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Jack Powers whose real name was John A. Power, (1827 – November 1860), was an Irish born immigrant who came to New York as a child, who became a soldier in the Mexican American War, in the garrison of Santa Barbara, California. During the California Gold Rush a well known professional gambler and a famed horseman, known as Jack Powers, in San Francisco and later in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. He had two brushes with the law in San Francisco in 1849 in Santa Barbara in 1853. He had difficulties with the vigilantes of San Francisco in 1856 and at Los Angeles in 1857. Long known for his skills as a horseman, on May 2, 1858, his skills were demonstrated in a 150-mile time over distance race for $5,000. At that time he was described in the Daily Alta California: "He is a spare built man, with full sunburnt face, heavy hair and whiskers, and a keen eye."Soon after this race he was accused by San Luis Obispo vigilantes of complicity in the 1857 murder of two men, and of being the head of the bandit gang, that plagued the southern central coastal region of California, along the El Camino Real with robberies and murders in San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County between 1853 and 1858. This gang was later named the Jack Powers Gang in 1883, by Jesse D. Mason in his History of Santa Barbara County California.

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