Billy the Kid’s official name was not William H. Bonney

by Rick Roberts
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William H.Bonney is actually another name of Billy the Kid used during the height of his ill fame. But this name is not generally considered as his real name. Throughout his life, there were several different names associated with this 19th-century gunman, including:

  • William Henry McCraty JR. – Billy the Kid’s official birth name.
  • Henry Antrim – In 1873, Henry’s mom married a guy named William Antrim.  In order to avoid the confusion with two Williams in the family, Billy the Kid’s mom began calling him by his middle name, Henry. With this, the boy took on his stepdad’s last name.
  • William H. Bonney – Henry Antrim began to use William H. Bonney in 1877, after he murdered Frank Cahill, and escaped to New Mexico in order to avoid death sentence against him. The reason for the name “Bonney” is still unknown, but some people believe that he was his biological father’s name before his mother married a guy named McCraty.
  • The Kid – Many associates of William Henry, nicknamed him “The Kid” because of his youthfulness and slender build.
  • Billy the Kid – During the final year of his life in 1880, dime novelists and newspaper reporters who often create stories about the young outlaw started referring to him as Billy the Kid. Billy was used as the nickname for William. As the legend, The Kid so did the nickname of this man, and today most of the people know him as – Billy the Kid.

Facts about William H. Bonney

  • In the pursuit to earn a good living, throughout his life, William worked in a butcher shop and in a hotel where he used to wash dishes and waited tables. He also earned money as a gambler, horse thief, ranch hand, and outlaw.
  • As there is only one photo of Billy the Kid, most people believe that he was a left-handed guy as his gun was positioned on his left side. But later on, people realized that he was right-handed after they came to know that the photo was reversed.
  • Despite being known as a violent person and a cold-blooded killer, McCarty was reportedly liked by those who knew him. He is known to have a wonderful sense of humor and a laid-back attitude.
  • Because of his slender build, William Henry was often targeted for bullying.
  • William Henry was known to use the Colt single action .44 caliber and double-action .41 caliber. Billy the Kid’s legend claims that he has killed 21 men in his entire lifetime.
  • William Henry was most known for his involvement in the Lincoln County War, which was fuelled because of a business feud between John Tunstall and James Dolan.
  • Billy the Kid rarely drank liquor, and he did not smoke.
  • Billy the Kid loved to gamble.
  • Billy the Kid’s mother died of TB in 1874 when he was only 14 or 15 years old.
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