A legend in the Texas Panhandle, Colonel Charles Goodnight had been a Texas Ranger, guide, scout, freighter, and with Oliver Loving established the Goodnight-Loving Trail, before he came to the Panhandle in 1876. Here he established a partnership with an Englishman, John Adair, and his wife Cornelia, and the JA Ranch was formed in the Palo Duro.
In films and novels, cattlemen and sheepmen hate each other, but Charles Goodnight pioneer Texas cattleman, and Casimero Romero, pioneer Texas sheepman, agreed to divide the range: cattlemen in the Palo Duro Canyon and east, and sheepmen in the Canadian River Valley and west. By the late 1880's cattlemen had bought and fenced most of the grazing land, and the sheepmen returned to New Mexico.
The JA, during its open range days. totaled nearly two million acres, and in 1882, the state of Texas gave three million acres of land to a Chicago syndicate for construction of the state capitol building in Austin. This became the XIT (Ten In Texas) the largest fenced ranch in the world. As late as 1893, the total population of the Panhandle was only about five or six hundred people and thousands of cattle. But the longhorns were being phased out, especially with the breakup ofthe large ranches, and the tough and wild longhorn gave way to new breeds. In seven years Judge O.H. Nelson sold over ten thousand hereford bulls to Panhandle ranchers. It is still the prevalent breed today.
-Excerpt from Charles Beckendorf Texas
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