“TEXAS JACK” VERMILLION AND “SOAPY” SMITH
John “Texas Jack” Vermillion was a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, then a lawman, and then an outlaw. The origin of his nickname, “Texas Jack,” is unknown, but when asked why that was his nickname, he famously replied, “Because I’m from Virginia.” He took part in the 'Earp Vendetta Ride' that was glorified in the movie Tombstone, and afterwards joined the Soapy Smith Gang in Denver, Colorado.
Jefferson “Soapy” Smith was a famous con artist and crime boss, who gained his sobriquet “Soapy” after his most famous scam - a prize-package soap-selling racket. He was known for his swindles all across the US, including rigging city and state elections and cheating clientele in gambling halls he ran.
Texas Jack was with Soapy in 1889 at an Idaho train depot when a rival gang tried to assassinate Soapy. In 1898, Soapy tried to rob a man of $2,700 worth of gold (around $80,000 today) in a game of three-card monte, and the next day he was fatally wounded in a gunfight known as the Shootout on Juneau Wharf. Texas Jack either drowned in 1900, or died peacefully in 1911.
No matter how they died or what name they went by, these gentlemen were certainly colorful...to say the least!
Coffee out on the patio again this morning!