Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
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Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Texas Jack, a hero of the Old West, met an untimely death at the age of 33
Time may have forgotten many people in the old west, but there are many names that live on forever. One of those men is Jack Baker Omohundro, who’s more commonly known by his nickname of Texas Jack. Despite being a western legend (and having Texas in his name), Texas Jack was actually born in Virginia.
At a young age, Texas Jack tried to join the Confederate Army with his brother, but wasn’t quite old enough. Toward the end of the Civil War, Texas Jack was admitted to the Confederate Army, working as a scout. Following the war, Texas Jack packed up and first headed for Florida, but then started making his way out west until he reached Texas.
While there, Texas Jack left his old life behind and became a cowboy, earning his nickname when he delivered cattle to Tennessee and help feed those that had gone without meat for extended periods of time. Along his travels, he also ran into a young boy whose parents had been killed, essentially adopting the child.
In 1869, Texas Jack headed north until he reached Fort Hays, Kansas. While he was there, he met both Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody. At the time, former members of the Confederate Army weren’t allowed to be hired by the United States government, but Cody made an exception when he saw Texas Jack’s talents. With that, he hired Texas Jack as a scout where he befriended people of all backgrounds.
The amount of Jack’s accomplishments continued to grow while he was with the United States Army, and gave guided tours to visiting nobles. The Earl of Dunraven said that “Jack is a tall, straight, and handsome man, and in walking through the well-watered streets of Deseret in his company, I felt the same proud conscious glow that pervades the white waistcoat of the male debutante when, for the first time, he walks down St. James Street, arm in arm with the best dressed and most fashionable man about town.”
In late 1872, Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill Cody made the long trip to Chicago, Illinois, where they started to put on Wild West show productions. His charisma and ability to show off his roping talents quickly had audiences gravitating toward his shows. Even Wild Bill Hickok, who didn’t like the big stage, would eventually join Texas Jack and Wild Bill for a brief period.
After meeting his future wife and wanting to put on fewer shows, Texas Jack and Wild Bill decided to take separate paths, as Texas Jack started his own production farther south in St. Louis, Missouri. The new production turned out to be just as popular, and word had spread around the country about what Texas Jack and his crew of showmen were capable of.
In the late 1870s, Texas Jack and his wife, Giuseppina Morlacchi, decided to head back east to Massachusetts. Then, when the new century started, the couple headed west once again to Leadville, Colorado. Unfortunately, the trip wouldn’t last long as Texas Jack had been diagnosed with pneumonia, a disease that would ultimately take his life after a three-week battle with the disease.
At the time, Texas Jack thought he simply had a cold and felt he would be able to continue. His biographer, Herschel C. Logan, said that “After all, what was a mere cold to one who had endured all sorts of exposures and was accustomed to the vicissitudes of frontier life.” Many of the highest skilled doctors tried to help Texas Jack, but he would slip away, and news of the popular frontiersman’s death had spread quickly.
A funeral was held for Texas Jack, and hundreds attended the service in the small town of Leadville, which had around 14,000 people at the time. He would receive full honors from the military during his funeral in what would be an event suited for someone who was as much of a showman as Texas Jack. Logan added that “The service was concluded by the firing of a military salute and the sounding of taps as a tribute to (Texas Jack), soldier of the Confederacy.”
Texas Jack’s wife would head back to Massachusetts, where she sadly passed away just a few years later from cancer. The tombstone of Texas Jack had also been worn down after just a few years, until a foundation was established to help keep it in prime condition. The tombstone was replaced in 1908, nearly 30 years after Texas Jack passed away, this time with a tribute from none other than Buffalo Bill Cody himself.
In the tribute, Cody said that “He was a whole-souled, brave, generous, good-hearted man,” and that “Jack was an old friend of mine and a good one. Instead of this board which now marks his grave, we will soon have erected a more substantial monument, one more worthy of a brave and good man. May he rest in peace.”
Texas Jack’s tombstone is still prominently displayed at the Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville, Colorado. This has been a popular location for tourists to come and pay their respects, and a walking tour is even provided by the Lake County Public Library for Texas Jack’s tombstone among other notable resting places. At the time of his death, Texas Jack was just 33 years old.