John Wesley Hardin's Grave – El Paso, Texas - Atlas Obscura
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El Paso, Texas

John Wesley Hardin's Grave

A prison-like structure guards the remains of a notorious Old West outlaw. 

John Wesley Hardin earned himself a reputation as one of the Wild West’s most pernicious killers. The reckless, gunslinging outlaw was a force to be reckoned with and left a trail of trouble wherever he went.

Even as a boy, Hardin found himself in trouble with the authorities. He shot and killed his first victim when he was only 15, beginning a long string of shootouts and cold-blooded kills. After this first murder, Hardin became a fugitive from the law and traveled throughout Texas and beyond, evading authorities wherever he went.

He continued killing as he journeyed throughout the Wild West. At one point, he allegedly even shot a man in his sleep simply for snoring too loud. Hardin was finally captured in 1877 and later sentenced to 25 years in prison. He claimed to have killed 42 men by that point, though the local media could only confirm 27.

Hardin did surprisingly well in prison. He spent a lot of time studying law, reading theological literature, and eventually became superintendent of the prison’s Sunday school. After he was released eight years early, Hardin continued studying law, passed the bar, and practiced law.

But his freedom didn’t last long. Hardin was shot and killed by Constable John Selman, Sr. in a saloon in El Paso. Today, his grave is kept safe behind a stone and iron bar structure that somewhat resembles a ramshackle jail cell.

Know Before You Go

The grave is in Concordia Cemetery. Enter the cemetery from south side of E. Yarnell Drive at Travis St. Once inside the gate, bear left. The grave will be on the right. No trees, so it's easy to spot.