JAMES G. HARDIN was minister of Dallas’ first known Methodist Church. If you grew up in Dallas, then here is a snippet of local history you probably never knew about. Hardin appears to have arrived at Dallas as a circuit riding preacher before becoming the first Methodist minister in Dallas.
In January 1847, the Reverend James Gibson Hardin performed a marriage ceremony for the daughter of Dr. Dixon and wife. The doctor’s daughter, Susanna Louise Dixon married William Anderson.
In the process, the Reverend Hardin also met Mary Elizabeth Dixon, the doctor’s cultured daughter and eighth child. She was born on December 7, 1826 in Sullivan County, Indiana. Neighbors and relatives portrayed her as attractive, deeply religious and having long, honey-blond hair.
Her bright blue eyes enhanced a beautiful smile. They married in Navarro County on May 19, 1847. She was twenty and James Hardin was twenty-four. Ten children resulted from the union, the firstborn dying on the day of birth. Their third born child was named after John Wesley, founder of the independent Methodist movement. But, John Wesley Hardin would not follow in his father’s footsteps, he would become nationally known as one of the nation’s most famous outlaws. Rev. James Hardin and wife relocated at Comanche, Texas where he served as head of Comanche college until their son, Wesley Hardin, shot and killed a Comanche County, Texas deputy sheriff. Rev. Hardin and wife then relocated to Hill County before finally relocating to Paris, Texas where he died on August 7, 1876. His place of burial is not known.
John Wesley Hardin spent eighteen years, or so, in prison. It appears that he was converted and reformed during this time. He taught Sunday school during his prison stay and was admitted to the Texas Bar after his release from prison.
Courtesy John Wesley Hardin; Dark Angel of Texas by Leon Claire Metz and Dallas historian Mike Magers.