Billy the Kid was born December 31 1859 in Buffalo Gap, in Taylor County Texas. He was born William Henry Roberts, the son of John Henry Roberts and Mary Adeline Dunn. John Henry Roberts, known as Henry, joined the Confederate Army in 1861 and served under General Lawrence Sullivan Ross until 1863 when he decided to join up with William Clarke Quantrill and his 'Raiders,' as they were called, where he got the name 'Wild Henry' because of how he fought in such a rough and violent way. Adeline Roberts died in 1862 while Henry was away at war. This event led Katharine Ann Bonney, who was Adeline’s half sister, to come out to Indian country in Texas and take young Billy Roberts to live with her. Katherine raised Billy as her own, eventually changing his name in order to hide him from his father. They moved around a lot, finally settling in Silver City New Mexico. Along the way Katherine married William Antrim. In New Mexico, as a child Billy was known as Henry McCarty and also Henry Antrim.
In 1872 Billy left Silver City to try to find his father in Texas. He located him around Carlton Texas. Billy spent about 2 years off and on in Texas with his father learning to ride, rope and general horse and cattle cowboying. Billy went on a few cattle drives with Wild Henry where he was given the nickname 'Kid Roberts.' After recovering from a severe beating at the hand of Wild Henry, Billy decided to take off and get away from him, so he left on a cattle drive headed to Fort Smith Arkansas. Around Briartown Oklahoma Billy left the drive and started off on foot. He was picked up by a lone rider who later identified himself as Jesse James. Billy was taken to a place that was run by no other than Belle Reed who later became Bell Starr. This place was located west of Fort Smith Arkansas in Indian Territory. This is where Billy learned to shoot and handle a weapon very well. He was also able to pick up many things about being an outlaw from the likes of the Jameses, the Youngers, and the Starr clan. Billy stayed there for a couple of months, known as 'Texas Kid,' and then headed back to Silver City New Mexico. Shortly after he arrived back, Katherine died and Billy was once again left to fend for himself. Billy roamed around for a while, First back up to Oklahoma, then to Kansas and the Dakotas, then back down to New Mexico. During this time Billy perfected the art of riding and shooting. He spent time driving Cattle and hanging around with some rough men. Billy even spent some time with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians learning their way with horses and their general way of life; how to live off the land and such. Shortly after arriving in New Mexico Billy hooked up with Jesse Evans whom he had known when he was in New Mexico before. Jesse had become a member of a band of rustlers and general bad men. Billy fell in with them and started getting into trouble. Billy and a fellow named Tom O’Keefe were attacked by Apaches outside of Mesilla in the Guadalupe Mountains. Billy got lost and set out on foot for days. He finally made it to the Jones Ranch at Seven Rivers, Where he was taken care of and once again had to heal. Shortly after that he met John Tunstall and went to work for him as a Ranch hand and gun hand in what was called the Lincoln County War.
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