“THE BULLY AND THE KID”

— BILLY THE KID’S FIRST VICTIM —

A big, muscular Irish immigrant named Frank “Windy” Cahill ran the blacksmith operation at Camp Grant Army Post in Arizona Territory in 1877. Cahill stood around six feet tall and weighed a little over two hundred pounds, with the reputation of a loudmouth and a bully.

Billy the Kid's First Victim

On several occasions, he directed his verbal abuse at a teenager named Henry Antrim, who stood about 5-7 and didn’t weigh more than 135 pounds soaking wet.

Antrim, also known by the names William McCarty and William Bonney, would best be remembered as Billy the Kid. The Kid worked as an itinerant ranch hand in the territory and was hired as a teamster at the Army post. 

On Friday, August 17, he rode into Fort Grant, headed for the George Atkins Cantina Saloon, and ended up in the same card game as Cahill.

A local cowboy, Gus Gildea, described Billy as dressed “like a country Jake, with store pants on and shoes instead of boots, with a six-gun stuck in his trousers.”

A short time after the card game started, the two adversaries argued. Bad blood had already flowed between them from previous confrontations. “You’re a pimp,” the blacksmith bellowed.

“And you’re a sonofabitch,” Antrim countered.

Cahill roared, sprang from his chair, and knocked the younger man down. He pinned him to the floor and began punching him.

Struggling and unable to get Cahill off him, Billy yanked the six-gun from his waistband and shoved the barrel into the man’s guts.

When Cahill wouldn’t back off, the Kid fired.

Cahill rolled off Antrim, who got to his feet and ran out the door.

Before dying, Cahill said, in a statement printed by the Arizona Weekly Star a few days later:

“…I had some trouble with Henry Antrem [sic], otherwise known as Kid, during which he shot me. I had called him a pimp and he called me a s—- of a b—-; we then took hold of each other; I did not hit him, I think; saw him go for his pistol and tried to get hold of it, but could not and he shot me in the belly . . .”

A few hours later, Cahill died of his wounds—Billy the Kid‘s first shooting victim.

A coroner’s inquest found Antrim guilty of “criminal and unjustifiable homicide.” But Antrim fled the scene of the crime and headed for New Mexico. 

_______

 

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