Wednesday, August 18, 2010




James Griffith

From Wikipedia:
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. 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.

Hardin was released from prison on February 17, 1894 after serving nearly 16 years of his 25-year sentence and being behind bars for 17 years since his capture. He promptly returned to Gonzales, Texas, as a 41-year-old widower who had three children who did not even know what he looked like. Within six months of release, two significant events occurred in Hardin's life. First, on March 16, he was pardoned, and then on July 21 he passed the state's bar examination, obtaining his license to practice law.

On January 9, 1895, he married a 15-year-old girl named Carolyn "Callie" Lewis. However, the marriage did not work out, and it quickly ended, albeit never legally dissolved. Neither Hardin nor his wife ever disclosed why the marriage failed so abruptly. Ill feelings about his failed second marriage probably contributed to Hardin's desire to move west, specifically to El Paso.

El Paso lawman John Selman Jr., arrested Hardin's friend, the widow M'Rose (also spelled 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.

Once again, "Famous Impostor Syndrome" came into play as Bart Maverick impersonated Hardin to help his brother Bret out of a tight situation in Sundown, Texas. On the way out of town, they ran into Hardin who had heard that a Bret Maverick supposedly gunned down John Wesley Hardin and the gunman was eager to prove that lightning never struck twice in the same place.....

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