There is a lot of controversy about who the real Billy the Kid was and where he is really buried. Did he die near Fort Sumner New Mexico at the hands of Sherriff Garrett or did Sherriff Garrett help Billy the Kid reform himself to which he moved to Hico, Texas, and died an old man? Or maybe the wrong guy was shot. There are several different accounts of what really happened back then, but today we visit Billy the Kid’s Grave in Hamilton, Texas.
You can search through all the credible sites (such as history.com. encyclopedia Britannica, etc..) and they all give different accounts of his life and death. Heck, no one can even agree about his childhood or even his real name.
For the purpose of this post, let’s concentrate on William Henry Roberts aka Ollie L. (“Brushy Bill”) Roberts aka Billy the Kid.
According to Brushy Bill’s tombstone he was born on December 31, 1859, and died on December 27, 1950 just shy of his 90th birthday. The average life expectancy in 1950 was 65 years old. Other reports show that his family later showed records that Brushy Bill was actually born in 1879 which would have made his actual age 70, not 90. I have yet to actually verify this anywhere and only came across this information through history.com.
Whatever the case may be, “Brushy Bill” attempted to go before the Governor of New Mexico in 1950 to seek the pardon he (Billy the Kid) was promised by then New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace back in 1879. However, less than a month later and before a decision could be made, Brushy Bill died of a heart attack on the steps of the Hico newspaper office in 1950.
According to local legend, Brushy Bill had all his dates and stories in order and even had a wonky ear and scars in all the right places.
Billy the Kid’s Grave in Hamilton, Texas
Billy the Kid’s Grave in Hamilton, Texas is located in the Oakwood Cemetery as you head out of town on Hwy 281.
Location: Brushy Bill’s grave is located in the First Row, Facing the Highway across from Hamburger Hill.
You can see it from the highway if you look close (here’s a screenshot from Google Maps street view):
One thing to beware of is that there is another cemetery in Hamilton, we went there first thinking it was the right one…it’s not and we wasted a lot of time looking. It’s the cemetery directly across from Hamburger Hill. Using the address of 813 N. Rice should put you almost directly in front of it.
808 N. Rice Street (aka Hwy 281)
Recommendations While In Town
Eat: at Storm’s Hamburgers located at 923 E. Main Street. They are AMAZING!
Courthouse: Check out the courthouse and old city square.
Get an old fashioned shake at Jordan’s Pharmacy. They have an old-time soda fountain!
Walk from Pecan Creek Park to Downtown and back on the city’s 1.5 mile nature trail.
Visit the 22 Historical Markers located throughout the city.
Visit the Hamilton County Historical Society Museum which is open to the public on Saturdays from 1-4 pm.