Roswell in Chaves County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett
His Ride to Destiny
In the frontier west, Pat Garrett has to be considered as one of the most famous and effective of legendary law officers. Six feet, five inches tall, he was an imposing and implacable foe of western criminals. An honest and honorable lawman, Garrett was much more than the "Slayer of Billy the Kid." A dreamer who was a major figure in the success of agri-business in the Pecos Valley, he was also an important figure in New Mexico and Texas politics.
Garrett became sheriff when trailing and dispatching of a group of Comanche raiders impressed Roswell's J.C. Lea and John Chisum who were searching for an effective sheriff to rid the area of outlaw gangs, especially a young malcreant called "Billy the Kid." Although he was successful in capturing the young outlaw, his efforts were marred by the youth's subsequent escape from the Lincoln County Courthouse after killing his two jailers.
The sheriffs "Ride to Destiny" began in early July 1881, when with his two deputies, he mounted his horse, checked his favorite pistol (a single-action 44-40 Colt), and rode the 80 miles to Fort Sumner. There at the nearby Maxwell Ranch near
The killing was controversial and Garrett failed in his re-election bid. He retired to a large plot of land granted him by Roswell's town fathers as an incentive to become sheriff. Although it was his desire to become a gentleman farmer, he soon became a principal in a large water project which proposed using dams and canals to move water throughout the lower Pecos Valley.
Although partially successful in boosting agri-business for the area, Garrett was not financially able to meet requirements of the project and soon returned to law enforcement, politics and horse trading.
He associated with the great and near-great of the region, ran for public office unsuccessfully, headed a group of rangers, tried ranching and occasionally raised fast horses. When Colonel Albert Fountain and his son disappeared in the White Sands area, Garrett accepted the task of identifying and prosecuting the alleged murderers. Although he was successful in identifying the supposed killers, political maneuvering led to freeing the accused perpetrators.
Garrett later became a customs official in El Paso in an appointment by President Theodore Roosevelt. After his term he retired to a small ranch east of Las
"He brought law and order to New Mexico," President Theodore Roosevelt said when he heard of the death of the famed lawman. The storied frontier sheriff was buried in Las Cruces. The grave bears a simple stone engraved "GARRETT". This statue is the only known recognition of his services as an early lawman.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Industry & Commerce • Law Enforcement. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #26 Theodore Roosevelt series list. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1867.
Location. 33° 23.826′ N, 104° 31.255′ W. Marker is in Roswell, New Mexico, in Chaves County. Marker is on North Virginia Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 400 North Virginia Avenue, Roswell NM 88201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chaves County Court House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Justice in the Wild West (about 400 feet away); Chaves County Veterans War Memorial Chaves County Gulf War Monument (about 500 feet away); Chaves County Veterans Memorial (about 500 feet away); New Mexico Navy Veterans Monument (about 500 feet away); N.M. 200th Coast Artillery AA Regt. (about 500 feet away); Roswell Pioneer Plaza (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Roswell.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . . Pat Garrett - An Unlucky Lawman. Entry in LegendsOfAmerica.com website. Excerpt: “Garrett went after the Kid once again and arrived at Peter Maxwell's ranch on July 14, 1881 to question him about Billy's whereabouts. As Maxwell and Garrett sat in Peter's darkened bedroom in Old Fort Sumner, Billy unexpectedly entered the room. The Kid didn't recognize Garrett in the poor lighting conditions and asked ‘¿Quien es? ¿Quien es?’ (Spanish for ‘Who is it? Who is it?’), to which Garrett responded with two shots from his revolver, the first striking Billy’s heart.” (Submitted on March 8, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 5, 2014, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,087 times since then and 101 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week March 8, 2015. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 5, 2014, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.