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Marcelle the webmistress (that's me) standing out on the balcony of the
Lincoln courthouse. The sign behind me says; "Sheriff's office"
 

This page is just for fun...a FYI on anything Billy the Kid related
 

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Billy the Kid Museums & Historical sites in New Mexico
Billy the Kid in Songs & Poems
Billy the Kid Books



Billy the Kid Museums & Sites in New Mexico

Fort Sumner: There's a Billy the Kid Museum in town, but don't let the name of the museum fool you, it has more on odds-and-ends that one may find in their grandparents' garage than on Billy the Kid, but there's still a fair amount on him that makes it worth seeing. Then there is the Old Fort Sumner Museum/Gift Shop at the Fort Sumner Monument. It also has the location of the old Military Cemetery where Billy the Kid is buried. It's a long drive through the middle of nowhere, but you can't say you're a Billy the Kid enthusiast without going to Fort Sumner at least once. If there was ever a place that was like a home to Billy the Kid it was Fort Sumner.

Lincoln: Old Town Lincoln includes the old courthouse, Tunstall's store, and other historical buildings of Billy the Kid's time. The Visitor's Center includes a museum, gift shop, and also offers docent tours of the town. When you walk the street you can get a real feel of what it must've been like back in the 1870s and although a peaceful town today, you can't forget it was one of the most dangerous and violent towns in the Old West. Lincoln is definitely a must see! 

White Oaks: It ain't Lincoln and it sure ain't no Tombstone or Virginia City, the once booming town of White Oaks in Lincoln County is now a desolate little ghost town. Billy the Kid frequently visited this town, and most likely, he spent more time there then he did in Lincoln. Although ghost towns are still fun to check out, I honestly wasn't too impressed. For more on White Oaks and to view a couple of photos click here.

Las Vegas: Another favorite stomping ground for Billy the Kid was Las Vegas -No, not Las Vegas, Nevada, but in San Miguel County, located about 65 miles east from Santa Fe. In Vegas,  Billy the Kid gambled, ate dinner with Jesse James, and was even confined in their jail. Although, there isn't anything specifically Billy the Kid-related  in their historic district, it's still a neat place to visit.

Mesilla: Gadsden Museum claims to have the original cell doors that confined Billy the Kid while he was in jail for his trial, other than that, there isn't much there in reference to Billy the Kid. Its' mainly about the Albert Jennings Fountain family and other historical significances of  Old La Mesilla. The courthouse where Billy the Kid stood trial for the murder of Sheriff Brady and Buckshot Roberts is now a Billy the Kid Gift Shop. A few doors down from there, is the William Bonney Gallery (displaying of paintings and pottery), which was once the jail were the Kid was confined during his trial.

Silver City: Not much there in relation to Billy the Kid, just an empty lot next to a ravine where is childhood home once stood and the grave of his dear mother, Catherine Antrim. There are indeed other sights to see, for more on Silver City visit their Chamber of Commerce website. Around or behind the Visitor's Center is supposedly the location of where the Kid's childhood home use to stand. The grave of Billy the Kid's mother, Catherine Antrim has been relocated to a cemetery on top of a hill on Memory Lane. Don't expect a sign pointing to where the grave site is, it took me two hours of wandering around until I finally found her headstone (and I must've walked past it five times and if she was a snake she would've bitten me). Other than paying respects to Mrs. Antrim, Silver City is a disappointment for the Billy the Kid enthusiast. UPDATE: In July of 2003 a movie prop cabin has been donated to the community and is being used as a replica of Billy the Kid's childhood home and in the cemetery there is a sign to flag you where Catherine is buried.

There are other nooks and crannies throughout New Mexico that share the history of Billy the Kid. For more on those historical and tourist locations, visit Billy the Kid Territory and Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway.

 

Billy the Kid in Songs & Poems

This is not a complete list by any means, just a few examples I picked at random.
 

THE BALLAD OF BILLY THE KID
(Poem by Reverend Andrew Jenkins)

Iíll sing you a true song of Billy the Kid,
And tell of the desperate deeds that he did,
Out here in the West, boys, in New Mexico,
When a manís best friend was his Colt Forty-four.

When Billy the Kid was a very young lad,
In old Silver City, he went to be bad;
At twelve years of age the Kid killed his first man,
Then blazed a wide trail with a gun in each hand.

Fair Mexican maidens played soft on guitars
And sang of ďBillitoĒ their king Ďneath the stars;
He was a brave lover, and proud of his fame,
And no man could stand  Ďgainst the Kidís deadly aim.

Now Billy ranged wide, his killings were vile;
He shot fast, and first, when his blood got a-rile,
And, Ďfore his young manhood did reach its sad end,
His six-guns held notches for twenty-one men.

Then Governor Lew Wallace sent word to the Kid
To ride in and talk, for a pardon to bid:
But Billy said: ďI ainít afraid of the law;
Thereís no man a-liviní can beat to the draw!Ē 

The Governor then sent for another fast man:
Pat Garrett, the sheriff, and told of a plan
To catch Billy napping at his galís, so he said:
ďWeíll bring him to Justice: alive or plumb dead!Ē

ďTíwas on that same night, into town Billy rid,
And said: ďMis amigos, all hark to the Kid!
Thereís twenty-one men I have put bullets through
And Sheriff, Pat Garrett, must make twenty-two!Ē

Now this is how Billy the Kid met his fate:
The bright moon was shining, the hour was late;
To Pete Maxwellís place Billy went in all stride,
Not knowing the dark hid the Sheriff inside.

As Billy showed plain in the moon-lighted door,
He fell in his tracks, and laid dead on the floor;
Shot down by Pat Garrett, who once was his friend,
Young Billy the Kid, and his life did end.

Thereís many a young boy with fine face and air
That starts in his life with a chance to go square;
But, like young Billy, he wanders astray
And his life will end in the very same way!

 

BLAZE OF GLORY
(Song by Jon Bon Jovi)

I wake up in the morning
And I raise my weary head
Iíve got an old coat for a pillow
And the earth was last nightís bed
I donít know where Iím going
Only God knows where Iíve been
Iím a devil on the run
A six-gun lover
A candle in the wind

When youíre brought into this world
They say youíre born in sin
Well at least they gave me something
 I didnít have to steal or have to win
Well they tell me that Iím wanted
Yeah, Iím a wanted man
Iím a colt in your stable
Iím what Cain was to Abel
Mister catch me if you can

Iím going down in a blaze of glory
Take me now but know the truth
Iím going out in a blaze of glory
Lord I never drew first
But I drew first blood
Iím no oneís son
 Call me young gun

You ask about my conscience
And I offer you my soul
You ask if Iíll grow to be a wise man
Well I ask if Iíll grow old
You ask me if Iíve know love
And what itís like to sing songs in the rain
Well, Iíve seen love come
And Iíve seen it shot down
Iíve seen it die in vain  

Shot down in a blaze of glory
Take me now but know the truth
ĎCause Iím going down in a blaze of glory
Lord I never drew first
But I drew first blood
Iím the devilís son
Call me young gun

Each night I go to bed
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
No I ainít looking for forgiveness
But before Iím six foot deep
Lord, I got to ask a favor
And I hope youíll understand
ĎCause Iíve lived life to the fullest
Let this boy die like man
Staring down a bullet
Let me make my final stand

Shot down in a blaze of glory
Take me now but know the truth
Iím going out in a blaze of glory
Lord, I never drew first
But I drew first blood
And Iím no oneís son
Call me young gun
Iím a young gun

Soundtrack to Young Guns II
Blaze of Glory
PolyGram Records, Inc.  1990 


 

The Ballad of Billy the Kid
(Song by Billy Joel)

From a town known as Wheeling, West Virginia
Rode a boy with a six gun in his hand
And his daring life of crime
made him a legend in his time
east and west of the Rio Grande.

Well he started with a bank in Colorado
in the pocket of his vest, a Colt he hid
and his age and his size
took the teller by surprise
and, the word spread of Billy the kid

Well he never travelled heavy
yes he always rode alone
and he soon put many older guns to shame
and he never had a sweetheart
and he never had a home
but the cowboy and the rancher knew his name

Well he robbed his way from Utah to Oklahoma
and the largest could not seem to track him down
and it served his legend well
For the folks they loved to tell about
When Billy the kid came to town.

Well one cold day a posse captured Billy
and the judge said "String him up for what he did."
And the cowboys and their kin
like the sea, came pouring in
to watch the hanging of Billy the kid.

Well he never travelled heavy
yes he always rode alone
and he soon put many older guns to shame
and he never had a sweetheart
but he finally found a home
under the boothill grave that bears his name.

From a town known as Oyster Bay Long Island
Rode a boy with a six pack in his hand
and his daring life of crime
made him a legend in his time
east and west of the Rio Grande.

(This song is not historically accurate regarding Billy the Kid, so don't take it seriously)


 

The Fastest Gun Around
(Song by Marty Robbins)

In the days of William Bonney better known as Bill The Kid
A young cowboy named Joey Steel was 'bout to make his bid
Well, he heard one day that Bill The Kid had just rode into town
And if he could take him he would be the fastest gun around

He was just a kid of seventeen but he had a lightin' hand
And he said it's time I showed the world that I've become a man
Everyone thinks Billy is the fastest gun around
But they will know I'm faster when they see me shoot him down

They finally came together down on Main Street just at five
The people were all gathered wonderin' who'd be left alive
Billy knew that Joey wanted notches on his gun
And he wished that he could give him those he'd carved upon his own

Joey's hand went to his side, he was sure that he had won
But before he even fired he saw the smoke of Billy's gun
And he felt the bullet hit him hard and before his eyes he saw
His wasted life pass quickly ending with this fatal draw

Billy breathed more easily and he put away his gun
And he tried to ease his conscience for the wrong that he had done
Then he saddled up his horse and headed Westward out of town
And he wondered just how long he'd be the fastest gun around

from No. 1 Cowboy Album

 


There's another Ballad of Billy the Kid song that is much truer to the history of Billy the Kid, and not to mention quite a good song in itself. It's by country singer David Reeves Carpenter from his album "Under the Influence" and is available through his website. For more on this artist and how to obtain this record, visit his website: www.beertruckmusic.com .

Another true song based on The Kid is Charming Billy the Kid. This is indeed a charming song dedicated to Billy the Kid by Frank Fara. The song is off his CD "Songs of the Untamed West." Frank brings history alive with accuracy in his music and if you're fan of Old West history and country music, this is a CD for you.

In  1938 Aaron Copland wrote a musical ballet on Billy the Kid, although a unique way to tell the story about the legendary outlaw, it wouldn't be the last.  Today another musical has been written by Chuck J. Majewski, titled Young Billy. For more information on this musical and to hear  audio samples of the songs click here to visit the official web site.

 

Books

For those of you who want to learn more about "real" Billy the Kid of fact, here is a alphabetical list of books  - I placed an asterisk* next to those that I highly recommend:

A Fitting Death for Billy the Kid   By Ramon Adams

Lieutenant Colonel N.A.M. Dudley Court of InquirBy Robert M. Barron  (this book is self-published, if you're interested contact Donna Tatting)

The Illustrated Life and Times of Billy the Kid   By Bob  Bell*

Dead Right: The Lincoln County War   By Cliff CaldWell*

The Capture of Billy the Kid  Edited by James H. Earle

Goodbye Billy the Kid
  By Harold L. Edwards

History of the Lincoln County War: A classic account of Billy the Kid   By Maurice Fulton*

The Authentic Wild West: The Gunfighters   By James Horan

Such Men as Billy the Kid  By Joel Jacobsen

Violence in Lincoln County 
  By William Keleher

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid As I Knew Them  By John P. Meadows

The Boyhood of Billy the Kid   By Robert Mullin

The Lincoln County War: A Documentary History   By Frederick Nolan*

The West of Billy the Kid   By Frederick Nolan*

The Pat Garrettís Authentic Life of Billy the Kid 
  By Pat Garrett/Ash Upson, but Notes and Commentary by Frederick Nolan*

The Billy the Kid Reader  By Frederick Nolan*

The Real Billy the Kid   By Miguel Antonio Otero (Warning: Otero practically copied Pat Garrettís book word for word, which means the biography part is based on the legend, but the first-hand account interviews he had with those who knew the Kid are informative).

Trailing Billy the Kid By Philip Rasch*

Inventing Billy the Kid By Stephen Tatum

Billy the Kid: His Life and Legend   By Jon Tuska

Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life
   By Robert Utley

Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride  By Michael Wallis*

Antrim is my Stepfatherís name: The Boyhood of Billy the Kid
   By Jerry Weddle*
 

 

If you want to learn about the ďlegendĒ of Billy the Kid, here are books based on the myth:

 

The Saga of Billy the Kid   By Walter Noble Burns* (A colorful telling of Garrett's legend of Billy the Kid, but the book does have first-hand account interviews with LCW participants, but their words are slightly twisted to give it some flare)

The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid   By Pat Garrett and Ash Upson,  Annotated Edition with Footnotes and Edited by Maurice G. Fulton (1927)*

The Pat Garrettís Authentic Life of Billy the Kid   By Pat Garrett/Ash Upson,  Annotated Edition with Notes and Commentary by Frederick Nolan (2000)*  (This is a good one because it separates fact from fiction by the commentary notes of Mr. Nolan)

They Knew Billy the Kid: An Interview with Old-Time New Mexicans   By Robert Kadlec   (This book should really be titled ďFolks Who Jumped the I-knew-Billy the Kid-Bandwagon and have a Whopper of a Tale to Tell.Ē Take this one with a grain of salt, most of the accounts come from rather unreliable sources who read too many Billy the Kid dime novels).

 

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