John Hardy - Reminiscences of James French Strother

September 29, 1916

Mr. R. B. Bernheim,
Charleston, West Virginia.
My dear Bob:

I am in receipt of yours of the 23rd this morning on my return to Welch.

I do not recall very much I have heard with reference to the trial and execution of John Hardy. It is my recollection that he was executed in February, 1894, which was before I came here. I do not remember whom he murdered, but he was a colored man. Judge Herndon and Walter Taylor defended him. I have heard Judge Herndon say that Hardy gave him his pistol for his fee. I once heard John Effler telling about making the arrest. It seems that Hardy was on No. 12 and Effler got on looking for him and found him on the rear of the train just about the time the train entered the tunnel at Coaldale. Hardy attempted to push Effler off of the train and Effler pulled him off with him while the train was running. Effler was badly hurt but held on to Hardy until someone came to his relief. I have understood that special trains were run here on the day of his execution and that the crowd was the largest that had ever been in Welch up to that time.

If Prof Cox is interested in the matter and will write to Judge Herndon, no doubt he will recall enough about the case to give him a detailed account...

Very sincerely yours,
James French Strother
Welch, West Virginia

Crime and Punishment

West Virginia Archives and History