Do you believe the story that Jesse James met Billy the Kid in 1879?

Do you believe the story that Jesse James met Billy the Kid in 1879?

Philippe Morcrette

Talence, Gironde, France

That account comes from Dr. Henry F. Hoyt, a friend of Billy’s, who was working in the Exchange Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico, in 1879.

In late July, while having dinner in the Adobe Hotel in Hot Springs, he ran into Billy and a companion the Kid referred to as “Mr. Howard from Tennessee.” The Kid later told Hoyt that Mr. Howard was, in reality, Jesse James, who was in town visiting a boyhood friend from Missouri. The Kid claimed Jesse offered him a job robbing trains, but that he had replied it was not his line of business.

The tale certainly seems plausible to me as the Doc also noted James’s telltale missing fingertip. Some historians, though, fault the account since the Doc did not record it at the time but rather decades later, in his 1929 autobiography A Frontier Doctor.

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