Josiah “Doc” Scurlock was a colorful character who rode with Billy the Kid and found no shortage of trouble in his younger years, including having his front teeth shot out over a card game dispute. The other man wasn’t as lucky.
Scurlock was born in Alabama in 1849 but moved west as a young man. He worked as a cowboy for the famous rancher John Chisum in Texas and New Mexico. When Scurlock quit, Chisum failed to pay, so Scurlock took his wages out in horses from Chisum’s stock and headed further west.
In New Mexico Scurlock met Billy the Kid. They, along with a few other well-known characters of the old west, worked for rancher John Tunstall, whose killing started the Lincoln County War in earnest. Doc, Billy, and other cowhands formed a group called the Regulators to avenge Tunstall’s killing. Most of the men involved in the killing of Tunstall, including Sheriff William Brady, met their maker over the next many days.
Scurlock and Billy the Kid ended up in jail for crimes associated with the war. Once they got out, the governor of New Mexico pardoned all the characters (who hadn’t already been killed) except Billy the Kid. Scurlock gave away all of his guns and headed for Texas to start a new life around 1879.
Scurlock eventually settled in Eastland, Texas, and he and his wife had ten children. He was a productive citizen who contributed to the community, ran a candy shop just west of the old jail (near our hotel), and wrote essays and reviews. He never talked about his outlaw days. He died in 1929 and is buried in the Eastland cemetery.