Goodnight, Charles, 1836–1929, Texas cattleman, b. Macoupin co., Ill. He went to Texas in 1846, where he joined the Texas Rangers and became a noted scout and Indian fighter. He was later a pioneer in cattle ranching in New Mexico and Colorado and in 1866 laid out the Goodnight cattle trail from Texas to Wyoming, later extended (1875) to Colorado. In 1877, in partnership with John Adair, he established in the Texas Panhandle the J A Ranch of nearly 1 million acres (404,700 hectares), on which he maintained about 100,000 head of cattle. He improved his herds by crossing shorthorns and Herefords with the native longhorns. By crossing bison and Polled Angus cattle he produced the first herd of cattalo. He also bred bison and is thereby credited with preserving the remnant of the South Plains herd. In 1880 he organized the Panhandle Stockmen's Association, which suppressed lawlessness and introduced purebred cattle.
See biography by J. E. Haley (1949).