JACKSON, Wyo. — Jackson Hole seems to have some luck of the Irish in it as David “Davey” Jackson, the valley’s namesake, was of Irish descent.

Jackson’s grandfather John Jackson was born in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland in the early 1700s, and spent roughly 30 years of his life there. After being convicted of a capital crime for stealing, he was sent to the North American colonies to carry out seven years of indentured servitude as punishment. On the boat across the Atlantic, Jackson met his future wife Elizabeth, who was also convicted of larceny.

Davey Jackson was born in Virginia in 1788 into what had become a prominent family, but left his wife and family for adventure in the Rocky Mountains in 1822 hoping to amass his own fortune. For the next eight years he traveled the west with the Rocky Mountain Trading Company before starting his own fur trading company with William Sublette and Jedediah Smith. He established his own trapping territory in the Tetons, which Sublette allegedly dubbed “Jackson’s Hole.”

It seems that Jackson retained his Irish luck throughout his life, as many trappers and adventurers lost their lives early on in their careers to harsh weather or murdered by competing companies or tribes, although Jackson never did find the piles of gold he was looking for.

Some may think that Jackson’s luck finally ran out when he died of Typhus fever in Tennessee on Christmas Eve 1837, but he more likely just left it in Jackson Hole. His namesake and legacy are now tied to one of the most iconic parts of the Rocky Mountains and a top destination for nature and adventure lovers who can get lucky every day spotting wildlife and exploring the Tetons.

Buckrail @ River

River is a Community News Reporter with a passion for wildlife, history, and unique mountain stories. She’s also a gemini, dog mom, hiker, and published poet, and has an obsession with alpine lakes and modern art.