J A Ranch
The JA Ranch is the oldest privately owned cattle operation in the Panhandle. Its beginning may be traced back to the summer and fall of 1876, when Charles Goodnight drove 1,600 longhorn cattle from Pueblo, Colorado, to the Palo Duro Canyon, where he established his "Home Ranch" near the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River in southwestern Armstrong County. After getting his men and cattle settled in for the winter, Goodnight returned to Colorado to make arrangements to bring his wife, Mary Ann (Molly) Goodnight, to the new homestead. In Denver he met John G. Adair, an English aristocrat who was interested in going into the cattle business himself. As a result of their meeting, Adair agreed to furnish the capital Goodnight needed to build up the ranch. In May 1877 the Goodnights and Adair, along with four cowboys, arrived at the Home Ranch with 100 Durham bulls and four wagons loaded with provisions. On June 18, before the Adairs left for Ireland, the partners drew up a five-year contract under which two-thirds of the property and profits were to go to Adair and one-third to Goodnight. There were to be as many as 1,500 cattle and 2,500 acres of land. Goodnight, who borrowed his third of the investment from Adair at 10 percent interest, was to receive an annual salary of $2,500. At Goodnight's suggestion the ranch was named Adair's initials. The letters of the JA brand at first were separated; three years later the present connected design was adopted.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
H. Allen Anderson | © Texas State Historical Association
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