The year he was born, 1836, the Comanche raided the Parker settlement which was set down in Texas, killed many members of the family and made off with a little girl. Her name was Cynthia Ann Parker. She later married a Comanche chief, Peta Nancona. They had a son named Quanah Parker. He became a fearsome Comanche chief.
In 1860 Goodnight was with a band of Rangers that “rescued” Cynthia Ann and killed her beloved husband, but she never really adjusted back to life among the whites.
Charles Goodnight went on to serve in the Confederate Army, then afterwards partnered with Oliver Loving to drive cattle from Texas to railheads in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. He invented the chuckwagon.
After a time the buffalo were all gone and the Comanche’s started stealing Goodnights cattle. Goodnight made a treaty with Quanah Parker that allowed them to take one of his cattle every week or so, but no more.
Ian Tyson has written a song about Goodnight and his grave.
On the llano Estacado, not far from Amarillo, big trucks roll and the wind blows, mostly all of the time. Way out on the prairie, wild rags flutter and the winds sigh, over Charles Goodnight’s grave.
Bandanas blue and yellow, all the shades of Paladouro. Where they come from I do not know, maybe riders on the wind. All along the fence line, like some old time cowboy’s shrine, wild rags flutter and the winds sigh, Over Charles Goodnight’s grave.
If you ride for Amarillo, for to dance the wild Fandango. Out among the moon glow, of the panhandle plain. Raise a toast to the legends, of Goodnight and Loving, and the ones who hang the wild rags, over Charles goodnight’s grave.
Ian Tyson, Canadian Cowboy and Songwriter