September 2, 2014

Saturday Open Thread- African American Cowboys

This week’s open thread theme focused on African-American Cowboys and a Cowgirl. There are others out there, I could only highlight the ones with lots of biographical information.

Bose Ikard  was born a slave in Summerville, Mississippi, in June 1847 according to the best available evidence. It is likely that his slave master, Dr. Milton Ikard, was his father and his mother was a slave named “King.” The Ikard family, slave and free, made the sojourn to Texas in 1852 and settled in western Parker County on the Comanche-Kiowa frontier. As an adolescent, Bose was introduced to the dangers of Indian raids and the requirements of cowboy life.  While still a child, the slave holder took the youth to Texas to work on his ranch. There Bose learned to ride, rope and work cattle.

He gained his freedom following the Civil War and began a memorable cowboy career with Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight. It was Bose’s pioneering efforts in opening up the Goodnight Loving Trail, and the friendship established with its founders, that etched his name into western lore. 

Goodnight said of Bose, “Bose surpasses any man I had in endurance and stamina. There was a dignity, a cleanness 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. 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.”

It is stated the character Joshua Deets – portrayed by Danny Glover in the Lonesome Dove – is based on Bose Ikard. The Lonesome Dove Trail drive is loosely biased on the lives of Goodnight and Loving.

Bose Ikard died in 1929 at the age of 85 . Goodnight had a granite marker erected at his grave. Bose is buried in the Weatherford Cemetery in Wetherford, Texas.

The epitaph on Bose’s grave, transcribed by Charles Goodnight, reads:

“Bose Ikard served with me four years on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, never shirked a duty or disobeyed an order, rode with me many stampedes, participated in three engagements with Comanches, splendid behavior.”

***Information Courtesy of BlackPast.org***

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