Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Army Scout - Texas Jack Omohundro

"He was an expert trailer and scout. I soon recognized this and... secured his appointment in the United States service...In this capacity I learned to know him and to respect his bravery and ability. He was a whole-souled, brave, generous, good-hearted man...who was one of my dearest and most intimate friends.” --William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, 1910

John Baker Omohundro was born July 27, 1846 in Fluvanna County, Virginia where he grew up on horseback and was said to be a natural born hunter and crack shot, who loved adventure and danger.

When the war between the states broke out, Jack tried to follow his older brother into service but was denied until he reached 16 years of age. Finally accepted into the Confederate Army, Jack gained an exceptional reputation as a scout working directly under Col. J.E.B. Stuart's renowned Cavalry.

After the war, Jack worked his way west towards the great ranches in Texas, where he was eventually hired on at the Taylor Ranch becoming a foreman and being involved in local adventure where he and his famed ability with a rifle reportedly kept a kidnapping of a local woman from happening.

Omohundro participated in cattle drives on the famous Chisholm Trail where he saw the result on Indian attacks on small settlements and was involved in several Indian fights. Apparently it was as a Cowboy, driving cattle to Tennessee, where Jack received his nickname "Texas Jack".

On one of the cattle drives up North, Omohundro met Col. William F. Cody, a scout in the U.S. Army and more popularly known as "Buffalo Bill". Jack became good friends with Buffalo Bill, and Cody, admiring Jack's ability as a horseman, hunter and marksman, got him stay on as an Army Scout. Reportedly a special act had to be passed through political fiends of Buffalo Bill's to obtain a waiver for the ex-Confederate soldier to enlist as an Army Scout.

Omohundro was famous for learning Indian language and signs, was one of the few white men that Indians would trust. He became known to the Pawnee as "White Chief" who also called him "Whirling Rope" due to his ability with a lariat.
Incidentally, later on in life, Texas Jack taught a young man by the name of Will Rogers how to do tricks with the lariat.

Jack later joined Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show and toured the world giving insights to the Wild American West. Texas Jack Omohundro, War Veteran, Cowboy and Army Scout died in Leadville, Colorado, unexpectedly from pneumonia in 1880 cutting short a great life at the young age of 34 years old.

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