Indian Land Makes Strange Bedfellows

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“How the allure of Indian lands made partners out of Civil War opponents.”

After Texas seceded, the Confederacy may have been “the only game to play” in Charlie Goodnight’s Texas; it had a Frontier Service, and young Charlie joined up “to defend our homes.” A Texas friend has told me there was nothing much to it. But surely there’s quite an irony in the fact that Goodnight’s JA Ranch partner, Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie, lost both her Union General war-hero father as well as her husband within months of each other, fighting the Confederacy. Then again, in the Republic’s early years, Cornelia’s Anglophile family was quick to make amends with the once-hated British via intermarriage, visits to London, and speculative land deals. Then again, Indian land had its magical way of turning the worst of enemies into the best of partners.

Robert Spiegelman
Staked Plains