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On this extremely rare document, western lawman Pat Garrett signed this typed document in 1896 to become a deputy clerk of the Third Judicial District Court. This was signed 20 days before he was appointed sheriff of Doña Ana County, New Mexico. Items signed by Garrett are extremely rare and highly desirable!
Document signed "P. H. Garrett" and by "W. B. Walton" as Clerk and "H. B. Holt" as Deputy. Pencil notations at top edge and black ink notations on verso, all in unknown hand. 7¾x6½, with 1¾-inch embossed seal in bottom right corner . July 20, 1896. Document in full: "I, the undersigned, do hereby solemnly swear that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of Deputy Clerk of the Third Judicial District Court, So Help me God." Twenty days after signing this document, Garrett was appointed sheriff of Doña Ana County, New Mexico. One of his first duties was to investigate the disappearance of Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain, who served as a special prosecutor against accused cattle rustlers in Lincoln, New Mexico. The primary suspects, deputy sheriff William McNew, James Gililland and Oliver M. Lee, had strong political ties in Lincoln County, which is why New Mexico Territorial Governor William T. Thornton asked Garrett, an outsider, to investigate the disappearance. After McNew was arrested, Garrett caught up to Gililland and Lee on July 12, 1898. They killed one of Garrett's deputies, escaped and later surrendered, though not to Garrett. All three men were later acquitted. Garrett (1850-1908) is best known for killing the outlaw Billy the Kid. Garrett was elected sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico in 1880. As Sheriff, he captured his onetime friend Billy the Kid, who had been accused of murder. The Kid killed two guards and escaped from jail just before he was to be hanged. On July 14, 1881, Garrett caught up with him at Fort Sumner, a military post near the town of Fort Sumner, New Mexico and shot him to death from ambush in a darkened house. It was in Fort Sumner that he met and married Apolonaria Gutierrez, with whom he had nine children. In April 1882, Garrett published The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid. He lost the next election for Sheriff of Lincoln County. In 1884, he ran for the territorial Senate and lost. He moved from Lincoln County to Tascosa, a settlement on the Canadian River, in the Texas Panhandle. He served as Captain of a unit of Texas Rangers that Texas Governor John Ireland had assigned to protect ranchers from cattle rustlers. Within weeks, Garrett quit the Texas Rangers and returned to southeastern New Mexico, this time to Roswell. He set up a scheme to irrigate the desert in an area with impoverished soil and bad water. In 1890, Garrett ran for Sheriff of Chavez County, which had been carved out of Lincoln County, with Roswell as the new county seat. He lost. In 1891, he moved to Uvalde, a community in south Texas where he raised and raced horses with 22-year-old John Nance Garner, future vice president of the United States under FDR (1933-1941), before becoming deputy sheriff and then sheriff of Doña Ana County, New Mexico (1896-1902) and collector of customs in El Paso, Texas (1902-1906). Pat Garrett was shot to death by rancher Wayne Brazel near Las Cruces, New Mexico because of a land dispute. A witness supported Brazel's claim of self-defense. Brazel was tried and found not guilty but people generally suspected that it was murder since Garrett's body showed a bullet in the back of the head as well as one in the stomach. Lightly toned and creased. Typewriting, but not signature, is faded but legible. Show-through from notations on verso (does not touch signature). Folded in quarters and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition.

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Born: June 5, 1850 in Cusseta, Alabama
Died: February 29, 1908 in Las Cruces, New Mexico

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