The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929 Page: 31
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A History of the J A Ranch
Then came the Civil War. Colonel Goodnight was in that part
of Texas which was exempt from military duty in the Confederate
Army so that the citizens could guard the frontier against Indian
depredations. Colonel Goodnight joined the Texas Rangers at
once and served four years as ranger, guide, and scout. During
these four years he fought Indians, cow thieves and border toughs
while acting as scout and guide for Captain Jack Cureton's com-
pany of eighty or ninety men. This company was supposed to
guard from the Clear Fork of the Brazos north of the Wichita
Mountains in the Indian Territory and from the settlements on
west across the plains to the New Mexico line.
When the war was over, Colonel Goodnight says, "The Palo
Pinto Country was alive with cattle and no market for them."
The ten-year contract between Sheek, Varney, and Goodnight was
up. The partnership bought the C. V. brand and estimated their
holdings at seven thousand head. The next question was what to
do with the cattle. Sheek remained with the home herd and Col-
onel Goodnight moved three thousand head beyond the settlements
in this part of the state known as Throckmorton County now.
Here the Mexicans and Comanches raided them and drove off two
The following spring, 1866, Colonel Goodnight determined to
find a northern market. The cattlemen of southern Texas, also
seeking a northern market, thought they had found a satisfactory
one at Abilene, Kansas, but Colonel Goodnight knew of a better
market than this. He knew that in New Mexico and Colorado
the government agencies desired beef to feed the Indians whom
they were "loose herding" at this time, but he also knew that in
order to get there, he would have to cross the Comanche country
(the Panhandle of Texas). He knew this country as no other
man did, because he had been over it during his four years as
scout and guide, and he also knew how dangerous it was to cross.
Not being afraid to attempt what he thought could be accomplished,
Colonel Goodnight devised the bold plan of crossing the Panhandle
of Texas the longest way regardless of the dangers likely to be
encountered. He figured that if he should stay away from the
running streams as much as possible that he might miss the
Indians, as it was their custom to stay along the streams. He
would trail his herd two hundred miles southwest to the head of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929, periodical, 1929; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101089/m1/35/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.