Well, Billy the Kid was called a fair-haired kid, and he sure wasn't a Mexican. Roberts told Morrison that he would agree to tell the "whole truth" in exchange for the full pardon that Billy the Kid had been promised by Wallace following the Lincoln County War.
Did he in fact end his days as a very old man in Central Texas living under the name of Brushy Bill Roberts?  In January 1950, Brushy Bill claimed he was a member of the JamesYounger Gang as a teenager, and identified J. Frank Dalton as Jesse James..
As an expert horseman, Brushy Bill even trained Teddy Roosevelt's rough riders.  O'Reilly followed up his book with an episode on the subject during his national television broadcast purportedly depicting the events that occurred during the alleged killing of the Kid from Brushy Bill's perspective. said Dean. Marshall Trimbleis Arizonas official historian and the Wild West History Associations vice president. , Writer W. C. Jameson, a Brushy Bill enthusiast, claims that Brushy Bill's actual name was William Henry Roberts, and that Oliver Pleasant Roberts was not the same person as "Brushy Bill", although Robert's niece definitively stated that her uncle "Brushy Bill" was named Oliver P. Roberts, and was not Billy the Kid. Now if he's dead in July of 81, why are they were looking for two and a half years and possibly still looking for him? Physically, Brushy looked no way, shape or form like the Kid. Ultimately, both Poe and McKinney agreed with Garrett, but McKinney recanted years later and claimed like Poe before him that Garrett had killed someone else. Local residents of Fort Sumner also immediately disputed the death of the Kid. He was known by many aliases; we know him as Billy the Kid. The initiative hit snags from the beginning, including the fact that no confirmation exists as to where the remains are located, and ensuing legal obstacles. Bill and Sam Jones declined to sign such affidavits, Sam Jones begging off with the statement, "Received your letter, and am sorry but feel that I can't sign your affidavit. Wild West fans visit the museum by the score many of them hoping "The Kid" did turn from his killing ways and lived a long life to redeem his past. Morrison then began a correspondence with Roberts, who eventually "confessed" to being the Kid, and detailed his supposed exploits as an outlaw. But Billy Barlow was and he was riding with the kid at that time. If this is true, then Brushy Bill couldn't possibly be Billy the Kid, right? Snow indicated that if the two were the same person, then Roberts should have ranked at least second. Or was he? I received a letter a while back from a True West reader asking for my opinion on Brushy Bill Roberts claim to be Billy the Kid. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, firstname.lastname@example.org Ask the Marshall, P.O. ", "Jesse Wants His "True" Name; Asks Court For Official Rule", "Billy the Kid's DNA sparks legal showdown", Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire, Dick Brewer, Billy the Kid and the Regulators, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brushy_Bill_Roberts&oldid=1090610450, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles needing additional references from November 2019, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, This page was last edited on 30 May 2022, at 11:37. Brushy Bill's story is promoted by the "Billy the Kid Museum" in his hometown of Hico in Hamilton County, Texas. Brushy Bill claimed to have been born William Henry Roberts in Buffalo Gap, Texas, near Abilene, on December 31, 1859, but was known to use several other aliases during his life. It's always been a tourist attraction and we've always been proud of it," said Sue Land, director of the Billy the Kid Museum. This is a story nobody wanted to believe until proof was found. The study corrected for the facial positioning and used the same facial recognition system used by the FBI, CIA, and Interpol, which are claimed to provide a "significant level of statistical validity". Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. They even checked the old mans body for scars from wounds Billy the Kid was known to have suffered. In 2005, W.C. Jameson, himself a student of C.L. He trained the horses for the rough riders," said Land. In addition, Roberts had allegedly claimed to be a member of Jesse James's gang, before deciding to come out as the authentic Billy the Kid. I'm old and I just don't feel like being obligated so" Bill Jones' grandson expressed doubts about the veracity of Roberts' claims in a letter of refusal written on his grandfather's behalf.  His claim was explored in a 2011 episode of Brad Meltzer's Decoded and a segment by Robert Stack in 1989 on Unsolved Mysteries. The next morning hires people, digs a grave, and puts the body in a grave before dawn the next morning. It was noted that the accuracy of facial comparisons is dependent on the position of the face in the photographs being the same. Brushy had gray eyes with yellow specks while the Kid had clear blue eyes; Brushy had a square shaped jaw while the Kids was rounder; the ears are completely different and lastly, Billys shoulders are much more slopped and narrower than Brushys. Why would somebody shoot himself five or six times and stab himself with a knife just to prove something, you know?. Roberts.. Brushy was also illiterate, while the Kid was not. Theres an unsolved mystery centered in Central Texas around the notorious outlaw. At the time of his death, Brushy Bill lived on West 2nd Street in Hico. Some people just cant accept the fact that famous people are mortal too. More books were written on the mystery, and researchers began exploring whether Brushy's claim might have actually been true, including several failed attempts to obtain permission for exhumation and DNA testing. Photographs of Brushy Bill Roberts at age 14 seemed to resemble the well-known Dedrick-Upham tintype of Billy The Kid. Brushy never received his pardon because New Mexico officials didnt believe he was really the kid.  The exhumation of both sets of remains was blocked in court in September 2004. And the museum has copies of affidavits dated after 1881 showing an ongoing search for Billy the kid. Photo-op mockup of Billy the Kid in the Chamber of Commerce, Hico, Texas, April 1, 2010, Historic district in Hico with Billy the Kid Museum, American man who claimed to be Billy the Kid, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "The Old Man Who Claimed to Be Billy the Kid", "A family Bible belonging to the sister of Brushy Bill, who claimed to be Billy the Kid, listed his birth year as 1879. They appeal to peoples fondness for conspiracy and cover up. In April 2015, media personality Bill O'Reilly weighed in on the topic by publishing his book Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Real West, in which he suggests that the evidence in favor of Brushy Bill Roberts outweighs the accepted version of history, citing the original Alias Billy the Kid book by Morrison and Sonnichsen.  Brushy Bill himself was illiterate with a moderate proficiency in Spanish. Land believes Brushy Bill Roberts was Billy the Kid, there is not a body in the grave in Fort Sumner, and that Sheriff Pat Garrett killed the wrong man and claimed it was the kid to collect the reward money. He was buried in the county seat of Hamilton, 20 miles south of Hico. He showed his ability to slip out of handcuffs, and said that Pat Garrett had actually shot and killed another gunslinger named Billy Barlow and had passed his body off as the Kid's, which had allowed the Kid to vanish and escape to Mexico. In 2003, Lincoln County Sheriff Tom Sullivan, Capitan, New Mexico Mayor Steve Sederwall, and De Baca County, New Mexico Sheriff Gary Graves began a campaign to exhume the remains of Billy the Kid and his mother, Catherine Antrim, to prove through DNA analysis that in fact Billy the Kid was buried in Fort Sumner.
Pat Garrett shot him twice in the back. And nobody believed he was dead or they wouldn't have been looking for him.. The mystery surrounding Brushy Bill Roberts and Billy the Kid is great for the town of Hico. Mabry announced that he did not believe Roberts' story, and denied the pardon application. Lastly, Brushys niece, Mrs. Geneva Pittmon, would say that Brushys birth date is recorded in the family Bible as 1879, which means he was a toddler still running around in short pants when the Kid was killed. His sudden appearance and request for a pardon had a profound effect on Garrett's descendants. In 1996, the results of the study were presented to Andre McNeil, chancery judge of the 12th judicial district, and a prominent Arkansas attorney, Helen Grinder, who stated that based on the study and other evidence the case for Roberts being Billy the Kid was "strong", "substantial", and "excellent".. Roberts' claim was rejected by the governor of New Mexico, Thomas J. Mabry, in 1950. Mabry announced the meeting, which was covered by the press. Dean and Land believe Billy the Kid escaped to Mexico then later returned to Texas in 1883. "And we don't celebrate the fact that he was an outlaw or a killer.". He fell over. In a word, the answer is no. But Brushy Bill Roberts never claimed to be Billy the Kiduntil shortly before his death when he wanted to get the pardon that had been promised him back in the 1800s by then governor of New Mexico, Lew Wallace. Despite the discrepancies noted above, the Hico Chamber of Commerce has capitalized on his claim by opening the "Billy the Kid Museum" in the historic Western section of Hico. Besides, conspiracies are fun. Pat Garrett takes the body before dawn. In 1989, the Lincoln County Heritage Trust commissioned a computer study by Robert L. Har and Dr. Thomas G. Kyle, who used an analytical process of his own creation instead of established protocols used by law enforcement. Impossible. Now in the Mercantile you can find True West, The have been tall tales told about Belle Starr and Flora Quick robbing trains and. Adding to the mystery: DNA confirmation isnt possible flooding washed away the graves in new Mexico. Andrew Roberts is one of those legendary characters of the Old West, a tough as, New True West merchandise is here! Was he gunned down at age 21 in New Mexico, or did the kid cheat death and live to age 90 in a quiet corner of Hamilton County? This resulted in Roberts' photo ranking 42nd (i.e. , In 1990, a study using photo comparison equipment at the Laboratory for Vision Studies and the Advanced Graphic Laboratory in the University of Texas was conducted by image experts Scott Acton and Alan Bovik. The press attention and the trip from his home in Hico to Santa Fe had a negative effect on the elderly Roberts' health, and he died soon afterwards. So, any chance for DNA verification? "They were still looking for Billy the Kid and putting the posters and warrants out in 82 and 83. When Brushy Bill was questioned, he couldnt remember important events that happened in the Kids life, such as his escape from Lincoln. Garrett hastily assembled an official inquest by political cronies, and clinched his claim to the killing and all outstanding rewards. Did you think really anybody back then believed he was dead? Sonnichsen, re-examined the subject and released Billy the Kid: Beyond the Grave. Numerous books have been published since 1950 examining Brushy's claim, the first of which was Alias Billy the Kid, written by Morrison and the Western historian C.L. : 41 other people more closely resembled the tintype than Roberts). Brushy Bill Roberts (August 26, 1879 December 27, 1950; claimed date of birth December 31, 1859) also known as William Henry Roberts, Ollie Partridge William Roberts, Ollie N. Roberts, or Ollie L. Roberts, was an American man who attracted attention by claiming to be Western outlaw William H. Bonney, also known as Billy the Kid. . "There is no bodies in those graves out there," said Dean.  Morrison continued his search for the man who claimed to be Billy the Kid, and in 1948, an elderly man named J. Frank Dalton in Lawton, Oklahoma, claimed to be Jesse James, and said Billy the Kid was still alive in Hamilton Texas, where he was known as O. L. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Whats not in dispute? Scanned photographs of Billy the Kid and Roberts, along with those of 150 other people, were fed into a computer using a "similarity index" to match 25 facial "landmarks". Within moments after the shooting by Garrett, Poe told Garrett he had "shot the wrong man"; since it was too dark in the room for a visual identification, Garrett claimed he knew it was the Kid by his voice, though all present had only heard whispers. "He was a Vaccaro on the ranch. In 1948, a probate investigator from St. Louis, William V. Morrison, located an elderly man named Joe Hines, who had claimed the lands of his deceased brother.  In the downtown is a marker devoted to Brushy Bill: "Ollie L. 'Brushy Bill' Roberts, alias Billy the Kid, died in Hico, Texas, December 27, 1950. Hines told Morrison of his experiences in the Lincoln County War, and surprised him by claiming that Billy the Kid was still alive, but refused to reveal the name he had assumed or exactly where he was living. These findings, though, would have to be replicated to be scientifically conclusive (which to date has not occurred), and in that case would still not prove that Roberts and Billy the Kid were the same person. The Sonnichsen book received mixed reviews at the time, but did win support from former President Harry S. Truman, who wrote to Morrison indicating he believed that Brushy was Billy the Kid and lamenting that he died before being able to go in front of the next governor, where he may have gotten a more favorable result. A photograph of Brushy Bill at age 71 was a 93% match. Sonnichsen, but virtually every single one was based upon Pat Garrett's published account from 1882, and Garrett's book, mostly a concoction of factual material mixed with fabrications written by Roswell's postmaster, Ash Upson, established the Kid legend for subsequent decades. His latest book is 2018sArizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Brushy claimed there was no shooting going on, which means Olinger and Bell werent killed. , If Brushy Bill had been born in 1859, he would have been 90 at the time of his death from a massive heart attack in Hico, Texas. "And why would anybody self-inflict? Well, that's a Mexican cowboy back then. "And he had them all in the correct places," said Dean. They become more famous by dying young than if they had grown old, feeble and long-forgotten. Timing is everything. Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way. McDaniels, along with Severo Gallegos, Martile Able and Jose Montoya, all of whom had known Billy the Kid, signed affidavits verifying their belief that Roberts was, in fact, Billy the Kid. Had he been born in 1879, he would have been only 71 at the time of his death. He told anecdotes that if true would fill in undocumented gaps in many aspects of the life of Billy the Kid, and asked for Morrison's help in acquiring the full pardon he said he had been promised by New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace in 1879, but which was subsequently withdrawn. Morrison vouchsafed that upon examination of Robert's stripped body, he showed 26 bullet and knife scars. They have nothing to do it with there..  Billy the Kid could read and write English, and was fluent in spoken Spanish. First, the evidence is overwhelming that Billy was shot and killed by Pat Garratt on July 14, 1881 at Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. "He was even with them when they were loading them on the ship to go to Cuba.. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327. While McKinney claimed to slightly know the Kid, Poe had never previously laid eyes on him. Marshall Trimble, the official historian of Arizona, cites Frederick Nolan, an authority on the life and times of Billy the Kid, who refers to a letter sent in 1987 by Mrs. Geneva Pittmon to Joe Bowlin, the founder of a history buff group called the "Billy the Kid Gang, Inc.", in which she stated that her uncle, the man known as "Brushy Bill", was named Oliver P. Roberts, and that he was born August 26, 1879, according to the family Bible.  Morrison also attempted to track down former Jesse Evans gang member Jim McDaniels, and located him in Round Rock, Texas. Brushy and his story were largely forgotten until the movie Young Guns II depicted him as the narrator of events surrounding the life and times of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War. What was the haste to put the body in the grave?. This boy walks up on the porch," said Dean. "In 1908, the Pecos river changed course and took out the cemetery at Fort Sumner, so, they went all down the river. Jameson's work led to increased interest in and study of Robert's story, most notably that of former Lincoln County deputy sheriff and mayor of Capitan, New Mexico, Steve Sederwall. He spent the last days of his life trying to prove to the world what he claimed was his true identity, and to obtain the pardon promised to Billy the Kid by the governor of the territory of New Mexico (Lew Wallace).
The body was quickly buried the following day in a grave that vanished in floods over the years; the grave as marked today likely contains no remains at all and requests for an exhumation have been officially denied. Many considered it settled that he was shot, killed, and buried in Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 1881 at the hands of Sherriff Pat Garrett. We believe he was Brushy Bill," said Historian Robert Dean, president and treasurer of the museum. Both Acton and Bovik concluded that this result "irrefutably shows that Roberts and the Kid are a very close match". I think it was author, Jeff Guinn who said You gotta die right to cement yourself as an icon in American History..  The only three witnesses to the alleged killing of the Kid by Pat Garrett were Garrett himself and Deputies John W. Poe and Thomas McKinney. "It's a no-brainer to me, you know?"