John Wesley Hardin

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    Why not take a minute to register for your own free account now? Registration is completely free and will enable the use of all site features including the ability to join in or create your own discussions.

    There are 5 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by ethanedwards.

    • John Wesley Hardin


      May 26, 1853
      Bonham, Texas, United States

      August 19, 1895 (aged 42)
      El Paso, Texas, U.S

      Father: James G. Hardin
      Mother: Elizabeth
      Brother: Joe Hardin

      Gambler, Cowboy, Outlaw, Gunfighter, Lawyer

      Mini- Biography
      Full Biography-John Wesley Hardin

      John Wesley Hardin was born in Bonham, Fannin County,
      Texas, on 26th May, 1853.
      He was the son of James Hardin, a Methodist preacher,
      and was named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

      Hardin was only 12 years old when members of the Confederate Army
      returned home after the American Civil War.
      The war had a powerful impact on Hardin and he developed
      a strong hatred of the freed slaves and killed his first black man
      when he was 15 years old. Hardin fled from home after the killing
      As he was later to explain: "To be tried at that time for the killing of a Negro
      meant certain death at the hands of a court backed by Northern bayonets...
      thus, unwillingly, I became a fugitive not from justice, be it known,
      but from the injustice and misrule of the people who had subjugated the South."

      In the next few weeks Hardin was to kill three more men.
      These were soldiers who had attempted to take him into custody.
      Hardin moved to Navarro County where he became a school teacher.
      This was followed by work as a cowboy.
      He then tried to make a living out of poker but this resulted in him killing
      Jim Bradley in a gambling row.

      Hardin's next killing took place in Kosse, Texas when a man tried to rob him.
      As he pointed out later: "I told him that I only had about $50 or $60 i
      n my pocket but if he would go with me to the stable I would give him more,
      as I had the money in my saddle pocket ...
      He said, "Give me what you have first." I told him all right, and in so doing,
      dropped some of it on the floor.
      He stooped down to pick it up and as he was straightening
      up I pulled my pistol and fired.
      The ball struck him between the eyes and he fell over, a dead robber."

      J.B. Hickok 1869

      In 1871 he was involved in taking cattle to Abilene where he met Wild Bill Hickok.
      Hardin later claimed he "killed five men on the journey and three more at his destination".
      After killing four black men he was arrested by the sheriff of Cherokee County.
      He escaped from jail in October 1872, and was soon back in trouble with the law.
      This included the killing of Charles Webb, deputy sheriff of Brown County,
      on 26th May, 1874.

      Hardin fled to Florida and over the next few months killed six more men.
      With a $4,000 price on his head Hardin was pursued by several bounty hunters.
      Eventually he was captured by Captain John Armstrong
      and a party of Texas Rangers at Pensacola on 23rd July, 1877.
      The following year he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
      He was taken to Huntsville in Texas and he spent his time studying law,
      theology and mathematics. Hardin regained his religious faith
      and became superintendent of the Sunday School in prison.

      In 1894 Hardin was released from prison.
      He joined his children in Gonzales County
      (his wife Jane had died on 6th November, 1892) b
      efore moving to Karnes County, where he married Callie Lewis on 8th January, 1895.
      The marriage was not a success and Hardin moved to El Paso
      where he worked as a lawyer. Hardin also began writing his autobiography.

      Hardin got in trouble in 1895 when he started claiming that he paid Jeff Milton
      and George Scarborough to kill Martin McRose. Milton and Scarborough
      were arrested but Hardin later withdrew his comments and the men were released.

      John Selman

      His next dispute concerned John Selman.
      He began saying unpleasant things about Selman's son
      after he arrested Hardin's girlfriend for vagrancy.
      On 19th August, 1895, Selman shot John Wesley Hardin
      in the back of the head while he was standing at the Acme Saloon Bar.

      Concordia Cemetery, El Paso,Texas,

      The El Paso police found Hardin's unfinished autobiography in the house
      he rented in the town.
      This was handed over to his children and the book,
      Life of John Wesley Hardin as Written by Himself was published in 1896.

      Edited and Compiled by ethanedwards
      From Information and Photographs
      by Spartacus Educational and Wikipedia
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 6 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Western Legends- John Wesley Hardin

      chester7777 wrote:


      This is an interesting story, since I had only a vague recollection of the name, but this article brings him into clearer perspective.

      Chester :newyear:

      Jim, out of all of the outlaws, Hardin appears to be the most ruthless!.
      Whilst, Billy, Jesse and Butch were dangerous men,
      they have become in folklore, lovable rogues.
      Like Robin Hood, robbing from the rich etc.
      However in Hardin's case he seemed nothing more than
      a ruthless killer, the ' Gentleman' tab, I'm not sure!
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Re: Western Legends- John Wesley Hardin

      An interesting side note - my high school sweetheart, who after graduating went off to Texas for college, eventually married a fellow who's last name is Hardin.
      So now, after all these years, I'm realizing the true nature of his lineage. :))):
    • Re: Western Legends- John Wesley Hardin

      Didnt john wesley hardin shoot a man while he was asleep for snoring.he was a cold bloody hollywood could potray a killer like a robin hood of the west in lawless breed with rock hudson.
    • Re: Western Legends- John Wesley Hardin

      As some of our members have shown an interest in Frank James,
      thought I'd bump this one to the top,
      probably the most ruthless of them all.

      Just to add we have other profiled
      Western Legends
      and they make interesting reading
      Best Wishes
      London- England