How Did John Wesley Hardin Become John Wesley Hardin? Part 2

An Overview, Part 2

I realize that I have gone into great detail today, but if you read Part 1, you know that the goal is to gain some understanding of how we arrived at Point B from Point A. How do very respected people lose it all in only one short generation?


James Gibson Hardin

James Gibson Hardin*

Now, to understand the Hardin story as it will eventually relate to Comanche, Texas, there are four names that you are going to need to commit to memory.  These four names come from four of Dr. Dixson’s children.

The first name is Dixson, Doctor William “Bill” Dixson, Jr., a son of Doctor Dixson, Sr. who died in Corsicana, Texas. The junior Dixson became a very respected doctor as well as the Justice of the Peace for Navarro County, Texas.  This is where the Dixson name will come into our story. It will also include two of the junior Dr. Dixon’s sons.

1. William “Bud” Dixson (hanged 5-31-1874 in Comanche County)
2. Tom Dixson (hanged 5-31-1874 in Comanche County)


It is also necessary to know three of the senior Dr. Dixson’s daughters.

Jane Dixson was the eldest daughter.  Her husband, Joshua Barekman, died in 1846 while the family was still in Indiana, leaving Jane with 2 small sons.

1. William “Bill” Barekman
2. Alexander “Alec” Henry Barekman (killed 6-1-1874 in Comanche County)

Jane came to Texas with her family, dying on August 16, 1848, leaving two small sons under the age of eight. The boys moved in with Jane’s sister, Susannah, and her husband.


Susannah Dixson  was 24 and unmarried when the family left for Texas.  She met Dr.

Willliam Nicks Anderson who was acting as an agent for the Mercer Colony while she was still on the trail to Texas.  Dr. Anderson attended the Medical College and was then was hired by the government to treat a fever that was running out of control among the Indians.  He later went back to his practice, but was once again hired by the government in several capacities.

After the couple married and as a settlement grew, Susanna eventually taught school and Sunday School on Anderson property, but the Old Texians refused to believe that the settlers had any right to the land they claimed through the Mercer Land Grant.



On February 9, 1855, Dr. Anderson was murdered.  Susanna was expecting at the time, and she named this son Jim.  According to family records, Susanna was heard many times to claim that the baby she was carrying would someday avenge his father’s murder.

Apparently Susanna worsened as the years passed, constantly telling her sons that they must avenge the death of their father; her family tried to talk her out of “poisoning” the children but to no avail. Of course, you have to remember that Susannah was also rearing the two boys of her sister, Jane. All of these children grew up with Susannah’s mental instability and poisonous talk. Four are very important to our story.

1. Thomas Jefferson Anderson  (killed 1-16-1874)
2. William Nicks Anderson (killed 12-23-1874)
3. Alexander Hamilton “Ham” Anderson (killed 6-1-1874 in Comanche County)
4. Dr. James “Jim” Thomas Lee Buchanan Anderson (left in jail in Comanche*)


Mary Elizabeth Dixson was 20 and unmarried when she joined her family on the trail to Texas.  After arriving in Navarro County, Susanna agreed to marry Dr. Anderson, and the ceremony was performed by a minister named James G. Hardin on December 29, 1846.  On May 19, 1847, Mary  Elizabeth married Hardin, who in addition to being a Methodist minister, was studying to become a lawyer.  The Hardins moved quite a bit with James serving as a minister in various churches. Three Hardin sons have starring roles in the happenings of May 26, 1874, in Comanche, Texas.

1. Joseph (Jo) G. Hardin  (hanged 5-31-1874 in Comanche County)
2. John Wesley Hardin
3. Elizabeth Hardin
4. Martha Hardin
5. Benjamin Hardin (Died In 1868 Age 9)
6. Jefferson Davis Hardin
7. Nannie Hardin
8. Barnett G. Hardin (Born 8-15-’74)

These are the four names that you will be hearing many times over the course of our study of John Wesley Hardin: Dixson, Anderson, Barekman, and, of course, Hardin.  All of the young men who bear these names share Dr. Dixson, Sr. as a grandfather, and they are all first cousins on JWH’s  mom’s side of the family.

These four names will be critical to understanding the JWH story as it relates to Comanche and the young men who died there in 1874…but then, I’m getting ahead of myself because I need to first tell you about JWH, the boy who was called Johnny by his family and Wes by most of his friends.

That I will do in Part 3 of this series.

*Jim Anderson was small in stature, and the mob believed him much younger than his years. This saved his life, and Jim was left in the jail that night when the others were herded out and hanged. Those who later became his descendants are alive simply because Jim was small!


About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for and marketing small-town Texas.
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2 Responses to How Did John Wesley Hardin Become John Wesley Hardin? Part 2

  1. Clem Jones says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first parts. Can hardly wait for the next installment!

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