Today in Texas History – July 23

From the Annals of the Outlaws –   In 1877, Texas Rangers captured outlaw John Wesley Hardin in Pensacola, Florida. The Rangers finally caught up with Hardin when an undercover ranger intercepted a letter that was sent to Hardin’s father-in-law by his brother-in-law, the outlaw Joshua Robert “Brown” Bowen. The letter disclosed that Hardin was hiding out on the Alabama-Florida border under the assumed name of “James W. Swain”.  When Hardin realized he was in danger of capture, he attempted to draw a gun, but got it caught in his suspenders He was brought back to Texas and  tried at Comanche for the murder of Charles Webb and was sentenced to 25 years in Huntsville prison. Hardin served 17 years and was released at the age of 40.  He obtained a pardon, passed the bar and obtained a law license.  He practiced law in Gonzales for a time.  He moved to El Paso where he was shot dead in a bar in Constable John Selman, Sr. after a dispute over the arrest of Hardin’s friend and part-time prostitute the Widow M’Rose.


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