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    [John Wesley Hardin] Envelope Addressed to Hardin by James "Killing Jim" Miller. One envelope, 6" x 3.5", postmarked June 4, 1895, El Paso [Texas]. The letter is addressed in large handwriting to "Mr. John W. Hardin/ El Paso Tex". In the top left is printed, "Return to Buchholz & Comparet,/ PECOS, Texas,/ If not delivered within 10 days." "Buchholz & Comparet" have been crossed out and replaced with the handwritten, "J. B. Miller".

    The son of a preacher and named after the founder of the Methodist church, gunslinger John Wesley Hardin (1853-1895) claimed to have killed forty-four men. He was arrested in 1877 at the age of twenty-four, and while serving a seventeen year prison sentence, he finished a law degree. When he was released from prison in March 1894, he began practicing law. But he never strayed far from the wrong side of the law.

    Hardin's cousin, James B. Miller (1866-1909), also lived a criminal lifestyle, eventually becoming a successful hired assassin who worked mainly in west Texas. (It is believed that in 1908, he murdered Pat Garrett, the lawman who had killed Billy the Kid twenty-seven years earlier.) In 1895, Miller curiously asked the newly-released Hardin to prosecute a man who had tried to kill him. Hardin accepted and went to El Paso to participate in the trial. But Miller's trial moved slowly, so Hardin rented a room at Mrs. William Herndon's Lodging House. As the trial dragged on, Hardin began frequenting many El Paso saloons and was soon arrested at the Gem Saloon in April 1895 for cheating at a card game. Two months after the arrest, Hardin received this envelope (the letter is not included). Later on August 19, 1895 at the Acme Saloon in El Paso, Hardin was shot in the back of the head and killed by John Selman. Miller continued his nefarious activities, finally meeting his doom in 1909 at the hands of a lynch mob. The envelope, encapsulated in Mylar and originally opened from the right side, is age-toned. The postmark on the front is unreadable while the two cent stamp has been cancelled with black ink. Near fine.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    21st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,159

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