Patrick Floyd Garrett was born on June 5th, 1850, in Chambers, Alabama, but spent most of his youth in Louisiana. Moving west, Garrett worked variously as a ranch hand and a buffalo hunter, spending much of his time in Texas and then New Mexico. On the heels of the Lincoln County War, with New Mexico in anarchy, prominent New Mexico citizens including John Chisum asked Garrett to move from Fort Sumner to Roswell in time to run in the November 1880 election for Sheriff of Lincoln County. Garrett, a Democrat, won the election. As the Sheriff of Lincoln County, Garrett gained his place in history as the man who killed Billy the Kid on July 14, 1881. He served only one term in office, not being re-elected after the violence in Lincoln County subsided.
Garrett was living in Uvalde, Texas, when he was asked to work on the Fountain case and help clean up the lawlessness once again in New Mexico. Struggling financially, he jumped at the opportunity. A deal was worked out and he was appointed Sheriff in early 1896 and ran again for the office in the 1898 election. He worked on the Fountain case from 1896 through 1899. He was sure he knew who the killers were. He did not run for re-election in 1900.
In 1901, President Roosevelt appointed Garrett Collector of Customs at El Paso. Unfortunately, a small scandal centering on questions of Garrett's character caused him to not be re-appointed. In 1906, Garrett moved his family back to New Mexico. Some say he returned to find the Fountain bodies. Whatever the reason for his return, he spent his remaining days as a broke and moody rancher and gambler.
Garrett became involved in a fight over the use of land that he was leasing to others. The battle ended for Garrett on February 29th, 1908, with a bullet to the back of his head whilst urinating. A man named Wayne Brazel confessed to the shooting and claimed self-defense. He was defended by Albert B. Fall and acquitted. Despite the confession, there is debate among historians on who actually pulled the trigger.
Sources: Metz, Leon, Pat Garrett: The Story of a Western Lawman, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1974); Recko, Corey, Murder on the White Sands: The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain, (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2007).
Murder on the White Sands Reviews; Murder on the White Sands Introduction and First Chapter; Information About Murder on the White Sands (# of pages, table of contents, etc.); Biographies of: Colonel Albert J. Fountain, Pat Garrett, John Fraser, Henry Fountain, Albert B. Fall, Oliver Lee, James Gililland, William McNew, Ed Brown, Thomas Branigan, William H. H. Llewellyn; 1896 Newspaper Accounts of the Fountains' Disappearance; Map of New Mexico Sites; Mesilla, New Mexico; Hillsboro, New Mexico; Search the Index; Buy Murder on the White Sands; Who do you believe murdered murdered Albert and Henry Fountain? Talk About it in the Forum; Murder on the White Sands Related Articles; Appearances; Links; Author biography; Corey Recko News; Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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