October 12, 2012

Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Posse Rider: The Story of Texas Jack Vermillion by Peter Brand

yatt Earp’s Vendetta Posse Rider: 
The Story of Texas Jack Vermillion

Fans of Soapy Smith and my book may recognize the name Vermillion. He was a member of the Soap Gang 1888-89 and was involved in a few key adventures with Soapy, including the attack on the offices of the Glasson Detective Agency in Denver, and the 1889 shootout at the Pocatello train station. In January 2011 Linda Wildman, a member of the Vermillion family, contacted me and started sharing some of her family history and photographs. With her permission I posted the information and photographs, but what neither of us knew, was that author Peter Brand was already working with other members of the family for a book he wanted to publish on "Texas Jack." This was causing a lot of turmoil  for Linda so naturally I immediately removed the post. Nineteen months later I can now announce that Brand's book is published and for sale.Below is my review of the book.

Author: Peter Brand
Paperback: 152 pages
Illustrated: 67 historic photographs
Publisher: Unknown
Date published: 2012
Language: English
ISBN- 978-0-578-10612-0
Retail price: $25.00
Purchase here:

I am absolutely enamored by author Peter Brand’s new book, Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Posse Rider: The Story of Texas Jack Vermillion. This is the first complete and authentic historical biography of the man known as “Texas Jack,” and later as “Shoot-Your-Eye-Out-Jack.” Mr. Brand brings new respect to the Vermillion story, and it will most undoubtedly remain the primary chronicle of John Oberland Vermillion for decades to come. Mr. Brand can be proud of his accomplishment in admirably propelling “Texas Jack” up the ladder of historical fame and giving him his own place in history. Whether you’re a fan of the old west, Wyatt Earp, or Soapy Smith, you will find Mr. Brand’s book a very engaging and valuable edition to your book collection. I highly recommend it.

For many decades “Texas Jack” Vermillion has been a mysterious and largely unknown figure, perhaps even an oddity of history; a gun-fighting carpenter, befriended by legendary lawman, Wyatt Earp and bunco boss, Soapy Smith. No one seemed to know much about him, and quick as he appeared on the scene, he was gone again, remaining just a footnote in the histories of the nineteenth century American west. For many years most historians thought John Wilson Vermillion was the famed “Texas Jack,” but Peter Brand successfully uncovers and explores the true identities and captivating histories of John W. Vermillion, as well as John Oberland Vermillion, the bona fide “Texas Jack.” Thanks to Mr. Brand the mysterious, unknown “Texas Jack” is no more.

Mr. Brand’s book is composed the way a good biography should be. One of its strongest points is that the known facts, the author’s theories, opinions, and conclusions are well defined and separated, giving the reader the opportunity to judge and come to his or her own conclusion. Another strong point is Peter’s clever formula for compelling the reader to continue exploring the entire book rather than piece read. Whereas some Wyatt Earp and Soapy Smith fans might be tempted to skip to the sections of their choice, Mr. Brand uses John O. Vermillion’s own quotes in such a way that keeps the reader engrossed to the very last page. I don’t recall having seen this method used in a biography as successfully as it is done here; A perfect adaption considering Vermillion is largely known mostly to Earp fans.

For the fans of Soapy Smith there is a lot to take in and value from Mr. Brand’s book. Besides the bountiful information on Vermillion, there are accounts of his associates who went on to become members and friends of the Soap Gang themselves, such as “Big Ed” Burns (Byrnes), James Bruce, George Millsap, Sam Emrich, and “Fatty” Gray. I won’t go into the details here but there is so much value in this book that I plan to keep it at the ready, as I continue to absorb and utilize Mr. Brand’s fine research for my own work. After I have exhausted the supply of treasures contained within the 152 pages, I will designate a spot of honor on my bookshelves for this important work.

"Texas Jack"/"Shoot-Your-Eye-Out Jack" Vermillion
August 8, 2010
September 11, 2010
January 10, 2011
August 1, 2011

"Texas Jack"/"Shoot-Your-Eye-Out Jack" Vermillion: pages 75, 88, 92-92, 162-63, 165, 170, 175.

"Here 'Soapy' Smith and his gang of outlaws and murders operated along the trail; here he was killed; here is his dishonored grave, between the mountains which will not endure longer than the tale of his desperate crimes, and his desperate expiation."
—Ella Higginson, Alaska The Great Country, 1917


1492: Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, sights Watling Island in the Bahamas, believing that he had found Asia while attempting to find a Western ocean route to India. The same day he claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. 
1792: The first monument honoring Christopher Columbus is dedicated in Baltimore, Maryland. 
1860: Inventor Elmer Sperry is born. During his lifetime he will hold patents on more than 400 inventions. The most important being the Sperry Automatic Pilot. 
1870: Horace Greeley visits Greeley, Colorado, the city named in his honor. 
1870: Robert E. Lee dies peacefully in Lexington, Virginia at age 63. Lee is most famous as a confederate general during the American Civil War. 
1872: Indian chief Cochise and General O. Howard sign a peace treaty in Arizona Territory. 
1882: The Tombstone Epitaph reports that bad man Johnny Ringo is drunk in Galeyville, Arizona Territory. 1892: In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Columbus landing the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance is first recited in public schools. 
1895: the first amateur golf tournament is held in Newport, Rhode Island.

1 comment:

  1. Based on Peter Brands reputation - and your great review-"The story of Texas Jack Vermillion' is a must have addition to my library. It will go right next to your "Alias Soapy Smith" from 2009. Thanks Jeff.
    Best regards,


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