John was born on May 26, 1853, in Bonham, Texas, the son of a Methodist preacher. John's father had big plans for his son, but all the plans went down the sewer.

Wes held many positions, Schoolteacher, farmer, cowboy, businessman, killer, convict and lawyer.

                                                                     John Wesley Hardin John

Wes had his first taste of the killer instinct at age eleven, stabbing a boy in the back and chest in a knife fight. He shot a former slave 3 times in the chest, at age fifteen years of age. Soon after he shot the slave, John ambushed three soldiers who were trying to arrest him, he killed all three.

John headed for Louisiana, where he got arrested, he killed a guard and escaped, and ended up near Smiley in South Texas. He worked as a cowhand on the Chisholm Trail with a cow-herd headed for Abilene KA.; to keep in practice he killed an Indian on the way.

                                                             Schofield 44

John returned to Smiley, where he married Jane Bowen. While there he had three more shootouts with the law. Wes was inactive for about a year, he and Jane had a daughter. In 1874 Wesley shot and killed Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb. The State of Texas placed a reward of $4,000 dollars on his head DEAD-OR-ALIVE. The Texas Rangers began to track him down.

                                                              1836 Colt                                                             


Hardin moved his family to Florida, where he assumed the name of  J. H. Swain Jr. The Hardin's had a son in 1875 and another daughter followed two years later. John bought and sold cattle for three years in Florida and Alabama. In 1877, Texas Ranger John Armstrong captured Hardin near Pensacola, Florida.

Hardin was tried and sentenced, he was sent to the Huntsville prison in Texas.

John was released in 1894; he opened a law office (he studied law while in prison) in Gonzales.

John's wife died a year earlier, he and the children moved to Junction, where he opened office again. While in Junction, he married a young woman; she left him the day after the wedding.

The law business soon floundered and John turned to gambling. During the late evening of August 19, 1885 Wes entered the Ame Saloon in El Paso, he picked up the dice, rolled them down the bar, at that instant, Constable John Selman fired four times, and John Wesley Hardin was sent to the happy hunting ground.

John Selman

Hardin rained terror for seven years, it is rumored he killed at least 41 people. Is this rumor *fact*? Did Wes really kill 41, 21, or have the many, many books that have been written over the years increased the numbers?

                                                                           Dying JohnDead John      Cardgun