WPA -Early Days in Lincoln County


Writer: Frances E. Totty

Interview with: Josh Brent, 50 ?


May 26, 1938


Early Days In Lincoln County


My grandfather Sotorona Baca and his wife were born in Barcelona, Spain and was considered quite wealthy for those days. They came to America and settled at El Paso, Texas where they lived for some time but the old Spanish Legend was going the rounds at the time that they a settled at El Paso and it wasn't long until he decided that there was something to the story, and invested $10,000.00 in the swindling scheme, which was all lost as the people that he gave the money to were imposters of the early days and the old story of the lost bullion has gone on down the years.

Grandfather after he lost so much money moved to Lincoln and bought a ranch or two as he figured that he was nearly broke and he had to recover some of his losses. He started to raising cattle, horses and [mules?] and hogs. He had been a captain in the army was hired by the government to take supplies to The Fort Stanton Reservation. He never did have any trouble in getting the supplies to the Indians as Murphy was hired by the government to furnish the supplies.

My mother Carolatta Baca Brent was born in Lincoln on Jan. 17, 1865. She has a sister that still lives in Lincoln. Mother was in the middle of the Lincoln [?] and carried messages for both parties. The message was delivered in a bucket of beans. Mother saw Billie the Kid kill Sheruff Brady from the window in the tower. The Spanish and Mexican class of people were friends to Billie the Kid. They often hid him under the floor of their houses and in every way possible warned him of his dangers.

My father was a under sheriff of Pat Garrets and was with him when he captured Billie the Kid at Stinking Springs[.?]

Pat Garrett told father after he killed Billie the Kid that a fellow from the east wrote to him and said that he would pay $500.00 for the [?] trigger finger of the boy. I have read many books on the boy, but this is one fact that I have never seen published. Billie the Kid was not a killer but was fighting for cause and father told us that he was an unusually nice boy. He took the part of [McSween?] and fought for the McSween's right to the finish. Mr McSween was a very [refined?] gentlemen and never could believe that the guns should rule as they did, and could never be convinced that he should carry a gun, he died in the war [carrying?] his Bible. Mrs. McSween was a beautiful lady, and understood the ways of the world much better than her husband that was an idealist.

Emerson Huff was living in Lincoln in the early days he worked around the town at any thing that the could get to do. He wanted to save enough money to get to Kansas City. Father was going to take some prisoners to Fort Leavenworth and told Mr. Huff that the would take him that far as a guard. He left father at Leavenworth and drifted into Louisiana and there wrote Mississippi Bubble which brought him a small fortune.

I have at home a spool made into a toy by Pat Garrett that [he?] gave to me when I was a youngster. Patt Garret after killing Billie the Kid always said that he sure hated to kill the boy, but he knew that it was either his life or the boys life, and as he was sent out to bring him back he did the only thing he could do for he realized that Billie would never be taken alive again.

Josh Brent


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