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

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1853 Birth Hardin was born in 1853 near Bonham, Texas, to 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, in 1859, he and his family settled in Sumpter, Trinity County, Texas. … Read More
1861 8 Years Old In 1861, according to his autobiography, Hardin's first exposure to violence came when he saw a man named Turner Evans being stabbed by John Ruff. … Read More
1862 9 Years Old In 1862, at the age of nine, Hardin tried to run off and join the Confederate army. … 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 Waco, Texas, city marshal Laban John Hoffman, which he denied having committed. … Read More
1872 19 Years Old 1 More Event
In early 1872, Hardin was in south-central Texas, in the area around Gonzales County. … Read More


1873 20 Years Old 1 More Event
On May 15, 1873, Jim Cox and Jake Christman were killed by the Taylor faction at Tomlinson Creek. … Read More
1874 21 Years Old After a brief visit with his family, whom he had relocated to Florida under the assumed name "Swain", Hardin met up with his "gang" on May 26, 1874, in a Comanche saloon to celebrate his 21st birthday. … Read More
1875 22 Years Old On January 20, 1875, the Texas Legislature authorized Governor Richard B. Hubbard to offer a $4,000 reward for the apprehension of John Wesley Hardin. … Read More
1877 24 Years Old On August 24, 1877, Hardin was confronted on a train in Pensacola, Florida, by the Rangers and local authorities. … Read More
1878 25 Years Old 1 More Event
When he was finally captured and sent to prison in 1878, Hardin claimed to have already killed 42 men, but newspapers of the day had attributed only 27 killings to him up to that point. … Read More
1879 26 Years Old In 1879, Hardin and other convicts were stopped while attempting to steal guns from the prison armory. … 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
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