Oliver M. Lee, W. W. Cox's brother-in-law, received the attention of those who were talking and guessing about who might have planned the killing of Pat Garrett. Similarly, Lee had some reason for having considerably less than kindly feeling toward Garrett.

The trouble was with something that had occurred in back in February, 1896. The flamboyant lawyer, Albert Jennings Fountain, a compulsive hounder of all whom he believed to be lawbreakers, along with his little boy Henry, had mysteriously vanished from the face of the earth as they were driving along a lonely stretch of road beside the White Sands. The disappearance--unquestionably a murder--had occurred immediately after he had presented a grand jury with evidence he had gathered, and secured an indictment against Oliver Lee, charged with rustling and brand-burning. These charges were later dismissed but Lee soon faced a more serious charge--he was accused of the murder of Albert and Henry Fountain.

In the two years that followed, Lee was not taken into custody, although a $10,000 reward was offered for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder of Fountain and his son. Then, on April 12, 1898, Sheriff Pat Garrett made an affidavit implicating Oliver Lee and his alleged accomplices, Bill McNew and Jim Gililland, and secured a bench warrant for their arrest. Just before dawn on July 13, Garrett and a posse surrounded Lee's ranch house at Wildey's Well. It had been a warm night and Lee and Gililland were sleeping on the flat roof of the ranch house.

In the ensuing gunfight, Kearney was mortally wounded and the attackers withdrew. By some miracle of chance, both Lee and Gililland were unscathed. Neither sought revenge in the years that followed. Why then should a man like Oliver Lee, if he had score to settle, have waited almost nine years to do something about it? The only answer--a very weak one--is that in 1907, supposedly Garrett was looking for evidence that would again charge Lee with the killing of the Fountains. True, the reward offered for their slayers had never been officially withdrawn, but it was well known that usually an acquitted person could not be tried again on the same charge - Lee had been tried and declared innocent in June, 1899.

Uploaded on 07.28.2014 by El Paso Museum of History

Out of Area / Out of Area, (1880 - 1889), Conflict

  • Oliver Lee
  • pat garrett

Your comment will be visible after the El Paso Museum staff has reviewed it. This usually happens within 24 hours.

Thank you for your comment

Oliver M. Lee

Report this entry

Choose the most important reason for this report

Your name

Your email address

Optional detail

Thank you for your report

More from the same community-collection

Bataan Death March

The Bataan Memorial Death March is held every year to honor the survivors of the treacherous trek up the Bataan,...

Bobcat "Horchata" at Hueco Tanks

As we wrap up our back country scouting around 5 pm, we spotted this beautiful creature doing a catwalk towards...

Elephant Butte Dam - New Mexico

Elephant Butte Dam

Cities and Towns Arizona Residence

The arcade of the Levi Howell Residence in Tucson, AZ. Levi Howell Manning was once the surveyor general for the...

El Paso Quadrangle, Texas (El Paso County)

Topography of El Paso County, Texas and the El Paso Quadrangle. Reverse side not shown provides a history of the...

Dividing Line between Mexico and the United States

Map of the dividing line between Mexico and the United States representing the initial point according to the treaty of...

Map of El Paso's Domain

Railroad facilities; mining areas of copper, gold, mercury, coal, silver, and general.

Map of El Paso County Texas

Produced by the county engineering department, this map of El Paso County,Texas includes block numbers, chief roads, pipelines, and an...

Geological Map of a Portion of West Texas

A geological map of a portion of West Texas based on U.S.G.S. topographic sheets and reconnaissance maps. Cretaceous details are...

Exhibit from Poland, 2014

" I, Thaddeus Kosiuszko, having departed America, (...) do hereby authorize my friend Thomas Jefferson to bestow upon (slaves) liberty...

Exhibit from Poland, 2014

Mentions of Slavery in Polish diaries. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, the author of journals from his travels around America, was not...

Exhibit from Poland, 2014

The Civil War, in memoirs of Polish participant, fighting for the North, in the Union Army - general of brigade...

Exhibit from Poland, 2014

The Civil War in the eyes of Poles - participants in its battles.

Exhibit from Poland, 2014

In January 1863 the second uprising explode in Poland : "Gone were the days of fervent American sympathy; a trend...

Exhibit from Poland, 2014

During the Deliberations of the Great Sejm (Parliament), in political literature and publications, American examples were perused more than once....