Thursday, April 26, 2012

The JA Ranch

The JA Ranch was first begun by Charles Goodnight in 1876 when he moved approximately 1600 head of longhorn cattle into the Palo Duro Canyon region of the Texas Panhandle. It was the first ranch of the Texas Panhandle and is still functioning today. After getting the men and cattle settled on the new ranch, Goodnight returned to Colorado to move his wife to the Panhandle. While he was in Denver, he met John Adair who had an interest in getting into the cattle business. Adair and Goodnight began a partnership together where Adair would supply the money and Goodnight supply the brains of the outfit. In 1877, the Adairs and Goodnights set off for the ranch with 100 head of Durham bulls. John Adair took inventory and made sure everything was up to par. Before the Adairs return to Ireland, the partners drew up a five-year contract. The contracts stipulations were that Adair would receive two thirds of the property and profits and Goodnight would receive the remaining third. Goodnight also received a $2,500 salary from Adair. Goodnight suggested that the brand and ranch name would be John Adair's initials. As the years went on, more land and cattle were added to the JA ranch. In 1878, Goodnight had his first JA ranch trail herd and drove them to Dodge City, Kansas. The contract was renewed for a second term. John Adair died in 1885 prior to the end of this term. Mrs. Adair then took over the remaining time of the contract. In 1887, Charles Goodnight decided not to renew the contract and go off on his own with his one third of the property. Descendants of Mrs. Adair kept the ranch in the family and continue to manage the ranch today.

Left-the JA brand, Right-Hired hand and horse taken in 1908





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