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 popular 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 advance of the Texas Panhandle. the 1st significant reassessment of his existence in seventy years, Charles Goodnight: Father of the Texas Panhandle lines its subject’s lifestyles from hardscrabble farmer to livestock baron, giving shut realization to lesser-known points of his final thirty years.
Goodnight got here up within the days whilst a lot of Texas used to be unfastened variety and open to occupancy by way of any cattleman courageous adequate to stake a declare. Hagan indicates how Goodnight realized the farm animals enterprise and have become some of the most well-known ranchers of the Southwest. Hagan additionally offers a clearer photograph than ever prior to of Goodnight’s company preparations and investments, together with the monetary setbacks of his later life.
As enjoyable 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 farm animals 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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Extra info for Charles Goodnight: Father of the Texas Panhandle (Oklahoma Western Biographies)
The walls of the canyon and its tributaries also featured many springs that tapped the aquifers underlying the region. These springs provide clear, sweet water, a welcome relief from the gypsum-laden water so prominent in the accounts of explorers of the Panhandle. Good pasture grasses were relatively abundant. They included a combination of short grasses like blue grama and bu√alo that prevailed on the Llano Estacado, some side oats and hairy grama, and little blue stem. In the canyons the higher-moisture-content soils produced good pasture and a variety of trees, including hackberry, mesquite, cedar, and cottonwood.
Fearing that it would spread, Goodnight demanded that the fort’s physician amputate the arm. Unfortunately, this medic had never performed an amputation and was reluctant to proceed. By the time he ﬁnally agreed it was too late, and Loving died, September 25, 1867. Before his death, Loving and Goodnight agreed that Goodnight would carry forward for two years their partnership in order to provide some ﬁnancial security for Loving’s family. His death was a real blow to Goodnight as he greatly admired the older man.
Goodnight, however, did enjoy the wheeling and dealing involved in the actual purchase of land at prices ranging from twenty to thirty-ﬁve cents per acre. One thing that Goodnight did not enjoy as he expanded the JA land holdings was his infrequent encounters with the former lords of the Southern Plains, the Comanche Indians and their allies, the Kiowas and Plains Apaches. For several years after the Red River War, bands of these Indians slipped away from their reservations in western Oklahoma in search of game.