Filling In The Blanks

I maintain a list of known Texas Jack performances, both with Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill and with his own combination, over at www.texasjack.org/map.



And as complete as that list is, there are plenty of blanks, and sometimes we don't know if those blanks are because the show took a night off, or there simply isn't documentation of shows played in smaller towns whose newspapers haven't been archived online. For example, we know that Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill were in Richmond, Indiana on the 15th of February, 1876. We also know that they were in Columbus, Ohio, four days later on the 19th. But we didn't know if they relaxed for those four days or played a show at a stop between the two cities. Dayton and Springfield seem like the two most likely stops, but no evidence for stops in either has come up in online newspaper archives.


Until now.



Just recently, the online archive newspapers.com has been updated with records from the town of Xenia, Ohio, just southeast of Dayton. An ad from the February 15th edition of the Xenia Gazette shows us that Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack, along with Jack's wife the Peerless Morlacchi, played the "City of Hospitality's" City Hall on the night of February 17th.


Similarly, archived editions of the Smyrna Times newspaper in Smyrna, Delaware, fill in a previously blank date on May 20, 1873, on Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill's first tour with Ned Buntline. The Scouts weren't in Smyrna, but a brief article in the Times tells us that they were playing Wilmington the night before.


Looking at the long list of the hundreds of cities that Texas Jack, his wife, and his friends played between December 1872 when he launched his career as a showman in Chicago, and his final shows in Leadville in April of 1880, its apparent just how indefatigable this cowboy was. And its no wonder that his career laid the groundwork and set the stage for all showbiz cowboys who followed.


City Hall, Xenia, Ohio.


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