, LLC. To add to the confusion, the actual facts about Billy the Kid havent been easy to come by.

Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you.

Though they didnt realize it, the man was Billy the Kid, who was headed for the house with the intention of carving for himself a piece of beef.

By solidifying its claim on the Billy the Kid story, Fort Sumner and New Mexico could give their tourism trade a boost, Graves said. The other, a resident of Hico, Texas named Ollie Brushy Bill Roberts, actually managed to get a meeting with the governor of New Mexico in 1950, in which he unsuccessfully sought a pardon for Billys murders. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

Thats what De Baca County Sheriff Graves, who works in Fort Sumner, is wondering. The grave in Fort Sumner has no body..

One of them, from the United Kingdom, told her why he was so interested in learning more about Billy the Kids legend. IE 11 is not supported. All rights reserved. Land said Billy went to Mexico for about three years, then lived in Texas for three years. He said, Youve got to promise me I wont go to jail, and I want my pardon,' Land said. The plaque below the statue states: Ollie L. Brushy Bill Roberts, alias Billy the Kid, died in Hico, Texas on December 27, 1950.

Graves, along with Lincoln County Sheriff Tom Sullivan and Capitan Mayor Steve Sederwall, has petitioned New Mexicos 6th District Court for an injunction allowing them to exhume Catherine Antrims remains and extract a tissue sample for DNA testing. [6] Kiger, P. J., How Did Billy the Kid Die?, History, 14 May 2020,, [7] Kiger, P. J., How Did Billy the Kid Die?, History, 14 May 2020,


But up to the day of his death, Brushy Bill said that he was Billy the Kid. Billy was not an outlaw. 5 and 20. To complicate matters further, at least two men emerged decades later who were believed by some to be Billy.

However, none of this has stopped people from being fascinated by Brushy Bill Roberts and his Billy the Kid rumors. Museum director Sue Land admits that the towns efforts to document Roberts and his claims came too late. New Mexico didnt become the 47th state until Jan. 6, 1912. A BA History and MA Public History and Heritage graduate from the University of Derby.

The Brushy Bill story led to the opening of the popular Billy the Kid Museum, on North Pecan Street in downtown Hico in 1987.

This is a very, very hot issue, in which New Mexico is losing a lot of tax dollars, tourist income, the sheriff said. I have no problem with the DNA bit, said El Paso historian Leon Metz, who wrote a biography of Sheriff Pat Garrett. Source: Fair use.

However, for me, there is one strange coincidence in the timing of Roberts coming forward as Billy the Kid.

Billy the Kid went by several other names, includingHenry McCarty and William Henry Bonney, but in 1949 another name was added to the long list of his aliases: Brushy Bill Roberts. And maybe thats not such a bad thing. Now her doubts are gone, and she is confident that Brushy Bill was Billy the Kid.

This included gun and knife wounds. Morrison set up a meeting with Governor Mabry, who was not convinced that Brushy Bill was indeed Billy the Kid.

document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); Brushy Bill Roberts: Billy the Kid orImposter? Billy the Kid played a key role in the Lincoln County War, which began in Lincoln County, N.M. in 1878.

In the book, Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life, three shooting deaths that occurred during the Lincoln County War were mentioned. One medical gentleman has persuaded credulous idiots that he has all the bones strung upon wires, Garrett wrote with distain. This was easy to do as there are little established facts and most of the knowledge known about him has been taken from rumours and speculation found in newspapers and fictionalised accounts at the time. I cant see why a 90-year-old with a bad heart would stand up and say he was a wanted killer, and was facing going back to jail the rest of his life..

He died soon afterward.

They want to know that a 14-year-old made it., A statue of Billy the Kid is planted in the median of Pecan Street in downtown Hico. [11] It is possible that even if he wasnt Billy, Roberts would have known him well and had himself participated in the Lincoln County War. That was when attorney William Morrison decided to go down to Hico himself to investigate. At first blush, the saga sounds like a straightforward detective story: Tradition says that Billy the Kid (a.k.a. Change).

And if words werent enough, the old man hadall the scars that the real Billy the Kid reportedly had. Why are we throwing it away? Billy the Kid, pictured on a wanted poster.

This year entries will be open to films that include a general outlaw theme, Vasquez said. Instead of depicting an epic gunfight out of a dime novel, Garrett makes his shooting of the outlaw seem like an incredibly lucky break. However, people in Hico, Texastell a slightly different version of his 'death'. There are many cases for and against Robertss claims to being Billy.

Although no one can say definitively if Brushy Bill Roberts was truly Billy the Kid, this did not stop the town of Hico from creating a Billy the Kid Museum to remember him and, of course, bring in tourists. Pat F. Garrett, the famous sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico who shot Billy the Kid. He said, Im not rooting for the man. Governor Mabry did not take the meeting, or Roberts, seriously. More than a century after Billy the Kids heyday, the Old West outlaw is still stirring up trouble but this time the showdown is over DNA testing. It was impossible to identify who most of the remains belonged to. I believe he lived, had many more adventures before he finally died in Hico in 1950. One hearing, scheduled in December, is to determine whether Silver Citys mayor has legal standing in the matter of Catherine Antrims remains, said Sherry Tippett, the attorney representing Graves and his fellow petitioners. (LogOut/ This started within a year of the Kids supposed death after Pat Garrett published a biography of his victim.

The outlaws body was buried that same day.

Billy the Kid is believed to be depicted in this undated ferrotype picture, circa 1880, provided by the Lincoln County, N.M., Heritage Trust Archive. Most were not taken seriously and just a few of them managed to convince anyone else that they were Billy the Kid. Brushy Bill Roberts did not want money or fame; all he wanted in his old age was the pardon for his crimes that he was promised 70 years before by Governor Thomas Mabry. Most notably that there has been a lot fictionalisation surrounding Billys life.

He never robbed a bank, or stage coaches or trains.. The consequences will be really severe.

[1] Yet one thing stood out to me as utterly fascinating: in 1950, a man known as Brushy Bill Roberts applied for a pardon for Billy the Kid. This part of our history is something that we need to prove and stand on, said Gary Graves, the sheriff of De Baca County, which encompasses Fort Sumner. This blog is a selection of interesting things I've come across during my history research. But I had to hide. Other people in other states have done this with Jesse James.

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Join 1000s of subscribers and receive the best Vintage News in your mailbox for FREE, Wuzhen: The Ancient Chinese Water Town with a history of more than 7,000 years, Before establishing Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard claimed to be a decorated WWII hero, Police arrest a 72-year-old suburban grandfather suspected of being the Golden State Killer, Im not dead yet: some Buddhist monks followed self-mummification, Project Azorian: Howard Hughes secret mission, 1960s U.S. satellite that started transmitting again in 2013, The Walk of Shame in Game of Thrones historical inspiration, The only unsolved skyjacking case in U.S. history might have a break, Kurt Gdel became too paranoid to eat and died of starvation, Little Ease: One of the most feared torture devices in the Tower of London, The humble English girl who became Cora Pearl, Walt Disney softened the original Snow White story. Land said that after Garrett shot the man in Fort Sumner, a deputy sheriff rolled over the body and told Garrett it was not Billy the Kid. As skeptical as Morrison was, he too became convinced that he was in the presence of none other than Billy the Kid.

Young Guns I and II were both based around the Lincoln County War, a clash between rival frontier groups that began in 1878 in New Mexico Territory. But this time, the showdown pits mayors against sheriffs, and forensic science against the uncertainties of the grave. As Dale L. Walker details in his book Legends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West, one prospective Billy was John Miller, a farmer and horse trainer who lived in a small village in New Mexico near the Arizona border and died in 1937. The persistent belief that Billy the Kid survived and hid out somewhere shouldnt be too much of a surprise, explains Jim Motavalli, author of The Real Dirt on Americas Frontier Outlaws, that examines the legends and the reality of various famed desperados of the American West. Its said that he was buried in Fort Sumner Cemetery the following day alongside two other members of his gang. Lopez and other opponents of the testing, however, say theres more to be lost than to be gained.

We believe his story and pray to God for the forgiveness he solemnly asked for.. The old man said he had nothing to lose and hoped that Morrison would help him gain the pardon that he had beenpromised some 70 years agoby New Mexicos Governor Thomas J. Mabry. [8] This has meant that any calls for DNA evidence to be analysed has been impossible.

For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. Just then, a figure appeared in the door, carrying a gun and a butcher knife, and asked in Spanish who was there. Friends of Billy the Kid went to meet with Brushy Bill Roberts and were overwhelmingly certain that Roberts was, in fact, Billy the Kid. The two deputies who were waiting outside the house, John W. Poe and Thomas McKinney, hadnt met the outlaw before, so they didnt know what he looked like. He began researching Billy the Kid and "Brushy Bill" in early 2014. One source claims the number of people who actually died from led poisoning (old West slang for being shot) after crossing paths with the Kid may have been only four.

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Now these are strange things for someone that is a fraud to focus on. People want the truth, people dont want a lie. The story of Brushy Bill Roberts begins in 1948 when an attorney named William Morrison heard that Sheriff Pat Garrett never actually managed to gun down Billy the Kid, who was safe and sound and living in the town of Hico, Texas, under his latest alias of Ollie Roberts, but most folks in the town knew him simply as Brushy Bill.