Bird’s Creek Indian Fight

4-2-1839   Soldier and Indian fighter John Bird is elected captain of a Texas Ranger company on the frontier. A month later, he would die while fighting valiantly in the so-called Bird’s Creek Indian Fight in which his small band of rangers repelled an ambush by more than 300 Indian warriors.

Ross Sterling, Exxon

Ross Shaw Sterling (February 11, 1875 – March 25, 1949) 31st Governor of Texas from 1931 to 1933.  Sterling organized the Humble Oil Company that would grow to become Exxon..

Dad Joiner

March 12, 1860 – Columbus Dad Joiner, who finds the East Texas Oil Field, is born in Alabama.

Preston Smith

March 08, 1912 – Gov. Preston Smith is born in Corn Hill.

Dancer Cyd Charisse

3-8-1921 Dancer Cyd Charisse, known for her talents in ballet and movie performances opposite Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, is born in Amarillo.

John Connally, 2-27-1917

John Connally, governor of Texas from 1963 to 1969, is born near Floresville, 2-27-1917. Connally was seriously wounded during the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Bonham

February 20, 1807 – James Butler Bonham is born in South Carolina.

Gene Austin

1-24-1972 Gainesville native Gene Austin, a singer and composer well known in the early days of radio, dies in Palm Springs, Calif. With hits such as “My Blue Heaven,” Austin’s RCA Victor recordings sold more than 86 million copies.

Robert E. Howard

January 22, 1906 – Author Robert E. Howard is born in Peaster, Texas. His works include, Conan the Cimmerian, for which he is internationally famous, and a number of Texas-based characters and stories, such as the larger-than-life Breckenridge Elkins.

Charles Goodnight, Texas Rancher, Gus McCrae Lonesome Dove

Charles Goodnight (March 5, 1836 – December 12, 1929) perhaps the best known rancher in Texas. Essayist and historian J. Frank Dobie said that Goodnight “approached greatness more nearly than any other cowman of history.”

Goodnight was born in Macoupin County, Illinois, east of St. Louis, Missouri, the fourth child of Charles Goodnight and the former Charlotte Collier.

Goodnight moved to Texas in 1846 with his mother and stepfather, Hiram Daugherty. In 1856, he became a cowboy and served with the local militia, fighting against Comanche raiders. A year later, in 1857, Goodnight joined the Texas Rangers. Goodnight is also known for guiding Texas Rangers to the Indian camp where Cynthia Ann Parker was recaptured, and for later making a treaty with her son, Quanah Parker.

The 2,000-mile Goodnight-Loving Trail extended from the Texas Panhandle and into Colorado as it headed north into Wyoming.

Goodnight became involved in the round-up of cattle that had roamed free in Texas.  He and Oliver Loving drove their first herd of cattle northward along what would become known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. Goodnight invented the chuck wagon, which was first used on the initial cattle drive. Upon arriving in New Mexico, they formed a partnership with New Mexico cattleman John Chisum for future contracts to supply the United States Army with cattle. After Loving’s death, Goodnight and Chisum extended the trail from New Mexico to Colorado, and eventually to Wyoming. Goodnight is reported to have kept a photograph of Oliver Loving in his pocket for a long time after his death. As requested by the dying Loving, Goodnight carried the body from New Mexico to Weatherford, the seat of Parker County, for burial.

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove and its sequels, Larry McMurtry based the relationship between Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call on the relationship between Goodnight and Loving. The grave marker Call carves for one of the characters late in the novel is based on an actual gravestone Charles Goodnight had created, and the trek back to Texas at the end of the novel is based on Goodnight’s return of Loving’s body to Texas.