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Pat Garrett

Pat GarrettAKA Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett

Born: 5-Jun-1850
Birthplace: Chambers County, AL
Died: 29-Feb-1908
Location of death: Las Cruces, NM
Cause of death: Justifiable Homicide
Remains: Buried, Masonic Cemetery, Las Cruces, NM

Gender: Male
Religion: Agnostic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Government

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Killed Billy the Kid

Pat Garrett was raised on a prosperous pre-Civil War plantation in Louisiana, then worked as a cowboy and buffalo hunter before becoming a cop. He had a reputation as a hot-tempered man, and in 1877 he killed a friend in a drunken brawl, but was acquitted on grounds of self-defense. Later, while working as a cowpoke, he became friends with Henry McCarty, but soon these two men went their separate ways, literally and figuratively: McCarty killed sheriff William Brady on 1 April 1878 and became famous as "Billy the Kid", and Garrett was briefly a Texas Ranger before coming to Roswell, New Mexico, where he was elected sheriff of Lincoln County in 1880.

Motivated by either a love of justice or the $500 bounty on Billy the Kid, Garrett tracked down two of the Kid's cohorts, Charles Bowdre and Tom O'Folliard, and killed them in Stinking Springs, New Mexico. Then he cornered and arrested Billy the Kid, and brought him to trial on charges of murder. After a speedy trial, the eminent outlaw was ordered to hang, but escaped from jail instead, killing two guards in the process.

And so again the dogged Garrett set out after his former friend. Using a mutual acquaintance to arrange a meeting on 14 July 1881, Garrett crouched in a dark room waiting for the outlaw's arrival. As soon as the door opened, Garrett shot Billy the Kid dead without a word. Some hailed him as a hero for ending a famous criminal's life, but others called him a coward for the manner in which he lured and killed the fugitive. Amid these whispers and aspersions, Garrett soon left his job as sheriff.

After a few years as a lawman in another county, Garrett was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to supervise the El Paso office of the Customs Department. Known as a gambler, heavy drinker, and an ornery ol' cuss, he was the frequent subject of complaints for discourteous, unfair, and impolite behavior, so he did not last long in this job either. He then quit law enforcement, and lived on a ranch with his wife and nine children, where he was generally unpopular among the locals.

Unable to make the ranch a profitable concern, he leased it to one Wayne Brazel. Soon, however, Garrett decided that he did not approve of the way Brazel was running the ranch, and began pressuring Brazel to leave the premises. On 29 February 1908, in a heated discussion, Garrett is said to have told Brazel he would get him off the ranch, "one way or another". Garrett then turned his back to his tenant, unzipped his pants and began urinating, and he was shot twice and killed. Brazel claimed self-defense, the trial lasted one day, and the jury deliberated for less than half an hour before finding him not guilty. A huge barbecue was held at another nearby ranch, to celebrate the verdict.

The story of Garrett and Billy the Kid is, of course, classic lore of the American west, and has been frequent fodder for Hollywood movies. Among the better known adaptations, Garrett was played by Wallace Beery in Billy the Kid (1930), Thomas Mitchell in The Outlaw (1943), James Coburn in Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), Patrick Wayne in Young Guns (1988), and William L. Petersen in Young Guns II (1990).

Father: John Lumpkin Garrett (plantation owner, b. 1822, d. 1868)
Mother: Elizabeth Ann Jarvis Garrett (b. 1829, m. 1846, d. 1867)
Sister: Margaret Garrett Lay (b. 1848, d. 1931)
Sister: Elizabeth Ann Garrett Jackson (m. 1853, d. 1874)
Sister: Sarah Garrett Sherman (b. 1855, d. 1928)
Sister: Susan Garrett ("Sudie", b. 1855, d. 1924)
Brother: John Lumpkin Garrett Jr. (b. 1860, d. 1941)
Brother: Alfred Jarvis Garrett (b. 1862, d. 1923)
Brother: Hillary Warren Garrett (b. 1867, d. 1932)
Wife: Juanita Gutierrez (m. 1877, d. 1880)
Wife: Apolinaira Gutierrez (b. 1861, m. 1880, nine children)


Author of books:
The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid (1882, reportedly ghostwritten)

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