Thursday, August 26, 2010

Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway ~ Lincoln

Lincoln is considered by many historians to be the most authentic old west town remaining in our country.
President Rutherford B. Hayes called Lincoln’s one street “the most dangerous street in America.”
#1 Pat Garrett
Now, visitors can walk the street in the footsteps of Sheriff Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, and other infamous characters involved in the Lincoln County War, 1877-1881.
Tunstall Store ~ now a museum 
The Lincoln County War began in 1877 when John Tunstall started a mercantile store in competition with the one that L.G. Murphy and Co. had established.
Dolan House ~ now a Tea & Coffee Shoppe serving breakfast & lunch
Murphy and his protege James Dolan were backed by powerful politicians and investors and deputized a group of gunmen know as "The Boys."
Tunstall was soon murdered and his allies, including Billy the Kid, formed their own branch of lawmen known as "The Regulators." County residents chose up sides and even today, conflicting stories of Billy the Kid live on.

Billy was captured by Sheriff Pat Garrett, then tried, convicted and sentenced for the murder of Sheriff Will Brady, but he escaped, killing two guards, Deputy Bell and Marshall Olinger, on April 28th, 1881.
The Lincoln County Courthouse was where he was being held awaiting execution and it had yet to construct a jail so prisoners were held upstairs.
The only access to the second floor was this stairway.
Wortly Hotel
Sheriff Garrett, who was out of town at the time, said that Deputy Bell had accompanied Billy to the outhouse while Marshall Oliger was across the street at the Wortly Hotel with the other prisoners for lunch.
Somehow Billy managed to get his hands on a gun and shot Bell on the stairway.

Marshall Olinger heard the shot and ran to the courthouse where he was also shot by The Kid.
It took approximately 3 months for Garrett to finally track Billy down in Fort Sumner. What happened that night on the Maxwell Ranch is the subject of much contention but, Sheriff Garrett is said to have described killing The Kid with a bullet to the chest.

inside the Lincoln County Courthouse
Today Lincoln is a National Historic Monument and home to 16 historic buildings and six museums.

view from the second floor of the courthouse looking at the lovely private residence across the street.
Want to read more about Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway? Check out my Capitan post here.
And stay tuned for more about Lincoln!

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