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Billy the Kid

By rareAdmin, Tuesday, 29th November 2022 | 0 comments
Filed under: Irish Roots.

Billy the Kid.

Billy the Kid: (1859 -1881) real name William McCarty was a 19th century gunman who became an infamous outlaw in the American Old West.

Early Life

Billy the Kid was born William McCarty Jr. on November 23, 1859, in New York City. He was born in an Irish neighborhood in Manhattan (at 70 Allen Street) to Irish immigrants William Patrick McCarty and Catherine McCarty. Little is known about the early life of William McCarty but it is believed that his father died or left the family when Billy was very young, and he was orphaned at 15 when his mother died of tuberculosis. Shortly after, he and his brother got involved in petty theft.

McCarty had a slim physique, sandy blond hair and blue eyes and wore a signature sugar loaf sombrero hat with a wide decorative band. He could be charming and polite one moment, then outraged and violent the next, a quixotic nature he used to great effect during his heists and robberies.


On the run from the authorities, McCarty moved to Arizona briefly before joining up with a gang of gunfighters called The Boys to fight in the Lincoln County War. Known as "The Kid," McCarty switched to the opposition to fight with John Tunstall under the name "the Regulators."

Barely escaping with his life, McCarty became an outlaw and a fugitive. He stole horse and cattle until his arrest in 1880 for the killing of Sheriff Brady during the Lincoln County War. After being sentenced to death, he killed his two guards and escaped in 1881. He was hunted down and shot dead by Sheriff Patrick Garrett on July 14, 1881 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Shortly after the shooting, Sheriff Garrett wrote a biography of McCarty, the hugely sensationalized The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid. The book was the first of many accounts that would turn the young outlaw into a legend of the American frontier.

PHOTO: This photograph of Billy the Kid sold for $2.3 million at auction on June 25, 2011. Billy, who was about 20 at the time, probably paid 25 cents to have the picture taken around 1879. The photograph - a tintype, which is an early type of photography that used metal plates - is believed to have been taken outside a saloon at Fort Sumner, New Mexico.