First and foremost, I want to find out what happened to Jack’s taxidermied body. Where did it go? Are there descendants of William Vigars of Albany, the taxidermist, who might have records?

Railroad Jack portrait
The lost oil painting

Where is the oil painting of him that hung in Farnham’s hotel in Albany through at least the 1940s? This may be the painting done by F.W. Boutell, circa 1889, or it could be a different painting.

Jack was given engraved collars, personalized tags, and other gifts along his travels. I haven’t been able to locate any of them. Where did all of these go?

shoe ad
Shoe store ad, 1890

Starting in 1890, The Thos. Ritchie & Co. (Adam J. Burke and Thomas Ritchie) shoe store in Albany began selling Railroad Jack shoes and used his image in the advertisements. Later ads indicate that Jack’s image was used on the boxes. Do any of these boxes still exist?

Are there any other images of Railroad Jack out there? He was photographed multiple times along his journeys.

Did any of Jack’s closest human friends take home materials related to him? If so, could these still be preserved by descendants? I’m particularly interested in talking to descendants of Matthew McCarthy; his children were Dennis F. (d. ~1940s), Edward A. (d. 1945), Agnes H. (d. 1964), and Mary M. Quirk (d. 1959).

Also, are there descendants of Thomas H. Wygant (Wygant and Co., an express company) and his son, Elmer E. Wygant? Both come up at important moments in Jack’s story.