Minutes With Messiah Logo

Wesley, Martin, and John

by Tim O'Hearn

Martin MíRose was a troublemaker and possibly a cattle rustler who spent some time in Carlsbad, New Mexico. John Wesley Hardin was possibly the most infamous, and conscienceless, gunfighter in Texas or the world. John Selman was the head of a notorious gang known for rape and murder, who later became Constable of El Paso, Texas. While MíRose was hiding from a rustling charge in Mexico, Wes Hardin was having an affair with Martinís wife, Beulah. Hardin, by this time a lawyer in El Paso, convinced MíRose to come back to the Texas side. MíRose was then ambushed and killed, and Wes ended up with his wife. Two months later, Selman shot (murdered?) Hardin by shooting him in the back of the head during a dice game. (Selman was not convicted of murder; a case of the victim being worse than the killer.) Less than seven months later Selman was shot by Marshall George Scarborough, who really has nothing to do with the point I am going to make, since he died years later in Deming, New Mexico.

Three criminals (two of which died while on the side of the law), all died by gunshots. Three criminals all died in El Paso within a period of nine months. Three criminals all buried near each other in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso (MíRose and Hardin only three graves apart).

What does all this have to do with the Bible? One is tempted to say that it shows that even the worst sinners could change their ways. That is probably not true of Martin MíRose. But Wes Hardin became a lawyer and John Selman became a Constable. One might be tempted to say that they had changed, and yet Hardin may have been the ultimate cause of MíRoseís death because of his carryings on with Beula MíRose. John Selman may have been a lawman, but he was most certainly guilty of murdering Wes Hardin. So neither of them actually changed. What then is the lesson?

The lesson, if there is one, can be found in Concordia Cemetery. Besides being the burial place of these three notorious men, Concordia was also for a short while the resting place of Mexican President Victoriano Huerta. It is the final resting place of some of the founders of the city of El Paso. It is also the site of a Buffalo Soldiers monument. Even though it was divided into black, oriental, and Anglo sections, Concordia shows no partiality as to who is buried there. Famous and infamous, remembered and forgotten, land owners and landless; a cemetery makes no distinctions.

But then, Solomon said the same thing centuries ago. After careful consideration, he concluded:

As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool. (Eccl 2:14-16)

One psalmist said much the same. ďWise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.Ē (Ps 49:10) His (or her) conclusion, though, was that ďGod will redeem my soul from the power of the grave.Ē

Yes, Martin MíRose and Wes Hardin met the same fate. But they are buried with pillars of society. The grave sees no difference. But God sees beyond the grave. It is not the end, but the beginning.