Poe, John William, 1850-1923

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Born in Mason County Kentucky in 1850, John William Poe moved to Texas in 1868 to hunt buffalo. In the 1870s he served as town marshal for Fort Griffin, before becoming a U. S. marshal. Poe then became cattle detective for the Canadian River Cattleman’s Association, where he worked in New Mexico. In 1881, Poe accompanied Sheriff Pat Garrett and another deputy to the location of Billy the Kid, where Garrett allegedly killed the Kid. Poe decided to remain in New Mexico after the Kid was killed, where he married Sophia Alberding in 1883 and became sheriff of Lincoln County. He resigned in 1885 and helped found the First National Bank of Roswell, becoming president in 1893. He then founded and became president of Citizen’s Bank. Poe wrote the manuscript “The Death of Billy the Kid” which was published in Wide World Magazine in 1919. He died in 1923; his manuscript was published as a book in 1933.

From the guide to the Poe, John. W. Items 70-33., 1905-1917, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

John William Poe was born on October 17, 1850 in Kentucky. He traveled west to Missouri, Kansas, Texas and eventually the New Mexico territory. He was a buffalo hunter, cattleman, stock detective for Charles Goodnight, lawman in Texas and New Mexico, and banker. While serving as Sheriff of Lincoln County, Poe became friends with Pat Garrett and John Chisum. He was with Pat Garrett when he shot and killed Billy the Kid. Poe wrote several articles for newspapers and books about the death of Billy the Kid. Poe died on July 17, 1923.

From the description of Papers, 1881-1940. (University of New Mexico-Main Campus). WorldCat record id: 39440709

Born in Mason County Kentucky in 1850, John William Poe moved to Texas in 1868 to hunt buffalo. In the 1870s he served as town marshal for Fort Griffin, before becoming a U. S. marshal.

Poe then became a cattle detective for the Canadian River Cattleman;s Association in New Mexico. In 1881, Poe accompanied Sheriff Pat Garrett and another deputy to the location of Billy the Kid, where Garrett allegedly killed the Kid. Poe decided to remain in New Mexico after the Kid was killed, where he married Sophia Alberding in 1883 and became sheriff of Lincoln County. He resigned in 1885 and helped found the First National Bank of Roswell, becoming president in 1893. He then founded and became president of Citizen's Bank. Poe wrote the manuscript "The Death of Billy the Kid" which was published in Wide World Magazine in 1919. He died in 1923 and his manuscript was published as a book in 1933.

From the description of Poe, John. W., Items, 1905-1917 (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 754930355

John William Poe was born on October 17, 1850 and was raised on his grandfather's farm in Maysville, Mays County, Kentucky. By the age of 15, he had developed a yearning to go West and his travels took him to Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and eventually the New Mexico territory. He was a buffalo hunter, cattleman, stock detective for Charles Goodnight, lawman in Texas and New Mexico, and banker. John William Poe married Sophie Alberding on May 5, 1883. Their only child lived a few hours. The home of John William and Sophie Poe is located at 311 West Seventh in Roswell and is known as the Poe-Mossman house in the National Register of Historic Buildings.

While serving as Sheriff of Lincoln County, Poe became friends with Pat Garrett and John Chisum. His most famous experience occurred when he accompanied Garrett to Pete Maxwell's ranch near Fort Sumner. Garrett went inside. Waiting outside, Poe saw William Bonney (Billy the Kid) enter the ranch house, though he did not recognize him. He heard the gunfire when Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Pat Garrett. He wrote several articles for newspapers and books about the death of Billy the Kid. After retiring as a lawman, John William Poe and his wife settled in Roswell where he was one of the organizers of the Bank of Roswell. He was later President of the Citizen's Bank of Roswell. He died on July 17, 1923. Sophie Alberding Poe commemorated his life in a biography, Buckboard Days.

From the guide to the John William Poe Papers, 1881-1940, (University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf John William Poe Papers, 1881-1940 The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for SouthwestResearch
referencedIn Poe, John W., 1850-1923. Poe, John. W., Items, 1905-1917 University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Greer, J. C. Idaho Miscellany, 1872-1882. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Rose, Noah H., 1874-1952. Early Texas and old west photographs, 1868-1930. University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Poe, John. W. Items 70-33., 1905-1917 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Early Texas and Old West Photographs, AR 96-134., 1868-1930 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
creatorOf Poe, John William, 1850-1923. Papers, 1881-1940. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
referencedIn Miguel A. Otero Photograph Collection, 1872 ca. -1939 ca. The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for SouthwestResearch
creatorOf Poe, John W., 1850-1923. Poe, John. W., Items, 1905-1917 University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Poe, John. W. Items 70-33., 1905-1917 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Billy, the Kid person
associatedWith Billy, the Kid person
associatedWith Billy, the Kid. person
associatedWith Garrett, Pat F. (Pat Floyd), 1850-1908. person
associatedWith Otero, Miguel Antonio, 1859-1944 person
associatedWith Poe, John W., 1850-1923 person
associatedWith Poe, Sophie A. (Sophie Alberding), 1862-1954 person
associatedWith Rose, Noah H., 1874-1952 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New Mexico--Lincoln County
White Oaks (N. M.)
Southwest, New
White Oaks (N. M.)
Subject
Outlaws
Outlaws
Frontier and pioneer life
Frontier and pioneer life
Frontier and pioneer life
Frontier and pioneer life
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1850

Death 1923

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