Friday, August 19, 2011

John Wesley Hardin

“Finished thrashing about 10 o’clock this morning.  Had about 400 bu wheat and 175 bu barley.  Helped Will draw oats this afternoon until about 4 O’clock.”

Ferrotype of John Wesley Hardin

John Wesley Hardin (May 26, 1853—August 19, 1895) was an outlaw and gunfighter of the American Old West. He was born in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas. When Hardin went to prison in 1878, he claimed to have killed 42 men, but considerably fewer killings have been documented as actually attributable to him. Hardin's criminal career resulted not only in the deaths of his victims but also in the deaths of his brother Joe and two cousins who were hanged by a lynch mob seeking revenge for a Hardin killing.

John Selman Sr.
El Paso lawman, John Selman Jr., arrested Hardin's friend, the widow M'Rose (or Mroz), for "brandishing a gun in public." Hardin confronted Selman, and the two men had a verbal dispute. On being told of the argument, John's 56-year-old father, John Selman Sr., a constable, approached Hardin on the afternoon of August 19, 1895, and the two men exchanged words. Later that night, Hardin went to the Acme Saloon, where he began playing dice. Shortly before midnight Selman Sr. walked in and saw Hardin with his back to him, and shot him in the back of the head, killing him instantly. As Hardin's body lay on the floor, Selman fired three more shots into him. Hardin is buried in the historic Concordia Cemetery, located in El Paso Texas.
Selman Sr. was arrested for the murder and stood trial, where he claimed he had fired in self defense. A hung jury resulted in his being released on bond, pending retrial.

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