Frequently Asked Questions
This section of my website has been created to answer some of the many questions that people may have concerning Billy the Kid/Lincoln Country War history. Some of these questions I will answer with documented facts and some of course I will answer with my well-researched opinions. (The above photo shows Lincoln pretty much as it appeared in 1878)
(Q) What year and where was Billy born?
(A) Since they didn't keep very good records in those days it is not known for sure. Most historians say that he was born around 1859, but I would like to say again that it is not known or documented for certain. There are many candidates for the authentic place of Billy's birth. Some include New York, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Kansas, Texas, or even New Mexico. To this day it is still not known for sure which if any of these is the true birthplace of Billy the Kid.
(Q) Who was Billy the Kid's mother?
(A) Billy's Mother's name was Catherine McCarty. Who Billy's father was is also not known for sure. Catherine McCarty later married William Antrim on March 3, 1873 in Santa Fe New Mexico. The family finally ended up in Silver City New Mexico where Catherine died of tuberculosis on September 16, 1874, leaving behind her two sons Henry (Billy the Kid), Joe, and her husband William Antrim. She was and still is buried in Silver City, New Mexico.
(Q) What was the first crime commited by Billy?
(A) The first recorded crime that Billy was legally punished for was hiding some stolen laundry for a local thief named Sombrero Jack. After Mrs. Brown (He was boarding with the Brown family at the time) discovered the stolen laundry she immediately turned him over to Harvey Whitehill the local sheriff who then placed him in jail. While the sheriff and deputies went out for awhile to eat young Henry (Billy) climbed up the Chimney to his freedom. He then fled to the Camp grant area in Arizona.
(Q) Who was the first man Billy the Kid killed?
(A) The first man killed by Billy the Kid was a Bully named
(Q) What was the Lincoln County War?
(A) The Lincoln County War was basically a confict over who was going to own the local monopoly in both the mercantile and cattle business. It was started when the
(Q) Who was on the right side of the law in this war?
(A) Truthfully and technically both sides were. Dolan and his crew had Sheriff Brady on their side with legal warrants, while on the other side the Regulators had Justice of the Peace Wilson and deputy United States Marshall Robert Widenmann on their sides with legal warrants as well. This is one of the few cases in the Old West where it was actually lawmen against lawmen.
(Q) Were Billy the Kid and John Tunstall really good friends like the movies show?
(A) I would say they were casual friends with a business relationship. There is really no evidense at all to support the idea that they were really close friends. Tunstall wrote numerous letters back home to his parents and sister in England and not even in one of these letters does he ever mention Billy. More than likely his closest friend was Rob Widenmann whom he had met in Santa Fe. He did mention him numerous times in his letters back home. I think to Billy Tunstall was a chance at a new beginning, because he gave him a horse, a rifle, and a job. To Billy certainly things must have been looking up for once. It has been rumored that Billy in a little while had wanted to start his own ranch. To Tunstall I believe Billy was nothing more than a hired gun to help protect his business and personal interests from Jimmy Dolan and company, so it is my opinion that they were probably casual friends and both had something to offer the other. Tunstall had money to pay Billy as well as a place for him to stay and Billy and the rest of the employees on the Rio Feliz Ranch had guns and knew how to use them.
(Q)Who all were members of the Regulators?
(A) There were quite a few members of the Regulators throughout the time of the Lincoln County War. They were: William Bonney, Richard Brewer, Doc Scurlock, Fred Waite, John Middleton, Dirty Steve Stephens, George Coe, Frank Coe, Charlie Bowdre, Henry Brown, Sam Smith, Frank McNab, Jim French, John Scroggins, and Ignacio Gonzales.
(Q) What type of guns did Billy usually carry?
(A) Billy supposedly carried two types of pistols. He carried a Colt .44 caliber single-action and a Colt .41 caliber double-action Thunderer. According to Pat Garrett he was carrying the latter on the night that he was killed. Billy also carried a Winchester, 1873 model, 44.40 rifle.
(Q) How tall was Billy and what did he look like