Saturday, November 18, 2006

Out of Left Field

Sometimes you run across the oddest things.

This morning I was rearranging books in my office and came across a little volume I purchased on EBAY awhile back and had never had a chance to look at closely. It contained an essay on the efforts of the author back in the 1940s thru 1960s to have a marker erected at the grave of John Wesley Hardin, over the strenuous objections of some of the local folks in El Paso. I was idly flipping through the pages when I saw a reference to my old home town Smiley.

Upon closer reading, I discovered a surname that I was well familiar with. The referenced man's wife was the grand-daughter of John Wesley Hardin and had provided the author with quite a bit of information and support in his quest. The author had visited them at their home in Smiley. An old-timer I knew in Smiley when we lived there had the same unusual surname. He happened to be the grandfather of one of my close elementary classmates. My friend's grandfather had a different first name, but I knew there had to be a family connection and being the clever little genealogist I am, I set to work to find the connection.

In short order I discovered that my friend's grandfather was the son of the author's source and that, therefore, he was the great-grandson of John Wesley Hardin. Which made my friend the great-great-great granddaughter of John Wesley Hardin.

And I never knew a thing about this. I wonder if, given the notoriety of John Wesley Hardin, the family deliberately suppressed the information and possibly my friend had no idea at the time. Or, if the matter was discussed and I had no idea who John Wesley Hardin was and dismissed the information as uninteresting. Many years later, with a wider knowledge of Texas history, I was amazed to put all this together.

What a plum of a black sheep any genealogist in that family can claim! I can at least brag I once spent the night at the home of the outlaw's great-great-great granddaughter.



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