Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty, was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter who killed eight men before he was shot and killed at the age of 21. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and weird facts about Billy the Kid.
1. He took part in New Mexico’s Lincoln County War, during which he allegedly took part in three murders.
2. McCarty was orphaned at the age of 13.
3. The owner of a boarding house gave him a room in exchange for work.
4. His first arrest was for stealing food at the age f 16, in late 1975. Ten days later, he robbed a Chinese laundry and was arrested, but he escaped only two days later.
5. He tried to stay with his stepfather, but then fled from New Mexico Territory into neighboring Arizona Territory, making him both an outlaw and a federal fugitive.
6. In 1877, McCarty began to refer to himself as “William H. Bonney.”
7. After murdering a blacksmith during an altercation in August, 1877, Bonney became a wanted man in Arizona Territory and returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers.
8. He became a well-known figure in the region when he joined the Regulators and took part in the Lincoln County War.
9. In April, 1878, the Regulators killed three man, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies.
10. Bonny and two other Regulators were later charged with killing all three men.
11. His notoriety grew in December, 1880, when the Las Vegas Gazette in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and The Sun in New York City carried stories about his crimes.
12. Sheriff Pat Garrett captured Bonney later that month.
13. In April, 1881, Bonney was tried and convicted of the murder of Brady, and was sentenced to hang in May of that year.
14. He escaped from jail on April 28, 1881, killing two sheriff’s deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months.
15. Garrett shot and killed Bonney, aged 21, in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881.
16. During the following decades, legends that Bonney had survived that night grew, and a number of men claimed to be him.
17. To this day, we have no concrete idea where and when Billy the Kid was born. Writer Ash Upson said that the Kid’s birthday was November 23, 1859.
18. At the time of his death, his location of birth was frequently given as New York City.
19. A letter from an official of Saint Peters’s Church in Manhattan states it’s in possession of records showing McCarty was baptized in that church on September 28, 1859.
20. Census records indicate his younger brother, Joseph McCarty, was born in 1863.
21. Following the death of her husband Patrick, Catherine McCarty and her sons moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she met William Henry Harrison Antrim.
22. The McCarty family moved with Antrim to Wichita, Kansas, in 1870.
23. After moving again a few years later, Catherine married Antrim on March 1, 1873, at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory; McCarty and his brother Joseph were witnesses to the ceremony.
24. Shortly afterward, the family moved from Santa Fe to Silver City, New Mexico, and Joseph McCarty began using the name Joseph Antrim.
25. Catherine McCarty died of tuberculosis on September 16, 1874.
26. Billy’s first encounter with the law happened in 1875, when he helped a man by the name of “Sombrero Jack” steal clothing.
27. In 1877, he committed his first murder after he shot a man during an argument.
28. Unlike many of his notorious counterparts, Billy the Kid never made a living off of bank or train robbing. Every now and then, Billy would steal a horse, but never once in his criminal career did he told up a bank. His true enterprise involved rustling cattle in New Mexico.
29. He was known to draw his weapon whenever he was provoked. Between 1877 and 1881, he was guilty of killing around nine men, four of those men he singlehandedly murdered.
30. On July 14th, 1881, Garrett showed up at Peter Maxwell’s home and proceeded to question him about Billy the Kid. As soon as Maxwell had been notified of Garrett’s arrival, Billy the Kid showed up to the house. Noticing that Maxwell wasn’t alone, Billy armed himself and began shouting “Who’s that?” in Spanish. Sheriff Garrett immediately recognized Billy’s voice and didn’t hesitate. He drew his gun and fired two shots in the direction of the voice. Garrett hit Billy the Kid in the heart and killed him instantly. He was only 21 years old at the time of his death.