The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964

Notes and Documents

Cotla#cke anid the -lardifa iaq
[The following is a continuation of the account of Comanche
and the Hardin Gang, begun in the July, z963, Quarterly.]
Before John Wesley Hardin and Jim Taylor came to Comanche,
Joe Hardin had blackened his reputation and made enemies by
crooked land deals. With the aid of an unscrupulous employee in
the land office in Austin, Joe and a group of "land pirates" in
Kansas with whom he was associated were selling lands and giving
bogus titles. Part of these were the so-called "lost lands" of Texas,
lands given by the state in grants and not yet claimed by the
owner or his heirs.
Soon after Joe and the Dixon brothers had been placed under
technical arrest, Sheriff Carnes went to Joe's home to search for
the seals furnished Joe and his associates by their confederate in
the land office in Austin.
Carnes searched the cabin-a log cabin and a lean-to-without
finding the seals. He was about to leave when he intercepted a
glance that passed between Mrs. Hardin and a woman of the
Hardin clan in the room with her. This glance told him the seals
were in the house. There was only one more place to look-the
bed. Mrs. Hardin was lying on that, having given birth to a baby
a few days earlier. "I'll have to search your bed," Sheriff Carnes
told Mrs. Hardin. Her face showed her alarm. "I'm sick. I can't
get up," she protested. The bed had to be searched. Carnes
stooped and ran his hand either under or between the mattresses.
As he did so, Mrs. Hardin got up screaming and fighting. But the
sheriff had what he had been looking for: eleven seals, in a small
mahogany box.
Someone has told that in the box with the seals was a watch,
the property of a man who had been killed in Austin. Ex-Sheriff
Carnes himself told me about finding the seals but he did not
mention the watch. Likely the watch was, as a member of the


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 30, 2015.