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Vol. 3 - No.05 May, 2021 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Chronicle of the Old West
Dakota Livesay | Old West Historian
A person's 21st birthday is usually special, and because of that, it's not unusual to give a party. But, I don't believe anyone has had a birthday party like that held for John Wesley Harden.

Continued.... (see below)
John Wesley Harden's 21st
Anyone who has any knowledge of Old West outlaws is familiar with John Wesley Harden. Not only is he famous today, he was famous during his lifetime.

As a matter of fact, a whole town helped him celebrate his 21st birthday. But, I don’t think it ended the way they had planned.

John Karnes, the sheriff of Comanche, Texas was one of the few Texas sheriffs who didn’t hold a warrant for Harden’s arrest. And, since Karnes was a friend of Harden, he decided to have some horse races to celebrate Harden’s birthday.

Earlier in the day, Comanche County Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb had come to town with the intent of arresting Harden. But, when Webb arrived, he made no show of the impending arrest. He acted as if he didn’t even know Harden… But, Harden had been warned about Sheriff Webb.

After a day of winning big, Harden was in the saloon having a few drinks, when Webb pulled his gun. One of Harden’s companions shouted at Harden, and Harden and Deputy Webb got off a shot at the same time. Webb’s bullet struck Harden in the side. Harden shot Webb in the head. Just to make sure the job was done, a couple of Harden’s friends pumped a few slugs in Sheriff Webb for good measure.

Now, it is interesting how fast a good birthday party can turn bad. For, right after this minor ruckus, the party attendees became angry with the birthday boy, and his friends. And, although Wes Harden was able to get out of town, the kind people of Comanche were so upset with what happened that they caught up with Wes’s friends, and lynched them in the town square.
John Wesley's Hardin's 21st Birthday
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