Monday, May 22, 2017

New Evidence On The Man Who Killed The Man Who Killed Billy the Kid

May 22, 2017
   New evidence has surfaced on the man who killed the man who killed Billy the Kid.

   Historians have long wondered what happened to Wayne Brazel. He represents, in the Old West World, a position similar to Lee Harvey Oswald: part assassin-part patsy, with plenty of conspiracy theories filling the spaces in between.



   A new document has been found last November by Angelica Valenzuela, the records and filing supervisor with the county clerk's office in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, as part of a preservation effort in Las Cruces that involved records spanning the last half of the 1800s through the mid-1960s.
   Angelica found a report stating that "the deceased [Pat Garrett] came to his death by gunshot wounds inflicted by one Wayne Brazel."



Wayne Brazell, center, with two unidentified cowboy pards.


  Notice all three have one pant leg tucked in, and one out. I have always thought it was either a bet gone south, or an inside joke. Wayne also appears to have a freshly shaved head and the whole picture has a lark aspect to it, including his smirk.


   Some historians have said that the one witness to the shooting never testified and records show Brazel was acquitted after a one-day trial in which his attorney successfully argued self-defense.

   After his acquittal, Brazel spent time in Lordsburg, New Mexico and, later, Phoenix, Arizona, but then his trail disappears. Where did he go? When did he die? And, where is he buried?
   Back in February, I got an email from Scott Lane, who told me I could find out the answers to these questions if I wanted to meet a woman who is related to Wayne Brazel. 

   Turns out she had read one of my True West Moments which ran in the Arizona Republic and the email said if I wanted to know what happened to the alleged killer of Pat Garrett I should come and meet her. The 82-year-old woman, Emalee (also styled as Emily on some of her documents) Brazell Price, and her two friends live on the west side of Phoenix and I live in Cave Creek, north of Phoenix, so we settled on a place in between, at The Texas Roadhouse in Metrocenter. I met them after I got off work on February 27 at 6:15 p.m.


   




My True West Moment (behind) and  Max Brazell (at right) in family photo
from the 1920s. By the way, the family styles it as Brazell (rhymes with razzle).


Max Brazell was the rancher who found the alleged alien spacecraft near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 that is known today as "The Roswell Incident." Both Max and Emalee are Brazells and, she says, they are both related to Wayne Brazell. Not sure where the Brazel spelling, with only one L comes from. Probably a misspelled court document.




Emalee Brazell Price with Heather Wells and Scott Lane at the Texas Roadhouse.




   Emalee says Wayne Brazell died in 1936 of typhoid. He is buried in Barton Cemetery (near Edgewood, New Mexico). She also related that Wayne was working on a Conservation type project (The CCC Boys, they were called) at the time of his passing. If true, this fills in a major gap in our knowledge of what happened to the man who allegedly killed the man who killed Billy the Kid. She also told me that Wayne spent time in Yuma prison and she thought it was related to the Garrett killing. This seems odd since he was acquitted in New Mexico and it is doubtful any charges would carry over to Arizona, but that is the family story.


   And, by the way, Garrett was shot in the back of the head while urinating beside his buggy, which prompted this quip from Garrett's biographer:


"It's the only time in history a man has been assassinated while urinating that the defendant claimed self-defense and got off!"

—Historian Leon Metz

Postscript: Okay, here is an update from historian Lauren Kormylo:

According to Find A Grave, there are 5 Brazell graves in that cemetery, but Wayne Brazel is not there

BTW, his wife is buried in Alamogordo.

Wayne is in the 1910 Census, and his name is spelled with one "L" there. In the census, it does say he could read and write. All of the news sources of the day also spell it with one "L", and the 1880 Census shows his parents' name with the same spelling.  

I'm doing my own ancestry, and you wouldn't believe how often names get changed from one generation to the next.


And one more thing, here's a blog post by family member Amy Brazell, who says her father and uncle swear that Wayne Brazel lived under an assumed name the rest of his life. The name - Charles O'Neal. https://storify.com/brazell_amy/pat-garret-s-death-how-a-murdering-sheriff-met-his
_____________
End of notes from Lauren. And, by the way, Lauren is a bonified True West Maniac:



14 comments:

  1. I note that the cowboy to our right of Wayne Brazell also sported one pant leg tucked and the other out. Must have been an inside joke of some sort.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous5:22 PM

    the cowboys all seem to have a stance as homosexaul as you can be

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're the expert on that, apparently.

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    2. Anonymous2:47 AM

      hahaha omg!

      Delete
  3. Bob, I drive by that cemetery every day, it's less than a mile from my house,I can go by & try to find it & take pictures.
    Who was the other guy besides Brushy Bill who claimed to be The Kid, can't remember his name but I know he's buried there too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=179638752

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  4. Anonymous5:52 PM

    I live near Edgewood. Google Maps identifies Mountain Valley Cemetery on Barton Road. I might go check it out this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=179638752

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  5. I was taught that both pant legs tucked into the boots; like the man on the left; meant that he owns his own land and his livestock; one leg meant that the other two owned livestock but no land. I never got an answer as to why this was done, so I marked it off to some silly dress code like when one could or could not wear a cowboy hat; rules that varied with each part of the west.

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  6. According to Find A Grave, there are 5 Brazell graves in that cemetery, but Wayne Brazel is not there. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gsr&GSiman=1&GScid=38259&GSfn=&GSln=brazel
    BTW, his wife is buried in Alamogordo.

    Wayne is in the 1910 Census, and his name is spelled with one "L" there. In the census, it does say he could read and write. All of the news sources of the day also spell it with one "L", and the 1880 Census shows his parents' name with the same spelling.

    I'm doing my own ancestry, and you wouldn't believe how often names get changed from one generation to the next.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brook Tippetts11:41 PM

    And even if one, some, or all WERE homosexual, would this have a bearing on the actual history? Not at all. Always some asshole trying to make a political statement where there is none. And, of course, they leave no name . . .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous7:38 AM

    What is the reason for a flower on the lapel of all three ?

    ReplyDelete

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