May 13, 1881
Today is the day that Henry McCarty was to have been hanged. Judge Warren Bristol had passed the death sentence sentence for the murder of the County Sheriff. This was the result of a long standing war between the powerful ring. led by Lawrence G. Murphy, that
controlled the local ranching empires, and the lone resistor, a transplant businessman from England, by the name of John Tunstall. As a
result of his murder, Sheriff Brady was gunned down by Henry in the street a short time later. This led to killings on both sides of the battle, and eventually resulted in Tunstall’s attorney, Alexander McSween, also being killed while his home was being burned down around his head.
McSween’s wife was allowed to leave, but McSween was gunned down while trying to surrender. He was unarmed. Henry and several of his friends (Henry Brown, Jim French, Josiah “Doc” Scurlock, Tom O’Folliard, Jose Chavez y Chavez, George Coe, and a dozen Mexican vaqueros) were in the house at the time, and one of them, Charlie Bowdrie, was killed as well in the fight. The fight was known as the Lincoln
County war, the Sheriff was William Brady, and Henry McCarty was also known as William Bonney, or Billy the Kid.
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