Jack Abernathy

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JACK ABERNATHY

CATCH ‘EM ALIVE JACK


In 1987 my mother was asked to be Grand Marshall at the Frederick Statehood Day Parade. Since she didn’t like airplanes I agreed to drive her from Santa Monica, California to Frederick, Oklahoma. It was a great trip back as she regaled me with stories about her childhood. The big stories were about my grandfather, “Catch ’em Alive, Jack” and of her two brothers, Temple and Louie Abernathy.

Jack Abernathy was appointed as the first U.S. Marshall of Oklahoma by President Teddy Roosevelt. They had become friends when Jack took President Roosevelt “wolf coursing”. Jack had learned as a teenager to catch wolves with his bare hands. The story goes that one day while he was out riding his horse fell throwing him to the ground. A wolf lurking nearby charged him with an open mouth lunge. Jack threw his hand to the back of the wolf’s mouth, behind his canine teeth, and held on to his lower jaw. The wolf was defenseless as he tied him up and removed his hand. He became famous throughout the area and made a living in those early years catching wolves for zoos all across America.

The parade and festivities recognizing the 80th anniversary of statehood and the part Jack’s friendship with Teddy might have played in influencing that culminated with a closing ceremony at a local hall. Since I was a singer, songwriter, entertainer and grandson of Jack Abernathy, they asked me if I might sing at that closing celebration. I said yes and as an homage to my grandfather I decided to write a song. The gathered people that night seemed to like it and I have just recorded it to help further the legend of “Catch ’em Alive”, Jack