The Most Famous Outlaw In El Paso History Was Almost A Preacher
One of the most famous, and deadliest, outlaws in the old west lived and died in El Paso. His life almost took a totally different path ... twice.
If you have been in El Paso more than a day or so, you've probably already heard the name John Wesley Hardin.
Their lives were the stuff of legend and Hollywood has made a bunch of money entertaining us with their fascinating tales.
John Wesley Hardin got started down the wrong path at an early age, killing his first man when he was just 15 years old. There followed a life of prisons, jailbreaks, violence and more killing. It's said he killed 21 men Hardin claimed the number was actually 42.
Many people don't believe that one but Hardin once said: "They say I killed six or seven men for snoring. Well, it ain’t true. I only killed one man for snoring.” - oldwest.org
Had he become a Preacher like his father was, and wanted him to be, things might have turned out very differently.
After whacking a few more people and serving some prison time, he somehow got himself pardoned, earned a law degree, and set up his practice in El Paso.
Would this be his salvation? A glorious new path? The ever-elusive "second chance" that so many seek?
Nope. Not so much.
By all accounts, he not only remained as mean as a snake, but he also began to drink heavily and liked to run his mouth.
When then Constable John Selman arrested Hardin's girlfriend, Hardin threatened to kill him. Later that month Selman, by way of reply, shot Hardin in the back of the head.
Hardin was not particularly well-liked so, Selman's claim of "self-defense" was accepted. John Wesley Hardin is buried in El Paso's historic Concordia Cemetery.