“WITH HIS BOOTS OFF” — Billy’s Obituary

(Billy’s Obituary)

Billy Bonney, alias Antrim, alias Billy the Kid, a twenty-one year old desperado, who is known to have killed sixteen men, and who boasted that he had killed a man for every year of his life, will no more take deliberate aim at his fellow man and kill him, just to keep himself in practice. He is dead; and he died so suddenly that he did not have time to be interviewed by a preacher, or to sing hymns, or to pray, before that vital spark had flown, so we cannot say positively that he has clum the shining ladder and entered the pearly gates.

The bullet that struck him left a pistol in the hands of Pat Garrett, at Fort Sumner, last Saturday morning, about half-past 12 AM in the room of Pete Maxwell. Governor Lew Wallace will now breathe easier, as well as many others whom he has threatened to shoot on sight.

No sooner had the floor caught the descending form, which had a pistol in one hand and a knife in the other, than there was a strong odor of brimstone in the air, and a dark figure, with the wings of a dragon, claws like a tiger, eyes like balls of fire, and horns like a bison, hovered over the corpse for a moment, and with a fiendish laugh, said, "Ha! Ha! This is my meat!" and then sailed off through the window. He did not leave his card, but he is a gentleman well known to us by reputation, and there by hangs a "tail".

From the Santa Fe Weekly Democrat, July 21, 1881.

Billy the Kid’s legal name was Henry McCarty; all the rest were aliases. No one really knows when or where he was born or how old he was when he died, but he was probably at least 23 years old in 1881. Billy killed or helped kill at least twelve men, but there isn’t any proof that he boasted of killing twenty-one. Billy was shot between 10:00 PM on Thursday, July 14th and 1:00 AM Friday morning, July 15th, 1881; the first-hand accounts of what happened that night vary as to the exact time. His friends insisted that Billy was unarmed except for a kitchen knife that he was carrying to cut some meat, but Pat Garrett and his deputies swore that he also had a pistol. In any case, although some may doubt whether he was transported directly to the fires of Hell by Satan himself, most agree that Billy deserved his fate at the hands of Pat Garrett. — G. S. Smith