Saturday, July 18, 2015

Billy the Kid and a Giveaway

By Nancy J. Farrier


Only known photo of Billy the Kid
Historical figure, Billy the Kid, sparked imaginations all over the world. Many people who grew up in the era of westerns might remember hearing about William Bonney, also known as Billy the Kid, and his prowess with a gun. Today, many young people have never heard of this legendary figure.

Although some facts of his early life are sketchy, Billy the Kid is thought to have been born in 1859 to Catherine McCarty, an Irish immigrant. Henry McCarty (Billy the Kid) lived at that time in New York City in the slums. Little is known about Henry’s family. He possibly had two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother. Although his mother is mentioned in some of the old records, the whereabouts of his father has been lost.

In 1873, Henry’s mother married William Antrim in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She developed tuberculosis and the family moved to Silver City for the better climate and the mining. Henry’s mother lived only a few months after that.

Henry had his first brush with the law in 1875. He was arrested for acting as a lookout while his cohort stole money and guns. Henry was charged with larceny and incarcerated, but he shimmied up a chimney and escaped. The next day the town newspaper ran the first of many articles that would be written about Billy the Kid.

Henry traveled to Camp Grant, Arizona looking for work. Here he is first referred to as the ‘Kid,’ possibly because of his youth. In 1877, Henry Antrim, alias Kid, is arrested again, this time for horse stealing. While his guards attended a dance, the Kid sliped from his shackles and escaped once again.

Billy the Kid, Dick Brewer, Regulators
Later that year, Henry changed his name to William H. Bonney. He is arrested for being in possession of stolen horses, animals belonging to cattleman John Tunstall. When he is released from jail, Bonney is hired by Tunstall as a cowboy and a gunman.

In February 1878, Tunstall left his ranch with Billy the Kid and four other men to take some horses to Lincoln. On the way, they met a posse sent to arrest Tunstall. When Tunstall approached the posse, he was shot and killed. This is the incident that started the famous Lincoln County War.

Tunstall’s foreman, Dick Brewer, is appointed to gather a posse to go after the men who killed Tunstall. Brewer forms the Regulators, a group that includes Billy the Kid. For the next few months Billy and the other Regulators tracked down the men responsible for Tunstall’s death. At one point, Billy and the Regulators were hiding in a corral and ambushed the Sheriff responsible for Tunstall’s death. They also killed one of his deputies. Billy was shot in the leg, but managed to escape. At this point, Billy is still only nineteen years old.

1876 Gatling Gun
In July of 1878, the Army stepped in to settle the Lincoln County war. They bring in a rapid-fire Gatling gun, plenty of ammunition and a howitzer. The Regulators were holed up in a house. The Army turned their guns on the house threatening to open fire. The Sheriff set the house on fire, demanding the Regulators surrender. Billy tried to create a diversion by running, but wasn't successful. Most of the Regulators died in the firefight, referred to as “the big killing.”

On the one year anniversary of Tunstall’s death, Billy and four other men met
Pat Garrett
with Jimmy Dolan, one of the men they've been hunting, and some of his men in the middle of a street. The meeting almost turned violent, but they do end up shaking hands and agreed to end the war. This followed a proclamation by the Governor declaring amnesty for all parties involved in the Lincoln County war.

Billy the kid wrote a letter to the Governor, stating, "I have no wish to fight any more. Indeed I have not raised an arm since your proclamation. As to my character, I refer to any of the citizens, for the majority of them are my friends and have been helping me all they could. I am called Kid Antrim but Antrim is my stepfathers name. Waiting for an annser I remain your obedeint servant."

Billy the Kid's Grave
For the next three years, Billy can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He mets with notorious outlaw Jesse James. After he murdered another man, Pat Garrett tracks him down and kills him. Billy the Kid, famous outlaw, convicted murderer, and friend to many, was only twenty-one years old at his death.



As of 2012, Billy the Kid had the record for having the most films made about him. Have you ever seen any of these movies? Have you ever read about Billy the Kid? Please leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for the book listed below. 




I am giving away a copy of my newest release, The Timeless Love Romance Collection. "Journey along as men and women emerge triumphantly out of their challenges and into romances that bolster their faith in nine historical novellas." Please leave a comment to be entered to win this collection that releases August 1st, 2015.



Nancy J Farrier is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children and one grandson. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Karen Ball of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.

41 comments:

  1. What a sad history. My husband recently watched one of the movies with Billy the Kid and the Regulators, but this article makes the events clearer. Thanks for the giveaway! I love the novella collections!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Heidi. I agree this is a very sad story.

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  2. I know the legend of course, but great to read the facts thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Mary, I found the facts interesting too. I learned a lot researching this blog. Thank you for commenting.

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  3. Interesting, as always.
    bcrug(at)myfairpoint(dot)net

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  4. I love these collections! Thank you :)

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  5. Interesting article! I would love to win a copy of my favorite kind of book, a 'collections'. I love these. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    wfnren at aol dot com

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    1. Thank you, Wendy. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.

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  6. I have seen movies and read books about him. Tough and sad life for a young man

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    1. Yes, Kim, so sad that he died so young. Thank you for commenting.

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  7. Thank you for your most interesting post, Nancy! HHH is such a great place to visit!

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    1. Thank you, Melanie. We enjoy having you visit.

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  8. Yes, I've read about & watched a show about Billy.. He was quite the character for only living to 21! I enjoyed reading more about him..
    dkstevensne AToutlookD OtCoM

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    1. Thank you, Deanna. Yes, he did make an impact in his short life.

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  9. Very interesting post, Mancy. I've heard a little bit about Billy the Kid, and he captures my attention as well. I find it fascinating that he could be such a troublesome outlaw, and yet friend, and liked by, so many.

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    1. Amber, I agree. I was surprised by how much the people seemed to love him, and by his loyalty to Tunstall. Such an interesting person. Thanks for commenting.

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  10. I have seen the John Wayne movie Chisum which is based on the Lincoln County war. I have also seen Billy the Kid's grave.
    I would love to win this book. I love collections like this. Thank you for the chance.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

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    1. Susan, thank you for your comments. I think I will have to watch some of these movies.

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  11. Thank you for your interesting post, Nancy! I enjoyed learning more about this legendary young man. I also appreciate the giveaway opportunity; I'm eager to read The Timeless Love Romance Collection!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Britney, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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  12. So interesting. I can't remember the name, but I've seen the one with Val Kilmer in it. Thanks for the giveaway.

    Rose
    harnessrose(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Rose, Val Kilmer stared as William Bonney in the made-for-tv movie, Billy the Kid back in the late 1980's. Thank you for commenting.

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  13. As a history buff and the daughter of a western-loving father, I am very familiar with Billy the Kid but your post has enlightened me even more. I have seen The Outlaw and part of The Left-Handed Gun and Young Guns.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, so glad you enjoyed the blog. Thank you for commenting.

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  14. It's hard to believe Billy did so much in such a short time. Too bad he wasn't on the side of the law. You might want to look up my post about Sister Blandina, the Fastest Nun in the West. She had a couple of interesting encounters with Billy.

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    1. Vickie, I noticed your post when I was researching for this one. I meant to include a link and forgot. Thank you for the reminder.

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  15. Have not heard the history of Billy the Kid but knew he was an outlaw. sm. wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Sharon, thank you for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

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  16. Having grown up with so many western & cowboy movies/series, I know of Billy the Kid but not all of the facts. Very interesting. I love reading this genre as much as I enjoy watching the old movies and classics genre. The novella collection looks like a great read.

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    1. Dali, I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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  17. His story has always fascinated me, and was sad as a young girl that he never changed and had to die. We visited a museum in New Mexico that had so much memorabilia and information about him. BTW: Happy Birthday. Kinda neat having a post on your birthday. Have a great day.

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Martha, and for the birthday wishes. I love blogging on my birthday.

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  18. I'd heard of Billy the Kid but can't remember the names of any movies about him I may have seen. As a mother, I grieve for young men (or women) who choose a life of crime and die before they figure out that isn't the way to live. Thanks for the history lesson. I always learn alot from this blog.

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    1. Pam, thank you for your comments. It is very sad for young people who get on that wrong path and can't seem to change. Thanks for stopping by.

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  19. Thank you for the interesting article on Billy The Kid. I used to live in the Southwest myself, Yuma, Arizona to be exact. Being from Pennsylvania I found the time I spent there to be fascinating since it's so different from my home state of PA. I would love to have a chance to read ,The Timeless Love Romance Collection. It sounds marvelous. I have really been enjoying reading collections ecently and would love to add this as well ! Thank you for the generous giveaway opportunity !
    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

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    1. Deanne, Yuma is a very warm place in the summer. Quite different from PA. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm so glad you enjoy the collections.

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  20. Yes have seen many movies including Chisum with John Wayne.. studied a lot about figures in the old west since have always loved western and the time period

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    1. Dawn, thank you so much for dropping by and for commenting.

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  21. This was interesting to read. Because I live history so much, I've read about Billy the Kid before. I've not watched any movies though.

    I am excited about this giveaway...I love these novella collections:)

    rolltide _04(at)yahoo(dot)com

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