BILLY THE KID
William Bonney was born in New York City but moved as a young lad to Kansas. His father soon died, and his mother remarried and moved west to New Mexico. Having killed a man for insulting his mother, Bonney fled to the Pecos Valley, where he was drawn into the cattle wars then in progress. He became a savage murderer of many men, including Sheriff James Brady and a deputy, and scorned Governor Lew Wallace's demand that he surrender. There are few facts about Billy the Kid's career that can be verified. Sheriff Pat Garrett and a large posse vowed to track Billy down and destroy him. In the fall of 1881 they trapped him at Pete Maxwell's house in Fort Summer, N.Mex., ambushed him in a pitch-black room, and shot him to death. The next day he was buried in a borrowed white shirt too large for his slim body. Admirers scraped together $208 for a gravestone, which was later splintered and carried away by relic hunters. From the first Billy's fame was part of a folkloric, oral tradition; it had more to do with western chauvinism than with literal history. If his crimes are dated, his appeal is not, as attested to by the many books and movies based on his life.
Adapted from: "Billy the Kid." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2004
Scanland, John Milton. Life of Pat F. Garrett and the Taming of the Border Outlaw. A History of the "Gun Men" and Outlaws, and a Life-Story of the Greatest Sheriff of the Old Southwest. By John Milton Scanland. Published by Carleton F. Hodge, 
Fighting Sheriffs of the West. n.d. TS Wood Detective Agency Records, 1865-1945: Series VII. Criminal Accounts and Articles Compiled by James Rodney Wood, Jr., 1816-1934 Box 13, Folder 7. Harvard University Law Library