Father's Day

The following is the entry for John Burwell Omohundro, the father of Texas Jack, in the Omohundro Genealogical Record. This was written by Texas Jack's youngest brother, Malvern Hill Omohundro, the son of John Burwell Omohundro and his second wife, Margaret Shores Omohundro.


JOHN BURWELL OMOHUNDRO


John Burwell Omohundro, the father of Texas Jack) with his 2nd wife Margaret Shores Omohundro and their son Malvern Hill Omohundro.

Born Nov. 23, 1816, in Albemarle Co., Va., near Scottsville; d. July 6, 1901, in Radford, Virginia; buried at Gale Hill; married 1st Nov. 18, 1840, to Catherine Salome Baker of Louisa County, Virginia.


Catherine was born July 1, 1824 and died Nov. 16, 1864, and was buried at Pleasure Hill. She was the daughter of Martin Baker and wife Catherine Salvan Woodger. Her grandmother, Catherine Salvan Woodger, was a great heiress from England. She went to Missouri with her daughter, Catherine Salvan Baker (who lived to be 90 years old and died there), together with her son-in-law, Martin Baker, his wife, Catherine Salvan Baker, and their sons, Jim, Tom, and George, where they lived and made a great fortune. His sister “Betsy” married John Carter and lived in Lexington, Mo.


John Burwell Omohundro married Margaret Alice Shores on 2nd Nov. 15, 1865. She was born Sept. 3, 1835, and died Dec. 26, 1924. Margaret was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia, and was the daughter of Wilson Shores and wife Martha Cary Bransford of Seven Islands, Fluvanna Co., Virginia.


When about four years old John Burwell Omohundro moved with his father to live at Gale Hill, near Columbia, Fluvanna Co., Va., until he entered into the mercantile business at Wilmington about 1838. In the fall of 1843, he went to Missouri to settle up the estate of Martin Baker, his father-in-law. For company, he took with him Thomas Anderson Hughes. They went out by public conveyance but returned by horseback to see the country. They left Missouri on the second day of the Christmas holidays and landed at Wilmington in Fluvanna Co., Va., several weeks later, thus making the trip in mid-winter and experiencing many hardships en route. When I was a little boy he told me many stories about his travels through the prairies of southern Illinois and Indiana, then a very sparsely settled country. They encountered many robbers that infested the country in those days and several times came near being killed. All this was of great interest to me.


After seven years of success in the mercantile business at Wilmington he moved in the fall of 1845 to “Pleasure Hill,” a large plantation 1½ miles west of Palmyra, the county-seat, and farmed on a large scale until the Civil War. All of his children, except the first three, were born at “Pleasure Hill,” Adelaide, Bettie, and Orville having been born at Wilmington.


John Burwell Omohundro, “Captain John” (the “Roaring Screamer,” as he was known far and near), was loved and honored by all, and feared by many. He kept an open house, and entertained the best people in his county, and many from a distance. Generous to a fault, he had to live to see his fortune, the accumulation of his young life, fade before his eyes in his old age from the ravages of war and security debts.


In the Richmond Times-Dispatch of Thursday, December 7, 1905, was printed a communication from Fluvanna County telling of a destructive fire two days before, the burning of the Omohundro mansion, an old landmark of Fluvanna, the homestead of that “fine old Virginia gentleman, John B. Omo- hundro.” Following are additional quotations from the Times- Dispatch article:


“Before the War it was a fine old estate, situated on Cunningham Creek, which empties into the Rivanna just below Palmyra, its fertile lowlands and rolling hills were always in fine condition, and it was known far and wide for its old-time Virginia hospitality. Opened handed, generous to a fault, fond of high living, Mr. Omohundro found himself after the War utterly unable to adapt himself to the new condition of things, and as the old place had to be abandoned his large family of boys and girls scattered, to seek what fortune had in store. All of them have succeeded in life and are remembered in their native county as a family of sterling worth and exceeding beauty of person.

Mr. and Mrs. Omohundro's two girls and six boys were all remarkably handsome people and possessed of strikingly affable and lovable manners. “One of the sons, John Jr., was the famous ‘Texas Jack' who won reputation with “Buffalo Bill’, and was for many years identified with the ‘Wild West Shows.’”


It is believed that the above was written by Capt. Wm. H. Talley, a neighbor of the Omohundros near Palmyra. In this house the author of this book was born and raised. Up and down this Cunningham Creek he spent many of his young days hunting and fishing (as did his big brother “Texas Jack”). In this old mansion he sat by the bright fireside many a night and listened to his father and his many guests talk about many different things, but especially about the Omohundro family, their connections and doings, and so on; and this is at least one of the reasons I learned to love my family so well, and this love sowed the seed for the aspiration to write this book which I hope will be equal to all, and surpassed by none, for this is a work of love on my part.


When reading the account of the destruction of my old home, which I have always loved so dearly, I can but drop a tear, yes tears; and it certainly touches me deeply to think how well and sympathetically my many relations and friends have responded to my call, in this work.


Some of them may by now be getting impatient and may think this is more of a fad on my part (as I am sure is often the case with some such writers) than a real determination, but it may be in order to say right here that I have had many obstacles and other things in my path on this work for the last 45 years; but now, May 12, 1950, I hope to bring it to a close just as soon as possible, certainly this year; and if I should pass over the Great Divide before I do, I have provided in my will that this work shall be completed.


This can be easily understood when we consider the fact that the name Omohundro is hard to pronounce correctly by most any person who has never heard of the name before. This being a wild and woolly country where schools were almost unknown at that time, and educated people of that day were few and far between, it can be easily seen that the great majority of people would do well to call the word Mohundro and leave off the tongue-twisting “O.” Even here in this claimed educated Old Virginia, when I was a boy, half the people I knew called me “Mohundro.”

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