Wilson Vermillion would grow up to become one of the many
with colorful nicknames like "Texas Jack" and "Shoot-Your-Eye-Out" Vermillion.
He is most well known for his participation with
in the Earp Vendetta Ride after the
Clantons had killed Morgan Earp in 1882.
Vermillion was born in Russell County, Virginia in 1842, the second of 12
children born to William and Nancy Owens Vermillion. When he grew up, he served
as a Confederate soldier under the command of
Stuart during the Civil War.
When the war was over, Vermillion went to Indiana where he
married Margaret Horton in September, 1865. The pair soon moved to
Missouri where Jack
worked as a Territorial Marshal for the eastern section of Missouri.
He and Margaret had two children, a daughter named
Mary, and soon, a son. However, just a few weeks after his son’s birth,
Vermillion was traveling when a diphtheria epidemic broke out in eastern
Unfortunately, by the time Jack returned home, his wife and both of his children
had succumbed to the disease.
Texas Jack Vermillion.
Grief stricken, Vermillion headed westward
and by the late 1870’s he was in
where he was known to have drank heavily, gambled often, and gained a reputation
as a gunfighter.
There he made the acquaintance of
A couple of years later, he was in
working as a special policeman for Virgil Earp
in 1881. After the
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in October, 1881, and
murder in March, 1882, Wyatt
along with Doc Holliday,
escorted the Earp
family out of town before going on the well-known Earp Vendetta Ride, of which
Vermillion was a part.
The next year,
who was in Dodge City, Kansas
and in a feud with other business men there, called upon Bat Masterson
Bat rounded up several
and Jack Vermillion in what is known as the
Dodge City War.
Though the "war” never actually wound up violent, it threatened to be as some of
best known gunfighters
lined up in support of Short.
While Vermillion was in
he shot and killed a gambler who was cheating at cards, after which he appeared
on a wanted poster as "Texas Jack Vermillion.” Where the "Texas” part came in
is unknown. According to one tale, when Vermillion was asked why he was called
Texas Jack, he replied "Because I'm from Virginia." Later, he also became known
as "Shoot-Your-Eye-Out" Vermillion, allegedly because he had shot the man in the
Soon, Vermillion was back in his home state
of Virginia, where he married a woman named Nannie Fleenor in 1883 and had two
However, history finds him back in the west
by 1888, where he joined up with Soapy Smith and his gang of con artists in 1888
In August, 1889, he was with Soapy, Bascomb Smith, and "Fatty Gray" Morris at
There, a rival bunco gang tried to assassinate Soapy and a shootout occurred at
the train depot.
afterwards, he left the gang and once again returned to Virginia, where he died
peacefully in his sleep in 1911.
of America, updated March, 2017.