The Coming of the Brand

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In 1875, Goodnight, and a Mexican guide who knew it, first set eyes on Palo Duro Canyon. In 1876, he drives in 1200 head of cattle from his failed Colorado ranch and leaves in search of backing. In 1877, John Adair makes the JA possible, securing the first phase of the mega-loan from the Edinburgh-based Texas Land & Mortgage Co. that bankrolls the project. Since then, Adair’s initials have seared the hides of hundreds of thousands of cattle. The practice continues today, on a far lesser scale, at the working JA Ranches in Texas and Colorado. (Courtesy of Panhandle-Plains History Museum, Canyon Texas)