Saturday:) Stories Should Be Shared

7 Aug

“When we share our stories, what it does is, it opens up our hearts for other people to share their stories. And it gives us the sense that we are not alone on this journey.”
~Janine Shepherd


I mentioned yesterday that I met a lovely elderly lady over by the pond. She shared some stories about family and friends. She sat in her wheel chair under a shady tree and told me some interesting stories about a distant relative named Colonel Charles Goodnight, famous in West Texas.

Look at Miss Thelma’s cute smile.

One of the interesting and heartwarming stories Miss Thelma told me was about the day Colonel Goodnight was walking around in the town named after him, when he saw three young boys, the youngest just a toddler. The Colonel never had children of his own, but he loved them. He asked jokingly of the eldest of the three young boys, “How much would you sell me your baby brother for?” The boy contemplated and replied, “There’s a tricycle in the window of the general store. I sure would like a tricycle and you could have my baby brother for a new tricycle.”

The Colonel just laughed and patted the young boy on the head. The next morning, two brand new tricycles were delivered to the family with a note from the Colonel saying, “Best regards, Colonel Goodnight, and you can keep your baby brother.”

Miss Thelma smiled from ear to ear, telling her stories. She said the Colonel was kind and generous to all. When the Indians came and stole his cattle because they were starving, he personally went to the chief and offered to send food and provisions to the tribe if they promised not to steal anymore cattle. Not surprisingly, when other ranches and farms were raided by the Indians, the Colonel’s Ranch was spared.

I enjoyed visiting with Miss Thelma and her son Phillip, listening to the old stories. They say that everyone has a story. This is so true. We just need to stop for a moment and listen. I was so intrigued when I got home, I looked up the Colonel. Indeed, a very interesting man.

It would be wonderful if more stories like these were told and shared and recorded for posterity. So much interesting history will be lost otherwise. If you have some elderly family members and friends, sit down and ask them to share some stories. Record them, write them down, and please, share them with the world.

MORE INFORMATION ON COLONEL CHARLES GOODNIGHT. Maybe TMI, but in case you are interested in more information.


The American cattleman Charles Goodnight (1836-1929) opened a series of cattle trails from Texas to New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas.

Charles Goodnight was born in Macoupin County, Ill. His father soon died, his mother remarried, and the family moved to Milam County, Tex. At the age of 16 Goodnight was hauling freight with oxteams; at 20 he entered the cattle business with a partner and moved to the frontier in northwestern Texas. In an attempt to protect the range from Indian raids, he joined a group known as the Minute Men of Texas. When the Civil War broke out, this body became the Frontier Regiment of the Texas Rangers. Goodnight participated in many Indian fights and earned a distinctive reputation as a guide and scout.

In 1866 Goodnight located a ranch in New Mexico and with a partner, Oliver Loving, established the Goodnight-Loving Trail, driving a cattle herd from Texas to New Mexico. In subsequent years Goodnight blazed other trails into Wyoming and Colorado. In 1868 he established the Apishapa Ranch in Colorado and in 1870 moved to a property north of Pueblo.

Goodnight went to Kentucky and married Mary Ann Dyer, and they developed their Colorado land. With others Goodnight established the Stock Growers Bank in Pueblo. During the panic of 1873, in an attempt to market cattle for needed funds, he opened the New Goodnight Trail to Granada, Colo.

In 1876 Goodnight drove 1,600 head from the overstocked New Mexico ranges to the Texas Panhandle. To obtain capital, he formed a partnership with John George Adair, establishing the JA Ranch, which eventually included nearly 1 million acres of land and 100,000 head of cattle. In 1877 Goodnight opened a trail from this ranch to the railhead at Dodge City, Kans. He also developed a fine herd by introducing Shorthorn and Hereford stock for breeding. He preserved the buffalo of the range and produced a new breed of stock, the cattalo, by crossing buffalo with Polled Angus cattle.

Goodnight stood for law and order and regulating Native American activities. Between 1868 and 1871 he organized Colorado stockraisers into an association, and in 1880 he prompted the establishment of the Panhandle Stock Association to check organized lawlessness. He provided beeves for the hungry Kiowas and Comanches and mediated between these tribes and the U.S. Army.

Goodnight was interested in education and, with his wife, founded Goodnight College in Texas. At his death he was considered “an almost perfect illustration of the cattleman.”

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