The Myth of Frank Hamer

The legendary lawman’s first killing never happened.

The story goes that legendary Texas Ranger Frank Hamer killed his first man when he was just 16. Frank and his brother Harrison were sharecropping a farm owned by Dan McSween. In 1900, McSween tried to hire Frank to do a killing; Hamer refused. Soon after, McSween shot and severely wounded Frank.

The legend says that—after he healed—Frank came back and killed McSween. He did not. Records show the farmer sold his land in 1904, with no further confrontations with the Hamer family.

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