Reel Cowboys
Home
Products
Go to the OFFICIAL Silver Spur Awards Show website
Search the Reel Cowbys Website
Search the Reel Cowbys Website
Monthly Newsletter
In the NEWS
Join the Reel Cowboys
Reel Cowboy Members
Premium Members
Social Media
Calendar
Photo Gallery
Video Library
The Cowboy Code
Fundraising Campaigns
About Us
Friends of the Reel Cowboys
Contact the Reel Cowboys
Vol. 4 - No.09 September, 2022 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Texas Jack Omohundro

Pictured from left to right:
Texas Jack Junior, Lyle Marr (TJ Jr's wife), Clarence Welby Cooke, and Will Rogers.
Will Rogers was the very definition of American.

Born to a Cherokee Nation family in Oologah, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), Rogers joked that though his ancestors didn't come over on the Mayflower, they "met the boat". Dog Iron Ranch, the property of Will's father Clement Vann Rogers, had as many as 10,000 Texas longhorns, and Will, the youngest of eight children, grew up in the saddle. An avid reader and good student, Will quickly decided that the saddle was more comfortable than the school desk, and, after dropping out of school in the 10th grade, worked his father's ranch full time.

When he was 22 years old, Will and a friend set off from Oklahoma to Argentina, sure that their cowboy skills would serve them well as gauchos on the Argentine Pampas. They bought a ranch and worked for five months before running out of money. Unwilling to return home and face his father's disappointment, Will boarded a boat to South Africa, where he got a job as a rancher at Mooi River Station. Soon, a Wild West Circus passed through the area and Will Rogers went to see the show, intent on asking for a job handling the show's livestock. Rogers would later tell a reporter for the New York Times:
"Texas Jack had a little Wild West aggregation that visited the camps and did a tremendous business. I did some roping and riding, and Jack, who was one of the smartest showmen I ever knew, took a great interest in me. It was he who gave me the idea for my original stage act with my pony. I learned a lot about the show business from him. He could do a bum act with a rope that an ordinary man couldn't get away with, and make the audience think it was great, so I used to study him by the hour, and from him I learned the great secret of the show business—knowing when to get off. It's the fellow who knows when to quit that the audience wants more of."
This Texas Jack was not John B. Omohundro. Actually, no one, not even the man himself, knew this Texas Jack's real name. He was born sometime between 1863 and 1867, and his parents had been killed when their wagon train headed west was ambushed, reportedly by a Comanche raiding party. The child had been taken captive, along with two young girls from another family's wagon, but was rescued by the cowboy Texas Jack Omohundro, who delivered the children to a Kansas orphanage, selling the Comanche ponies to provide funding for the children's education. The boy grew up not knowing his name or the names of his parents, only knowing that the man who rescued him was called Texas Jack. After Omohundro's 1880 death, this young man showed up at the Omohundro home in Palmyra, Virginia, asking for the family's blessing to use his rescuer's name as he set off on his own venture into show business.

Initially called Texas Jack Junior, by the time he had established himself as a performer in America and Europe he dropped the "Junior" entirely. By the time Will Rogers asked for a job in Ladysmith, South Africa, his show was billed as Texas Jack's Wild West Circus. According to Rogers, he asked the circus owner if he was really from Texas, if he was related to the famous Texas Jack from the dime novels, and if he had any jobs wrangling horses for the show. Jack Jr. asked the young man if he could put together a rope trick act. The young man said he believed he could and Jack Jr. hired him on the spot, suggesting the young performer adopt the nickname “The Cherokee Kid”. Performing the same lasso act that Texas Jack Omohundro introduced to the world thirty years earlier, this was Will Rogers’ first job in show business.

Will Rogers died in a plane crash in Alaska on August 15th, 1935. Before his death, the State of Oklahoma commissioned a statue of him to place in the United States Capital's National Statuary Hall collection. Rogers agreed on the condition that his statue face the House Chamber so that Rogers could "keep an eye on Congress." Since the statue's installation in 1939, each President of the United States of America has rubbed the Will Rogers statue's left foot for good luck before stepping into the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address.
Texas Jack: America's First Cowboy Star by Matthew Kerns is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop. You can also get signed and inscribed copies (as well as other Wild West merchandise at the Dime Library shop.
Posted on the Old West Remembered Facebook Group
Back
Call 818-395-5020 for more information
click on the image for a larger version
Go to the dbaPATRIOT website
Go to the OFFICIAL website
 
 
 
 
 


 
Get Your Memorbilia From Various Silver Spur Award Shows
 
The Reel Cowboys of Hollywood
Montoya's Betrayal Information
The Reel Cowboys Salute Our Military
 
Home | About Us | Board of Directors | Members | Join | Calendar | News | Memorial | Products | Contact Us | Membership Dues
 
The Reel Cowboys © - All Rights Reserved.
The Reel Cowboys: Dedicated to  unique American tradition - the Western film