On August 19, 1895 one of the most notorious gunmen from the old “Wild West” met his end as he was gunned downed by an assassin in a saloon in El Paso, Texas. John Wesley Hardin claimed a long line of murders across the states of Texas, Kansas, Alabama, and perhaps others from 1867 – 1877 – when he was between 15 and 25 years old. In this decade of violence, Hardin claimed to have committed some 42 murders, though “only” 27 can be firmly attributed to him. In 1877, Hardin was arrested in Pensacola, Florida by the Texas Rangers and brought back to Texas to stand trial on murder charges related to the death of Charles Webb, a Brown County sheriff. Hardin was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Hardin served 17 years of his sentence before being paroled at which point he passed the bar and attempted to reform his life – becoming a lawyer! What a different world the 19th century world USA was! Imagine a convicted cop killer becoming a sworn officer of the legal system today. Hardin successfully avoided violent crime, though he did develop a penchant for sleeping with wives of his clients. One of these men, Martin Morose did not take kindly to this development and hired assassins to kill the philandering ex-gunman. One of these hired hands, Constable John Selman, found Hardin in the Acme Saloon in El Paso and put an end to one of the most dangerous gunmen in the history of Texas.