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Friday, November 12, 2010

Solving the Mystery of the Legless Man in the Goat Cart

I did not solve the mystery, it was a friend with roots in Kerrville, Stan Reid.  On Tuesday, I posted an odd photo from my collection, showing a legless man in a goat cart.
Click on any image to enlarge
John Rose, "Overland Jack," Kerrville around 1910
The mystery photo, Kerrville, around 1910
I had originally thought the thing behind the driver was a prosthetic leg.
Stan pointed out that it was actually a rifle.
A poster of this photograph is available HERE
Here's what Stan found:  there was a fellow from Big Sandy, Texas named John Rose, who was known as "Overland Jack."  He lost both of his legs in a "train accident."  He had a goat cart made and he traveled all over the country, selling photo postcards of himself.

Some of these photo postcards have ended up on online auctions:

Popular Science, 1922

Do you think, like we do, that this is the same guy?  According to Stan's research, "Overland Jack - Big Sandy Goat Cart - Feb. 1912 Postcard, this is the only four Spanish goat team in the world, pulling 596 pounds, averaging 16 miles per day. These goats are five years old, were raised in Texas, their average weight being 84 pounds and were trained by John Rose, at Big Sandy, Texas. The goat team and driver "Overland Jack", went from Big Sandy to Delphi, In. This is the heaviest goat wagon ever built, the smallest wagon of it's kind.  It was manufactured by W N Bauman of Gilmer, TX."

John Rose, "Overland Jack," was born in 1888.  Probably in Big Sandy, Upshur County, Texas.  Died in 1962.  Buried in Upshur County, Chilton Cemetery.

And he visited Kerrville at least once.

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  1. I remember him quite well. He always parked his Goat Cart in the lot across from my grandfather's dry cleaners in Big Sandy. Whenever we saw him we would go across the street and help feed his goats grass. Sometimes, we would go to the feed store at the end of the street and pick up feed on the floor and take it to the goats. I remember my grandfather taking him some lunch at times. His house (shack) was located on the lake there in Big Sandy and when he died, it was rumored that the person he left everything too found lots of confederate money there. This man is a very fond memory of my childhood.

  2. An‘t the web a remarkable way to keep memories alive and share them!
    My son encouraged me to write, I am probably one of the few stilling living that met Overland Jack on the town square. On a trip back from West Texas in the early 1050's, Dad took me over to the square to meet Jack. My remembrance is that Dad said Jack worked on watches. 60 yrs. later I now know more about Jack. I only have the older post card. I did find a 3rd post card on the web site below.

  3. I was born in 1945 into the John Thomas King family of Big Sandy, Texas. My parents were John Thomas Jr and Ethyl Sullivan King. My Grandmother King's house was built in 1911 on approximately five acres of land facing the railroad tracks that to this day run thru Big Sandy. I remember Overland Jack quite well. He would come to my grandmother's and sharpen all her scissors and knives when he was in town. He would tell me stories of his travels and let me pet his goats. I can almost smell them as I am writing this! Yes, Overland Jack did live down by the Big Sandy lake, less than a 3rd of a mile from my grandmother's. I was 17 when he died. The last time I saw him was in the summer of 1962..He is buried in the Chilton Cemetery In Big Sandy, Texas.

    John Rose
    "Overland Jack"
    November 19, 1888
    October 13 1962

    May You Always Rest In The Arms of GOD

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I remember him. He drove his Waco by my cousin's house on T&P Avenue in Big Sandy. He would stop and let us feed grass to his goats. My cousin has his original Winchester 30 30 rifle he carried in his leather scabberd he had beside him in his wagon. He lived in a mean to tent beside Big Sandy Lake.
    Larry Bartram, Hawkins, TX

  6. correction, wagon not waco! Spell check has a mind of its own.

  7. I did not get it, my uncle found it in a pawn shop. He recognized it because of the inlays in the stock. He know Overland Jack.


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