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Jack Stilwell

(1853(?) - ? )


Drawing by Richard Florence


    It is difficult to find information on "Commanche Jack" Stilwell. At the age of twelve he spoke fluent Spanish and handle his gun like a veteran frontiersman. At the age of fifteen he worked in the Arkansas Valley as a scout.

    Jack's claim to fame came when he join the military as one of George Forsyth's scouts. During a patrol of the plains, the military unit was pinned down by the celebrate Cheyenne Dog Soliders on an island in a shallow stream. This event became known as the Battle of Beecher Island.

    Ammunition low, ration dwindling - someone had to go for help. Jack Stilwell along with Pierre Trudeau left under the cover of darkness. During the day, they hid in stream embankments or buffalo carcasses. Other scouts were, also, sent for help. One group found a patroling Buffalo Soldier (Black Cavalry) military unit and returned to Beecher Island to save the remaining men.

    Jack Stilwell was the brother of Frank Stilwell who was killed by the Earps in Tucson, AZ. Shortly after his brother was killed Jack arrived in Tombstone and joined the posse to arrest the Earps. The Earps, however, had left Arizona.

    Later, Jack was a judge in Texas.

    Jack Stilwell is buried at Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming.

    Books about Jack Stilwell

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