Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1870 :: Marriage of Sweethearts of the Cattle Trail

Charles Goodnight

On this day in 1870, rancher Charles Goodnight married his sweetheart Mary Ann (Molly) Dyer . . . Goodnight, a veteran cattleman, helped blaze the Goodnight-Loving Trail in 1866 . . . on the 1850 Census, he is enumerated in Milam County, Texas, where his step-father aka brother-in-law is buried at the Mount Homer Cemetery . . . after their wedding, the couple settled on a ranch in Colorado for a few years before moving to the Palo Duro Canyon to help establish the JA Ranch. Charles managed the ranch, trailed cattle, and continued to upgrade the herds while Molly made a home on the solitary plains near the canyon. Her husband invented a two-horned sidesaddle so that she could more easily ride on the ranch. Though the couple had no children of their own, she became the “Mother of the Panhandle” to countless ranch hands. . . .

FYI . . . from Goodnight's wikipedia page . . . Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove is a fictionalized account of Goodnight and Loving's third cattle drive. Woodrow F. Call represents Goodnight, Augustus McCrae is Loving. Though the characters have personalities rather different from their real-life counterparts, the novel borrows heavily from actual events, in particular Loving's ambush by Indians, and Goodnight's attentive care as Loving died from an arrow-induced infection. Call returns McCrae's body to Texas, just as Goodnight returned Loving's body for burial in Weatherford, Texas. The grave marker that Call carves for McCrae is based on the gravestone Charles Goodnight created for Loving.

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