BILLY THE KID: part 2
“T’WAS ON THAT SAME NIGHT WHEN POOR BILLY DIED.
HE SAID TO HIS FRIENDS “I’M NOT SATISFIED;
THERE ARE TWENTY-ONE MEN I HAVE PUT BULLETS THROUGH,
AND SHERIFF PAT GARRET WILL MAKE TWENTY-TWO.”
Well we need to hold our horses here, this verse is getting kinda ahead of the tale — plus it is filled with misconceptions.
After fleeing the jail at Camp Grant where he was awaiting his fate for the killing of “Windy” Cahill, Billy next appears at the Jones Ranch. The Ranch of Heiskell Jones was located in the Pecos Valley, of New Mexico. Apaches had stolen his horse and supplies, while Billy had stopped for water, leaving The Kid stranded with out supplies and miles from anywhere. When Billy (by now he was going by the name of William Bonney, or simply “The Kid”) arrived at the Jones Ranch, he was in sad shape. Bootless, his feet were bloody and swollen, near a state of exaustion, The Jones family took him in and cared for him. Mrs. Jones treated his ailment and wounds, and nursed the youth back to good health. The Kid helped around the ranch forming a strong, lasting attachment to the family – and they to him. Eventually they lent him a horse, and he left to look for work a few weeks later.
Billy, The Kid rode into the Linclon County War.
And here the ledgend of Billy “The Kid” began
Billy soon found work on the ranch of John Tunstall, a wealthy English emigrant twenty-four years of age. (Now here I leave the story to enter into one of my rambles.) John tunstall has always been potrayed as an older gentelman dressed in English Tweed Who employs young youths who are wandering astray, whom he takes under his wing and tries to rehabilate and educate them. He often is shown trying to teach young Billy how to read. As we have already seen Bill, was already literate from earlier schooling. In truth John Tunstall was a scheming, coniving individual who over matched himself.
Also involved was John Chisim (who did not resembel John Wayne, as in the movie “Chisim”) , who had more cattle than he could count, and a range so vast it took days to ride across. When the war started he had the good sense to stay on his ranch and out of the conflict.
Then there was the lawyer Alexander McSween, a seemingly pious and God fearing man, who was in reality in search of riches and fame. There was his redheaded wife who dominated her pious husband, and would have won the war by herself if she had been a man..
On the other side of the conflict was “The House of Murphy”, owned by two Irishmen, J. J. Dolan and John Riley. In alliance with a Thomas B. Catron of the notorious and powerful “Santa Fe Ring’, together they planned to break John Chisim’s lucatrive beef contract at Fort Stanton. Meanwhile Tunstall and McSween planned to open a store and break the Houses’s’ monoply on the economical control of the area.
Into this mess a young and unknowing William Bonney signed on as a cattle guard in the fall of 1877. The power struggle was all ready steaming to the boiling over point. (unlike the tale in the movie “Young guns”, Billy was not part of a group of young tough hired by Tunstall.)
Tunstall and McSween bore the wrath of “The House” when they opened a store in competition. Things came to a head when “The House” hired McSween, inspite of the hard feelings, to collect a $10,000 life insurance policy on one Emil Fritz, a “House” partner who had died in Germany. The lawyer collected but, for reasons still not clear, refused to turn over the money. The house tried to collect by attaching McSween’s cows, but the wiley lawyer had signed his stock over to Tunstall.
The house got a court order claiming the cows and proceeded to try to take them from from the Tunstall herd. The Englishman headed to Lincoln to agrue that the cattle belonged to him. On the way he was accompained by the ragged youth known as Billy and several ranchers and farmers who were hired on as gunmen. They flushed a flock of wild turkeys (so the story goes) and the group of guards all raced after the birds. While the ragged band was distant and scatterd, a possee (primarly hired guns of “the House”), led by a deputised William Morton came upon Tunstall, and for reasons unclear, Morton shot Tunstall in the head killing him instantly. This occoured on Feburary 18, 1878.
This killing led to the outraged Kid who would become to known as
BILLY, THE KID
This is about as far as I can go at this time, my eyes and energy are pretty sapped.
More on Billy The Kid from Rambling Bob: