"Life of Pat F. Garrett and the Taming of the Border Outlaw" is the firs hand account of Pat Garrett's life. Written in 1908, the year Garett was murdered, this book is an excellent source of information about one of Wild West's greatest sheriffs.
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“Pat” F. Garrett, the slayer of “Billy, the Kid,” was killed by Wayne Brazel, near Las Cruces, New Mexico, on the morning of February 29, 1908. The weapon used was a six-shooter and the first shot entered the back of the head and came out over the left eye; the second ball entered the lower breast and ranged up about nine inches into the shoulder blade. Garrett died instantly, and without speaking.
The tragedy occurred five miles east of the village. Garrett was in his buggy, with Carl Adamson, and Brazel was on horseback, having overtaken Garrett, who was on his way to Las Cruces. Brazel rode on to town and surrendered to Sheriff Lucero, stating that he had killed Garrett in self-defense. Brazel was placed in jail, and a coroner’s jury was impanelled, and went to the scene of the killing. The jury gave a formal verdict merely stating that the deceased came to his death at the hands of Wayne Brazel. On the following Monday, two days afterwards, Dudley Poe Garrett, son of the deceased, officially charged Brazel with the murder.
“Pat” Garrett, the famous hunter of desperadoes, was buried in the little graveyard at Las Cruces (The Crosses) on the following Thursday. The cortege was covered with fioral offerings, and followed to the grave by his many friends. The funeral was delayed at the request of his brothers, John and A. J. Garrett, of Haynesville, Louisiana, who desired to attend. The pall-bearers were: Hon. George Curry, Governor of New Mexico; Harry Lane, Morgan Llewellyn, Numa G. Buchoz and Thomas Powers. Not being a member of any religious denomination, it was understood as Garrett’s desire, that no minister should officiate at his funeral. Accordingly, he was buried without this ceremony, the only burial rites being the reading of an oration by Thomas Powers, of El Paso, which was written by Robert Ingersoll, and read at the grave of his brother.
“We have assembled here to pay a last tribute to the loved and loving brother, husband, father, friend, who died where manhood’s morning almost touches noon, and while the shadows still were falling toward the west.
“He had not passed on life’s highway the stone that marks the highest point, while yet in love with life and enraptured with the world, he passed to silence and pathetic dust.
“Yet, after all, it may be best, just in the happiest, sunniest hour of all the voyage, while eager winds are kissing every sail, to dash against the unseen rock, and in an instant hear the billows roar above a sunken ship. For whether in mid sea or ’mong the breakers of the farther shore, a wreck at last must mark the end of each and all. And every life, no matter if its every hour is rich with love and every moment jewelled with a joy, will, at its close, become a tragedy as sad and deep and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death.
“This brave and tender man in every storm of life was oak and rock; but in sunshine he was vine and flower. He was the friend of all herioc souls. He climbed the heights, and left all superstitions far below, while on his forehead fell the golden dawning of a grander day.
“He loved the beautiful, and was with color, form and music touched to tears. He sided with the weak, the poor, and wronged, and lovingly gave alms. With loyal heart and with the purest hands he faithfully discharged all public trusts.
“He was a worshiper of liberty, a friend of the oppressed. He believed that happiness is the only good, reason the only touch, justice the only worship, humanity the only religion, and love the only priest. He added to the sum of human joy; and were every one to whom he did some loving service bring a blossom to his grave, he would sleep tonight beneath a wilderness of flowers.
“Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word; but in the night of death hope sees a star and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.
“The record of a generous life runs like a vine around the memory of our dead, and every sweet, unselfish act is now a perfumed flower.
“And now, to you, who have been chosen from among the many men he loved, to do the last sad office for the dead, we give his sacred dust.
“Speech cannot contain our love. There was, there is, no gentler, stronger, manlier man.”
Though simple and not attended by ostentation, the ceremonial was very impressive, and there were tears for the brave and generous “Pat” Garrett as his mortal remains were consigned to earth.
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