Monday, January 30th, 2017

Billy the Kid’s Grave – New Book

Billy the Kid’s Grave – A History of the Wild West’s Most Famous Death Marker
Billy the Kid's Grave
“Quien es?”

The answer to this incautious question – “Who is it?” – was a bullet to the heart.

That bullet – fired by Lincoln County Sheriff Patrick F. Garrett from a .40-44 caliber single action Colt pistol – ended the life of Billy the Kid, real name William Henry McCarty.

But death – ordinarily so final – only fueled the public’s fascination with Billy the Kid.

What events led to Billy’s killing? Was it inevitable? Was a woman involved? If so, who was she?

Why has Billy’s gravestone become the most famous – and most visited – Western death marker? Is Billy really buried in his grave? Is the grave in the right location?

Is it true that Pat Garrett’s first wife is buried in the same cemetery? Is Billy’s girlfriend buried there also?

The Fort Sumner cemetery where Billy’s grave is located was once plowed for cultivation. Why?

What town, seeking a profitable tourist attraction, tried to move Billy’s body, using a phony relative to justify the action?

These questions – and many others – are answered in this book.

The book is divided into three sections. The first gives an account of the chain of events that led directly to Billy’s death, beginning the singular event that started the sequence, Billy’s conviction for murder and his sentencing to hang. As much as possible, these events are related using the actual words of witnesses and contemporaries. The second chapter tells the story of Billy’s burial and the many surprising incidents associated with his grave over the years. The third chapter lists the 111 men and women known to be buried along with Billy in the Fort Sumner cemetery, with short biographies. Sixteen of these individuals had very direct connections with Billy. Appendix A supplies Charles W. Dudrow’s correspondence regarding the locating and disinterring of the military burials at Fort Sumner. Appendix B reprints the only newspaper interview ever granted by Sheriff Patrick F. Garrett on the killing of Billy the Kid.

To supplement this history are 65 photos and illustrations. These include photos of the different memorials that have marked Billy’s grave over the years, including a photo of Billy’s previously-unknown second grave marker; pictures of the men – friends of Billy – who re-located the grave in 1931; pictures of Billy’s most likely girlfriend, Paulita Maxwell, and her parents; and a historic 1906 Fort Sumner cemetery map showing the location of Billy’s grave.

Paperback, 154 pages. Available at Amazon.

See Also:
Did Billy the Kid stay at La Posta in Mesilla
Pat Garrett Marker
Shootout at the O. K. Corral — 133 Years Ago Today
New Book on Las Cruces History
Death of Johnny Ringo – King of the Cowboys
The Arizona Cowboy

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

New Book on Las Cruces History

Screen With A Voice – A History of Moving Pictures in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Screen With A Voice - A History of Moving Pictures in Las Cruces
The first projected moving pictures were shown in Las Cruces 110 years ago. Who exhibited those movies? What movies were shown? Since projected moving pictures were invented in 1896, why did it take ten years for the first movie exhibition to reach Las Cruces? Who opened the first theater in town? Where was it located? These questions began the history of moving pictures in Las Cruces, and they are answered in this book. But so are the events and stories that follow.

First movie shown in Las Cruces
First theater in Las Cruces
First talkie shown in Las Cruces
Invention of drive-in theater in Las Cruces
Opening of Rio Grande Theater
Impact of Great Depression on business
Raffle of six-week-old baby girl at Mission Theater
World premiere of first BILLY THE KID movie
Second world premiere of a BILLY THE KID movie
Arrival of Organ, Rocket, Fiesta, and Aggie Drive-Ins
Shooting of Clint Eastwood’s HANG ‘EM HIGH

There have been 21 movie theaters in Las Cruces – all but three or four are forgotten. They are unremembered no longer. And one, especially, the Airdome Theater which opened in 1914, deserves to be known by all movie historians – it was an automobile drive-in theater, the invention of the concept, two decades before movie history declares the drive-in was invented.

To supplement this history are 102 photos and illustrations. These include ephemeral documents such as the 4-page flyer for Las Cruces’ third movie exhibition, at the Rink Theater; historic photos of theaters; aerial photos of drive-ins; and never-before-published photos of the shooting of HANG ‘EM HIGH.

Winner 2017 Pasajero Del Camino Real Award for best history book on Southern New Mexico.

Cover: Depicts the 1930 world premiere of BILLY THE KID, starring John Mack Brown as Billy, at the Rio Grande Theater in Las Cruces.

See also:
HANG ‘EM HIGH

Filed in: Billy the Kid, History, Las Cruces, Main Street, Theaters, Theatres | Comments Off on New Book on Las Cruces History

 

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Did Billy the Kid Stay at La Posta in Mesilla?

“Best history of Mesilla.”

“La Posta: From the Founding of Mesilla, to the Corn Exchange Hotel, to Billy the Kid Museum, to Famous Landmark” consists of 5 sections:

  • Chapter 1 is a history of Mesilla, beginning with its founding in 1850 by Rafael Ruelas.
  • Chapter 2 gives the original and early ownership of all the properties around the public square in Mesilla, identifying previously uncertain locations such as the Butterfield Overland Stage location.
  • Chapter 3 is a history of the Corn Exchange Hotel, founded in 1874, the most famous hotel in New Mexico at the time. Almost all the major participants of the Lincoln County War stayed at the hotel.
  • Chapter 4 is a history of the Billy the Kid museum and its founder, Mesilla pioneer and impresario George Griggs.
  • Chapter 5 is a history of La Posta, Mesilla’s most famous landmark.

“Mesilla is full of Billy the Kid history. It’s where he started off rustling with Jesse Evans and it’s where he was tried and convicted of murder. At one point, rumor has it, he even stayed at the Corn Exchange Hotel (along with many of the other heavy hitters from the Lincoln County War).”

“For someone who grew up in the area of Mesilla, it’s nice to have a well-researched book about the area — and the giant photographs don’t hurt either (honestly, I love to see photos that take up the whole page so you can actually make out the detail)….”

“And the thing I was most excited to see is a photo of the hotel registry where the name of “William Bonney” is scrawled on the page. I knew this registry had existed at one point but I always thought it was missing…. There is some debate as to whether or not Billy the Kid really signed the book, which the author goes into, but what would Billy the Kid history be without a little controversy.”

Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang Newsletter, Winter, 2013

See also:
Billy the Kid’s Grave – New Book
Pat Garrett’s Marker