Charles Goodnight was born March 5, 1836, in Macoupin County, Illinois, on the family farm to Charles Goodnight and Charlotte Goodnight. Charles’ father died in 1841 from pneumonia. Charles’ mother married shortly thereafter and the family moved to TX.
Charles left quite a legacy behind of “Firsts” such as:
- He invented the chuckwagon in 1866
- He blazed trails for TX cattle herds to cattle markets in NM, CO, & KS
- He scouted for the TX Rangers for eight years and mapped most of the Panhandle
- He founded the first ranch in the Panhandle with John Adair, the JA Ranch
- He formed the first Panhandle Cattlemen’s Association
- He pioneered the introduction of blooded stock into the Panhandle herds
- He helped bring a tradition of law, order, and civilization to over 200 million square miles of rangeland
- He became an internationally recognized authority on the economics of range cattle management
- He founded a town and college which bore his name
- He and his wife established a private herd of bison (buffalo) which is credited with saving the breed from extinction in North America
- He developed a scientific cattle breeding program which is still use today.
For further information, read J. Everett Hayley’s book on him, Charles Goodnight, Cowman and Plainsman, which is sold over this website.