PAT GARRETT Biography - Crimes, Laws and people


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Name: Pat Garrett                                                                         
Born: 5 June 1850 Chambers County, Alabama                                               
Died: 28 February 1908 Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States                             
Patrick "Pat" Floyd Garrett (June 5, 1850 - February 28, 1908) was an American           
Old West lawman, bartender, and customs agent who was best known for killing             
Billy the Kid. He was also the sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico.                     
Patrick Floyd Garrett was born in Chambers County, Alabama (near present day             
Cusseta). He grew up on a prosperous Louisiana plantation near Haynesville in             
northern Claiborne Parish, just below the Arkansas state line. He left home in           
1869 and found work as a cowboy in Dallas County, Texas.                                 
In 1875, he left to hunt buffalo. In 1878, Garrett shot and killed a fellow               
hunter who charged at Garrett with a hatchet over a disagreement over buffalo             
hides. Upon dying, the hunter brought Garrett to tears upon asking him to                 
forgive him.                                                                             
Garrett moved to New Mexico and briefly found work as a cowpuncher before                 
quitting to open his own saloon. A tall man, he was referred to by locals as "Juan       
Largo" or "Long John." In 1879, Garrett married Juanita Gutierrez, who died               
within a year. In 1880, he married Gutierrez's sister, Apolonaria. The couple             
had nine children.                                                                       
On November 7, 1880, the sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, George Kimbell,           
resigned with two months left in his term. As Kimbell's successor, the county             
appointed Garrett, a member of the Republican Party who ran as a Democrat and a           
gunman of some reputation who had promised to restore law and order. Garrett was         
charged with tracking down and arresting a friend from his saloon keeping days,           
Henry McCarty, a jail escapee and Lincoln County War participant who often went           
by the aliases Henry Antrim and William Harrison Bonney, but is better known as           
"Billy the Kid". McCarty was an alleged murderer who had participated in the             
Lincoln County War. He was said to have killed twenty-one men, one for every             
year of his life, but the actual total was probably closer to nine. New Mexico           
Governor Lew Wallace had personally put a $500 reward on McCarty's capture.               
During a December 19 shootout, Garrett killed Tom O'Folliard, a member of                 
McCarty's gang. A few nights later, the sheriff's posse killed Charlie Bowdre,           
captured The Kid and his companions, and transported the captives to Mesilla,             
New Mexico, for trial. Though he was convicted, The Kid managed to escape from           
jail on April 18, 1881, after killing his guards J. W. Bell and Bob Olinger.             
On July 14, 1881, Garrett visited Fort Sumner to question a friend of The Kid's           
about the whereabouts of the outlaw. He learned that The Kid was staying with a           
mutual friend, Pedro Maxwell (son of land baron Lucien Maxwell). Around midnight,         
Garrett went to Maxwell's house. The Kid was asleep in another part of the house         
but woke up hungry in the middle of the night and entered the kitchen where               
Garrett was standing in the shadows. The Kid did not recognize the man standing           
in dark. "Quien es (Who is it)? Quien es?" The Kid asked repeatedly. Garrett             
replied by shooting at The Kid twice, the first shot hitting him in the heart,           
and the second one did not hit him. (Some historians have questioned Garrett's           
account of the shooting, alleging the incident happened differently. They claim           
that Garrett went into Paulita Maxwell's room and tied her up. The Kid walked             
into her room, and Garrett ambushed him with a single blast from his Sharps               
There has been much dispute over the details of the Kid's death that night. The           
way Garrett allegedly killed McCarty without warning eventually sullied the               
lawman's reputation. Garrett claimed that Billy the Kid had entered the room             
armed with a pistol, but no gun was found on his body. Other accounts claim he           
entered carrying a kitchen knife. There is no hard evidence to support this;             
however, if he did so it is likely he intended to cut some food for himself,             
since he had no idea anyone was waiting for him. Regardless of how he died,               
Billy was a wanted criminal, and so Sheriff Garrett chose not to give him a               
chance to surrender.                                                                     
Still, at the time the shooting solidified Garrett's fame as a lawman and gunman,         
and led to numerous appointments to law enforcement positions, as well as                 
requests that he pursue outlaws in other parts of New Mexico.