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  • Matthew Kerns

Texas Jack Killed


On December 22nd, 1873, just a year after they became theatre stars with the premiere their play The Scouts of the Prairie, Buffalo Bill Cody shot and killed his best friend and long-time partner Texas Jack Omohundro after an argument in Kentucky.


Or at least, that is what newspapers across the country said throughout January of 1874. In an article entitled "Texas Jack Killed," the Port Jervis, New York, Gazette reported that Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack got into an altercation, during which the former shot and killed the later. The news must have come as a shock to Bill and Jack, who were performing at Baltimore's Maryland Institute on December 22nd, and throughout the following week.



A newspaper in Hartford, Connecticut, openly questioned why, if Texas Jack was dead and Buffalo Bill was his murderer, the two were scheduled to appear at that city's Opera House on January 13th and 14th.



Eventually, newspapers were corrected by letters from Buffalo Bill explaining that was no murderer, and from Texas Jack explaining that he was very much alive. Despite this, rumors of the shooting were wide-spread, and many people in Boston were shocked to see reported murderer Buffalo Bill, his victim Texas Jack, and their friend Wild Bill Hickok walking the streets on the way to see a play about Tennessee pioneer Davy Crockett. Eventually, corrections were printed, with many reporters complaining that they were now forced to toss aside long columns they had already written about the life of Texas Jack Omohundro and his killer Buffalo Bill Cody.



Despite numerous reports of their deaths at the hands of charging buffalo, hungry bear, Sioux warrior, or each other, both men were very much alive, and continued to perform together for two more years before the pursuit of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in the wake of Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn sent them into harm's way once again.

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