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Billy The Kid, His Real Name Was ....

Billy The Kid, His Real Name Was ....

4.7 14
by Jim Johnson
He was gunned down at the tender age of twenty- or was he?

You've probably heard the legend of William H. Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, at one time or another. Most folks have. But when it comes to the Kid, few things are completely certain - not his real name, not his parents' names, not even where he was born or just how many people he killed. Sheriff Pat Garrett


He was gunned down at the tender age of twenty- or was he?

You've probably heard the legend of William H. Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, at one time or another. Most folks have. But when it comes to the Kid, few things are completely certain - not his real name, not his parents' names, not even where he was born or just how many people he killed. Sheriff Pat Garrett is commonly credited with killing Billy. He even wrote a wildly popular and somewhat sensational book about it. But there are many scholars who dispute the claim of this bartender and former buffalo hunter because the details of Garrett's story just don't add up. Add to this the fact that throughout the following decades old men from Mexico all the way to England were declaring themselves to be the real Billy the Kid, having cheated death that warm night in New Mexico. Among these many claimants, however, are two men with somewhat credible stories: John Miller and Brushy Bill. Both men seemed to be the right age, the right size, and had stories that certainly sounded authentic. But only one of these men could possibly be the real Billy the Kid. Author Jim Johnson has made an in-depth study of the outlaw's life, and presents here two very plausible accounts. Did Billy the Kid grow to be an old man, or was he killed by Pat Garrett? Read the evidence, and judge for yourself.

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Outskirts Press, Inc.
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6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.33(d)

Read an Excerpt

"Who was Billy the Kid? That is a question that no one has ever answered for sure. There have been a lot of speculations and �facts� that have been printed, but nothing that anyone seems to want to hang their hat on. Most historians and authors seem to think his real name was Henry McCarty and that he was born in New York in 1859."

"One thing that most people seem to agree on is that William Bonney was killed by Pat Garrett the night of July 14, 1881 at Pete Maxwell�s house at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. But, was he?"

"Over the years, since the supposed killing of Billy the Kid by Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881, there have been many old time cowboys that have claimed to be Billy the Kid. Somehow, according to these claimants, Billy was able to escape death, and lived and died in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Old Mexico, or even England."

�Pat Garrett, in the company of his deputies, McKinney and Poe, learned the kid was in Fort Sumner, holed up at the house of Pete Maxwell. They sneaked up to the house in the dead of night, and Garrett knocked on the door. A Mexican youth with a gun in his hand answered the knock and queried, �Quien es?� Sheriff Garrett pushed the door open and fired. The Mexican youth fell dead, and Garrett told the Kid and his girl who was there with him, to pack and leave Lincoln County forever.�

"What a cast of characters we find in 1880 Georgetown. Coincidence? You be the judge. Could this 21 year old William McCarty be Henry McCarty as in William Henry McCarty alias Billy the Kid?"

"As the story goes, �Joseph and Garrett sat alone in the establishment and talked for almost two hours; they rose from their chairs, shook hands and departed. Later, someone asked Joseph what happened. Joseph remarked that he now had a better understanding of what happened." What was it that Joseph better understood?"

Meet the Author

Author Jim Johnson has been intrigued with the Old West, its lore, and its legends all of his life. His interest began with the old black and white western movies in the 1940s and 50s. Over the years he has collected and read thousands of nonfiction books and magazines on western outlaws and lawmen. Today, his library overflows with these nonfiction western books and magazines.

Mr. Johnson read these books and magazines thoroughly and very cautiously. He never took everything as fact, and in many cases, he actually found the 'facts' to be incorrect and contradictory. His research over the last 35 - 40 years has taken him all over the southwest, including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, and the midwest, including Kansas, Illinois, and Indiana. He has copies of thousands of documents from archives, government records, and internet records.

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Billy The Kid, His Real Name Was .... 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Joaquin More than 1 year ago
This book is very interesting to read because it allows the reader to read the facts and then allows them to make up their own minds regarding whether Billy the Kid--also known by his real name of William Henry Bonney/McCarty/Antrim--really died at the hands of Sheriff Pat Garret on the hot summer night of July 14, 1881 in the home of Pete Maxwell at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, or lived on to live to the ripe old age of 90.It focuses mainly on two men who claim to be Billy the Kid, but mainly centers on Oliver P. Roberts who supposedly was actually William Henry Roberts--alias Billy the Kid. A book on Oliver P. or "William Henry" Roberts was written by the author Jameson in which he presents facts and circumstantial evidence that Oliver P. or "William Henry" Roberts was actually Billy the Kid.Author Jim Johnson does not believe that Oliver P. Roberts was actually Billy the Kid and he presents facts that he believes will prove that Billy the Kid actually died at the hands of Pat Garret. The book actually reads like a long non-fiction short story, pleasant to read and entertaining, but not lengthy.However, the book does not present fresh new evidence on the life of the New Mexico Desperado and folk hero. I am sure that Author Jim Johnson referred to other biographies on Billy the Kid to come to his conclusions. Billy the Kid died over one Hundred and thirty years ago and everyone connected with his life and environs have long since gone--mostly in the 1920s and 30s.No one really knows where he was born, although many authors claim he was born in New York City. But there is no concrete evidence that he was actually born there. The only photograph taken of Billy the Kid, wearing a cardigan sweater, brandishing a rifle and a revolver, standing in front of a reflector stand may not actually been him. Some western experts claim that the rifle in the photograph may actually have been a 1894 Winchester, produced many years after Billy's death. In fact, Deluvina Maxwell, the Navajo servant girl of Pete Maxwell, claims that the photograph "does not do justice to Billy" and never really believed it was actually him. The young man in the photograph is rather obese-looking and Billy the kid was small, about 5 ft. 7 inches tall, muscular and lithe, with handsome features. However, Robert Utley, who wrote "The Short Violent Life of Billy the Kid" claims that the photograph is without a doubt the famous outlaw.One thing is for certain:No one will never know for certain what actually happened that hot summer night of July 14, 1881.I want my readers to know that this book is entertaining and makes great reading and I highly recommend this book to all the readers who are avid fans of Billy the Kid.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading 'Billy the Kid - His Real Name Was' This a a fresh approach to the subject and the book is brief and to the point. The book is well written and easy to read. The author provides a lot of new information based on real research, rather than relying on what other writers assume to be the truth. The book suggests the possibilty that William H. Bonney and William McCarty may have been different people. This makes sense because there may have been many people nicknamed 'Billy the Kid' in the old west. Take, for example, 'Billy the Kid Claiborne' of Tombstone fame. It seemed popular in those days to name young cowboys 'The Kid.' The author encourages the reader to make his own decision as to who Billy the Kid really was and encourages further research.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You realize after reading this book that the author did his homework. There are so many proven facts that are documented in a professional way that this book is a must read! As the author said Billy the Kid was.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Billy the Kid fans don¿t miss this one! Well written, thoroughly researched and a very interesting read. Could very well be the ¿missing link¿ in the Billy the Kid legend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an enjoyable way to learn the life of an American legend. Jim Johnson has a wonderful way of portraying the different events that could have taken place throughout Billy the Kid's life. For any history lover, or anyone wishing to learn of an interesting man of the past, 'Billy the Kid, His Real Name Was...' is an exciting way to do so.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent analysis of the more popular theories and personalities that have been paraded before the public as the 'real' Billy the Kid. The book contains a wide variety of images of original documents as well as transcriptions of others. All sources are clearly spelled out. A large part of the book focuses on Brushy Bill Roberts, but I personally find the part on John Miller even more fascinating. The book contains material/documents which to my knowledge have not been pubished before. Documentation, proof, verified sources are of most importance to me - and Jim's book has them. I highly recommend it for anyone who shares those interests. A fairytale romance novel it is not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of the best, most accurate books I have ever read on BTK. I highly recommend it if you follow BTK.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is well researched and written. It contains a lot of new information that should lead to the identification of Billy the Kid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I live not far from Hico, Tx where one of the Billy the Kid claimants, Brushy Bill Roberts, lived the last 5 years of his life and died in 1950. We never believed that he was Billy the Kid, but of course, we never really knew. Also, when our children were young, we stopped by what is supposed to be the grave of Billy the Kid located at the site of old Fort Sumner, which is just out of the current town of Fort Sumner, New Mexico. I have always wanted to know the real "stuff" on all of this. I was delighted when I saw that someone had written a book uncovering the real truth. Jim Johnson's book proved to be exactly what I had been seeking. At times, it is very readable and other times bogs down with so much information I couldn't quite put it all together. I believe his evidence proves his points especially since he took so many painstaking years and spent so much money to insure the accuracy of his research, using many different sources. He includes copies of various birth certificates and other relative documents. And, no, I am not going to spoil your enjoyment by revealing his findings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Billy the Kid, His Real Name Was..." by Jim Johnson has enlightened me on the history of the times and circumstances of the era of Billy the Kid. He painstakingly examines each detail of Billy's life through documents, eyewitness reports,newspaper articles and the many contradictory books and stories written over the years. Johnson separates fact from fiction as to the claims of the true identity of Billy the Kid. His style is very readable and his explanations are convincing. The details of his research take you on a journey to the Old West that encourages the reader to know more and come to their own conclusions as to the true identity of Billy the Kid. It was very interesting to learn the inside story of the other historical figures such as Lew Wallace, Pat Garrett, Belle Starr, the James brothers, etc. and revisit their roles in the life of Billy the Kid.
SandyCS More than 1 year ago
Jim Johnson has taken a refreshingly new approach to Brushy Bill Roberts and John Miller. He's written the truth, which he backs up with documentation. To my knowledge, no other author has ever published a true and accurate account of either Brushy Bill or John Miller. Such an account was a long time coming, but Jim has done it. He has laid them both to rest. John Miller would have appreciated Jim's work since John, himself, never claimed to be Billy the Kid. A couple of other key players in the Brushy saga, who I'm sure appreciated it in life, were Maryln Bowlin and Geneva Pittmon. In 1987, Mrs. Maryln Perez Bowlin and her husband, Joe Bowlin, founded the BTKOG to combat all the Brushy Bill lore that had and was continuing to be published. In December of that same year, they recieved a letter from Mrs. Geneva Pittmon, a niece of Brushy Bill. The letter ended with, "I would also like for this to be settled as I know my uncle Oliver was not Billy the Kid." Geneva was the daughter of Brushy's closest brother, Thomas Ulysses Roberts. Geneva had lived near Brushy from the day she was born until Brushy moved to Hico five years before his death. Geneva's letter should have been the final nail in Brushy's coffin. But as we know it wasn't. Instead Geneva was portrayed by the Brushy crowd as his "spiteful" niece who was only a child when Brushy died and therefore couldn't have really known anything. Geneva was actually 32 years old when Brushy died and there is no evidence she was the least bit spiteful. If she had been spiteful, she probably would have burned down a certain red museum on the outskirts of Canton where she lived her whole adult life. Geneva's story is presented in Jim's book. However, the part of her story, that is not mentioned by Jim, is the date of her death. That's because she was still living when Jim's book was published. Geneva died in Canton, Van Zandt Co., Texas on 26 November 2008 at the age of 90. She was fondly remembered in her obit as the "Blue Willow Lady." Less than a month later, Maryln Perez Bowlin died on 21 December 2008 in Albuquerque. Maryln, with the help of Geneva, was the first to crack open the door and let a little sunlight shine into Brushy's world. Jim has kicked that door down! And he did it when Maryln and Geneva were still around to enjoy it. Jim's chapter on John Miller is probably my favorite. It is also completely factual. John Miller never claimed to be Billy the Kid. A certain author made that claim for him long after his death. Miller was a very interesting character in his own right. Unlike Brushy Bill, Miller was a real cowboy with a fascinating youth - "raised by the Indians."
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The-Critical-Reviewer More than 1 year ago
I have always wondered if Billy the Kid actually died on July 14, 1881 and if either John Miller or Brushy Bill Roberts were really Billy the Kid. Now I know the truth beyond any doubt. This book was well researched and is well documented. It is hard to follow at times, but I never really got lost because of all the clear and concise evidence presented. I highly recommend it for any Billy the Kid enthuiast or for anyone that is familiar with the Billy the Kid claimants. Have a great read!!