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Book Review – Las Cruces Author Pens Definitive Pat Garrett History

Las Cruces Bulletin
Book Review – Las Cruces Author Pens Definitive Pat Garrett History
By Mike Cook

“Killing Pat Garrett, The Wild West’s Most Famous Lawman – Murder or Self-Defense?” tells the historic and tragic history of Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett, who was born June 5, 1850 in Chambers County, Alabama.

The book was written by Las Cruces author David G. Thomas and published last October about the one-time sheriff of both Lincoln County and of Doña Ana County (1896-1900), who shot and killed Billy the Kid July 14, 1881 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

As the book details, Garrett was shot and killed by Wayne Brazel Feb. 29, 1908 just north of Las Cruces. You can find a historic marker at the spot just south of U.S. Highway 70 near Oñate High School, where Garrett was killed, and you can find his grave in the Masonic Cemetery on Brown Road in Las Cruces.

Thomas is the author of las-crucesblog.com, cofounder of Friends of Pat Garrett, a filmmaker, screenwriter, author, historian and travel writer.

Garrett packed a lot of living into his 57 years, as detailed in Thomas’ excellent book. It has a full account of Garrett’s personal life, his family and his terms as sheriff, including his involvement in the 1899 arrest and trial of the men accused of killing Henry Fountain, the 8-year-old son of legendary Judge Albert J. Fountain.

Garrett also served four years as collector of customs in El Paso, as appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Garrett’s daughter, Elizabeth (1885-1947), wrote the state song, “O Fair New Mexico,” in 1915.

Thomas is also the editor of “The Stolen Pinkerton Reports of the Colonel Albert J. Fountain Murder Investigation,” published in 2020, as well as “Billy the Kid’s Grave – A History of the Wild West’s Most Famous Death Marker.”

Thomas won the Doña Ana County Historical Society’s 2020 Pasajero del Camino Real Award for the book. Thomas won the same award in 2015 and 2017 for other books he has written.

His first three books were about La Posta restaurant, Giovanni Maria de Agostini and movie theaters in Las Cruces.

To buy the Pat Garrett book and for more information about it, visit