old “Hay-sus” died that winter afternoon, just about everyone in Eagle Pass mourned.|
longtime resident, he had many friends. One of them went to the print shop and
had a black-bordered handbill runoff by the hundreds so the word of Jesus’ passing
could be spread.
This is the full text of the black-bordered handbill:
On Monday February 2, 1891, at 4 o’clock,
p.m., at the saloon of Lindsey & Chapman,
Aged 17 years,
6 months, and 10 days.
The friends and acquaintances of the Deceased are
respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which will take place at Lindsey &
Chapman’s this afternoon at 3:30 o’clock.
Eagle Pass, Texas, Feb. 3, 1891.
other side of the handbill, the saloon proprietors offered a few verses from Bryon:|
“The poor Dog, in life one’s firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost
Whose honest heart is still his master’s own,
Who labors, fights,
lives, breathes for
Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held
Beneath that they added
“Possessing ‘courage without ferocity,’ he never lost a battle.”
| No mention
of Jesus can be found in any published histories of Eagle Pass. The Eagle Pass
Guide surely noted his passing, but issues of the newspaper from 1891 no longer
are extant. Any memory of the dog died with the men who had known him, but in
1938 O.L. Dolch, Jr. did a story for the long-extinct Naylor’s Epic-Century Magazine
on Jesus. Dolch might have been from Eagle Pass or known some of Jesus’ friends,
but his story appears to be based on the funeral notice, which the magazine reprinted.|
“Jesus,” Dolch wrote, “was a friend to all he met – cowboys, ranchers, trail drivers
and travelers of the West – he was their adopted pet of the border country, what
we call now a ‘mascot.’
Not saying how he knew that, Dolch left the rest
of Jesus’ story to his readers’ imagination.
There’s no evidence of Jesus’
breed or pedigree, but he must have been a very healthy pooch. A 17-year-old dog
is a very old animal. He would have been a pup in 1875, when the border was still
wild and wooly.
Whether he had belonged to Lindsey or Chapman all his
life, or whether he adopted them at some later point in his long life is unknowable
today. All that can be deduced from the unusual funeral notice is that the two
saloon proprietors thought the dog that hung around their establishment was pretty