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Fred Waite, born Frederick Tecumseh Waite (occasionally spelled Fred Wayte) (September 23, 1853 – September 24, 1895), was a Chickasaw cowboy who joined Billy the Kid's gang. He left the gang to return to his people.
With the Chickasaw Nation, Waite served as a leading politician before his death at the age 42. He died shortly before he was to start serving as Governor of the Chickasaw.
Fred Waite was born after Removal in the Chickasaw nation at Fort Arbuckle, in what is now Garvin County, Oklahoma. Son of Catherine McClure Waite and Thomas Fletcher Waite. The grandson of Ela Teecha "Ellen" McClure and the Rev. A.J. McClure, a missionary from England to the Chickasaws. [Shadow of an Indian Star, 2005 by Bill and Cindy Paul}
Waite found work in New Mexico with John Tunstall, who was later to be one of the leaders of the Tunstall-McSween vs. Dolan war, better known as the Lincoln County War. Waite worked as a farmer for Tunstall.
On February 18, 1878, after Tunstall was killed, Waite became a member of the Regulators. They originally collected as a posse led by Dick Brewer to serve arrest warrants on Tunstall's killers. Through the posse, Waite met Billy, American Indian Jose Chavez y Chavez, Henry Brown, Jim French, and Charlie Bowdre. They later formed what became Billy the Kid's gang.
Fred Waite was allegedly behind a wall with the gang when they killed William J. Brady, sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico. He was also present when the gang killed Buckshot Roberts, a suspect in the murder of Tunstall.
Serving the Chickasaw
Split between his Chickasaw culture and his new life, Waite decided to return to life with the Chickasaw, leaving the gang behind. Back in Oklahoma, Waite became a successful politician. He served in several offices in the Chickasaw nation, including senator, speaker of the house of representatives, and others.
It is not known how Waite died in 1895. It was the day after his 42nd birthday, and he was being prepared to become Governor of the Chickasaw Nation.
- Otero, Miguel Antonio (1936) The Real Billy the Kid with new light on the Lincoln County War Rufus Rockwell Wilson, New York, p.46
- Utley, Robert M. Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life. p. 71. ISBN 0-8032-9558-8