YOUNG TEXAN PICKS WRONG HERO TO WORSHIP

by Bartee Haile 

Billy the Kid rode into Fort Sumner, New Mexico with five fellow fugitives on the night of Dec. 19, 1880, but sensing danger in the darkness, the most wanted outlaw in the Southwest pulled up leaving a young Texan in the lead.

If his parents had not perished in a smallpox epidemic soon after emigrating from Ireland, life might have been very different for Tom O’Folliard. Relatives in Uvalde, Texas took pity on the orphan and tried hard to mold him into a law-abiding adult. But he was immune to their strict teachings and ran off right after his twentieth birthday.

O’Folliard wandered all the way to Lincoln County, New Mexico, scene of the fabled frontier feud that forced everyone, native and newcomer, to pick a side. Always on the lookout for fresh recruits, William “Billy the Kid” Bonney befriended the bewildered Texan, who eagerly joined his growing gang.

 

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