Raynors HCA 2017-06
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Probate Affidavit Document, 1pp., Territory of New Mexico, County of Lincoln, July 7, 1879, 8” x 12,”, signed by “Sue E. McSween” that she will “solemnly swear that I will ... faithfully execute the last will of the said Alex A. McSween, deceased and faithfully perform all things required by law ...” Susan struggled in the aftermath of the Lincoln County War to make ends meet in New Mexico Territory. She sought and received help from John Tunstall's family in England. She served as executor of John's estate and that of her husband, managing to free herself of their accrued debts by liquidating the estate assets. In 1880 she married George Barber a young law clerk and later attorney who aided in her recovery. Barber's work as a surveyor for John Chisum resulted in Chisum gifting 40 head of cattle to Susan worth about 400 to start her into the cattle business. Later the couple divorced. She took over 1,158 acres of land on the West side of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in the years after the Lincoln County War ended. By 1890 Susan ran at least 5,000 head of cattle on her 1,158-acre ranch under the Three Rivers Cattle Company brand in Three Rivers. By some estimates she owned upward of 8,000. By the mid-1890s her ranch holdings were some of the largest in the territory. She became extremely wealthy through cattle sales and mining a small silver vein on the property. She was also known for the fruit orchards she planted with trees she obtained from John Chisum. Alexander McSween (c. 1843-1878) was a prominent figure during the Lincoln County War of the Old West, and a central character, alongside John Tunstall, in opposing businessmen and gunmen Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan. On July 15, 1878, when the Regulators were surrounded in Lincoln at the McSween home, along with McSween and his law partner, Harvey Morris. Facing them were the Dolan/Murphy/Seven Rivers cowboys, led by Sheriff George Peppin. On July 19, after numerous exchanges of gunfire over a four-day period, the house was set afire. As the flames spread and night fell, Susan McSween was granted safe passage out of the house while the men inside continued to fight the fire. By 9 p.m., the Regulators and McSween made plans to break free of the house. Jim French went out first, followed by Billy the Kid, Tom O'Folliard, and Jose Chavez y Chavez. The Dolan men saw the running men and opened fire, killing Morris. Some US Cavalry troopers had arrived by that time, with instructions to make arrests to avoid executions by the Dolan Faction, and they'd taken up position in the back yard to take those left into custody. However, a close-order gunfight erupted, and McSween was killed, as was Seven Rivers cowboy Bob Beckwith.
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Billy the Kid Ally - Alexander McSween

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