Billie the Kid

As some of you know, Robert’s great-grandfather, Milo Lucius Pierce, Sr. (otherwise known as Limpy Pierce) was the man who was shot by the man who was shot by Billie the Kid. Some people are born great, and others have greatness thrust upon them. Anyway, Billie the Kid wrote a letter to the governor of New Mexico in about 1880 which references Milo Lucius. ¬†Billie was looking for a pardon and used his letter to inform on everyone he knew who was also a part of the Lincoln County War. ¬†Here is a transcription:

Letter from Billie (William Antrim a.k.a. Billy the Kid) to Gov. Lew Wallace – 2 pages, fragment of letter, Mentions both [Milo L.] Pierce and ranch partner [Lewis] Paxton.

“. . . on the Pecos all that I can remember are the so called Dolan outfit but they are all up here now: and on Rio Grande. This man Chris Moten I believe his name is. He drove a herd of 80 head one year ago last December as camping with Frank Wheeler, Frank Baker deceased, Jesse Evans, George Davis alias Tom Jones. Tom Hill his name in Texas being Tom Chelson also deceased. They drove the cattle to the Indian Reservation and sold them to John Riley and J. J. Dolan, and the cattle were turned in for Beef for the Indians. The Beckwith family made their boasts that they came to Seven Rivers a little over four years ago with one Milch Cow borrowed from John Chisum. They had when I was there year ago one thousand six hundred head of cattle. The male members of the family are Henry Beckwith and John Beckwith, Robert Beckwith was killed the time McSween house was burned. Charles, Robert Olinger and Wallace Olinger are of the same gang. Their cattle ranch is situated at Rock Corral twelve miles below Seven Rivers on the Pecos. Paxton and Pierce are still below them forty miles from Seven Rivers there are four

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of them Paxton: Pierce: Jim Raymer, and Buck Powel.[1] They had when I seen them last about one thousand head of cattle. At Rocky Arroya there is another ranch belonging to Smith who operated on the Penasco last year with the Jesse Evans gang. Those and the places I mentioned are all I know of this man Chis Moten at the time they stole those cattle was in the employ of J. J. Dolan and Co. I afterwards seen some of the cattle at the Rinconada Bonita on the reservation. Those were the men we were in search of when we went to the agency. The Beckwith family were attending to their own business when this war was started but G. W. Peppin told them that this was John Chisums war and so they took a hand thinking they would lose their cattle in case that he – Chisum – won the fight. this is all the information I can give you on this front. Yours Respectfully, Billie”
[Copy of document from New Mexico State Library Archives, Santa Fe. Original at the Indiana Historical Society, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Digital Image Library – Lew Wallace in New Mexico, (M 0292) Letter Fragment about 1880.]

[1] 1880 census, Lincoln Co., NM 5th precinct, confirms Pierce, Paxton, Powel, and Raymer all living at the Ranch that Pierce and Paxton owned as partners.

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