John Wesley Hardin was born in Bonham, Texas on May 26, 1853. Hardin was an outlaw in the Old West and a brutal, prolific killer. He was said to have murdered 44 men by the time he went to prison in 1878. John's criminal behavior caused the deaths of several members of his own family who were killed by Texas Rangers seeking revenge. His father was a Methodist preacher and school teacher and his mother was a charitable and cultured woman. Even at the young age of 14 John Wesley Hardin exhibited a violent disposition when he stabbed a boy for taunting him about some graffiti he had written on the schoolhouse wall. By the age of 15 he shot and murdered an ex-slave of his uncles which he claimed was in self defense. The law came after him however and he fled.

Celebrated gunfighter Wild Bill Hickock grew close to John, taking a paternal attitude towards him. This pleased John very much as he was fascinated by Wild Bill and looked up to him. The association between the two turned sour after Hardin spent one night in a hotel. He fired shots through the wall to quiet the stranger in the next room who was snoring. After he'd killed the guy, John exited through a window just in time to see Wild Bill arriving with four policemen.

In 1872 Hardin was shot by Phil Sublett after he'd lost money to Hardin in a poker game. John's kidney was damaged and he became bedridden for two years. On his sickbed he decided to surrender, handing over his guns to the sheriff and asking to be tried for his crimes to "clear the slate." Hardin changed his mind however and with the help of a relative, he sawed through the prison bars and escaped through a window. Finally, the law caught up with John and he was arrested on a train in Pensacola, Florida. He was sent to prison where he studied and earned his law degree. After 17 years of incarceration he was released and became a practicing attorney in El Paso, Texas. On August 19, 1895 lawman John Selman, Jr. arrested Hardin's mistress for "brandishing a gun in public." After learning of the charge Hardin exchanged harsh words with Selman. Later that night when Hardin was playing cards in a saloon Selman walked in and fired a shot into the back of his head. John Wesley Hardin was killed instantly.

Information for this biography was obtained from "Wikipedia"
























To see more pictures of Hardin's gravesite go to:


http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1346







You are listening to "John Wesley Harding" by Bob Dylan