July 14, 1881 Billy the Kid meets his maker

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scaramouche, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
    Waking up for a midnight snack on this night in 1881 the young man known as Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett. The weapon Garret used to dispatch the legendary murderer was a 7 1/2" blued steel Colt Frontier Model, single action 44-40 revolver, serial #55093. Garrett acquired the handgun, as well as a 1873 Winchester rifle, from Outlaw Billy Wilson in December 1880 when Garrett and his posse captured Wilson, the Kid, and others at Stinking Springs.


    The handgun had been shipped from the Colt factory in 1880 to a store in Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory, where Wilson bought it. Garrett liked Wilson's weapons because both could fire the same ammunition, and he used them until 1900. Six years later Garrett either loaned or sold the guns to Tom Powers, a gambler and owner of the Coney Island Saloon in El Paso. Powers wanted to include the revolver used to kill Billy the Kid in a collection of historically important guns displayed over the bar at his saloon.

    Many years after Garrett's violent death, his widow Apolinaria wanted the guns returned, but Powers refused. When Powers died in 1930, the Garrett family sued his estate and three years later was awarded possession of the guns. The Colt revolver, along with other weapons, badges, engraved watches, and personal items that belonged to Garrett remained with the family for many years. Ultimately, Jarvis Garrett, who was only two years old when his famous father died, sold many of the items. The Colt revolver Garrett used to write history in 1881 today resides in a private collection in Texas.

    An elderly Apolinaria Garrett with her husband's recovered 44-40.

    The best I've come up with regarding the where abouts of Garrett's Colt Frontier is Jarvis sold it to Calvin Moerbe in 1976, Calvin hung on to it for a while and then in 1983 sold it to Jim Earle. Earle, a private collector, does not display his stuff publicly, Mr. Earle is currently in his eighties and I suspect he is still in possession of this six shooter.

    While I've chose to focus on the weapon that killed Billy the Kid, one could entertain with the numerous stories regarding old guys claiming to be Billy the Kid long after his death. If I remember right, as late as 2005 there were people disputing whether or not Billy died on July 14, 1881, comparing DNA and such, trying to prove some other guy who spent the last 50 years watching the Ed Sullivan show was the real Billy the Kid.

    Pat Garrett was a good shot and experienced lawman, he knew the Kid and tracked him to the Maxwell house in Fort Sumner. That night Garrett waited in the dark bedroom for Billy to return, as Billy entered the room Garrett shot him twice causing him to fall dead. This killing also has been criticized in that they say Garrett was a coward shooting down the outlaw in the dark, I guess outlaw killer lives matter. I think otherwise.
  2. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    Outstanding! Love the back story regarding the Colt!

    Thanks mouche!
    Kip and Scaramouche like this.

  3. Oldag

    Oldag Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2014
    Sorry. Pat could not bring himself to shoot Billy.

    Billy snuck out that night and lived out a peaceful life in Hico, Texas known as Brushy Bill. Just ask the Hico folks. They will tell you. Especially anyone at the Chamber of Commerce/Tourism board. :grin:
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
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  4. tac45

    tac45 What me worry ? Supporting Addict

    Mar 4, 2012
    Very very interesting Mouche . I enjoy your posts !
    Who else can put Billy the Kid and Ed Sullivan into one piece of history ? :smurggrin:
  5. Kip

    Kip Sir Kip Esquire Supporting Addict

    Apr 12, 2016
    Recently I've heard Oldag called "Sonny",close to "the Kid".
    Just puttin' it out there...:D
    Good back story 'Mouche!!!!
    Scaramouche likes this.
  6. Raylan Givens

    Raylan Givens Never Forget Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2015
    Great story, Scaramouche......
    Have a nice weekend
    Scaramouche likes this.
  7. GoetzTalon

    GoetzTalon Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2011
    That's down right cool right there!
    Scaramouche likes this.

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