The Kid’s First Santa Fe Visit

The chapel at Santa Fe’s First Presbyterian Church in 1873.

The wedding of Catherine McCarty and William Antrim took place on March 1, 1873. The ceremony took place in the chapel at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe. It was Catherine’s second marriage. Her first husband had died nine years earlier. The bride’s two sons, Henry and Joe, stood witness at the ceremony. Catherine had severe, advanced tuberculosis. She hoped that her new husband would care for her sons if anything happened to her. After the wedding they moved to the drier climate of Silver City. She prayed that her sons would lead a Christian life. She died a year later, when Henry was 15. He was close to his mother, and her death led him to a life of petty theft and pranks around town. The teenager stole clothes from a Chinese laundry. Henry was arrested, sent to jail and escaped through the jailhouse chimney.

Infamous Outlaw

Billy the Kid.

That was the beginning of his life as a criminal for the fifteen year-old. In New Mexico and Arizona he became known as Billy the Kid. In the seven years that followed Billy the Kid created a larger-than-life persona that continues today. After killing eight men by the age of twenty-one, Billy the Kid was captured and sentenced to death by hanging. At his trial the judge reportedly said at his sentencing “That you will hang until your dead, dead, dead.” Billy the Kid retorted back at the judge, “And you can go to hell, hell, hell.”

End of the Road for Billy the Kid

Two weeks before his scheduled execution the escape-artist managed to get away again, killing two guards in the process. Sheriff Pat Garret tracked him down to the Maxwell Ranch in Fort Sumner, N.M. and shot Billy the Kid dead on July 14, 1881. The life one of the West’s most notorious outlaws ended abruptly but Billy the Kid’s infamy lives on.

Please support Ana Pacheco's work at:

Buy Me a Coffee

Our nation’s history would not be complete without the story of Santa Fe. Experience the ultimate Santa Fe tour with local historian Ana Pacheco.