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The Jack Hays Collection

Artwork Inquiry

This is a spectacular collection honoring Col. Jack Hays, the greatest Texas Ranger of all time, the first Sheriff of San Francisco and one of the founders of Oakland, California.

The bronze, "JOHN COFFEE HAYS", by CA member Jason Scull , is #4 of an edition of only 20. The original,which was installed in 2002, is a life-size monument on the grounds of the Hays County courthouse in San Marcos, Texas.

The framed piece features a conservation quality print of the 1858 Matthew Brady portrait of Col. Hays (courtesy of the Harvard University Collections), the biography of Col. Hays (by Shelton Smith) and, authentic Texas Rangers captain's badge and San Francisco Sheriff's badge. This very interesting piece is framed to museum standards.

John Coffee “Jack” Hays was the most famous and feared fighter in Texas Ranger history. The name the Comanches gave to Hays – “man-it-is-very-bad-luck-to-get-in-fight-with-because-devils-help-him” – was one word in the Comanche language. The meaning was shortened by the Europeans, who knew it as “Devil Jack.” His Apache scouts called him “bravo too much.”

John C. Hays was born at Little Cedar Lick in Wilson County, Tennessee, on January 28, 1817. His father was a distant relation, trusted friend, and aide-de-camp to General Andrew Jackson. Young Jack, already known as an excellent horseman, came to Texas in 1837 and the next year located in San Antonio, Bexar County, as a deputy county surveyor. Later, he was chosen with the highest recommendations to do official frontier surveying for the Republic of Texas. In San Antonio, he divided his time between surveying and volunteering as a leader of local ranging companies. Jack Hays and his rangers quickly built a reputation as fearless and aggressive fighters. Their important victories included defeats of Comanche war parties at Enchanted Rock in 1841 and at Bandera Creek in 1842. He also aided in the rout of the largest Comanche raiding party in Texas history at the battle of Plum Creek. Also in 1842, Hays and his rangers helped turn back a Mexican incursion into San Antonio at the battle of Salado Creek. Although almost always outnumbered, and sometimes greatly, Jack Hays never lost a fight. The Mexican War in 1846 found Hays with the rank of colonel in command of the First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen. His bravery under fire in the battles of Monterrey and Mexico City further cemented his exalted rank in the annals of Texas Ranger lore.

Colonel Hays returned to Texas in 1848, where he was discharged from the military. He and his wife, Susan Calvert Hays, relocated to California during the Gold Rush in 1849-50. They settled in San Francisco where he was elected that county’s first sheriff in 1850. Hays became politically important and served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1876. Over the years, he acquired a sizeable fortune in ranching and real estate. At one point, Hays reentered the surveying profession and was appointed United States Surveyor General in California. He was also a founder of the city of Oakland. Although they returned to Texas many times, Jack and his family had found a home in California. They lived the remainder of their lives in the Gold Rush State.

Over time, the people of Texas found many ways to show their gratitude to Captain Jack, the quintessential early Texas Ranger. One of those opportunities arose in 1848 when the newly formed Hays County was named in his honor. John Coffee “Jack” Hays died on April 21, 1883, and is buried near his ranch at Piedmont, California.

ARTIST BIO
Jason Scull, CA

Folks seem to want to know who an artist is and how they got to where they are. I grew up in a family that farmed and ranched and has a history of doing so for nearly 180 years in Texas. It's that connection to the land and livestock that has influenced my art from the beginning. From an early age I discovered that I liked the fit of saddle over that of a tractor seat and I've tried to pursue one and avoid the other ever since. Someone once said that, "there's something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man". I believe this, but I have never found it to be true of tractors, posthole diggers or shovels.

For some, making art is second nature, it's like breathing. From the time I was old enough to hold a pencil and brush or mold a lump of clay, I've never been far away from those materials. Because of my affinity for horses, cattle and the people that work with them, they have been my subject matter of choice since I started pursuing art seriously in 1987. I had the great fortune to study with some great western artists early in my career. That, coupled with constant observation, has lead me to where I am today; sculpting horses, cows and cow people.

Since God made the first man, artists have been driven to create art, to copy life, to emulate our Creator. It takes the head, heart and hands that we have been given to pursue the creative process.

To quote Charlie Russell, "Talent is no credit to its owner". To have talent is a thing no one can claim as their own doing, it's what you do with it that counts. To make art it takes talent and a knowledge of your subject and materials. I've always felt that art is 10% talent and the rest is very hard but rewarding work.

My ideas come from many sources; reading, observing cattle, horses, and people - life holds the greatest possibilities. As an artist, ideas sometime begin as an image in your mind that ends up as a doodle on a scrap of paper, that evolves into a more complete sketch. You begin to plan, you build your armature, contact models and finally you begin to apply the clay. It's a process that can take months and sometimes years of planning, the results of my work are in the pages of this web site.

Since I began in 1987, I've enjoyed the patronage of collectors in the USA and abroad, and the blessing of commissions from some notable companies, corporations, associations and private groups. It's been a grand adventure and those I've come to know along the way have made it rewarding and enriching beyond my wildest dreams.

The Shelton Smith Collection | Gallery viewings by appointment only
607 W. 10th Street, austin tx 78701 | Gallery: 512.582-0073 | Mobile: 512.517.3827 | info@sheltonsmith.com

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