Charles Goodnight

Charles Goodnight

Father of the Texas Panhandle

Book - 2007
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Univ of Oklahoma Pr

Charles Goodnight was a pioneer of the early range cattle industry—an opinionated and profane but energetic and well-liked rancher.

Goodnight’s story is now re-examined by William T. Hagan in this brief, authoritative account that considers the role of ranching in general—and Goodnight in particular—in the development of the Texas Panhandle. The first major reassessment of his life in seventy years, Charles Goodnight: Father of the Texas Panhandle traces its subject’s life from hardscrabble farmer to cattle baron, giving close attention to lesser-known aspects of his last thirty years.

Goodnight came up in the days when much of Texas was free range and open to occupancy by any cattleman brave enough to stake a claim. Hagan shows how Goodnight learned the cattle business and became one of the most famous ranchers of the Southwest. Hagan also presents a clearer picture than ever before of Goodnight’s business arrangements and investments, including the financial setbacks of his later life.

As entertaining as it is informative, Hagan’s account takes readers back to the Palo Duro Canyon and the Staked Plains to share insights into the cattleman’s life—riding the range, fighting grass fires, driving cattle to the nearest railhead—the very stuff of cowboy legend and lore. This fascinating biography enriches our understanding of a Texas icon.


Charles Goodnight was a pioneer of the early range cattle industry—an opinionated and profane but energetic and well-liked rancher. Goodnight’s story is now re-examined by William T. Hagan in this brief, authoritative account that considers the role of ranching in general—and Goodnight in particular—in the development of the Texas Panhandle. The first major reassessment of his life in seventy years,Charles Goodnight: Father of the Texas Panhandle traces its subject’s life from hardscrabble farmer to cattle baron, giving close attention to lesser-known aspects of his last thirty years.


Book News
Charles Goodnight was a rancher and a pioneer of the early range cattle industry in Texas. This biography, the first in 70 years, looks at the role of ranching in the development of the Texas Panhandle and at Goodnight's role in the growth of the region. The book traces Goodnight's life from poor farmer to cattle baron and sheds light on his role in the Indian wars, his business arrangements and investments, his alliances with English and eastern financiers, and his connections with other Texas cattlemen. There are also descriptions of home life on the ranch and information on his two marriages (the second at age 91). An epilogue surveys his reputation after death, his status as an icon in the region, and scholarship on Goodnight. The book is illustrated with 10 b&w historical photos and three maps. Hagan is retired as professor of history at the University of Oklahoma. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, c2007
ISBN: 9780806141954
Characteristics: xiv, 147 p. : ill. ; 23 cm

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