It wasn’t long after that Jack was prompted to write the following to mark the untimely passing of Wild Bill Hickok at the hand of Jack McCall in Deadwood:
Sleep on brave heart, in peaceful slumber,
Bravest scout in all the West;
Lightning eyes and voice of thunder,
Closed and hushed in quiet rest.
Peace and rest at last is given,
May we meet again in heaven.
Rest in peace
Captain Jack replaced Buffalo Bill Cody as chief of scouts for the 5th Cavalry on August 24, 1876 – only two months after the Custer massacre at the Little Big Horn, and a mere three weeks after the murder of Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood.
Under the command of General George Crook he would make his famous horseback ride with urgent dispatches from the Battle of Slim Buttes to Fort Laramie, a distance of approximately 350 miles, in four days.
The soldiers and miners seemed to overlook Captain Jack’s temperance, for he seemed to be respected and well liked. J. T. (“Buckskin Johnny”) Spaulding. In a 1927 article written for the Queen City Mail, Spaulding described meeting Crawford when he arrived in the Black Hills in 1876.
“It was here (Deadwood) that I met Capt. Jack Crawford, the poet scout. He was six feet in height, of fine build, and dressed in a nicely fitting and artistic buckskin suit, very much resembling Wild Bill. He joined us for the balance of the trip. The roads, or lack of roads, were something fierce, but Jack never hesitated, always putting his shoulder to the wheel. I killed a deer now and then and divided it up among the outfit as need arose. On coming to the gulch we unhitched the teams and with two men at the tongue, we let the wagons down from tree to tree. We camped at the mouth of Deadwood creek near the present site of the Burlington depot.”