The famous frontier outlaw Billy the Kid was killed on this date in 1881 at Fort Sumner, New Mexico by Sheriff Pat Garrett who claimed he ambushed him according to accounts from the time.  He was 21 years old.

Legend says William Henry McCarty Junior (Billy the Kid) also known as William Bonney killed 21 men.  The actual number is believed to be 8.

At the time not a lot of people had heard of the young outlaw until the Governor of New Mexico put a price on is head after he broke out of the Lincoln County, New Mexico jail following the killing of two of his guards in April of 1881.  He had been arrested for killing a sheriff.

Billy the Kid never robbed a bank, stagecoach or train.  He did steal the occasional horse to get around and was a known cattle rustler.  His most prized weapon was a Winchester '73 rifle.

Research of the National Archives found a letter written by U.S. Marshal John Sherman Junior to Attorney General Benjamin Harris Brewster dated November 20, 1881 requesting reimbursement for expenses chasing after Billy the Kid.  The 7 page letter asked for $375 of the $1,072 spent hunting the kid. It was denied.

William Henry McCarty Junior was born November 23, 1859 in New York City.  Not much is known about his early life other than his mom died of tuberculosis when Billy was 14 or 15 and he was orphaned.  No identity is given for his father. His first arrest was for stealing food.  Ten days later he would rob a Chinese laundry in 1875 at the age of 16.

On March 1, 1873 Catherine McCarty (Billy's mom) marries William Antrim in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  At this time she has tuberculosis and living there provides a better climate.  On September 16, 1874 after being confined to bed for a number of months Catherine McCarty Antrim dies from tuberculosis.  Her husband shows little interest in raising