Pat Garrett

Pat Garrett




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Pat Garrett


Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett was born on June 5, 1850, in Chambers County, Alabama. He grew up on a farm in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. Pat received little education as a child and could not read or write. He lost both of his parents at a very early age, and soon after moved to Texas. After arriving there he found employment as a buffalo hunter. When the buffalo had almost been completely eliminated Pat moved to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. There he found a job, married twice, and entered into the hog business. Not long afterward a rampaging sow almost killed him.

After, the McSween family home was burned and Billy the Kid escaped, John Chisum wrote Governor Lew Wallace and asked him to appoint Garrett to lead a posse against a group of outlaws who were operating in New Mexico indiscriminately. However, the governor did not listen to his advice. Soon afterward Pat Garrett ran for sheriff as a law and order candidate in Roswell, New Mexico. After winning the election he set out to capture Billy the Kid for the $500 reward. Shortly after the killing Billy, Garrett asked his friend Ash Upson to help him write a book about the Kid, but the book was a failure. Pat then again ran for office, becoming a New Mexico councilman (state senator).

At this time, cowboys were only paid $30 a month plus all of the strays that they could capture. Unfortunately, the ranchers got tired catching people branding their stolen cattle and calling them strays so they could be sold for a profit. The ranchers decided to put an end to the practice. The cowboys did not like the loss of their stray cattle income so they went on strike for higher wages. The cowboys formed the “Get Even Cattle Company” and quickly began rustling their former employers' cattle. Not long afterward things really got out of hand, so Governor Ireland formed a company of Texas Rangers and he appointed Garrett to lead them. It didn't take Garrett long to capture the cowboy rustlers. However, Pat quit the job when he realized that the ranchers wanted him to kill the cowboys.

In 1887, there were three highly controversial men in control of the Mesilla Valley in New Mexico. Colonel Albert J. Fountain was one of them, and his forces wiped out both Indians and outlaw gangs, driving them from the territory. Fountain founded the Mesilla Independent Newspaper, and he went after all of the crooked politicians. Albert Bacon Fall was an attorney who was hungry for political power. He owned the Las Cruces Newspaper called the Independent Democrat. Fall teamed up with a large land owner named Oliver Lee. Lee controlled the Mesilla Valley with guns and gunslingers. Lee was also suspected of being cattle rustler. The nearby livestock association asked Fountain to look into the matter, and after taking depositions he had enough evidence to indict Lee. He and his nine year old left for Lincoln, New Mexico, to present the case to the grand jury and on the way they were murdered. Arrest warrants were issued for Oliver Lee, Jim Gililland, and Bill McNew. Garrett and his posse found Lee and Gililland holed up in the town of Wildly Well. Garrett ordered them to come out with their hands up, but they were hiding on the roof and got the jump on Garrett forcing him to surrender. Eventually, the two were apprehended. During their trial they were represented by Albert Fall. Fall did a brilliant job of defending them, and they were soon found not guilty. Garrett's life would never be the same. He was now defeated and broke. One day while he was on his way into town he was shot in the back of the head.