Real Stuff on Pat Garrett
by Leon Metz
author of Pat Garrett - Story of a Western Lawman
JUNE 5, 1850 - Pat Garrett is born in Chambers County, Alabana, one of seven children, the son of John Lumpkin Garrett and Elizabeth Ann Jarvis Garrett, farmers. In 1853, John Garrett purchased a Louisiana plantation in Claiborne Parish. Pat went to school and grew up there.
JANUARY 25,1869 - Pat Garrett leaves Louisiana to become a buffalo hunter in Texas.
1878 - Garrett settles down in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, after the slaughter of buffaloes became unprofitable, where on January 18, 1880, he marries Apolinaria Gutierrez. The couple had 9 children.
JULY 19, 1878 - The Lincoln County, New Mexico, War draws to an end following the Five Days Battle at Lincoln. Billy the Kid is one of many outlaws still loose and running. While Pat Garrett likely knew Billy the Kid, saying they were friends is an overstatement. Neither had much in common, except both were expert with guns. (Garrett was not in the Lincoln County War.)
NOVEMBER 2, 1880 - Pat Garrett, a Democrat, is elected sheriff of Lincoln County. He vows to bring the current reign of lawlessness to an end.
DECEMBER 15, 1880 - New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace, through a newspaper notice, puts a $500 reward on the head of Billy the Kid.
DECEMBER 20-21, 1880 - Pat Garrett and his posse trap Billy the Kid and others in a one-room rock house at Stinking Springs, near Fort Sumner. the posse mistakenly kills Charlie Bowdre (one of Billy's most loyal friends). The Kid and the others surrender that afternoon. Garrett takes the shackled prisoners by buckboard into Las Vegas, where Garrett has to fight off a mob at the train station before he can move on to the state prison at Santa Fe. (The mob was after one of the prisoners, Dave Rudabaugh).
APRIL 15, 1881 - At Mesilla, New Mexico, a judge turns the Kid over to Sheriff Pat Garrett, after a trial, and orders that he Kid be hanged in Lincoln on May 13.
APRIL l 28, 1881 - While Sheriff Pat Garrett is in White Oaks, N.M., Billy the Kid escapes the Lincoln jail after killing both his guards, James Bell and Bob Olinger.
JULY 13-14, 1881 - At midnight, Sheriff Pat Garrett shoots Billy the Kid dead at Fort Sumner, N.M., when the Kid walks into Pete Maxwell's darkened bedroom. Garrett was squatting alongside the mattress talking with Maxwell as the Kid entered. the Kid saw Garrett but did not recognize him due to the darkness and the fact that Garrett was sitting or stooped down. The Kid cocked his revolver and hoarsely whispered "Quien es?" ("Who is it?"). Garrett fires twice, one bullet striking the Kid squarely in the heart. The other shot goes wild. (Some believe that the Kid only carried a knife into Maxwell's room.)
1882 - A book is published entitled "The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, the Noted Desperado of the Southwest". Garrett's name is on the cover as author, but Ash Upson, a close friend, newspaperman, and notary, said he (Upson) wrote every word of it. The book sold poorly, but it was also poorly written.
1890 - Garrett runs for sheriff of newly created Chaves County, N.M. He is defeated and bitterly leaves New Mexico and lives in Ulvalde Co., Texas for some time.
1899 - Garrett purchases a ranch in the San Andres Mountains, N.M.. His family lives there while while Pat works in Las Cruces, Mesilla and Dona Ana, N.M.
DECEMBER 16, 1901 - President Theodore Roosevelt nominates Pat Garrett as United States customs collector at El Paso, Texas. He is a controversial appointment.
DECEMBER 1905 - President Roosevelt refuses to reappoint Pat Garrett as El Paso collector of customs, there on the border with Old Mexico. Garrett and his family return to their ranch in the San Andres Mountains.
JANUARY 1908 - James P. Miller, a hired assassin now a claiming he is a Mexican cattle buyer, offers to purchase the Garrett ranch. However, Miller doesn't want the goats, and Wayne Brazel, who has leased Garrett's ranch, refuses to either move them or cancel the five-year lease.
FEBRUARY 29, 1908 - Pat Garrett and Carl Adamson, a brother-in-law of Miller, are in a buckboard and bound from the Garrett ranch to Las Cruces for a con- ference with Miller. Wayne Brazil rides alongside on horseback. Within a few miles of town, they stop in the desert to urinate. Garrett is shot and killed. Wayne Brazel confesses to the slaying, is tried for murder and acquitted.