Henry McCarty was born in New York City sometime in 1859 to Catherine and Patrick McCarty He had an older sister Bridget An 1855 New York City census shows Patrick (43), Catherine(30) and Bridget(2) An 1860 New York City census shows Patrick McCarthy(not McCarty, 30), Catherine(29), Bridget(7) and Henry(1) It seems the McCarty's lied about their name and ages in the 1860 census but the census's correctly listed the ages of Bridget and Henry A letter from an official of Saint Peters's Church in Manhattan states it is in possession of records showing Henry McCarty was baptized in that church on September 28, 1859. Census records indicate his younger brother, Joseph McCarty, was born in 1863 Following the death of her husband Patrick, Catherine McCarty and her sons moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where she met William Antrim, and the family moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1870, and then to Sante Fe New Mexico, and Catherine married Antrim on March 1, 1873, at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory Henry McCarty and his brother Joseph were present at the wedding ceremony. Shortly afterward, the family moved from Santa Fe to Silver City, New Mexico, and Joseph McCarty began using the name Joseph Antrim Here William Antrim worked at odd jobs while trying to strike it rich in the silver mines and Catherine took in boarders to help make ends meet With both parents working constantly young Henry McCarty had little adult supervision His mother died of tuberculosis in 1874 One of young Henry's first crimes came in 1875 when at age 16 he hid clothes that had been stolen from a Chinese laundry It wasn't a serious crime but upon his capture Henry was put in the Silver City Jail He was not however held in a cell Instead he had the run of the jailhouse corridor and escaped by climbing up the chimney How Henry spent the next two years of his life is unclear In the late 1870s Henry now known as kid Antrim turned up at Camp Grant Arizona where the teenager returned to a life of crime and committed his first murder when on August 17 1877 during a barroom fight he shot and killed Frank P. Cahill Arizona Weekly Star of August 23, 1877: Frank P. Cahill was shot by Henry Antrim alias Kid at Camp Grant on the 17th, and died on the 18th. The following are the dying words of the deceased: I, Frank P. Cahill, being convinced that I am about to die, do made the following as my final statement: My name is Frank P. Cahill. I was born in the county and town of Galway, Ireland: yesterday, Aug. 17th, 1877, I had some trouble with Henry Antrim, otherwise known as Kid, during which he shot me. I had called him a pimp, and he called me a S__ of a b____, we then took hold of each other: I did not hit him, I think: saw him go for his pistol, and tried to get ahold of it, but could not and he shot me in the belly. I have a sister named Margaret Flannigan living at East Cambridge, Mass. And another named Kate Conden, living in San Francisco. The Arizona Weekly Citizen printed that Henry Antrim alias Kid was tried before M.L.Wood, J.P., and the jurors were M. McDowell, Geo. Teague, T. McCleary, B.E. Norton, Jas. L. Hunt, and D.H. Smith. Billy fled Arizona and arrived in Lincoln County New Mexico in the fall of 1877 as a member of the Jesse Evans outlaw gang Evans was a rustler and a murderer who terrorized much of the central and southern New Mexican territory and was an ally of James Dolan Shortly after Billy's arrival in Lincoln Billy left the Evans gang and signed on as a hired hand with John Tunstall
Lawrence G Murphy discovered Lincoln County while serving in the United States Army in New Mexico He was an Irish immigrant who had served in the Civil War and on the frontier His partner was Emil Fritz a German immigrant and ex Army colonel who Murphy had met in the service Together they ran the lucrative trading post at nearby Fort Stanton for many years before moving their operation to Lincoln They had close ties to the district attorneys Thomas Catrin and William Rynason and other members of the infamous and corrupt Santa Fe ring which controlled the territorial government Both Emil Fritz and LG Murphy knew one another from having been commanders of various forts together and then having campaigned together and the two of them knowing how the military procurement system worked and with their inside information as to the needs of the Mescalero Apache in particular who they had helped supply at the Bosque Redondo, managed to use the information essentially against the government to their own personal financial gain and became the de facto and sometimes actual Indian agents as well as post traders at Fort Stanton which was the second largest post in the territory of New Mexico The two of them managed to defraud the government on numerous occassions and they were eventually thrown off of the post Murphy and Fritz would then expand their branch store in the town of Lincoln into a large operation which eventually was known as "the house" It was in 1874 that Murphy opened his big store on the western edge of Lincoln Murphy knew that if he secured the government contracts to supply these outposts he would no doubt become the monopolizing economic force in that part of the territory An alcoholic, Murphy would use intimidation and violence to attain his goals, a way of life in the rugged and raw New Mexico Territory Within a few years Murphy became one of the most powerful men in Lincoln County Murphy's clerk and protege and the man who would eventually take over the company was James J Dolan, also an ex-soldier An ally of Murphy and Dolan's was the Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady an Irish immigrant who came to America at age 20 Brady served in the Army for many years and attained the rank of Major when he mustered out after the Civil War in 1866 Brady had met LG Murphy when both were in the army It was during his time in military service at Fort Stanton that Brady was introduced to Lincoln County and after his discharge he homesteaded a farm about five miles east of the town of Lincoln Over the next decade Brady became one of Lincoln's leading citizens serving the town and the county in various official capacities Brady's close association with Murphy led him to favor the Murphy Dolan interests in his capacity as the County Sheriff
Arriving in Lincoln in 1876, Englishman John Henry Tunstall had come to the American West to make his fortune With his family's money behind him, Tunstall had visions of building a financial empire in Lincoln Tunstall sought to replace Dolan and company as the monopolizing force in Lincoln's economy and he didn't realize he was taking on the Santa Fe Ring Tunstall's ally in Lincoln was the town's only lawyer Scotsman Alexander McSween who had helped convince Tunstall to seek his fortune in Lincoln Tunstall started by acquired a large tract of land for a cattle ranch approximately 50 mile south of Lincoln on the banks of the Rio Feliz River it was in 1877 that Tunstall opened his store and bank in town in direct competition with the Dolan company It was inevitable that the two sides would clash early on however it seems neither Tunstall nor McSween realized it would become a life-and-death struggle the only person who was fully aware of the ominous circumstances that were developing was McSween's wife Susan McSween "Mr. McSween met mr. Tunstall at the Herloe Hotel in Santa Fe in October of 1876 They got along well immediately I told Tunstall and Mr. McSween that they would be murdered if they went into the store business I did my best to keep McSween from entering the business but he went against my will Tunstall was the cause of his getting into it" -- Susan McSween Tunstall was said he wanted to have 50 cents out of every dollar that was made in Lincoln County
Although there is no record of the kid and Tunstall spending much time together, young Billy did admire the refined Englishman Billy was hired on as a Tunstall hand by young Richard Brewer Brewer had a ranch of his own but also worked as Tunstall's foreman on the Rio Feliz ranch In the Lincoln County conflict both sides had elements of the law working for them Dolan had Sheriff Brady and Judge Warren Bristol doing his bidding while Tunstall could count on Justice of the Peace John Wilson and Constable Atonosio Martinez on his side As tensions grew between the two factions both were arming for open warfare At first the two sides battled each other with complicated legal maneuvers Attorney Alexander McSween had been retained by the Fritz family to collect the proceeds of a ten thousand dollar life insurance policy on a Emil Fritz who had died in Stuttgart Germany Macsween went to New York and attained the funds but then wouldn't turn the money over to the heirs on the grounds that the money would fall into the hands of Fritz's former partners Murphy and Dolan Dolan convinced the Fritz's to charge McSween with the criminal offense of embezzlement and bring a civil lawsuit to recover the inheritance money In February of 1878 at a district court in Mesilla the legal maneuvering came to a head McSween managed to get the criminal trial postponed however in the civil suit Judge Warren Bristol issued a writ of attachment against McSween's property in the amount of $10,000 both sides headed back to Lincoln and it was here at the Shedd ranch that James Dolan caught up with John Tunstall and tried to draw into a gunfight but Tunstall didn't take the bait Dolan rode back to Lincoln armed with the writ of attachment against McSween and arrived in town two days ahead of his rivals Once there Dolan had sheriff William Brady invade McSween's home and office to inventory all of the attorney's belongings Dolan mistakenly assumed that Tunstall and McSween were partners in the store and the Rio Feliz ranch and sent Sheriff Brady and his posse to the Tunstall store to seize it and to list the value of all of its contents In early February of 1878 Sheriff Brady sent a posse to Tunstall's Rio Feliz ranch to seize the Englishman's livestock The posse was undermanned and returned to Lincoln On February 18th 1878 Sheriff Brady sent a posse of 23 men to the Tunstall ranch to take possession of Tunstall's livestock Dolan henchman Billy Mathews led the posse which included Dolan himself as well as gunmen Billy Morton, Tom Hill and Jesse Evans When the posse arrived at the ranch the only person they found there was old Godfrey Gauss, a Tunstall employee but a non-combatant They learned that Tunstall and some of his men had left for Lincoln with nine horses a sub posse was formed to go after Tunstall and the horses Included in this group were Morton, Hill and Evans At around dusk that day the posse caught up with Tunstall At the time Tunstall hired hands Billy the Kid and John Middleton trailed several hundred yards behind their boss on the trail while Dick Brewer and another man had veered off the trail to try and bag some wild turkeys Billy spotted the posse behind them and raced through the horses to warn Tunstall and Brewer Morton, Hill and Evans spotted Tunstall and gave chase catching up to him about a hundred yards off the trail Tunstall was scattering the horses and the men yelled for him to stop On the hill Tunstall's men heard three shots fired then two more shots John Tunstall dead with a bullet in his brain and one in his chest Although there's disagreement as to whether Tunstall was scattering the horses when the posse advanced on him it would seem they shot Tunstall's horse too for this reason The killing of Tunstall left Alexander McSween the leader of his group He had Justice of the Peace John Wilson issue arrest warrants for Tunstall's killers which included the names of every man in the Rio Feliz posse A group of McSween's men led by Dick Brewer were deputized and named themselves The Regulators The group included Fred Waite, Doc Scurlock, Frank Coe, George Coe and Billy the Kid The most wanted man on the warrants was Billy Morton They rode out after Morton and along the way picked up William McKlusky who claimed to be on the Tunstall side but they didn't trust him On March 6 1878 the group spotted Morton and Frank Baker riding amongst a group of horsemen Baker was also a member of the posse that killed Tunstall but hadn't taken part in his killing After a five mile chase Morton and Baker's horses collapsed and they were captured The Regulators made a stop at the John Chisum ranch on the way back to Lincoln with their prisoners Here Morton wrote a letter to a friend in Virginia speculating that he might be murdered by The Regulators before reaching Lincoln The group left the Chisom ranch and made another stop at Roswell where Morton posted his letter They then headed back to Lincoln and two days later Morton, Baker and McKlusky were killed According to James Dolan when the bodies of Morton and Baker were examined it was found that they each contained eleven bullets, one for each of the eleven regulators Because the place where they were killed was at a break in the canyon, it's speculated by some the two had tried to escape On the other hand, the kid had told George Coe that he never meant for them to reach Lincoln alive Had the regulators turned their prisoners over to Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady, Brady would have arrested the Regulators and set the prisoners free since they were actually deputized members of a legal posse that had been sent to attach Tunstall's horses in the matter of the embezzlement charges against McSween regardless of the Regulators having been commissioned by Justic of the Peace Wilson and Sheriff Brady was part of the Dolan side After the murders of Baker Morton and McCluskey the governor of New Mexico, Samuel Axtell, visited Lincoln briefly and declared that Justice of the Peace Wilson had no authority to issue warrants and carry them out and the only instruments of law in Lincoln County were sheriff Brady and Justice Wareren Bristol (both Dolan allies) effectively making the Regulator's outlaws and murderers The regulator's laid low for and then on March 31st they met McSween and John Chisolm at the Chisolm ranch The next morning on April 1st six Regulators including Billy Bonney positioned themselves behind an adobe wall to the east of the Tunstall store Sheriff Brady along with Billy Mathews deputy George Hyneman, George Pepin and John long were walking down Lincoln's Main Street past the Tunstall store, all carrying Winchester rifles, it would seem on their way to arrest McSween and Chisholm When they were even with the adobe wall the Regulator's opened fire with their Winchesters Sheriff William Brady died with more than a dozen bullets in his body Deputy George Hyneman was also killed The regulator's left town On April 4th 1878 a man named Andrew "Buckshot" Roberts headed toward Dr. Joseph Blazers mill on his mule Roberts was a Dolan employee who had written with the posse to the Rio Feliz the month before although Roberts had no active part in Tunstall slaying, as a member of the posse the regulator's held a murder warrant with Robert's name on it Roberts however wanted no part in the troubles in Lincoln County He had sold his ranch to a party in Santa Fe and was on his way to Blazer's Mill to pick up his check for the sale When Roberts got to the mill on the morning of April 4th Dr. Blazer advised him to leave An Indian had informed Blazer that a group of Regulator's was headed to the mill Roberts left and as he did he spotted the regulator's approaching but he also saw the mail carrier When the regulator's arrived at the mill they put their horses in a high corral which hid them from view and went inside Blazer's home to have some breakfast Roberts scouted the mill from a distance and not seeing the Regulator's horses assumed that they had passed it by Buckshot rode up to the mill and removed his six-shooter respecting a rule Dr. Blazer had about bringing no sidearms into the house Roberts did however carry his Cinchester Carbine As he approached the door Regulator Frank Coe emerged and only then did Buckshot realize his blunder Coe tried for a half an hour to talk Roberts into surrendering but the old buffalo hunter would have none of it Suddenly Charlie Bowdre backed by John Middleton and George Coe emerged from the house with Bowdre demanding Roberts surrender No Buckshot replied and brought up his Winchester Charlie Bowdre drew his weapon and fired Buckshot also fired Roberts was hit in the stomach Bowdre was hit in the belt buckle which saved his life Roberts continued pumping shots from his Winchester the next bullet goes down the barrel of George Coe's gun and takes off his trigger finger John Middleton is shot in the chest As Roberts fired he backed into the doorway of Dr. Blazer's office and barricaded the door with a mattress Buckshot was mortally wounded and out of ammunition Billy the kid made a dash for the door and thrust his Winchester at Roberts but Buckshot rammed the barrel of his empty gun into the kids gut causing the kid's shot to miss The kid retreated inside the office Roberts found a single-shot Springfield rifle in a box of cartridges He loaded the rifle and settled in behind the mattress Meanwhile, Regulator captain Dick Brewer had taken up a position behind a pile of logs about a hundred and twenty-five yards west of the house Brewer aimed carefully and fired His bullet smashed into the wall behind Buckshot who saw the smoke from Brewer's shot rising from the log pile and sighted the Springfield on the log where the smoke had risen As soon as Brewers head appeared Roberts fired The bullet entered Brewers left eye and blew out the back of his skull The Regulator's retreated Two coffins were made and a double grave was dug Brewer was placed in the ground while a mortally wounded Buckshot Roberts lingered on for another day before dying and being placed in the double grave alongside Brewer at Blazers Mill Cemetary In late April 1878 James Dolan's company went bankrupt and he lost his big store in town which would eventually become the Lincoln County Courthouse Meanwhile the fighting continued to escalate On April 29th a posse of Dolan men ambushed three regulators killing their new captain Frank McNab wounding AB Sanders and taking Frank Koch captive Later the Dolan Posse men rode into Lincoln and took up a position at the east end of town the regulator's learned of the posses arrival and the next day April 30th a four-hour gun battle raged in Lincoln amazingly no one was wounded or killed about two weeks later the regulator's under new captain doc Scurlock led a raid on James Dolan's cattle camp They scattered the livestock and killed Manuel Segovia who had killed regulator captain Frank McNab Then in late June the factions fought at John Chisholm's ranch house where the regulator's were holed up All these battles in late June of 1878 were bloodless Shortly thereafter investigators were sent to Lincoln County from Washington to look into the Tunstall murder and the open hostilities Alexander McSween who had been hiding out joined his men in the field The investigators left Lincoln and tensions built up again as the war in Lincoln County raced towards its final climactic battle Even as the Lincoln County War escalated the US Army at nearby Fort Stanton was ordered to stay out of this civilian conflict It was up to McSween and Dolan to fight it out In Picasso the McSween forces got Martin Chavez and asked him to lead them into Lincoln On the night of July 14th 1878 Alexander McSween arrived in Lincoln with 60 men They took up four strongholds in town at the Montano store, the Ellis store, Juan Patrones house and the McSween home which stood just west of the Tunstall store On the morning of July 15th sheriff George Pepin the county's new law officer and a Dolan ally rode into town leading 40 men The Dolan forces already held the Toreon, a fortress like structure built years earlier for defense against Indian raids and they also took a position at the Wortley Hotel Although McSween had more men his forces were scattered throughout town with no way to support each other During the next three days a stalemate developed, then on July 16th from atop the McSween house some regulators spotted a rider approaching from the west and opened fire on him The rider was a soldier from Fort Stanton Although the trooper wasn't hit, he reported back to his commander Colonel Nathan Dudley that he had been fired upon On July 17th the regulator's fired at two soldiers who, along with an army doctor, were trying to aid a wounded Dolan man On July 19th Colonel Dudley led a column of troops into Lincoln After setting up his camp on the north side of the street Dudley turned his field cannon on the Montano store The regulator's inside fled to the Ellis store Dudley then turned the cannon at the Ellis store and the majority of Regulators inside, not wanting to face the United States Army, took to the hills Now the Dolan forces outnumbered the McSween forces two to one and could concentrate on the remaining Regulator stronghold the McSween house The Regulator's were at a disadvantage with soldiers stationed throughout the town; the Dolan forces could fire at will into the McSween house but when the Regulator's returned fire they chanced hitting a soldier, giving Colonel Dudley a reason to turn the troops and the Howitzer cannon loose upon the house The stalemate continued into the morning of July 19th Inside the McSween house witnesses reported that Alex McSween was overwhelmed by events and that Billy the Kid had taken on the leadership role At approximately 2:00 p.m. after a failed first attempt Dolan man Andy Boyle slipped into the kitchen at the northwest corner of the house and started a fire Over the next few hours the fire swept from room to room until the whole house was in flames At around 9 p.m. McSween, the kid and the remaining Regulators planned their escape They would dash out the back of the house and down the grassy slope to the safety of the tree lined Rio Benino river A little after nine five regulators including the kid made their break Dolan's men opened fire Billy and three other men made it to the river The fifth, Harvey Morris, was gunned down Meanwhile Alexander McSween and the other regulators crouched in the darkness against the back wall of the house their escape route cut off by Dolan's men McSween ran outside and tried to surrender but was shot down Two other regulators were gunned down The Lincoln County War was over, but James Dolan was bankrupt and his once mighty store would eventually be converted into the Lincoln County Courthouse