The Town of Goodnight

March 5, 2012

“There was a great deal of love and respect in the Goodnight area for Mr. & Mrs. Goodnight. They in effect built the town. Where there was a need, they helped. They started the first school and brought in the first doctor. They started the first college, Goodnight College.”
Montie Hubbard Goodin

An original postcard from the town of Goodnight.

Goodnight, Texas


Living with Native Americans

February 28, 2012

One of Goodnight’s closer friends was Quanah Parker, with whom he fought and later befriended when Quanah moved into the canyon. They battled each other but, when the war was over, they let go of the past and developed a lifelong relationship.

Goodnight’s long relationship with the Plains Indians of the Panhandle, especially Comanche and Apache, including the treaty he made with Quanah Parker, reflect his dedication to peacekeeping once he re-entered the region. Goodnight argued, “They held for ages the land I and other white men controlled. By all laws of justice, it was theirs. We wanted it, fought for it, took it.”
–Dr. Tiffany Haggard Fink

Goodnight and Quanah came to an agreement. When Quanah could not find the necessary buffalo, he could take a beef cow from Goodnight’s herd. Goodnight fed them while they were on his land and helped them with what they needed. He could not see letting the women and children starve because the buffalo were simply far too gone. Because of that relationship, Goodnight and Quanah Parker became best friends… Theirs was a relationship that lasted throughout their lifetime. –Montie Hubbard Goodin

Life on the Ranch

February 21, 2012

“There were lots of children running around, and lots of animals running around. The son of the Foreman of the JA Ranch who visited there often said that it was like a zoo. There were all sorts of animals and it was paradise for young boys because they could roam the area and play with the animals. There were lots of kids, and they just had a grand time.”

-Montie Hubbard Goodin

The Buffalo

February 16, 2012

In the spring of 1878, only a few scattering bunches remained, and Mrs. Goodnight suggested to her husband the advisability of preserving for Texas and the nation a few of the buffalo. Mr. Goodnight hunted up a bunch and roped two calves, fortunately a male and a female, and, a few weeks after this, captured two more, also a male and a female. Here was the beginning of the present Goodnight herd which not only proved of great commercial value to him, but preserved for Texas this noble animal and made the Goodnight Ranch famous the world over. –Excerpt from Pioneer Days in the Southwest by Emanuel Dubbs.

Recently, the genetically pure descendents of Goodnight’s original herd, The Texas State Buffalo Herd, have been relocated to Caprock Canyon State Park in Quitaque, Texas. Read more on the recent move of the Texas State Buffalo Herd here.

Charles and Molly

February 14, 2012

“The year 1871 was a fortunate year for me in more than a financial way, for I met and married a most estimable lady whose counsel and influence has ever since been to me a guiding light for good deeds and godly living. Her maiden name was Mary Ann Dyer.”

– Charles Goodnight (excerpt from Pioneer Days in the Southwest by Emanuel Dubbs)



A Working Buffalo Ranch

February 9, 2012

Goodnight sold buffalo around the world and sold them butchered for $350 a piece. Buffalo hides brought an average $100 a piece.

Sam Burrow--Manager of the Goodnight Herd

The Innovator

February 7, 2012


Among Goodnight’s experiments on the frontier was the chuck wagon.

Goodnight developed this chuck wagon to feed his ranch hands as they traveled up the trail to the cattle market.


The JA Ranch

February 2, 2012

With partner John Adair, Goodnight formed the JA Ranch in 1877 and created an empire covering 1.3 million acres supporting over 100,000 cattle. The partnership ended in 1888, and Goodnight moved sixteen miles north of the JA Ranch to a place near the north rim of Palo Alto Canyon. There where the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad came through Armstrong Country, Goodnight began building what was known as Goodnight Station, later to become the town of Goodnight. 

The Historian

January 31, 2012

“In 1876, I moved my herd into the Panhandle, following an old Indian trail, which led into the banks between canyon Blanco and the main canyon Palo Duro, where we came to the cap rock. The descent was so abrupt and steep that we were compelled to take our wagons to pieces, first unloading them, and let them down into the valley below the ropes.”

-Charles Goodnight

Excerpt from Pioneer Days in the Southwest by Emanuel Dubbs

A New Beginning

January 23, 2012

After living on the open range and driving thousands of head of cattle across a new trail with partner Oliver Loving, Charles Goodnight married Mary Ann “Molly” Dyer and settled in Southern Colorado. After the panic of 1873, Goodnight owned 2,000 head of cattle and little else. He and Molly left Colorado with a few teamsters and the cattle and made their way to Palo Duro Canyon. The nearest outpost was 200 miles away, but Charles, Molly, their crew, and cattle found refuge and a new beginning.