In 1862 the US army established Fort Sumner as a supply and control point for the Bosque Redondo Indian Reservation. Navajo were forcibly relocated from the Four-Corners Region enduring or dying on a tragic march known as the ‘Long Walk’. About 500 Apache were also moved here.
During the existence of the reservation 3,000 Navajo and Apache died, finally closing in 1868, Navajo and Apache returned to their homes. The fort was abandoned in 1869.
Unfortunately for us, the Bosque Redondo memorial was closed the day we visited, at some point in the future we would like to return and visit the memorial.
After surviving the Lincoln County War and escaping from the jail in the courthouse Billy the Kid came to Fort Sumner, although there is not much left of the fort he would’ve known.
The Billy the Kid Museum has some interesting things
Billy the Kid’s rifle
Informers repeatedly sent messages to Pat Garrett the Sheriff in Lincoln telling him where Billy could be found. Eventually Pat Garrett travelled to Fort Sumner.
On 14 July 1881, while hiding in Pete Maxwell’s bedroom, Pat Garrett shot and killed Billy the Kid.
Billy is buried in the old Fort Graveyard.
Have fun, we are!