On this day in history, November 23, 1859, western outlaw Billy the Kid was born in New York City.

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Legendary western outlaw Billy the Kid was allegedly born on this day in history, November 23, 1859 in New York City.

One of the Wild West’s most wanted men was likely born in a poor Irish neighborhood on Manhattan’s East Side, although much of the child’s early life is unknown or unverified, according to History.com.

Billy the Kid’s real name was believed to be Henry McCarthy — but he called himself William H. Bonney. The name Bonnie was her mother Catherine’s maiden name, while William was the name of her longtime partner William Antrin.

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Antrin stepped into the role of Billy’s father after his biological father disappeared.

It was believed that Billy first traveled west around 1865 when he and his brother – along with Antrin and the boys’ mother – moved to Indiana and then to Wichita, Kansas in 1870.

On September 23, 1875, William Bonney (Billy the Kid, 1859-1881) was arrested for the first time.
(Gilardi Photo Library/Getty Images)

In 1873, a legally married Catherine and William Antrin appear on records in New Mexico, reports History.com.

The following year, Catherine Antrin died of lung cancer in Silver City, according to reports.

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After his mother’s death, Billy abandoned his brother and stepfather and became a farm hand, History.com noted.

Henry McCarty (1859-1881) – who called himself William Bonney – is best known as Billy the Kid, American outlaw and gunslinger.
(Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

He is said to have killed his first victim, a group of Apache Indians, in the Guadalupe Mountains in 1876.

According to legend, Billy killed a blacksmith in Camp Grant, Arizona.

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The criminal then took a job as a bodyguard for British rancher John Tunstall in Lincoln, New Mexico.

Billy and several other gunslingers were hired to protect Tunstall and his property from a rival cattle gang known as “The House”.

Billy the Kid, the American outlaw, is depicted shooting his enemy, who has taken refuge behind a saloon bar.

Billy the Kid, the American outlaw, is depicted shooting his enemy, who has taken refuge behind a saloon bar.
(Getty Images)

In February 1878, Tunstall was shot and killed by a posse organized by Sheriff William Brady, who supported House.

In pursuit of revenge, Billy and other former Tunstall employees started a vigilante group known as “The Regulators,” History.com also noted.

The new gang killed Sheriff Brady and spent the next weeks in a shootout with The House’s forces.

Billy the Kid was the cover subject of West magazine, published in 1940 in New York City.  Henry McCarty (1859-1881) was best known as Billy the Kid, American outlaw and gunslinger.

Billy the Kid was the cover subject of West magazine, published in 1940 in New York City. Henry McCarty (1859-1881) was best known as Billy the Kid, American outlaw and gunslinger.
(Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

This became known as the Lincoln County War, which ended in July 1878 after a deadly, five-day firefight and a peace treaty as the regulators left the city.

According to History.com, the war marked Billy as “the most skilled gunslinger” in the West, but he was wanted for the murder of Sheriff Brady.

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For this, he will spend the rest of his young life running from the law.

Two years later, Lincoln Sheriff Pat Garrett – a former friend of his – arrested Billy the Kid.

Sheriff Pat F. Garrett, the famous early western sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, who shot Billy the Kid.

Sheriff Pat F. Garrett, the famous early western sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, who shot Billy the Kid.
(Getty Images)

Kidd was convicted of murdering Sheriff Brady in April 1881 and sentenced to hang.

But two weeks before his scheduled execution, the outlaw circumvented the law.

On April 28, he wrestled a gun from a jailer, shot and killed him, and escaped his confinement in a maneuver that received national attention.

Two weeks before his scheduled execution, the criminal evaded the law.

A few months later, on July 14, 1881, Garrett found Billy the Kid on a farm near Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where he was visiting a girlfriend.

Billy the Kid (1859-1881) met his end at the hands of Sheriff Pat Garrett at Fort Sumner in New Mexico.

Billy the Kid (1859-1881) met his end at the hands of Sheriff Pat Garrett at Fort Sumner in New Mexico.
(MPI/Getty Images)

Garrett shoots Kidd in the chest, surprising him in the dark of night.

Billy the Kid died at just 21 years old.

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In a four-year span from 1877 to 1881, the child was involved in at least nine murders, History.com reported.

This includes a legendary shootout in a New Mexico saloon in January 1880, when Billy shot and killed Joe Grant for terrorizing the bar while drunk.

Billy the Kid is featured here in this wanted poster.

Billy the Kid is featured here in this wanted poster. “Reward for the capture dead or alive of one Wm Wright known as Billy the Kid,” read the notice. The text continues: “Age 18. Height, 5 feet, 3 inches. Weight, 125 pounds. Light hair, blue eyes and even features. He is the leader of the worst band of savages the Territory has ever had to deal with … Jim Dalton, Sheriff.” approx. 1877. (Phototheca Gilardi/Getty Images)

Unlike other outlaws, Billy the Kid never robbed a train or a bank — but his first arrest was for stealing clothes from a Chinese laundry.

Many people have theorized that the legendary gunman never really died of Garrett’s bullet and instead lived on under an alias.

Since Billy the Kid left his mark on the western frontier, the outlaw has been the subject of more than 50 films and several TV series.

On this day in history, November 23, 1859, western outlaw Billy the Kid was born in New York City.

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