Category Archives: Outlaw

Oops! ~ I Should Have Thought That Through ~ 52 Ancestors Week #49

This week’s prompt seems very fitting to me. I recently spoke with a cousin, “John”, I had connected with on Facebook. Although he had been on my friends list for several years the extent of our “relationship” had been responding to each other’s posts. I try not to overwhelm my family with information about our shared ancestry, but whenever asked about it I gladly share.

A few weeks ago I posted that if anyone had any stories about our mutual ancestors that I would love to hear them. John responded that he had a lot of stories and he wanted to call me so we could discuss them. I was elated! He was from a branch that I had not heard any stories from. We set up a time for the call and I awaited excitedly. We were on the phone for about and hour and I furiously too notes and asked questions. When the call ended, I got to work trying to verify some of the stories he told me about.

The first bit of information was one I had heard before. My Hughes line was related to Jessie James! I remembered doing a quick search about the possibility of Jessie being a relative, but I didn’t remember the outcome. I had already researched our connection to John Wesley Hardin and John Hardin Clements, the notorious Texas outlaws but I had never added Jessie to the tree. When I started researching I realized why. There was no way we were related, no matter how far back I went. So I put that possibility in the “no way” pile.

I moved on to the next story. It was about our ancestors, whom he named, that supposedly helped to dig up and rebury Civil War soldiers that had died and were buried on the grounds of The Anderson House in Lexington, Missouri. Again, I did some research and found nothing. I had been to this house and the museum that they had on the grounds, so I knew if I called the office, someone may be able to answer the question for me. The poor lady must have thought I was nuts! She was so nice though, and she told me they get calls all the time trying to prove some ancestors’ connection to the battle that was fought there or things happening on the grounds. She informed me that nothing like this ever happened here. My “no way” file just got bigger!

John spent about 15 minutes telling me all about his paternal heritage, how they were descendant from Irish Kings, and he told me outlandish stories about them. This line I wasn’t concerned with, nor did I even attempt to do any research of it because he and I aren’t connected through his fathers line.

Now John is bugging me about when I am going to write up the stories he told me and let the family know about Jessie James! I told him that we were not related to him, and he exclaimed “That’s what my Dad told me, and he’s not a liar!” I told him that maybe he was related to Jessie through his Dad’s line, and I told him I have never researched that line since I am not really connected to it. I tried to calm the situation down by telling him that when I have free time I may be able to look into it for him. I then told him the genealogy mantra: “Genealogy without documentation is mythology.” He understood and at least he didn’t unfriend me!

My oops moment was not thinking through the post about wanting stories. Maybe I should have just contacted a few cousins at a time and ask them if they had any information on the family. I could then, at least, give a few guidelines and explain about oral traditions. These stories can be wonderful and add a lot of character to your family history, as long as we state they are stories and are not proven facts. Lesson learned!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Freaky Friday’s ~ My Other Outlaw Cousin

In a previous blog I wrote about my outlaw cousin, John Wesley Hardin. Last week while researching an indirect line of my Hardin family, I discovered another cousin who became an outlaw.
Joseph “Joe” Hardin Clements, my 2nd cousin 3 times removed, was born December 1, 1849, in Gonzalez, Texas. He was named for Colonel Joseph Hardin (1734-1801), great grandfather of John Wesley Hardin. Hardin’s father’s sister, Martha (1817-1867) married Emmanuel Clements, and the Hardin and Clements cousins were close.
Joe enlisted in Company H of the 12th Texas Cavalry, (Parson’s Mounted Volunteers, Fourth Dragoons) CSA and served from 1861 to 1863. He was captured and sent to the Military Prison in Virginia, where he was exchanged back to the Confederacy. There is no further record for him after 1863. After the Civil War, he came back to Gonzales County, Texas where he married Sarah Jane Tennille (1856-1934) on August 5, 1870. They had one son, and one daughter. The family then moved to the Kimble County, Texas area. The marriage and the move did not deter Joe from his outlaw ways.
Little is known about Joe’s early years, but in 1871, he and his brothers Emmanuel and John “Gip” convinced John Wesley to accompany them on a cattle drive to Abilene, KS. Hardin admits to killing several men on that drive, and Emmanuel killed two of the Clements’ cowboys, for which he was arrested. Hardin had become acquainted with Wild Bill Hickok in Abilene, Texas, and he made arrangements with Wild Bill to let Emmanuel escape. John Wesley and Emmanuel often rode together, piling up indictments wherever they appeared. One or more of the other Clements boys occasionally joined the “party,” so much so that the individual activities are not clear. Joe seemed to have been part of the general mayhem perpetrated by the Clements clan for the next 25 years.
The Clement/Hardin cousins all fought on the Taylor side of the famed Taylor-Sutton feud. The Sutton–Taylor feud began as a county law enforcement issue between relatives of Texas Ranger, Creed Taylor, and a local law enforcement officer, William Sutton, in DeWitt County, Texas. The feud cost at least 35 lives and eventually included the outlaws John Wesley Hardin and Joseph Hardin Clements as two of its participants. It started in March 1868, not reaching its conclusion until the Texas Rangers put a stop to the fighting in December 1876.
In 1899, he moved to Hope, south of Roswell, New Mexico. By the 1920s he was a successful sheep rancher. He owned the Penasco River Ranch that sits between Hope, NM and Mayhill, NM, From there, he and his family moved to New Mexico, settling in the Lincoln and Chaves County areas where he became a prominent rancher. Joseph wanted his ranch to sit in Chaves County because that is where he did his business. Joe died on March 16, 1927, in Roswell, at the age of 77.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Troublemaker ~ John Wesley Hardin ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #33

John Wesley HardinOver 6 years ago I wrote a very short blog about one of my ancestors who was the troublemaker in his family. By association, that would also make him part of my family also. He is my 2nd cousin 3 times removed and his name is John Wesley Hardin (1853-1895), the infamous outlaw. Hardin was one of the West’s most vicious and notorious gunfighters and outlaw.

He was born near Bonham, Texas, on May 26, 1853, the second son of James Gibson “Gip” Hardin (1823-1876) and Mary Elizabeth Dixon (1826-1885). His father was a Methodist Preacher, and John was named after the founder of the Methodist Denomination, John Wesley. It is really difficult to write an accurate account of his life because every biography I have read about him gives differing “facts” about what he did. I will try to give only the information I have verified. In his autobiography, John states that he was 15 years old the first time he killed a man. Over the course of his life, he killed approximately 42 men, one just for snoring!

John’s father traveled over most of central Texas on his preaching schoolcircuit until 1869, eventually settling in Sumpter, Texas, in Trinity County, where he taught school, and established an institution that John Wesley and his brother, Joe, would later attend. At that school, a boy named Charles Sloter accused Hardin of scrawling some graffiti on the schoolhouse wall that was insulting to a girl in his class. Hardin denied it and accused the other boy of being the author. Sloter attacked Hardin with a knife, but before he could strike Hardin, Hardin drew his own pocket knife and stabbed Charles twice in the chest and throat, almost killing him. Hardin was nearly expelled over the incident, even though it was his father’s institution.

john-wesley-hardin-historicalAt the age of 15, John challenged an ex-slave named Mage to a wrestling match. He won, but during the match, he badly scratched Mage’s face. The following day a vengeful Mage hid by a path and attacked Hardin with a large stick as he rode past. Hardin drew his revolver and told Mage to back off, but Mage grabbed the reins of Hardin’s horse and threatened to kill him. Hardin fired his revolver into Mage five times before he finally dropped the reins. Hardin then rode to get help for the wounded ex-slave, who ended up dying from these wounds three days later. Heeding the advice of his father he then went into hiding.

At age 17, while working as trail boss for a Texas cattle ranch, Hardin got into an argument with some Mexican cowboys when they tried to cut their herd in front of his. The argument soon got out of hand, and within minutes, he had killed six of the Mexicans. While at Abilene, Kansas, he made friends with the local sheriff, “Wild Bill” Hickok. The friendship ended when Hardin shot a hotel guest in the room next to him for snoring too loudly, thus waking him up. As Hickok came to arrest him for murder, Hardin stole a horse and escaped.

In 1871, he married his hometown sweetheart, Jane Bowen, a Jane Bowenrespectable girl whose father owned a general store in town. They had three children, John Wesley Hardin (born in 1876), Jennie Hardin (born in 1877), and Mary Elizabeth Hardin. Jane remained true to her husband despite his constant absences from home to avoid the law. After killing Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb (his 40th victim) in Comanche, Texas, Hardin and his wife left Texas. They hid in Florida under an alias of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Swain for two years before Pinkerton detectives found them. This time they fled to Alabama, where Hardin was finally caught in 1877. Tried in Austin, Texas for the death of Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

callieJane died in 1892 while Hardin was still in prison. He was pardoned by Texas Governor Jim Hogg after serving 15 years of his sentence. Hardin was released from prison on February 17, 1894, and promptly returned to Gonzales, Texas. He was a 41-year-old widower who had three children who did not even know what he looked like. Having studied law in prison, Hardin opened a law practice in El Paso, Texas. On  January 9, 1895, Hardin married 15-year-old Carolyn “Callie” Jane Lewis, although they quickly separated. Neither stated a reason for the sudden breakup of their marriage and they had no children.

When his friend, Mrs. McRose, widow of another outlaw, was arrested john-wesley-hardin HSfor illegally carrying a pistol, Hardin made threats against the arresting police officer, John Selman. Several days later, on 19 August 1895 Selman observed Hardin playing dice in the Acme Saloon with another man. Selman walked up behind Hardin and shot him in the back of the head, killing him instantly. Hardin was 42 years old.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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My Outlaw Cousin – John Wesley Hardin -This Apple Fell Far From The Tree!

John Wesley Hardin

John Wesley Hardin

A few months ago one of my cousins and I were having a conversation about the Hughes/Hayes family history. We were discussing how we had diverse characters that made up that history. Not only do we have Revolutionary War heroes, pioneers, and indentured servants but we have whiskey makers, bigamists, and outlaws. Last year I had discovered that the Outlaw part was more than just an inside joke about one of our cousins.

John Wesley Hardin was one of the West’s most vicious and notorious gunfighters and outlaw. He was also my 2nd cousin 3x removed. He was the son of James Gibson “Gip” Hardin who was a Methodist Preacher. He was named after the founder of the Methodist Denomination, John Wesley.

John Wesley Hardin was born May 26, 1853 in Bonham Texas. In his autobiography John states that he was 15 years old the first time he killed a man. Over the course of his life he killed approximately 42 men, one just for snoring! He was killed August 19, 1895 while in a Saloon in El Paso, TX.

Picture taken after his death.

Picture taken after his death.

If I were to write about all the things John Wesley had done it would fill a book. As a matter of fact it has filled several books. If you would like to read more about him, just Google his name and there will be plenty of information about him.

It makes one wonder how this young man of whom people have said “had no soul and showed no remorse for what he had done” could descend from men of true character and virtue. As stated above his father was a Methodist Preacher. His Grandfather, Benjamin P. Hardin, was the Justice of the Peace and 1st Sheriff of Wayne County, TN. He was also a General Assemblyman for the State of Tennessee and a founder of Wayne County, TN.

Colonel Joseph Hardin

Colonel Joseph Hardin

I think the one of the most interesting facts about him is that he was the Great Grandson of Revolutionary War hero Colonel Joseph Hardin, who was a legislator from North Carolina, the “lost” State of Franklin, and the Southwest Territory before its statehood as Tennessee. He was a signer of the Tryon Resolves, an Assemblyman for the North Carolina Colony, a pioneer, a Patriot and a Patriarch.

I guess John Wesley Hardin is living proof that sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, John Wesley Hardin, Outlaw, Texas