Bose Ikard, Black Cowboy

More than a quarter of the cowboys in the 19th century were black and Bose Ikard became one of the most famous frontiersmen and trail drivers in Texas.  Born on a

Bose Ikard

Bose Ikard

Mississippi slave plantation in 1843, Bose Ikard moved to Texas when he was nine years old with his master Dr. Milton Ikard.  The family settled in Parker County, just west of Fort Worth, where Bose learned to farm, ranch, and fight the ever-present Indians.   Even after becoming a freedman at the end of the Civil War, Bose stayed with his master’s family until 1866 when Dr. Ikard wrote a letter of recommendation for Bose to work as a trail driver for Oliver Loving and his partner Charles Goodnight.  Bose joined the already famous Goodnight-Loving Cattle Trail over which about eighteen men drove cattle more than 2,000 miles from Texas through New Mexico to Colorado.

After Loving’s death from injuries in an Indian fight in 1867, Bose continued to work for Goodnight and earned his employer’s respect and abiding friendship.

Goodnight is quoted as saying: “Bose surpassed any man I had in endurance and stamina.  There was a dignity, cleanliness and reliability about him that was wonderful.  His behavior was very good in a fight and he was probably the most devoted man to me that I ever knew.  I have trusted him farther than any man.  He was my banker, my detective, and everything else in Colorado, New Mexico, and the other wild country.  The nearest and only bank was in Denver, and when we carried money, I gave it to Bose, for a thief would never think of robbing him.  Bose could be trusted farther than any living man I know.”

Larry McMurtry patterned his 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winnning western novel Lonesome Dove and the 1989- TV mini-series after the adventures of the Goodnight-Loving Trail, modeling the character Deets (played by Danny Glover) after Bose Ikard.

J. Evetts Haley in Charles Goodnight, Cowman and Plainsman relates Goodnight’s account of Bose Ikard’s rugged endurance, ability as a nightrider, and skill at turning a stampeding herd.

When Bose decided to leave the trail and marry in 1868 Charles Goodnight advised him to settle on a farm near Weatherford an area west of Fort Worth that continued to be plagued by Indian attacks. In 1869 Bose rode with his former master Dr. Milton Ikard in a running battle against Quanah Parker, leader of the aloof and warlike Quahada Comanches who for a decade had refused to move to a reservation.

Bose and his wife Angelina had six children and continued over the years welcoming Goodnight to their home. After Bose died on January 4, 1929, Charles Goodnight had a granite marker placed at his friend’s grave in Greenwood Cemetery.  imgresIt reads: “Bose Ikard served with me four years on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, never shirked a duty or disobeyed an order, rode with me in many stampedes, participated in three engagements with Comanches, splendid behavior.”

A Texas Historical marker also stands beside Bose Ikard’s gravesite.imgres-1

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Bose Ikard, Black Cowboy

    • Navigators not only read for the driver, they hold the map and get to direct the route. In the old days when I got to be navigator I often conducted little detours that were only a couple of inches on the map.

      Like

    • I’m so glad you asked. WHY STOP? , Claude Dooley and Betty Dooley, prints the wording of markers that line the highways, not those in the towns. They are listed alphabetically by the nearest city/town and indexed by county and subject. I meet Claude Dooley about 1978. We were both doing research on our first books at the Texas Historical Commission. He passed away years ago and his daughter picked up the project. I think it is in at least the twelfth edition. If you have a navigator, you don’t need to stop, just let the navigator read the marker story from the book. Have fun.

      Like

    • I responded to your question on the blog. Then, I worried that you would not see my reply. So, here it is. I appreciate your interest.

      Im so glad you asked. WHY STOP? , Claude Dooley and Betty Dooley, prints the wording of markers that line the highways, not those in the towns. They are listed alphabetically by the nearest city/town and indexed by county and subject. I meet Claude Dooley about 1978. We were both doing research on our first books at the Texas Historical Commission. He passed away years ago and his daughter picked up the project. I think it is in at least the twelfth edition. If you have a navigator, you dont need to stop, just let the navigator read the marker story from the book. Have fun.

      Reply

      Myra Hargrave McIlvain ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Legacy Texas History Blog Website:http://tales-told-with-a-texas-twang.com

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s