De Baca County Guide
Last updated on Thursday, February 20, 2003
Billy Bonney, alias Antrim, alias Billy the Kid, a twenty-one year old desperado, who is known to have killed sixteen men, and who boasted that he had killed a man for every year of his life, will no more take deliberate aim at his fellow man and kill him, just to keep himself in practice. He is dead; and he died so suddenly that he did not have time to be interviewed by a preacher, or to sing hymns, or to pray, before that vital spark had flown, so we cannot say positively that he has clum the shining ladder and entered the pearly gates.
The Billy the Kid Museum is located in Fort Sumner, New Mexico on Highway 60-84, 2 miles East of downtown. One of the most complete museums in the Southwest. Features Billy the Kid items, antique cars, and around 60,000 relics that give a better understanding of the region's historic past. The museum appeals to old and young alike. Large souvenir and gift shop. Ample parking.
When you say "Bosque Redondo" it has a melodious, pleasant sound, but the reality is just the opposite. It was the scene of one of the saddest events in the nation's history.
DeBaca County Guide: Information about Fort Sumner, Lake Sumner, Bosque Redondo, the Long Walk, Billy the Kid and more.
The Fort Sumner Chamber of Commerce brochure that touts the community as the Pride of the Pecos contains another item not often seen on such brochures: "Attitude Friendly." Those words beckon you, inviting a visit.
Located on U. S. Highway 60 halfway between Albuquerque and Lubbock, Texas, 160 miles each way, old Fort Sumner was built in 1862. General James H. Carleton built the fort seven miles southeast of the present town at the Bosque Redondo (round wood or grove) as an Indian reservation for the Navajos and Apaches. These Native Americans were forced to leave their homes and walk 400 miles to the Fort, an episode in our history known as the "Long Walk." The post was named for General Edwin Vose Sumner who died as the new fort was being built. It is now a state monument, one of five in New Mexico.
Our most noted outlaw in the West is Billy the Kid. His legend has outgrown the real facts of this sometimes hated, sometimes loved young outlaw. He’s a mystery in spite of all that has been written about him since before he was killed. Today we still do not know who his real father was. We do not know the exact date of his birth or where he was actually born. The very first documentation about this youth is the marriage record of his mother, Catherine McCarty to William H. Antrim in the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe on March 1, 1873, and lists one of her sons as Henry McCarty.
The first little dot on the map of Route 60 when you enter DeBaca County from the west is Yeso. It's described in one book as "an impressive ruin of numerous well-constructed stone houses." Its beginning was involved with the establishment of the railroad. Though it survived a drought between 1909 and 1912 and the 1919 flu epidemic, the Great Depression and the Second World War caused its demise.
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