Bose Ikard

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Bose Ikard (ca. 1840s–1929) was an African American cowboy who participated in the pioneering cattle drives on what became known as the Goodnight–Loving Trail, after the American Civil War and through 1869. Aspects of his life inspired the fictional character Joshua Deets, the African-American cowboy in Larry McMurtry's novel Lonesome Dove.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Bose Ikard was born into slavery around 1847[2] or in 1843[3] in Summerville, Noxubee County, Mississippi.[2] He lived with his master's family prior to the Civil War, becoming a ranch hand and cowboy as he grew up in Texas after the Ikards moved from Mississippi to Parker County, Texas.[4] On the post-war cattle drives, Ikard served as a tracker, a cowboy and as Charles Goodnight's de facto banker, often carrying thousands of dollars in cash until the money could be deposited.[5] After his last cattle drive in 1869, Ikard settled in Parker County, becoming a farmer and raising a family with his wife Angeline.[6]

Epitaph and fictional character[edit]

After Ikard died on January 4, 1929 in Weatherford, Texas,[2] Charles Goodnight paid for and erected a marker at Ikard's grave in Weatherford's Greenwood Cemetery with this epitaph:

Bose Ikard (1859–1928)
with me four years on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, never shirked duty or disobeyed an order, rode with me in many stampedes, participated in three engagements with Comanches, splendid behavior. C. GOODNIGHT[7]

In June 1929, Goodnight was quoted by the Weatherford Daily Herald as saying about Ikard that "I have trusted him farther than any living man. He was my detective, banker, and everything else in Colorado, New Mexico, and the other wild country I was in."[8] In the 2010 Plains Folk feature (heard on Prairie Public Radio) called The Grave of Oliver Loving, commentator Tom Isern mentions Bose Ikard being a prototype for Deets.[9] Tricia Wagner, writing in Black Cowboys of the Old West, states that Lonesome Dove with its three characters of Woodrow Call, Gus McCrae and Josh Deets "was based on the adventures of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving and their right-hand man, Bose Ikard" and that "Danny Glover played Bose Ikard".[1] The epitaph for McMurtry's character of Joshua Deets was written as follows:

Josh Deets
Served with me 30 years, Fought in 21 Engagements with the Comanche and Kiowa. Cheerful in all weathers. Never shirked a task. Splendid behavior.[1]

Honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wagner, Tricia Martineau (2010). Black Cowboys of the Old West: True, Sensational, and Little-Known Stories from History. Globe Pequot. p. 45. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Shackelford, Bruce M. (2004). Sara R. Massey, ed. Bose Ikard – Splendid Behavior(Black Cowboys of Texas, Chapter 10)). A&M University Press. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bose Ikard (1843–1929)". Weatherford Independent School District. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ Wagner, Tricia Martineau (2010). Black Cowboys of the Old West: True, Sensational, and Little-Known Stories from History. Globe Pequot. p. 34. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ Wagner, page 41
  6. ^ Shackleford, page 137
  7. ^ Blackman, John Andrew. "Ikard, Bose". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  8. ^ Shackelford, Page 135
  9. ^ Isern, Tom. "The Grave of Oliver Loving (Plains Folk radio show)". Prairie Public Broadcasting (North Dakota). Retrieved October 2, 2012. 
  10. ^ Robinson, Julia. "Bose Ikard". Texas Highways. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ "List of Inductees". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved October 2, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Bose Ikard". The Texas Trail of Fame. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  13. ^ Wagner, Tricia Martineau (2010). Black Cowboys of the Old West: True, Sensational, and Little-Known Stories from History. Globe Pequot. p. 47. Retrieved October 1, 2012.