John Wesley Hardin‘s father was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher. When his son was born on May 26, 1853 near Bonham, Texas, James Hardin named him after the famed Methodist evangelist John Wesley and was probably as proud as any man…but some folks are born to trouble.
Oldest brother Joseph eventually founded a school, and John Wesley Hardin attended along with his many siblings, but he tried to run away and join the Confederate Army when he was nine, and before he was 15 he’s knifed a classmate for teasing him. By the time he was sixteen, he’d killed a man outright.
His father advised him to run, and run he did. For the next 26 years, if John Wesley Hardin wasn’t in jail or prison, he was running from the law or holed up with friends or relatives who would hide him.
The Hardin family was a strange one. They were handsome people with mannerly ways, but it seems the menfolk were either preachers or killers. John Wesley Hardin was the latter.
He died in El Paso, shot to death by Constable John Selman, Sr. as he played at dice in a saloon.