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Nomadic Life

From the Omaha Bee newspaper, November 1874:


The Earl of Dunraven and Texas Jack—A Three Months Hunt in the Rocky Mountains—Indians and "Grizzlies." (Correspondence of the BEE)

CHEYENNE, W.T., Nov. 2, '74

Almost the first man to greet us when we left the Union Pacific train at Cheyenne, was the far-famed John Omohundro, or "Texas Jack." Only the day before he had returned, in company with the Earl of Dunraven, Captain Quinn of the British Army, Dr. Kingsley the eminent scientist, and a troupe of retainers from one of the most remarkable hunting expeditions on record.

The Earl of Dunraven had mapped out a route through an unexplored region, teeming with hostile Sioux Indians, and even the famous "Buffalo Bill" had declined to escort the party unless they had a strong military guard. But Texas Jack, the biggest daredevil on the plains, was more than pleased at this opportunity for adding another page to the history of a life spent in wild adventure with Indians and grizzlies.

Early in the simmer the expedition was organized, and started from New York City, with Texas Jack as guide and scout. On the 10th of July, the party left Denver, and after "taking in" Salt Lake, Fort Bridger, Corrine, Virginia City, and other places of interest, they fitted up a pack train, and from Bozeman City they started out into a mountainous wilderness filled with Indians. All the tribes were disposed to be friendly, excepting the Sioux, who frequently threatened to attack them, but they had a wholesome dread of Jack's unerring aim and the well-armed and resolute little back that were with him; and although they were frequently ordered to leave the Sioux country on pain of having their scalps taken, yet the Indians never dared fire a shot at them.

While on the Yellowstone River, Jack had a very close call. The party were following a fresh "grizzly" trail, and while riding through a thicket they caught up with the huge monster, who instantly turned and sprang towards them with a fierce growl. Jack was considerably in advance of the party, and his horse not being used to seeing such rude strangers reared and fell over backwards. The bear was quick to take advantage of the situation and springing upon the prostrate plainsman, he dealy him a blow in the breast, and another in the face, which laid him senseless. All this was done in an instant, and before a show could be fired by any of the party the animal had escaped. Poor Jack was badly hurt, and even now the cuts made by those knife-like claws are scarcely healed, and as long as he lives he will carry the imprint of that bear's paw.

A few days after this, while the party was proceeding up the Yellowstone, they saw a small party of Indians on the opposite side of the river, who were running off a lot of horses which they had stolen from a ranch further up. Jack, true to his instincts, swam his horse across the river and started in pursuit—one man after three; but the Indians were well mounted and he never got a shot at them.

After viewing the wonders of the geyser basin, the party started back for Bozeman City, where they arrived safely, everyone well satisfied and highly pleased with their nomadic life in the mountains. They brought back with them, as trophies of the chase, skins of the grizzly, and horns of the elk, antelope, and Rocky Mountain sheep, in great profusion. One pair of sheep horns weighs 41 pounds, and the elk horns were truly magnificent in size.

All of these, together with the choice assortment of mineral specimens, will be shipped across the ocean to adorn ancestral halls in "Merry England." The Earl of Dunraven was so highly pleased with American hunting grounds that he proposes to remain here some time yet; at present he goes to Canada to hunt Moose, but will return in January, and with Texas Jack for guide, he will spend several months in the Indian Territory and neighboring plains.

The tall, magnificent form, handsome face, and jovial ways of Texas Jack, together with his ornamental buckskin suit, causes him to be noticed wherever he goes, but his reputation as an Indian killer makes some persons rather afraid of him.

These persons are, however, mistaken in their man, for Texas Jack is no ruffian, but quite the opposite, and those who know him best unite in saying that he is the best-hearted fellow that ever told a story or cracked a joke, and is withal a thorough gentleman, and although many an Indian has bit the dust when the smoke curled from the muzzle of Jack's rifle, yet he claims he never harmed anyone, except in defense of life or property.

Texas Jack started for Boston last night, for although his life in principally spent as a scout, yet his home in in the East, and he showed us the picture of as sweet and gentle a face as fancy could paint, and very tenderly he said: "this is my wife."

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