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Talking Texas Jack in Leadville

I had a great time at Two Dog​ Market in Leadville. It really is one of the great "Wild West" towns, and is chock full of history. Just down the street from Two Dog Market, you can tour the Tabor Opera House, where Texas Jack's funeral was held, or grab a drink at the magnificent bar of the Silver Dollar Saloon, where both Texas Jack and Doc Holliday drank while they were in town.

If you're in Leadville, stop by Two Dog Market. They have signed copies of my book, Texas Jack: America's First Cowboy Star, and a selection of great titles on local and regional history, as well as a unique selection of antiques and gifts.

From the Leadville Daily Herald Two Dog Market hosts book signing

by Finn McNally

January 1, 2024
Two Dog Market hosted author Matthew Kerns on Dec. 29 for a signing of his book “Texas Jack: America’s First Cowboy Star.”

Kerns read passages from the book and answered questions from attendees before singing their copies. 

Texas Jack, born John Baker Omohundro, was a soldier and scout for the Confederate and U.S. Armies who went on to become a showman in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. Omohundro’s tales and performances would go on to define the popular conception of a cowboy.
Omohundro traveled all around the country performing the Wild West Show, never living in one place for too long. However, his final home was in Leadville where he and his wife resided and performed at the Tabor Opera House for several months before his untimely death in 1880 at the age of 34.

“Texas Jack: America’s First Cowboy Star” is Kerns’ first published novel and is a biography of the Western icon’s life. Kerns initially wanted to write a three-part novel that followed the lives of the Wild West Show’s three biggest stars, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok and Omohundro. Kerns realized that while plenty of books had already been written about Cody and Hickok, there was no biography of Omohundro.

Kerns has been writing for many years, mainly writing science fiction, but had not published any novels until now. However, since he was young he has been fascinated by the Wild West. He was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and still lives there but he remembers fondly his family’s trips out west and learning about the region’s history. 

Kerns first visited Leadville in 2018 with his wife and children and said it is one of his favorite towns in the West. He returned after writing his book because the town was such a big part of Omohundro’s life and he wanted to visit again. 

“It’s easy to forget that Leadville’s history was as a prominent Wild West town,” Kerns said. “Early on in Leadville’s history, people were proud that Jack was here. His funeral was the biggest parade in this town and still is to this day.”

“Texas Jack: America’s First Cowboy Star” is available online at Kerns’ website along with Kerns’ blog posts, podcasts and videos related to Omohundro. 

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