May 2, 2007
Working on several things, including the next Classic Gunfight on the Silver City, New Mexico jailbreak by the Gage train robbers. Really a spectacular fight. I mentioned in this space that I thought Kit Joy was African American and someone read that, contacted Bob Alexander in Texas, and he called me this morning to correct the mistake. I'll run his photo later today and I think you'll see why I thought he was black. I also got a heads up from a reader who swears he is "gay looking," so you'll have a chance to try out your own Gaydar.
I took the opportunity to ask Bob about Kit's last years and he told me that Karen Holliday Tanner and John D. Tanner had written an article on this, published in WOLA several years ago. He told me if I could wait he would dig through his papers and get back to me in a day or two. I hung up, put "Kit Joy outlaw" in the Google window and within five seconds had the following info:
Mitch Lee and Frank Taggart were almost immediately strung up with Mitch Lee finally confessing to the shooting of the train engineer: “Well, by God! I did kill him.”
Kit Joy escaped but did not leave the neighborhood. Ten days after the jailbreak, a trap was set at Rackety Smith’s cabin, high in the Mogollons northeast of Alma, New Mexico, but the wiley outlaw didn’t show. Not long after, Smith and several neighbors went hunting Joy and found his concealed camp. Rackety Smith yelled out for Joy to surrender but the outlaw replied, “I’ll die first.” Armed with a .45X60 Winchester rifle, Smith fired two shots, the second shattering two bones in Joy’s left leg below the knee (his lower leg was subsequently amputated) . The outlaw was brought back to Silver City on March 22 and put back in the Grant County jail. On November 17, 1884, he was tried and sentenced to life at the Santa Fe Penetentiary. After pleading letters and model behavior, Joy was pardoned in 1896, living out his life in the Fort Huachuca, Arizona area where he worked as a tailer. He died, at age 76, in Douglas, April 14, 1936 and is buried in the Bisbee-Lowell cemetery.
Just astounding, and in five seconds. More later. I'm meeting Buckeye Blake for lunch at El Encanto.
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