On the scene when Billy the Kid was killedLincoln County Sheriff John W. Poe Autograph Document Signed. One page, 3" x 7.75" (sight size), no place, no date. A handwritten document titled "Sheriffs Costs" that lists various expenses incurred while performing his duties, includes "280 miles travel @ 6¼¢ per mile". At the end he writes: "I hereby certify that the above is a true & correct bill of costs in executing the written order of sale. John W Poe Sheriff". Framed to an overall 8.5" x 13.25". Written on the verso of another document with just a bit of showthrough. Light stains at left and small piece of tape at bottom. Not examined out of frame. Bold, dark handwriting, fine overall.
Kentucky-born John William Poe (1850-1923) left home at age twenty to seek adventure out west. After several years as a buffalo hunter, he began work as a lawman in Texas. In 1881, the Canadian River Cattle Association hired him to break up the cattle rustling activities of Billy the Kid (Henry McCarty) in the panhandle. His work took him to Lincoln County, New Mexico, where Pat Garrett deputized him. Early in July 1881, Poe received information from an informant as to the possible location of McCarty. He convinced Garrett that it was legitimate and they, along with another Deputy Thomas McKinney, headed out to Fort Sumner. It was July 14, 1881, when Pat Garrett shot and killed Billy the Kid. Although there are several versions of the actual incident, Deputy John W. Poe was standing right outside the door when it happened. He was soon elected sheriff of Lincoln County after the resignation of Garrett and was instrumental in getting an indictment against the notorious rancher Pat Coughlin for cattle rustling. In 1919, Poe wrote a manuscript titled "The Death of Billy the Kid," for Wide World Magazine. It was published as a book after his death.
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