Historical group works to preserve part of state’s wild west history

New Mexico News

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A regional history group is working to preserve a portion of New Mexico’s wild west history. The Billy the Kid Historical Coalition says it has found the gravesite of Jose Chavez y Chavez, a friend of Billy the Kid.


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Chavez was part of the Lincoln County Regulators in the Lincoln County War and was later sentenced to death for murder which was commuted to life in prison. Chavez eventually saved the life of a prison guard during a riot and was pardoned in 1909 by then governor, George Curry.

Chavez lived out the remainder of his life in Milagro, New Mexico where he died in 1923. The historical society says it is providing a new headstone for Chavez’s grave and that while he was both an outlaw and lawman at differing points in his life, he deserves recognition for his place in New Mexico history. “Even though this is the Billy the Kid Coalition, Chavez deserves to stand on his own because he did some remarkable things, and he led a remarkable life and he deserves to stand on his own two feet,” said the president of the society Josh Slatten.

The historical coalition says it will place the headstone at the site on Oct. 2.

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