The truth, however, is altogether different.
The actual date and place of birth of the famous outlaw has, in fact, eluded researchers until recent years. No one knows for certain where Upson/Garrett came up with this birth information. According to attentive researchers, Upson had no credibility whatsoever, and Garrett was seldom inclined to tell the truth about anything. Writer J.C. Dykes states that none of this information is verifiable. The date provided by Upson, coincidentally, happens to be his own birth date. The consensus is that Garrett and Upson also made up the location.
In spite of the general acknowledgement among researchers that the oft-quoted date and place of the Kid’s birth is false, two men – Jake DeMattos and Donald Cline – claimed to have proven once and for all that the outlaw was born Henry McCarty in New York City. They provide the date of September 7, 1859.
On close inspection, however, it becomes clear that DeMattos and Cline forced a conclusion where none existed. The so-called documentation provided by these men revolved around the residents of New York City’s Fourth Ward during the 1850s and 1860s. The area was occupied during this time by approximately 13,000-14,000 relatively recent Irish immigrants. The chances of finding Irish residents here named McCarty can be likened to finding someone named Smith in Los Angeles. It represents a giant leap of faith to conclude that a child with the common Irish name of Henry born to a woman with the common Irish name of Catherine and the all-too common surname of McCarty in a large Irish community in New York City is none other than Billy the Kid. As expected, the findings of DeMattos and Cline are not taken seriously by any but the most naïve and gullible. It lacks cogency and has never, ever been verified.
By contrast, William Henry Roberts, the man the most advanced and complete research suggests was the real Billy the Kid, was born December 31, 1859, in Taylor County, Texas. His father’s name was James Henry Roberts and his mother’s name was Mary Adeline Dunn. Mary died when Roberts was around two years old. He was taken in and raised by Catherine Bonney, an aunt. For a time, Bonney was married to a man named Michael McCarty who died during the Civil War. Catherine subsequently married William Antrim. Hence, the origin of three of Roberts’ aliases: Bonney, McCarty, and Antrim. Furthermore, Roberts’ story is supported by genealogical entries in his family Bible. All of this possesses a logic and provenance absent from other theories of Billy the Kid’s place and date of birth.
For more information on the origins and genealogy of William Henry Roberts, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, see the book Billy the Kid: Beyond the Grave (W.C. Jameson, Taylor Trade Publishing) and download the e-book Billy the Kid: The Lost Interviews (W.C. Jameson, Garlic Press Publishing Company E.Book) from this website or from www.Billythekid-outlaw.com.