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    Original testimony by a witness to the shooting death of outlaw John Wesley Hardin

    [John Wesley Hardin] E. L. Shackelford Signed Testimony of the Shooting of Wes Hardin. One and one-half pages, 8" x 12.25", [August 20, 1895]. On August 19, 1895, John Wesley Hardin, noted gunfighter, was gunned down in the El Paso Acme Saloon by Constable John Selman. The day after the shooting, the coroner's investigation took the testimony of several witnesses, including E. L. Shackelford, who had tried to calm Selman following an argument between the constable and Hardin. Shackelford's testimony is headed, "E. L. Shackelford being duly sworn by me testifies as follows." In full: "My name is E. L. Shackelford - am in the general brokerage business. When I came down the street this evening I had understood from some parties that Mr. Hardin had made some threats against Mr. Selman who had formerly been in my employ and was a friend of mine & I came over to the Acme saloon, where I met Mr. Selman. At the time I met Mr. Selman he was in the saloon with several others & was drinking with them. I told him I had understood there was occasion for him to have trouble, & having heard of the character of the man with whom he would have trouble, I advised him as a friend not to get under the influence of liquor. We walked out on the sidewalk and came back into the saloon, I being some distance ahead of Selman, walking towards the back of the saloon. Then I heard shots fired. I can't say who fired those shots, as I did not see it. I did not turn around but left immediately. The room was full of powder smoke & I couldn't have seen anything anyhow."

    John Wesley Hardin became a gambler and gunman at a young age. He was able to escape capture until 1877, when he was sentenced to twenty-five years for killing a sheriff. While in prison, he studied law and, after being pardoned in 1894, began a law practice in El Paso. Despite efforts to lead a decent life, he quickly found trouble and was killed by Constable Selman. John Selman, known for being a gambler, was tried for the shooting, but was released after pleading self defense. (Shackelford's testimony wasn't much help to Selman since he didn't know who fired first.) Eight months later, Selman was shot and killed by a deputy following an argument during a card game. Shackelford's testimony is written on toned paper with weakened folds, resulting in some paper loss, as well as the minor loss of text. Subsequently, both pages have been stabilized on rice paper. Good condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    21st Saturday
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