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Special from the Historical Center

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Before we find out more about the ultimate fate of Billy the Kid, here’s something that you will want to be sure to mark your calendar for:

On Thursday November 14 at 6 pm Dr. Cheryl White will present a book talk and signing of her latest book, Confederate General Leonidas Polk—Louisiana’s Fighting Bishop in the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center’s meeting room (2206 Beckett Street, Bossier City, adjacent to Bossier Central Library). Dr. White is on the History faculty at LSU-Shreveport and has been an extremely popular presenter here at the Historical Center in the past. We promise this will not be any boring history lecture! Dr. White shares her character study of a fascinating man, Episcopal Bishop Polk, a missionary, church-builder and evangelist to slaves, right here in Northwest Louisiana. Polk was also a Confederate warrior and slave-owner.

Picking up with Billy the Kid, he continued his bloody forays, his horse and cattle stealing and his arrogant defiance of the law. The citizens About Fort Sumner asked easy-going peace-loving Pat Garrett to be sheriff. He accepted, took the oath and pinned on his star to begin the war on crime which would include facing his erstwhile friend Billy the Kid.

Sheriff Pat Garrett meant business. He continued his search for Billy who knew that he was a hunted man, taking to his hideouts many times but always returning to steal horses, raid cattle and defy the new sheriff.

“Silently and slowly the sheriff learned the haunts and hideouts of Billy and knew that a certain family was affording him room and board. Silently one night Garrett went to the place. He found Billy’s horse in the barn. He knew that somewhere abut the premises was the wary killer.”

In spite of Garrett’s every effort to make no noise, Billy was alerted. Garrett hoped to take him alive but that was not to be.

‘Quien es?’ asked Billy in Spanish. Garrett recognized the voice. Billy realized that the shadowy form was not a friend and his hands darted for his gun. But this time Billy the Kid, the fastest man on the draw in the old West, lost. Garrett saw the move as quick as a flash. Garrett’s bullet struck Billy in the heart and he died in a few minutes.

Billy’s body was taken into a dust blacksmith shop and laid out on a workbench. Law-abiding men and women of the old West breathed a sigh of relief.

Rupert Peyton concluded his 1954 article with “Law had come at last west of the Pecos and the man who helped turn the trick was once just a farmer boy of northwest Louisiana. His relatives can be found in Bossier, Caddo, Webster and Claiborne parishes.”

 

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us