Billy The Kid


The New Mexico State Records Center and Archives (SRCA) is a major source of information for any individual performing research on William H. Bonney, alias Billy the Kid. This pathfinder is designed to facilitate research and assist the patron in gathering core materials on Billy the Kid. The primary and secondary sources provided should contribute to the patron’s ability to plan a more extensive project. All the material referred to in this pathfinder is located at the State Records and Archives; however, many of these same resources can be found in other libraries and archives.


Despite his death in 1881, Billy the Kid has refused to take his place amongst the daisies. He is kept alive by researchers all around the world who are fascinated with this 19th century character. While numerous books, articles, and movies have been written and released, Billy the Kid scholars continue to search for new information on this well-known American outlaw. As a result, the Archives and Historical Services Division is at times inundated with correspondence, e-mails, faxes, and telephone calls, all requesting information on Billy the Kid. In response to this demand, this pathfinder was been created to assist patrons locate specific materials on Billy the Kid. A packet, including photocopies of the most requested items, is also available.

Before using the State Records Center and Archives, it is recommended that preliminary research be conducted first. Review as much secondary materials as possible. Once the preliminary research is compiled, the State Records Center and Archives has many resources to help continue your research. The sources listed in this pathfinder are intended to familiarize the beginning Billy the Kid researcher with the different types of primary material available at the SRCA.


Primary Sources

  • Territory of New Mexico vs. William Bonney, alias “Kid”, alias William Antrim, Doña Ana County Criminal Case Nos. 531 and 532, (1878).
  • Reward for the arrest of Billy the Kid, December 3, 1880. TANM, Roll 21, Frame 565.
  • Lew Wallace authorization of $500 reward for the capture of William Bonney, December 13, 1880. TANM, Roll 99, Frame 172.
  • Death warrant of Billy the Kid, Lincoln County, April 30, 1881. TANM, Roll 21, Frames 581 and 582.
  • Attorney General’s opinion regarding the reward payment due Pat Garrett for the death/capture of Billy the Kid, July 21, 1881. TANM, Roll 21, Frame 595.
  • Copies of death warrant, Sheriff’s certificate of Billy the Kid’s escape, and the jury’s verdict verifying the death of Billy the Kid. Lincoln County Records, Box 2, Folder 132.
  • Sheriff’s request for payment for transporting Billy the Kid from Mesilla to Lincoln, 1881. TANM, Roll 47, Frame 335.
  • Letter from Governor Sheldon to Legislature approving the payment of reward to Pat Garrett for the death of Billy the Kid, February 14, 1882. TANM, Roll 5, Frame 765; Roll 6, Frame 127; NM Law 1882, page 191.
  • Certificate by Col. Pennypacker that witnesses in Lincoln County War are not available to testify at the District Courts in Doña Ana and Socorro Counties, May 19, 1879. Adjutant General Collection, Fort Stanton File.

Secondary Sources

  • History File. Folder No. 20 contains articles, newspaper clippings, stories, and letters regarding Billy the Kid
  • Don Cline Collection


  • The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, By Pat F. Garrett, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1954
  • History of “Billy the Kid,” By Chas. A. Sirigino, 1920
  • The Saga of Billy the Kid, By Walter Noble Burns, Doubleday, Page & Company, 1926
  • The Tragic Days of Billy the Kid, By Frazier Hunt, Hastings House Publishers, New York, 1956
  • The Death of Billy the Kid, By John W. Poe, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1933

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