Garrett, Pat.F. (Pat. Floyd), 1850-1908

Alternative names
Birth 1850-06-05
Death 1908-02-29

Biographical notes:

Garrett was a politician, rancher, and lawman. He was the lawman who killed Billy the Kid.

From the description of Garrett photographs, circa 1880s-1920s. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 367953571

Lawman and rancher, sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, in 1880 and later sheriff and ranch owner in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. Garrett is most widely remembered as the sheriff who shot and killed the infamous outlaw "Billy the Kid."

From the description of Pat F. Garrett family papers, 1859-1936. (New Mexico State University). WorldCat record id: 45400688

Pat F. Garrett was born June 5, 1850, in Chambers County, Alabama. He spent his childhood in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, and while still a teenager left his family and headed west. From 1869 to 1877, Garrett worked as a cowhand and trail driver at various locations in Texas.

In 1878, Garrett arrived at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where he apparently tried hog ranching for a short time. Garrett married Polinaria Gutierrez at Anton Chico, New Mexico, on January 14, 1880. The Garretts eventually had eight children, including a daughter Elizabeth, who gained distinction of her own as the writer of the official New Mexico State song.

In 1880, Garrett was elected sheriff of Lincoln County. On July 14, 1881, Garrett had his famous encounter with William H. Bonney. He shot and killed "The Kid" at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Garrett's account of the event is recorded in The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, the Noted Desperado of the Southwest, by Ashmun Upson.

Garrett went to Roswell where he helped to organize The Pecos Valley Irrigation Investment Company in 1885. After an unsuccessful campaign for sheriff of Chaves County, New Mexico, in 1889, Garrett moved to Uvalde County, Texas. He returned to New Mexico in 1897 when asked to serve as sheriff of Doña Ana County and to investigate the Fountain murders. The two men Garrett arrested for the murders, Oliver Lee and Jim Gililland, were later acquitted.

President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Garrett collector of customs at El Paso, in 1901. He served in this position until his appointment expired. He spent his last years at his ranch in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, suffering apparent financial distress.

On February 29, 1908, Garrett was shot and killed on the road between Organ and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Wayne Brazil confessed to the shooting and was later acquitted of the charges.

From the guide to the Pat F. Garrett Family Papers, 1859-1936, (Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Sheriffs--History--Sources
  • Frontier and pioneer life--History--Sources


not available for this record


  • Lincoln County (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)