September 11, 2010

Peter Brand exposes "Texas Jack" - "Shoot-Your-Eye-Out Jack" Vermillion

(Click image to enlarge)

For many years it was believed that John Wilson Vermillion was "Texas Jack" later called "Shoot-Your-Eye-Out Jack" of Wyatt Earp and Soapy Smith fame. In the latest issue of the Journal (Wild West History Association), August 2010 Peter Brand exposes the fact that John Wilson Vermillion is the wrong man. That in fact the true person's name was John O. Vermillion. This changes Vermillion's life history.

In regards to my book, Alias Soapy Smith, in the event of a second edition I will only need to change the middle name from "Wilson" to "O." I did not delve too much into his past as I already did not trust it so I did not add much. None of the facts regarding his association with Soapy will need to be changed at this time. However, Mr. Brand is currently working on the second part of that article for the WWHA which includes a photograph and possibly new information. It is an exciting time for Soap Gang fans.

There has been considerable talk of the article over on the Tombstone History Discussion Forum so I posted my congratulations.

An invaluable article on Vermillion Peter. I am very much looking forward to the second part dealing with John O. Vermillion, the real "Texas Jack"/"Shoot-Your-Eye-Out Jack".

Also, thank you very much for listing my name and book in the acknowledgments and endnotes.

In your article for WWHA you wrote,

Over the years, several influential authors have published books regarding Wyatt Earp and Tombstone and all followed Pat Jahns' lead by repeating the story that John Wilson Vermillion was Tombstone's Texas Jack, yet none provided any primary proof. These authors included Frank Waters, Glenn Boyer, Ben Traywick, Casey Tefertiller, Tim Fattig and more recently Jeff Smith, in a biography of conman, "Soapy" Smith.”

My only wish is that you would have noted that my book (probably the only one) does positively take into account your (then) limited information from your website that John W. Vermillion was not his real name (p. 91 Alias Soapy Smith), listing you and your website in the Works Referenced (p. 597).

Naturally articles as such need to be edited for size but such information does show the gradual shift from previously thought-to-be-true information. So, who wants to change the Vermillion page on Wikipedia? Lol.

Peter replied.

Hi Jeff

You are correct, space was an issue with this article. There was a lot more that could have been added but, unfortunately, space did not allow for me to expand on several points.

Thanks for your kind words. I think you will really enjoy part 2, as it deals more with your area of research. Your book will feature as a source. Part 2 will also contain photos of Texas Jack and alot of new information concering his life after the Vendetta and the Soap Gang. Stay tuned.

I also still have "Fatty Gray" in the works. Watch for that too. This stuff always takes longer than expected.


Like I said, it's an exciting time for Soap Gang fans!


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