by G.E. Nordell
Dateline Chamesa: A Revolutionary Weblog [est. 11/2005]
G.E. Nordell's Published Letters to The Editor
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The New Mensican [publication of New Mexico Mensa]|
June-July 2011 issue, pages 12-13
A Brief Biography of Charles Lummis, Journalist and Writer
|WMail Philosophy Newsletter
Index of All Issues
Index of All Essays (in numerical order)
|The New Mensican [publication of New Mexico Mensa]|
Oct-Nov 2007 & Dec 2007-Jan 2008 issues
New Mexicos Legendary Billy The Kid
During this time, Billy developed a friendship with a local bartender and saloonkeeper and former buffalo hunter, tall Alabama-born Patrick Garrett. In November 1880, the ambitious Garrett was appointed Sheriff of Lincoln County. Gov. Wallace had recently placed a $500 bounty on the head of young Bonney, now generally known as 'Billy the Kid'. Garrett formed a posse and set out on Billy's trail. Billy escaped a midnight ambush in Fort Sumner on 19 December; gang member Tom O'Folliard was shot and killed by Garrett. Billy and his gang holed up in a stone building at remote Stinking Springs. While the outlaws slept, Garrett's posse surrounded the cabin. When cattle rustler Charlie Bowdre stepped outside at dawn to feed his horse, he was mistaken for Billy and shot dead by the posse. Garrett later shot the horse, blocking the only exit from the cabin. The posse began cooking breakfast, and Garrett and Billy exchanged banter and insults. The outlaws realized that they had no chance of escape and were getting hungry; they surrendered and joined in the meal.
Billy was put in the Mesilla jail to await a trial set for April 1881. The now-famous 'Kid' gave many newspaper interviews; his letters to Gov. Wallace seeking clemency were ignored. The one-day trial resulted in Billy's conviction for the murder of Sheriff Brady (the single conviction against any participant, on either side, in the Lincoln County War). On 13 April, Judge Bristol sentenced Billy to hang one month hence. Billy was sent to the Lincoln Courthouse jail under guard of two of Garrett's deputies. On 28 April, Billy shot both deputies and escaped. Many details are uncertain, but Billy killed Deputy Bell with a pistol, then grabbed a ten-gauge shotgun and waited for Deputy Ollinger to return from across the street. Billy shot the second deputy, then cut the chain of his leg irons with an axe, and rode out of the terrified town at a leisurely pace.
Billy's freedom lasted barely three months. On the night of 14 July 1881, Billy was staying with Celsa Gutierrez in a former Fort Sumner barracks building owned by Pete Maxwell. Garrett had heard that Billy was still in the area, and he and two deputies stopped to question Maxwell, a known friend of Billy. Near midnight, Billy entered Celsa's rooms and took off his hat, gunbelt and boots, then lay on the bed to read a newspaper. He asked Celsa to fix something to eat; she replied that she had little in the house, that Pete had a side of beef hanging on his porch, and if Billy'd cut a piece, she would cook it. Billy grabbed a small butcher knife and walked in stocking feet thru the dark over to Maxwell's porch-fronted adobe house. As Billy approached the porch, he saw two men leaning against the porch rails, assuming that they were Mexican workers. Billy stepped on the porch and asked in Spanish who the men were; when they did not answer, he realized that they were not Mexicans. He moved to the doorway of Maxwell's bedroom, asking Pete who the two men were. Garrett recognized Billy's voice, and fired two rounds from his revolver. The first bullet hit Billy in the side (he was turning away), and passed thru his heart; the second bullet struck two inches from the door jamb.
Both Garrett and Maxwell panicked, not knowing that Billy died instantly; they ran out of the room, over Billy's body and into the street. It was some time before they, backed by a mob of curious townspeople, ventured to return to Maxwell's bedroom, where they found the lifeless body of William H. 'Billy the Kid' Bonney dead at the age of 21 years. Billy was buried the next day in the Fort Sumner Cemetery. A year after Billy was killed, Sheriff Garrett auctioned Billy's saddle and revolver; the winning bid was $13.50. (Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo quit at $12 because he thought the items were not worth more than that.)
Pat Garrett milked his fame for all it was worth, publishing a book with the help of a ghost-writer, Ash Upton. Garrett's later years were spotty: he won and lost elections for sheriff in towns across New Mexico & Texas; he led a contingent of Texas Rangers; he was appointed customs inspector in El Paso; he attempted many other business ventures, including cattle ranching. By February 1908, he was deeply in debt. On February 28, Garrett rode to meet with one of his debtors, W.W. Cox, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and was shot dead by two of Cox's men. The killer confessed, but was nonetheless acquitted Garrett was shot in the back of the head; the killer claimed self-defense.
Billy's tombstone was stolen in 1950, and not recovered until 1976, so the gravesite is now secured by a cage of heavy steel bars. In 2003, three Texas sheriffs got the support of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in attempting to exhume the remains of both Billy and his mother, for the purpose of using DNA testing to disprove theories that Billy survived his killing and lived to be an old man just as similar tales were constructed about Jesse James and Butch Cassidy. The people of Lincoln and Silver City successfully prevented the exhumation.
L.A. Mentary [publication of Los Angeles Mensa]|
Features & Disquisitions [page 19]
Bizarro syndicated cartoon by Dan Piraro|
Monday 23 February 1997
[published in L.A. Times among others]
I sent in an idea that Dan used, and he put my name below his in the cartoon itself; he also was very kind in sending me the original artwork, signed.
Daily Breeze newspaper|
Tuesday 17 September 1996
Life/Arts Section / '15 Minutes' column [page A-10]
"Is Television Necessary?"
Lynx Eye magazine|
World-famous Mercenary Pictures of Hollywood, California, proudly announces the following bounty of feature motion pictures which are confirmed for start of principal photography within the next 12 months.
VIVA LAUGHLIN The rough-and-ready gambling mecca on the Colorado River is musically invaded by El Vez.
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