Pat Garrett’s granddaughters have given two museums some mementos of their grandfather, including a copy of a letter he wrote about killing Billy the Kid.
“I killed the kid that night and he does not live in Mexico as some have stated,” Garrett wrote in the 1906 letter, two years before the sheriff was slain.
Patricia Garrett McCann and Helen Garrett Garner gave the letter and a picture of Garrett’s journal to the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department’s Historical Lawmen Museum.
They also donated a portrait, painting and bust of the lawman and two letters he wrote to his wife to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
“I feel like a kid at Christmas,” said Bob Hart, curator of the heritage museum. “Pat Garrett never got a lot of recognition for bringing law and order to the Southwest.”
Garrett hunted down William H. Bonney Jr., aka Billy the Kid, after a jail escape and shot him to death at Old Fort Sumner in Lincoln County on July 14, 1881.
McCann said she hopes the donations will help pay tribute to her grandfather’s contributions as a lawman.
“Even today the media focuses on the people who commit crimes and not the law officers who catch those criminals,” she said. “It’s time to stop focusing on Billy the Kid, who was a criminal, and start focusing on Pat Garrett, who was a law enforcement officer.”
Garrett was slain in 1908. His killer was never brought to justice.