In the opinion of many, Texas outlaw John Wesley Hardin is the greatest of all gunfighters, and Lord knows he was just about the deadliest. Born May 26, 1853 to the Reverend J.G. Hardin, John Wesley was an early bloomer in the gunfighter trade. According to the Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters (O'Neal), he quit school at the age of 15 and started his career by shooting Reconstruction soldiers, minorities, and assorted Carpetbaggers. Of course, back then in Rebel Texas, that wasn't much of a crime. However, even before that, at the tender age of eleven, Hardin showed his deadly side when he stabbed another boy in the chest and back in a knife fight.
John Wesley Hardin made his first kill in November 1868 when a former slave refused to give him full access to a public road. Instead of arguing, John Wesley simply put three bullets into the man. Before he was done, 15 men were dead and others were wounded. Hardin's career in dealing death follows:
John Wesley Hardin's Kills
Below are the comments of those who knew
John Wesley Hardin, as recorded in the
WPA Files of the Library of Congress.
Tom Barker T.N. McKinney
Links to other Hardin sites
Follow these links for more information on John Wesley Hardin
Famous Texans: John Wesley Hardin A page chock full of history about the deadliest man in the West.
The Killing of John Wesley Hardin TexasEscapes.com's discussion of the death of the outlaw, written by Murray Montgomery.
The Handbook of Texas Online A site featuring an article on JWH as written by famed outlaw writer Leon C. Metz.
FrontierTimes.com A site featuring an article on JWH as well as a list of books on the outlaw. A great resource for researchers!
TxState Special Collections An article featuring donated information given by JWH's own relations! An excellent source for information on JWH that may not be found anywhere else!