By William T. Hagan

Charles Goodnight used to be a pioneer of the early diversity farm animals industry—an opinionated and profane yet lively and common rancher.

Goodnight’s tale is now re-examined by means of William T. Hagan during this short, authoritative account that considers the position of ranching in general—and Goodnight in particular—in the improvement of the Texas Panhandle. the 1st significant reassessment of his existence in seventy years, Charles Goodnight: Father of the Texas Panhandle strains its subject’s lifestyles from hardscrabble farmer to livestock baron, giving shut consciousness to lesser-known elements of his final thirty years.

Goodnight got here up within the days while a lot of Texas used to be loose diversity and open to occupancy via any cattleman courageous adequate to stake a declare. Hagan exhibits how Goodnight realized the farm animals company and have become the most well-known ranchers of the Southwest. Hagan additionally offers a clearer photograph than ever earlier than of Goodnight’s company preparations and investments, together with the monetary setbacks of his later life.

As wonderful because it is informative, Hagan’s account takes readers again to the Palo Duro Canyon and the Staked Plains to percentage insights into the cattleman’s life—riding the diversity, combating grass fires, using livestock to the closest railhead—the very stuff of cowboy legend and lore. This attention-grabbing biography enriches our realizing of a Texas icon.

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Additional info for Charles Goodnight: Father of the Texas Panhandle (Oklahoma Western Biographies)

Sample text

Goodnight chafed under any attempt to restrict his way of doing things. On his return to Fort Sumner in October, Goodnight gladly fulfilled his promise to the dying Loving. He had the body exhumed and packed in charcoal in a casket that was slung on a wagon’s running gear. In that fashion Loving was returned six hundred miles to a cemetery in Weatherford, where his family and friends interred him. Goodnight then put together a herd of three thousand head and headed back to New Mexico. Indians made it a tough drive, harassing them repeatedly, and he had only 2,200 head when he reached the Bosque Redondo.

He was hardly out of sight when an Indian sighting frightened Mary into circling the wagons and preparing for attack. When he did find water, Goodnight retraced his route, expecting to find Mary and the Adairs well along the trail. Instead he found them corralled and immobilized by fear, not far from where he had left them. He quickly concluded that what Mary and the cowboy who had raised the first alarm identified as Indians were actually tufts of grass transformed into warriors’ headdresses by the mirage e√ect so common on the high plains.

The parcels the JA now had title to, however, were interspersed among school lands, alternate 640-acre sections reserved to support public education. Since these sections were also grazed by JA cattle, the ranch at the end of 1878 encompassed nearly fifty thousand acres. The lack of title to about half the ranch guaranteed trouble down the road. But that was only one of the problems facing Goodnight as he struggled to turn the JA into the ranch of his dreams. chapter 5 Launching the JA Ranch, 1877–1880 FOLLOWING the signing of the first contract between Charles Goodnight and John George Adair, the Texan worked like a man possessed to realize his dream of developing the best ranch possible.

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