As you’re entering Leadville on the south end of town on Highway 24, you’ll run into two historical markers: one is the main Leadville marker, and the second is dedicated to John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro.
Texas Jack lived from July 26, 1846 until June 28, 1880. He served as a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War and then later as a scout for the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars.
Texas Jack moved to Fort Hays, Kansas, in 1869. Here, he met both Wild Bill Hickok, famous gunfighter, gambler and showman, and California Joe Milner, who was a miner and frontier scout. Within the same year, he always become friends with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who was at Fort McPherson working with the 5th U.S. Cavalry.
By 1872, Cody and Texas Jack were appearing on stage together as part of the live show “Scouts of The Prairie”. In 1873, Wild Bill would join the show, which was renamed “Scouts of The Plains”. Throughout the 1870s, Texas Jack would be part of the theater.
Texas Jack died due to pneumonia on June 28, 1880 in Leadville, Colorado, about one month short of his 34th birthday. Unlike Hickok and Cody, he never became a household name.
To learn more about Texas Jack, check out the Buffalo Bill Center of the West site.
The Historical Marker
The inscription on the marker is as follows:
“Born in Virginia, Texas Jack came west after the Civil War at age 16 to become a cowboy. He later made a name for himself as a plainsman and U.S. government scout who led the Pawnee Indians on their summer hunts and was guide for such notables as the Earl of Dunraven.
In 1872, with friend W. F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody, he achieved national fame by starting the first wild west shows in America. (Texas Jack was honored posthumously in 1994 by induction into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame’s Hall of Great Western Performers located at Oklahoma City).
Jack and his lovely wife, the celebrated danseuse Mlle. Guiseppina Morlacchi resided in Leadville where on June 28. 1880 he died at age 33. He is buried in Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery.”
Location: 39° 15.785′ N, 106° 17.459′