A HIistory of the J A Ranch
A HISTORY OF THE J A RANCH
HARLEY TRUE BURTON
FORMATION OF PARTNERSHIP OF GOODNIGHT AND ADAIR
Colonel Charles Goodnight, who had been a member of Norris's
regiment of Texas Rangers for four years, 1861-1865, and had
been guide and scout for Captain Jack Cureton's company of
eighty or ninety men who were supposed to cover the whole section
of country from Clear Fork on the Brazos, north of the Wachita
Mountains in the Indian Territory, and west across the plains to
New Mexico, had become so familiar with west Texas that by the
end of the Civil War he knew every watering place in west Texas.'
He had traveled over this section of the country for eight years and
during the war had passed the mouth of the Palo Duro Canyon
and had observed that it was a stronghold for the Comanche
Indians and perhaps had been so for centuries past.2 Another
thing he observed was that it was an ideal place to establish a cattle
ranch. However, he did not try to establish a ranch there just
after the Civil War. Instead, he and his partner, Oliver Loving,
began to drive cattle from central Texas to Fort Sumner, New
Mexico, and sold their cattle to the government to feed nine
thousand Apache Indians whom they had rounded up at that place.3
On the third trip Oliver Loving was killed by a band of Comanche
Indians and they also lost six hundred head of cattle to the
Indians. This last trip caused Colonel Goodnight to give up
cattle driving to New Mexico.
Colonel Goodnight next formed a partnership with John Chis-
holm, and for three years these two men drove cattle north to
Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.4 In these ventures Colonel
'James W. Freeman, Charles Goodnight--Trail Blazer (Prose and Poetry
of the Live Stock Industry of the United States, National Live Stock
Historical Association, 1905), see also J. Frank Dobie, "Charles Good-
night-Trail Blazer, Pioneer Days" (The Country Gentleman, March,
2James W. Freeman, Charles Goodnight---Trail Blazer, as cited.
'J. Frank Dobie, "Charles Goodnight-Trail Blazer, Pioneer Days"
(The Country Gentleman, March, 1927).
'James W. Freeman, Charles Goodnight-Trail Blazer, as cited.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101088/. Accessed December 1, 2015.