Quick information and personal tidbits
about Billy the Kid
Name: Childhood name: William Henry McCarty. Teenage name:
Kid Antrim. Outlaw name: William H. Bonney alias Billy the Kid
Birthdate: Unknown (possibly around 1859-61)
Date of death: July 14, 1881 (shot and killed by Sheriff Pat
Place of birth: Unknown (possibly New York or Indiana)
Family: Father is unknown. Mother was Catherine McCarty/Antrim.
His younger half-brother was Joseph McCarty /Antrim. Step-father was William Henry
Eyes: Clear Blue
Hair: Sandy Blonde to Light Brown
Marital Status: Single. The Kid never married, but he had plenty of
girlfriends. It's quite possible he may have fathered a child or two out
of wedlock (which girlfriend is anyone's guess). So far there is no
evidence to authenticate a child to be the son or daughter to Billy
Childhood background: Billy the Kid's father died or left his
mother when he was very young. The Kid may not have even known his
father. Throughout his childhood he lived in Indiana, Kansas, and
Colorado before his family settled in Silver City, New Mexico. In
the Kid was about 13-14 years old his mother died from Tuberculosis.
The Kid and his
younger brother Joseph got no paternal care by their step-father
William Antrim. Instead Antrim
placed them in separate foster homes and left. A year after his
mother's death, the Kid got involved in petty theft and was
escaped, fled to Arizona, and began his outlaw journey.
Outlaw Career: After a short career as an apprentice to a horse
thief in Arizona, the Kid fled the territory after he shot and
killed a man named Windy Cahill, who was teasing and abusing the
boy. The Kid returned to New Mexico and joined up with a gang of
rustlers and gunfighters called The Boy. The gang got involved in the Lincoln County War
and fought for the
James Dolan side. The Kid ended up leaving the gang to join up with their opposition, John Tunstall. After the
death of Tunstall, the violence erupted. The Kid and other Tunstall
supporters formed the "Regulators" that consisted of deputized gunmen.
The war ended at Alex McSween's home (Tunstall's partner and
lawyer). After the violent gun battle that took place, the Kid
and a handful of Regulators barely escaped with their lives. The
Regulators then disbanded; some left or went into hiding to start
new lives, while others stuck around and became outlaws. The Kid was
one of those that became outlaws. The Kid was now on the run from his
old Lincoln County War enemies and the law. Since he couldn't settle
down, he made a living by gambling and rustling
until his arrest in December of 1880. After being convicted and
sentence to death for taking part in the killing of Sheriff Brady
during the Lincoln County War, the Kid finally broke out of jail on
April 28, 1881 by killing his two guards
and escaped to Fort Sumner. The Kid was then hunted down by Pat Garrett and
shot in the dark at the home of Pete Maxwell. Billy the Kid, about 19-20
years old, was killed on July 14, 1881 in Fort Sumner, NM.
Personality traits: Great sense of humor, good-natured and generous.
Optimistic, determined, cunning and reckless. He was dependable and would
risk his life for those he cared about. He did have some faults, he was
stubborn and had a “they’ll-never-catch-me” attitude, which resulted in his
carelessness in avoiding capture. He would push his luck to its limits and
had a tendency to return to the scene of a crime. He’d trust the wrong
people, and did not heed the advice of his friends. His greatest fault was
not leaving the territory after his jailbreak when he had more than enough time
to do so
before Sheriff Garrett caught up with him. Due to his good
qualities, many believed if Billy the Kid got a right start in life
he would've become a successful and respected individual. Susan
McSween (the wife of Alex McSween) once said
in an interview, years later after the Kid's death, "I had always
believed if Mr. Tunstall had lived The Kid, under his guidance, would have
become a valuable citizen, for he was a remarkable boy, far above
the average of the young men of those times and he undoubtedly
had the makings of a fine man in him."
Most noticeable physical traits: The Kid was slender in built, with narrow
sloped shoulders, long neck, and an oval shaped face. He also had a small mouth with narrow lips and crooked
protruding front teeth. He had small hands and feet, and supposedly
large wrists, which gave him the ability to slip out of handcuffs.
Most noticeable apparel: A sugar-loaf sombrero hat with a wide
Favorite Songs: “Silver Threads Among the Gold” and “Turkey in the
Favorite type of dancing: Polkas and Square dancing.
Hobbies and interest: Singing and dancing - The Kid loved to party.
His other love was women. He was quite the lady's man. He
enjoyed gambling (almost obsessively) and his favorite card games
were Monte and Poker. He also enjoyed betting on and participating in horseracing.
Target-shooting was another favorite past time and he liked to
showoff his gun twirling abilities. In his more quiet moments, he would use that leisure time to
meticulously clean his firearms or read a newspaper or gazette. As a
youngster in Silver City he was addicted to reading books, which
dashes any claims of him being illiterate.
Firearms he used: Billy the Kid was
known to use the Colt single action .44 and Colt double-action .41
caliber called the “Thunderer.” He may have also used the .38 caliber
version called the “Lightning.”
His weapon of choice, and the most prized, was his Winchester 73’ rifle.