Hello. If you have ever read anything about Billy the Kid or seen the Young Guns movies, you would have run across the mystery surrounding his death. There have been so many questions about what happened that night, and in consequence, there are so many variations to what happened, and they are so far apart that some have to do with the Kid not being killed at all. Some believe he rode off to become Brushy Bill Roberts, John Miller, or a host of other people.You can join Unsolved Mysteries and post your own mysteries or
Many historians have been quoted as saying to the effect of "We'll never know the truth now."
Something has recently come to light shedding truth on what happened that night. There can now be little doubt as to what happened.
First, let me explain that all of the different variations, including the ones where the Kid got away, agree that SOMETHING happened on the night of July 14, 1881. They all also agree that the main stage of what happened was in Pete Maxwell's house. Most, except for one, agree that it was in Pete Maxwell's bedroom.
***Before I reveal what has been found, here is a quick cover of a few variations and why they are murky. If you want, you can skip down to the end of these stars and pick up the post there to find out what was discovered.
Most agree that Pat went to Pete's bedroom in the dark, leaving his two deputies outside on the porch. He went in to wake Pete up to ask him about Billy. That's where the variations begin. In the official form, the Kid walked in and surprised Pat and Pete. He asked in Spanish who those guys were outside. Pat recognized his voice, and the Kid recognized a form. Billy asked Pete in Spanish who was sitting there. Pat rose up, firing twice. One hit Billy and the other ricocheted off the wall and smacked into Pete's headboard next to his head. The first had killed Billy. Pat and Pete ran out of the room and brought a lantern back in to see.
But the deputies said three shots were fired, not two. McKinney, one of the deputies, said Pat killed a Mexican by accident. Brushy Bill Roberts and other people said a long shoot-out ensued, and that they ran away. McKinney went on to say that Pat, frustrated at not killing the Kid, went to Paulita Maxwell's bedroom (the Kid's girlfriend), and waited there for him to show up and shot him with a shotgun. Others say that the whole headboard thing sounded like a made-up story. And there is the whole thing about getting the Kid buried quick. There are other discrepancies involved too, like two different coroner's reports, etc.***
So we will never know? Well, there was one quiet little statement made by a young, skinny girl after it happened, who was also there. That statement was put away and for whatever reason, never brought out and considered as reliable evidence. Her name was Paulita Maxwell, daughter of Pete and girlfriend of Billy's. It HAD to be brought out recently because of what we have found.
The Lincoln, New Mexico sheriff, partnered with another fellow, found a family still living in New Mexico whose members were direct descendants of Pete Maxwell. This family had inherited---and kept intact---Pete Maxwell's entire bedroom suite that he had from that night!! If you are a history buff at all, you can see the significance of this. Very few cases ever get breaks like this. And the markings match exactly the story of Paulita Maxwell.
First, the headboard is intact. No bullet holes. But here is Paulita's story. Pat sat on the bed and Billy came to the house looking for meat because he had heard that Pete killed a calf that day. He had no boots or hat on, only wore an undershirt, and carried a rather dull carving knife and a pistol. He was startled by the deputies, and opened the flap that hung over the bedroom doorway and entered the room where Pat sat with Pete. Billy asked who those guys were outside. Pat rose up and fired once, blinding himself with the flash and smoke. Not knowing where Billy went, not knowing he was dead, he dove for a corner. He looked up and saw something white above his head, and fired at it, believing it was the Kid.
He had fired into the bottom cabinet of the washing sink against the wall, according to Paulita.
We have that sink now. There is a .44 bullet hole right through it, and it matches the bullet from Pat's gun he had that night.
So now we know. We know that the Kid was killed that night, and we know what happened in that bedroom.
Paulita went on to say that the men left the room, came back with a lantern and put it on the windowsill to peer in before going in. She herself went in and put Billy's knife and gun in the top drawer of the dresser. Of course, they are not there now. There is a museum that supposedly has the knife and gun, but I don't know if they are authentic or not. Well, Paulita and the other women took the body to the carpenter's shop and layed him out, stuffing a rag in the hole in his back (where the bullet exited, leaving a big hole), and lit candles around the body until morning when the burial took place.
I wrote a short story that I posted on here called A Legend Launched in a Moonlit Night. I had already heard of Paulita's testimony, and for some reason, I believed it above the others and used it for my story. I guess I was right.
I think it is fascinating when you can pull details of history together like this and see exactly what did happen, and even have all the pieces together to look at. These historians really have lucked out.
P.S. The family who owns Pete's belongings wants to remain anonymous. I haven't heard if they are going to give it up to the public or not.
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