John Wesley Hardin, 18531895 (age 42 years)

John Wesley Hardin
Birth May 26, 1853 30 26
Birth of a sisterElizabeth Hardin
June 23, 1855 (Age 2 years)
Birth of a sisterMartha Ann Hardin Mattie
April 1, 1857 (Age 3 years)
Birth of a brotherBenjamin Hardin
1859 (Age 5 years)
Birth of a brotherJefferson Davis Hardin
September 7, 1861 (Age 8 years)
Birth of a sisterNancy (Nannie) Hardin
March 31, 1866 (Age 12 years)
Death of a brotherBenjamin Hardin
1868 (Age 14 years)
Death of a brotherJoseph Gibson Hardin
May 31, 1874 (Age 21 years)
Birth of a brotherJames Gibson Hardin Jr.
August 15, 1874 (Age 21 years)
Death of a paternal grandmotherElizabeth Hearne
1875 (Age 21 years)
Death of a fatherJames Gibson Hardin
August 2, 1876 (Age 23 years)
Death of a motherMary Elizabeth Dixson
May 26, 1885 (Age 32 years)
Death August 19, 1895 (Age 42 years)
Address: 3700 West Yandell Street El Paso, TX 79903 915-842-8200
Cemetery: Concordia Cemetery

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JOHN WESLEY HARDIN was born May 5 (or 26?), 1853 in Bonham, Texas, the second son of the REVEREND JAMES GIPSON HARDIN and MARY ELIZABETH DIXON HARDIN. Mary Elizabeth's parents were Doctor WILLIAM DIXON, who emigrated from Kentucky, and MARY ELIZABETH CARTWRIGHT DIXON. The Hardins traveled from Georgia through Tennessee to Texas in 1825.

The other children of Reverend and Mrs. Hardin were: Joe, Elizabeth (1855), Martha Anne "Matt" (1857), Jefferson Davis (1859) and Nannie.

John Wesley's great uncle, AUGUSTINE HARDIN, signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Another Great uncle, FRANKLIN HARDIN, fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. John Wesley's paternal grandfather BENJAMIN HARDIN, served in the Texas Congress and worked on the details of the annexation of Texas by the United States. Hardin County was named for an uncle, WILLIAM B. HARDIN, who was a noted judge.

John Wesley Hardin married JANE BOWEN of Gonzales County in Riddleville, Texas. The two were wed by a Methodist minister March 18, 1872 and lived in a small house on the Fred Duderstadt ranch near Mound Creek in Gonzales County. Their first child, MARY ELIZABETH, was born February 6, 1873 followed by JOHN WESLEY, JR., born August 3, 1875 in Jacksonville, Florida. CALLIE, the third child, was born July 15, 1877 in Alabama. Callie was a Bowen family name which was later change to Jane and she was called Jennie. Jennie married John Lyons and the two lived in the Kenedy area never having any children. They were both buried in Runge, Texas. John Wesley Jr. married Lily House. They lived in the Nixon area and were buried in Runge also. They had two children who were named John Wesley III and Belva. Mary Elizabeth "Molly" married Charles R. Billings December 16, 1894 (?). They lived at Nopal and Nixon and were buried at the Billings family cemetery near Nopal. Their children were Victor, Edith, Otis, Blanche, Felix, Ray, Morris, Honor, Rudolf, Jane, Ruby and Beatrice.

At the age of fifteen John Wesley Hardin taught school and was in conflict with Reconstruction lawmen. At the age of sixteen he was on the move and on the run is some places. He became foreman of a herd of cattle to be driven up the Chisholm Trail and had a number of encounters on this drive and met Wild Bill Hickock. Returning to Texas, he became involved in what was known as the Taylor-Sutton Feud. By that time he was a noted gunman by his own admission and felt he would be unable to receive a fair trail in the courts of the Reconstruction days. He shot Sheriff Webb at Commanche, Texas in self-defense but times had changed and the state could no longer tolerate this type of action. The largest reward ever offered by the State of Texas was offered for his capture. John Wesley "Wes" took his family to Jacksonville, Florida and then to Alabama. After three years he was captured and returned to Texas to stand trial. He was sentenced to the state prison where a Texas Ranger friend encouraged him to study law; the friend's name was BEN McCULLOUGH. Hardin was pardoned after twelve years; however, on November 6, 1892, which was two years prior to his release, his wife Jane died. He returned to Gonzales County where he opened an office for the practice of law and became involved in a bitter political contest. The candidate he supported lost the race, so, true to his word, he left Gonzales County. He went to the hill country where he married Callie Lewis; however, Callie backed out of the marriage contract after the ceremony. Wes later went to El Paso where he again opened an office for the practice of law. He was shot and killed by John Selman August 19, 1895 and was buried in the old Concordia Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.

By E. C. Spellmann Page 333 The History of Gonzales County, Texas John Wesley Hardin is the infamous gunfighter of western lore. He was killed in the ACME Saloon in El Paso, Texas.

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Reared in a Christian home (his father was a Methodist minister), he was called Johnny by his family. He became a fugitive in 1868 at the age of 15 when he shot and killed an ex-slave in self defense. When federal troops tried to arrest him, he killed three soldiers. It is purported that his family and friends helped him bury the bodies and destroy evidence in an attempted cover-up. His father sent him to Pisgah Ridge in Navarro County to hide out with his Dixson relatives. During this time, he briefly taught school. Soon after, he developed a love of horse racing, gambling, and wild times.

In his autobiography, he reports having met and fraternized with Wild Bill Hickock in Abilene, Kansas. Over the next 9 or 10 years, he reportedly killed a number of men, usually after some sort of altercation. In Comanche, Texas, he killed Brown County deputy sherrif Charlie Webb in what he called an act of self-defense. In the ensuing melee, the saloon crowd turned on him and his brother and his cousins. Although he managed to escape, his older brother Joseph and cousins Ham and Sim were not so lucky. Arrested and placed in the local jail, they were taken by a crazed mob the next day and lynched. In the late 1870's, he became involved in the bitter Taylor-Sutton feud, and participated in the assassination of Bill Sutton at Indianola. At this time, he fled to Florida, but now a concerted effort developed to capture him. He was soon after captured in Florida and returned to Texas.

He was tried and convicted of the murder of Charlie Webb, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Although he was imprisoned in Huntsville and attempted several escapes, he served nearly 17 years of his sentence. After his release, he petitioned for, and received a pardon from the governor of Texas, James Hogg. He passed his bar exam, and became an attorney.

Trying to pursue his profession of law at El Paso, Texas, he eventually reverted to his intemperate ways. He died when shot in the Acme Saloon in El Paso by a former gunfighter and outlaw turned lawman, City Constable John Selman after a verbal altercation regarding an arrest made by Selman's son, who was also a law enforcement officer. Selman was tried for murder and his trial was declared a mistrial when the jury hung 10-2 for acquital. He never lived to see his re-trial as he himself was gunned down a few weeks later.

It is reported to this day that flowers are mysteriously placed on John Wesley Hardin's grave.

Last change June 27, 200922:13:03

Family with parents
James Gibson Hardin
Birth: March 2, 1823 26 24Tennessee, USA
Death: August 2, 1876Texas, USA
Marriage: May 19, 1847Navarro, Hardin County, Texas, USA
elder brother
Birth: January 5, 1850 26 23Texas, USA
Death: May 31, 1874Texas, USA
3 years
John Wesley Hardin
Birth: May 26, 1853 30 26Texas, USA
Death: August 19, 1895Texas, USA
2 years
younger sister
Birth: June 23, 1855 32 28Texas, USA
Death: October 28, 1930Texas, USA
22 months
younger sister
Martha Ann Hardin
Birth: April 1, 1857 34 30Texas, USA
Death: January 4, 1949Texas, USA
3 years
younger brother
Birth: 1859 35 32Texas, USA
Death: 1868Texas, USA
3 years
younger brother
Birth: September 7, 1861 38 34Texas, USA
Death: May 1900Texas, USA
5 years
younger sister
Birth: March 31, 1866 43 39Texas, USA
Death: June 22, 1953Texas, USA
9 years
younger brother
Birth: August 15, 1874 51 47Texas, USA
Death: 1918Florida, USA