Billy the Kid

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Father: unknown—possibly Patrick Henry McCarty, Michael McCarty, or William Bonney
Stepfather: William Antrim
Mother: Catherine McCarty/Katherine McCarty Bonney

Henry McCarty, better known as Billy the Kid, but also known by the aliases Henry Antrim and William H. Bonney (reportedly November 23, 1859[1] – July 14, 1881), was a 19th century American frontier outlaw and gunman who participated in the Lincoln County War. According to legend, he killed 21 men,[2] but he is generally accepted to have killed between four [2] and nine.[3]

McCarty (or Bonney, the name he used at the height of his notoriety) was 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm) to 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm) tall with blue eyes, a smooth complexion, and prominent front teeth. He was said to be friendly and personable at times,[4][5] and many recalled that he was as "lithe as a cat".[4] Contemporaries described him as a "neat" dresser who favored an "unadorned Mexican sombrero".[4][6] These qualities, along with his cunning and celebrated skill with firearms, contributed to his paradoxical image, as both a notorious outlaw and beloved folk hero.[7]

Relatively unknown during his own lifetime, he was catapulted into legend the year after his death when his killer, Sheriff Pat Garrett, along with co-author M.A. "Ash" Upson, published a sensationalistic biography titled The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid. Garrett's story has been challenged and is today in serious doubt. Beginning with Garrett's account, Billy the Kid grew into a symbolic figure of the American Old West.[8]


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