Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This is the story of my great great grandfather


A cattle rancher and pioneer of the cattle drive, Oliver Loving, along with Charles J. Goodnight, developed the Goodnight-Loving Trail.
Born in Hopkins County, Kentucky, on December 4, 1812, Loving, the son of Joseph and Susannah Mary (Bourland) Loving, grew up to be a farmer in Muhlenburg County, Kentucky. He married Susan Doggett Morgan in 1833 and ten years later, he and his brother, and sister, along with their families Moved to the Republic of Texas. There, he acquired over 600 acres of land in Collin, Dallas, and Parker Counties, where once again, he farmed and worked as a freight hauler. In 1855, Loving moved his wife and seven children to what is now Palo Pinto County, Texas, where they first ran a country store near Keechi Creek and Loving started his ranching career.
Oliver Loving
By 1857, he owned some 1,000 acres of land and a large cattle herd. He soon began to drive his cattle northward, often through dangerous territory, making good profits from the demand for beef. Successful in these early cattle drives, he soon earned the nickname of “The Dean of Texas Trail Drivers.”
During the Civil War, Loving was commissioned to provide beef to the Confederate forces, a profitable move in the beginning. However, when the war was over, the Confederate Government reportedly owed him more than $100,000 and their money was worthless.
Sometime later, he met Charles Goodnight, a former Texas Ranger and Indian Scout. With Loving's knowledge of cattle and Goodnight's background as a Texas Ranger and an Indian Fighter, the two hatched a plan to run cattle from Fort Belknap, Texas to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and northward into Colorado and Wyoming. This new trail, through dangerous Indian country would become known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail.
In June, 1866, they set out with some 2,000 head of cattle and 18 riders to blaze the Goodnight-Loving Trail from Texas to Colorado. This went on to be a well traveled route to both Colorado and Wyoming.
They left the Texas Frontier on June 6, 1866, with 2,000 head of mixed cattle and 18 armed men to blaze a trail that went down into history as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. Upon reaching Fort Sumner, they sold beef to the army for $12,000 in gold. Loving continued to drive the rest of the herd to Denver, while Goodnight returned to Texas for a second herd. The profitable venture led to more drives, including a partnership with John Chisum.
However, in the summer of 1867, when Oliver Loving went ahead of the herd to negotiate contracts, taking only one trusted scout with him, he was attacked by Comanches and seriously wounded. Though he was able to reach Fort Sumner, New Mexico, he later died of his wounds on September 25, 1867. Goodnight continued the drive to Colorado, but later returned for Loving's body and returned it to Texas, where he was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford.

Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, © January, 2008

Oliver Loving
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oliver Loving (December 4, 1812September 25, 1867) was a cattle rancher and pioneer of the cattle drive who with Charles Goodnight developed the Goodnight-Loving Trail. He was mortally wounded by Native Americans while on a cattle drive. Loving County, the smallest Texas county in population west of Odessa, is named in his honor. Its county seat is Mentone.

Loving was born in Hopkins County, Kentucky. From 1833 to a decade later, Loving was a farmer in Muhlenburg County until he, his brother, and his brother-in-law moved their families to the Republic of Texas, where Loving received 639.3 acres (2.6 km²) of land in three patents spread through three counties Collin, Dallas, and Parker. He farmed and, to feed his growing family, hauled freight in his early years as a Texan.

By 1855 the Lovings had moved to the future Palo Pinto County, Texas, where they ran a country store near Keechi Creek, and ranched. In 1857, Loving owned 1,000 acres (4 km²) of land. To market his large herd, Loving drove them out of Texas and in that same year he entrusted his nineteen-year-old son, William, to drive his and his neighbors' cattle to Illinois up the Shawnee Trail. The drive made a profit of $36 head and encouraged Loving to repeat the trek successfully the next year with John Durkee.
On August 29, 1860, Loving and John Dawson started a herd of 1,500 toward Denver, Colorado to feed miners in the area. They crossed the Red River, traveled to the Arkansas River, and followed it to Pueblo, Colorado, where the cattle wintered. In the spring Loving sold his cattle for gold and tried to leave for Texas; however the American Civil War had broken out and the Union authorities prevented him from returning to the South until Kit Carson and others interceded for him.

During the war Loving was commissioned to drive cattle to Confederate forces along the Mississippi River. When the war ended, the Confederate government reportedly owed him between $100,000 and $250,000. To make matters worse, the usual cattle markets were inadequate for the available supply.

In 1866, having heard about the probable need for cattle at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where some 8,000 Native Americans had been settled on a reservation, Loving gathered a herd, combined it with that of Charles Goodnight, and began a long drive to the fort. Their route later became known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail, although it had been used by other cattlemen. The two cattlemen sold beef to the army for $12,000 in gold, and then Loving drove the stock cattle on to Colorado and sold them near Denver, while Goodnight returned to Weatherford, Texas with the gold and also for a second herd. The two men were reunited in southern New Mexico, where they went into partnership with John Chisum at his ranch in the Bosque Grande, about forty miles south of Fort Sumner.(Chisum's sister Nancy was married to Loving cousin, B.F. Bourland and had known Chisum for many years) They spent the winter of 1866-67 there and supplied cattle from the ranch to Fort Sumner and Santa Fe.

In the spring of 1867 Loving and Goodnight returned to Texas, ready to start a new drive. This third drive was slowed by heavy rains and Native American threats. Loving went ahead of the herd for contract bidding, taking only Bill Wilson, a trusted scout, with him. Although he told Goodnight that he would travel at night through Native American country, Loving became impatient and pushed ahead during the day. His careless action brought a Comanche attack in which he was seriously wounded. The weakened Loving sent Wilson back to the herd, eluded the Native Americans, and, with the aid of Mexican traders, reached Fort Sumner, only to die there of gangrene. Before he died Goodnight assured him that his wish to be buried in Texas would be carried out. After a temporary burial at Fort Sumner, while Goodnight drove the herd on to Colorado, Goodnight had Loving's body exhumed and carried back to Texas. Stories differ as to who accompanied the body back to Weatherford, but he was reburied there in Greenwood Cemetery on March 4, 1868. As a member of Phoenix Lodge No. 275 at Weatherford, Loving was buried with Masonic honors.[1]

Loving has been inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Loving County, Texas and Loving, New Mexico, are named in his honor.

The Story of Oliver Loving and the Goodnight-Loving Trail.

How it All Began

Just as gold made California, cattle made Texas- 'The cowboy became the best-known occupational type that America has given the world. He exists still and will long exist, though much changed from the original. His fame derives from the past.' J.Frank Dobie

Along about 150 years ago, Texas was a brand "new" place... opening wide to settlers who were looking for a piece of ground to call their own, a place to build a home, a life with some fresh hope and promise. It was the new Frontier, at a time when the Wild Wild West really was wild, where a man might be called to cash it in at any time just around the next cut bank in the trail.
The new settlers huddled in close together to have the protection of their neighbors, their numbers and weapons being the only defense against the roving Indian bands. They worked at building a start on the open range land, from the dirt up. The Indian tribes were plentiful, they were being dispossessed of their freedom, their lands, their food supply, and they weren't taking it lightly. The word "Cowboy" wasn't even a part of the language yet, but the seeds were sown - there were plenty of cattle in Texas.

Spanish cattle were first brought to New Spain (Mexico) in the early 1500s. Gradually, as the Spaniards pushed ever northward into what we now know as the Southwest, they came with cattle to establish missions in hope of taming the Indians of "Tejas". These missions were agencies of the Spanish crown as well as the Church. However, when Mexico won it's independence from Spain in 1821, the mission system collapsed. The Plains Indians had by then acquired the horse, and they remained wild, free and dangerous.

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