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Love of Billy the Kid

Paulita Maxwell and husband, Jose Jaramillo, 1882.

Paulita Maxwell was born in Mora, New Mexico, in 1864. She was born to Lucien and Ana Maria de la Luz Maxwell. Her eldest brother was Pete Maxwell. Paulita was half French, a quarter Irish, and a quarter Hispanic. By many accounts, she all but worshipped Billy. Her brother Pete, while friendly with Billy himself, never approved of their relationship. In fact, a popular theory is that Pete staged Billy's death at the hands of Pat Garrett in an attempt to keep the two apart, not wanting to sully his family's name with the association of such an infamous outlaw. Some believe Garrett actually captured Paulita, tied her up in her house, and used her to bait the Kid, shooting him from ambush when Billy came to her rescue. Regardless, after Billy's alleged death in 1881, married Jose Jaramillo, a more adequate suitor in Pete's eyes, apparently. Paulita and Jose went on to have three children, Adelina, Luz, and Telesfor, the last born in 1893. Jose eventually left Paulita for another woman. Paulita was interviewed several times as an old woman, always denying she was a love of Billy's (possibly to distance herself from such a rogue?), though did admit he was a goodlooking young man. She died on December 17, 1929 due to nephritis at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. She was buried in the Fort Sumner military cemetery.

Paulita Maxwell Jaramillo

This photo of Paulita seems to have been taken after she had been married to Jose Jaramillo. The date and place of the photo are unknown.