Welcome to our Legend
(as published in The Hico News Review in 1986)
by Bob Hefner
In 1950, an El Paso reporter recorded an interview with Mrs. Mardle Ables, she was quoted having said that she had seen and talked to Billy the Kid the day before. She further stated that he was living under the alias of Ollie Roberts, nicknamed Brushy Bill.
Thus began one of the great mysteries of the American west. Could this infamous man, reputed to be one of the worst outlaw killers sworn dead and buried since 1881, have survived until 1950? Could this be the beginning of the greatest hoax ever played on the American people?
In 1955, a book titled "Alias Billy the Kid" was published about the life of Ollie (Brushy Bill) Roberts. It established his claim to being the notorious Billy the Kid. His claim was written so one and all could understand. Nothing was withheld or hidden. The story caused a great deal of denial and controversy, even though in 1955, it would have been easy to prove or disprove as some of the key players were still alive. Contemporary writers and historians alike dismissed it out of hand or ignored it completely.
I became interested in the story 30 years later, somewhat by accident. A souvenir booklet I printed in honor of Hico's 100 Old Settler's Reunion was a synopsis of Brushy's story. The booklet attracted national attention and introduced me to some people and information that got me involved. From that time I knew I must see this to the end. I felt somehow responsible to solve this mystery, whether it proved or disproved Brushy's story, once and for all.
One of the people I met was William Tunstall [Tunstill] of Roswell, New Mexico. I found that he was involved in doing the very thing I intended to do. Together we have fulfilled our ambitions. I readily acknowledge that it was split 80-20 with me doing the 20, (or less) however, the two parts completed the whole. We now have the evidence, and can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Old Brushy was Billy the Kid.
Like Brushy, we have written it all down. Nothing is hidden, implied, assumed or supposed. Tunstall's [sic], book "Billy the Kid and Me Were the Same" is out of print as is "Alias Billy the Kid". My book, "The Trial of Billy the Kid" was written before the final work was complete therefore a final work was necessary. I am proud to say that this has now been done. Working with Dr. Jannay Valdez (80-20 again), we have published "Billy the Kid Killed in New Mexico - Died in Texas." It will be available April 1, 1995, and it solves the mystery that began in 1950.
As you read this special supplement to The Hico News Review you may be sure that it is about a special person in our history. No, not just an outlaw, not a wanton killer instead it is about a man that fought for justice the only way he knew how. It is about a man that led a life almost too full to be written about. It is about a man that publicly confessed his wrongs because he wanted " to meet my maker with all things corrected".
Enjoy these stories about Brushy Bill Roberts who was indeed Billy the Kid. A part of our history, a part of Hico.
For more about Hico's Billy the Kid Legend visit the Billy the Kid Museum in downtown Hico, secure a copy of one of the many books listed below which document the legend, read an interview with author W. C. Jameson , study a 1981 report prepared by Dr. Albert Tunstill, Historian of Arizona and New Mexico , or for a brief overview of the facts visit Brushy Bill Roberts and Billy the Kid---The Complete Facts.
Books advancing the claim:
Alias Billy the Kid by C. L. Sonnichsen & W. V. Morrison, 1955.
Billy the Kid & Me Were the Same by Dr. William A. Tunstill, 1988.
The Trial of Billy the Kid by Judge Bobby E. Hefner, 1990.
Billy the Kid: Killed in New Mexico---Died in Texas by Dr. Jannay Valdez & Judge Bobby E. Hefner, 1995.
The Return of the Outlaw Billy the Kid by W. C. Jameson & Frederick Bean, 1998.
The Real Billy the Kid AKA: Brushy Bill Roberts by Brett L. Hall, 2004.
Billy the Kid: Beyond the Grave by W. C. Jameson, 2005.
Billy the Kid: The Lost Interviews by W. C. Jameson, 2012.
Books refuting the claim:
Billy the Kid, His Real Name Was by Jim Johnson, 2006.
Billy the Kid's Pretenders Brushy Bill & John Miller by Gale Cooper, 2010.