Artifacts and photographs at Fort Sumner State Monument illustrate the history of the fort, which was established in 1862 on the east bank of the Pecos River. From 1863 to 1868 it was the headquarters for a disastrous attempt to force the Navajo people and some Apache bands—after their defeat on various battlefields in the Southwest—to farm the inhospitable land. Natural disasters destroyed crops, wood was scarce, and even the water from the Pecos proved unhealthy.
Those who survived the harsh treatment and wretched conditions (3,000 didn't) were returned to reservations elsewhere in 1868. The post was then sold and converted into a large ranch. This is the same ranch where, in 1881, Sheriff Pat Garrett gunned down Billy the Kid. The Kid is now buried in a nearby cemetery, where his headstone is secured in a barred cage (this was erected after the headstone was stolen three times and later recovered).
Billy the Kid Rd.From town of Fort Sumner, head east on U.S. 60/84 and south on Billy the Kid Rd., parts of which are signed NM 212, Fort Sumner, 88119, United States