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Mesilla, New Mexico: Relics of the Hermit of La Cueva

The few surviving possessions of the Hermit are on display in the Gadsen Museum, a personal collection that includes Billy the Kid's jail cell doors.

Gadsden Museum

1875 Boutz Rd, Mesilla, NM
Gadsden Museum. I-10 exit 140. Drive south on Hwy 28/Avineda de Mesilla into town, then turn left onto Boutz Rd.
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Visitor Tips and News About Relics of the Hermit of La Cueva

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Gadsden Museum

One of your tipsters mentioned visiting the Gadsden Museum and getting a tour from my nephew, Keith Bird. They didn't mention that Keith, along with my sons, are great great grandsons of Albert Jennings Fountain, famous attorney for Billy the Kid and infamous murder victim. The Gadsden Museum is dedicated to his memory.

[Debby Smithers, 09/14/2023]

The family connection was probably lost amid the avalance of interesting artifacts at the Gadsden Museum, including Billy the Kid's jail cell doors.

Jail replica with authentic cell door.

Relics of the Hermit of La Cueva

It's less a museum in the traditional sense, and more of a display of a family's private and personal collection of 19th and 20th century artifacts.

The museum is located in an 1860s private residence of Keith Bird -- 6th generation owner and proprietor. There are no set hours where you can visit, but rather requires you to contact Mr. Bird for an appointment. He is very responsive to requests, and is extremely generous with his time and extensive knowledge regarding 100+ years of local history. He was an absolutely wonderful host, and as he took me through his home and showed the vast collection of amazing artifacts, he shared many stories about his family and their relationship with such notables as Billy The Kid and the Hermit of La Cueva.

Due to privacy concerns, no photos are allowed to be taken inside the home.

The actual jail doors that were located in the Lincoln jail from which Billy escaped are part of their collection, and have been used to create a replica jailhouse in a structure outside of the main home. Photos there are welcome and encouraged.

Spend time with Mr. Bird, who is a true historian.

[Luv2RV, 05/18/2023]
The Hermit of La Cueva

Here in Las Cruces, NM, we have a nifty spot. In Mesilla (which is a small town that is just west of us, but is connected like a suburb), there is the Gadsen Museum, which contains a barber shop chair that Pat Garret was in during an assassination attempt, the jail door from the cell Billy the Kid escaped from, and a few things belonging to "The Hermit of La Cueva".

The Hermit was a nobleman who decided to live in a cave outside of town during the 1800's, I believe. One night he was found murdered in his "residence" quite brutally, and the murder was never solved. It's a neat tale.

I think the tour costs $3 and last about an hour. It's right by the Plaza too, so close to all sorts of touristy crap that people like to buy (t-shirts, mugs, keychains, kachinas, etc).

[Kris Punke, 07/02/2001]

Crap? What do you mean?

Nearby Offbeat Places

La Posta de Mesilla, Billy the Kid JailLa Posta de Mesilla, Billy the Kid Jail, Mesilla, NM - < 1 mi.
Billy the Kid Gift ShopBilly the Kid Gift Shop, Mesilla, NM - < 1 mi.
Propane Powered RocketPropane Powered Rocket, Las Cruces, NM - 1 mi.
In the region:
RV Muffler Man, Hatch, NM - 35 mi.

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