John Wesley Hardin
(May 26, 1853 - August 19, 1895)
Born the son of a Methodist preacher, John Wesley Hardin lived a jaded life filled with roaming and killing. Wes claimed a number of victims by age twenty-one, but he erred when he killed the deputy sheriff of Brown county Texas. The Texas Rangers were now on his trail.
He drifted through Texas, then went to Florida burying six more along the way. The Texas Rangers captured him in Pensacola, Florida on July 23, 1877. He was tried and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1878. Wes spent his term wisely studying a wide variety of subjects including law. He was released in 1894 and given a ful pardon.
Wes went to El Paso to prosecute a case for Jm Miller, a character who was known as a gun for hire, and hung out a shingle. Here, a 58 year old John Selman walked up behind John Wesley Hardin, put a gun to Wes's head and fired.
John Wesley Hardin had a violent temper that could flare in a moment. It was this trait that made his total kills close to forty.
John Wesley Hardin is buried in the Concordia Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm
Drawing by Richard Florence
Books About John Wesley Hardin
John Wesley Hardin, Dark Angel of Texas by Leon Metz
A fine book which reflects years of research and hard work. This brushes away the veil to reveal a dark and ruthless character.
The Last Gunfighter - John Wesley Hardin by Richard C. Marohn
In some ways this book flows better than Leon Metz book. Lots of pictures, maps and an unusual layout make this a book to own. A little difficult to find.
Life of John Wesley Hardin As written by Himself by John Wesley Hardin
Typically autobiographies by famous westerners are filled with more fiction than fact. This book, however, is accurate. There are some claims by Wes that can not be verified, but this book is worth a read.
Richland Crossing, A Portrait of Texas Pioneers by Walter Clay Dixson
True stories of pioneer migration and Texas adventures of several families, including the John Wesley Hardin biography, with many old letters and photos, authored by Hardin's cousin. You can order the book online at www.peppermillpubl.com.
The Authentic Wild West: The Gunfighters by James D. Horan
This well written book has a section on John Wesley Hardin.