The Odd Reason John Wesley Hardin May Have Killed A Man

John Wesley Hardin was one of those guys that solved problems with a gun. According to the Texas State Historical Association, he was born in Bonham, Texas 1853 and by the time he was 14, he’d stabbed another kid at school. By age 15 he’d upped his weapon of choice to a gun and committed his first murder of a formerly enslaved Black man with whom he had an argument. 

From there, he went around shooting to death just about anyone with whom he had a conflict throughout his 42 years of life. Luckily for people living in the Old West in the late 1800s, Hardin spent around 16 years in prison with no access to a firearm. 

According to History, by 1878 when he started his prison sentence at age 25, Hardin claimed to have killed 44 people, but only half of those have been substantiated. The Texas State Historical Association reported that in Hardin’s autobiography, published in 1896, he claimed that he only killed people who needed to be killed, and when he shot people it was to save his own life. But a man who only seems to solve conflict with a gun may also have a biased idea of who “needs” to be killed. 

John Wesley Hardin said he 'only killed one man for snoring'

One man whom John Wesley Hardin must’ve thought needed to be killed was someone who had the misfortune of sharing a hotel room wall with the outlaw while committing the annoying yet benign act of snoring. According to History, one night in Abilene, Kansas, when Hardin was just 18-years-old and staying at the American House Hotel, his neighbor’s loud snoring could be heard through the walls. Hardin did what he always did when he didn’t like something, he started firing bullets through the hotel wall toward the offending snorer, striking him dead.

Hardin snuck out of town in the early morning hours before he could be caught, and went on to become one of the most proficient killers in the wild west. According to History, Hardin once said, “They tell lots of lies about me. They say I killed six or seven men for snoring. Well, it ain’t true, I only killed one man for snoring.” 

In a fitting end, in 1885 just a year after he was pardoned and released from prison, Hardin was shot to death by a man he hired to kill his mistress’s husband, the Texas State Historical Association reported. 

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