WPA Early Days In Lincoln County


Writer: Frances E. Totty


Interview with: Charles [Rouark?] age 78


FEB 14 1938


I went to Lincoln County in the early days, but was not in the war. The first time I saw Pat Garrett, we had an argument. I had been to Roswell by the usual route when I returned there was a gatewired up in those days we didn't wire up gates. If I had to go around [Im?] would have had to [ridden four?] miles around the fence and came back to the gate to get on the trail again. I [cut?] the gate down and left it down. The next morning Pat Garrett rode up to our camp. He asked me "Do you know anything about that gate being down?"

"I do I cut it down last night when I came to it, gates aren't supposed to be wired in this country."

"If you don't want to get into trouble you had better leave that gate alone." Pat replied.

"The next time I come to that gate and it is wired up I will cut it down, I'll d-- sure tell you, and I [donít?] intend to ride around."

"Young man I am a good mind to get down from here and whip you with this quirt", Pat answered.

"Pat you have another think coming remember for once you don't have a gun on and I do you may wear a quirt out on [same?], but you will never wear one out on me. I am not afraid of you or the stories they tell for you don't look like a man eater to me. So you had better think before you get off of that horse." I answered.

Pat never answered he turned his horse and rode away. The gate wasn't tied up when I next came to it and I always put it back up after going through it.

The people around Lincoln say Garrett didn't kill Billie the Kid. John [????]

said he didn't see the man that Garrett killed. I can take you to the grave in Hells Half Acre, and old government cemetry, where Billie was supposed to be buried and show you the grave.

The cook at Pete Maxwells was always putting flowers on the grave and praying at it. This woman thought a lot of Billie, but after Garrett killed the man at Maxwells home her grandson was never seen again and Billie was seen by Bill Nicholi? and indian [scont?]. Bill saw him in old Mexico.

Pat Garrett and Billie had been good friends, and Garrett knew that Billie wasn't yellow or a coward. Billie never killed without a cause. Billie wasn't mean he was just quick on the draw and [did not?] have to practice hours to hit his target. Billie didn't steal he might [barrow?] a mans horse from his corral, but he would always seen that it was returned to him.

In the early days everyone was welcome to chuck and no question asked. Anyone was welcome to stay as long as he wished, and his name was ever asked for no one went by their name any way. People were different than today they respected the other fellows rights.

The dances of old were a place to go and enjoy the evening not a place to get drunk. A girl wouldn't dance with a drunk man, and a man that had to much to drink had to much respect for others to go in the room where the women were as a general rule. Billie the Kid was welcome by all at the [dances He?] was a good dancer and [had] nice manners, and always respected everyone. Billie was a jolly happy go lucky person that seemed to bring laughter with him as well as death to his enemies


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