Thursday, April 26, 2012

Contributions of Charles Goodnight

Goodnight had many contributions throughout his life on shaping the ways of the West. He had what you could call inventions to help with trail drives and other things. One claim to fame that he had was the invention of the chuckwagon. It was a portable kitchen that was taken on trail drives. It was able to carry many different foods and water for meals and was usually drawn by oxen or mules. Goodnight also created the calf wagon which was used on trails also. This calf wagon was capable of carrying up to forty calves at a time. When calves were born on the trail, hands would pick them up and put them in sacks to hold their scents in and then put them in the wagon. At night the sacks were removed and the calves would be turned loose to nurse on their mothers. The cows were able to distinguish their calves from others because the scents were not mixed together. Goodnight was also the first to make a hybrid breed called the cattalo. This was a cross between a buffalo and cattle. Goodnight was also known for being the first to introduce barbed wire fences to the Panhandle. A reference to this was also made in the sequel, The Return to Lonesome Dove, when Captain Call builds fences in Montana so the cattle won't be mixed together with other ranches.

Davis, Joe Tom. Legendary Texians. Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982. 123-146. Print

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