John Wesley Hardin

John Wesley Hardin

Old West Character
Born May 26, 1853

John Wesley Hardin was an American outlaw, gunfighter, and controversial folk hero of the Old West. He was born in Bonham, Texas. Hardin found himself in trouble with the law at an early age, and spent the majority of his life being pursued by both local lawmen and federal troops of the reconstruction era. He often used the residences of family and friends to hide out from the law.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about John Wesley Hardin.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of John Wesley Hardin.


1853 Birth Hardin was born in 1853 near Bonham, Texas, to a Methodist preacher and circuit rider, James "Gip" Hardin, and Mary Elizabeth Dixson. … Read More
1859 6 Years Old Hardin's father traveled over much of central Texas on his preaching circuit until he and his family settled in Sumpter in Trinity County, Texas in 1859. … Read More
1861 8 Years Old For example, Hardin wrote that he was first exposed to violence in 1861 when he saw a man named Turner Evans stabbed by John Ruff. … Read More
1862 9 Years Old In 1862, at age nine, Hardin tried to run away and join the Confederate army.


1867 14 Years Old In 1867 while attending his father's school, Hardin was taunted by another student, Charles Sloter. … Read More
1868 15 Years Old In November 1868, when he was 15, Hardin challenged his uncle Holshousen's former slave, Major "Maje" Holshousen, to a wrestling match, which Hardin won. … Read More
1870 17 Years Old …  On January 5, 1870, Hardin was playing cards with Benjamin Bradley in Towash, Hill County, Texas. … Read More
In January 1871, Hardin was arrested for the murder of the Waco, Texas city marshal, Laban John Hoffman. … Read More
In early 1872, Hardin was in south-central Texas, in the area around Gonzales County. … Read More


1873 - 1874 3 More Events
1875 22 Years Old 1 More Event
On January 20, 1875, the Texas Legislature authorized Governor Richard B. Hubbard to offer a $4,000 reward for Hardin's arrest. … Read More
1876 23 Years Old 1 More Event
In March 1876 Hardin wounded a man in Florida who had tried to mediate a quarrel between Hardin and another man.
1877 24 Years Old 1 More Event
Two former slaves of his father's, "Jake" Menzel and Robert Borup, tried to capture Hardin in Gainesville, Florida in the middle of 1877. … Read More


1883 30 Years Old He was plagued by recurring poor health in prison, especially when the wound he had received from Sublett became re-infected in 1883, causing Hardin to be bedridden for almost two years.
1892 39 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1892, Hardin was described as being 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds, with a fair complexion, hazel eyes, dark hair, and wound scars on his right knee, left thigh, right side, hip, elbow, shoulder, and back.


1894 41 Years Old Hardin was released from prison on February 17, 1894, having served seventeen years of his twenty-five year sentence. … Read More
On January 9, 1895, Hardin married a 15-year-old girl named Callie Lewis. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.