Various theories are out there. Here‘s an interesting selection, which includes whisky smuggling, “put ‘em high, Jack”, truncation of “highway jacker”, or a corruption of a similar-sounding Chinese word. My own pet theory is that it’s from cards ("aces high, jack ...") The link says that “hijack” appears to have begun to proliferate during the prohibition period from 1919.
Edit - maybe my theory may have more substance than I thought. From An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling: Designed Especially as a Warning to the ... - Page 188 by Jonathan Harrington Greene - 1847
B thinks this almost impossible, as he supposes that his ace, queen, and jack are good for high, jack, and game.
Maybe. Or maybe:
He’s taken a trick there that he cannot keep. Doug. I’ll off to Court our Queen of Hearts to save. But this High Jack shall never win the game.
The Lady Of The Lake 1860, in The Minor Drama: A Collection of the Most Popular Petit Comedies, Vaudevilles, Burlettas published by W Taylor & Co.