After his mother’s death in November 1874, young Henry McCarty fell in with a rough character named Sombrero Jack and drifted into a life of crime.
Henry’s first transgression was a paltry affair, especially for someone destined to become the Old West’s most famous outlaw. The fifteen-year-old kid was caught in possession of clothes and other goods including two pistols stolen from the home of a Chinese laundryman named Charlie Sun.
“Sombrero Jack” aka George Schaefer, a smalltime thief, had broken into Sun’s house and stolen the revolvers, blankets and clothes valued at $150. Jack promised Henry a cut if he would hold the loot until he could retrieve it. The goods were found in Henry’s room and he was arrested and jailed. He escaped by climbing up and out the chimney and headed for Arizona. The kid was also on his way to becoming an accomplished escape artist.