The story of Bose Ikard begins in Summerville, Noxubee County, Mississippi. He was born a slave in the year 1847. His mother was a slave named “King” and his father her owner, Dr. Milton Ikard. In 1852, Bose Ikard along with his mother and another mulatto woman, traveled with Dr. Ikard and family (a wife and legitimate son, William S. Ikard) to Parker County in Texas. It was there that Dr. Ikard took up cattle raising near what is now Weatherford, Texas. This was no easy feat in those days, as the Comanche and Kiowa were always raiding. It was from nearby that Cynthia Ann Parker was taken into captivity by the Comanche on just such a raid. Young Bose took quickly to the West and being a cowboy. He was befriended by one of Dr. Ikards’ neighboring cattlemen, Charles Goodnight. One of the female slaves, believed to be Bose’s mother actually financed Dr. Ikards start in the cattle business, being exchanged for a thousand dollars worth of cattle from another stockman neighbor, Oliver Loving.
During the Civil War W.S. Ikard, the doctors legitimate son joined the Mason’s Company, Texas Calvary, Texas State Troops, Confederate States of America and was more busy fighting Indians and Northern renegades in North Texas, than Union soldiers in the field. During the war the Ikard slaves were freed but chose to stay on with the Ikards well after the war. As a gift Dr. Ikard gave them all his last name.
During that time Bose Ikard developed his skills as cowboy, tracker and even cook. In one such event, he and a group of ranch hands herding Ikards’ cattle came upon an Indian trail which they followed for more than fifteen miles with Bose after them like a bloodhound. When they finally caught up with the Comanches, Bose who immediately recognized one of his horses as being among the ponies the Indians were herding, exclaimed. “Oh yes, damn you, you’ve got MY HORSE!” As the story was told by W.S. Ikard, all the stolen horses were recovered and a number of the Indians killed with the remainder barely escaping with their lives.
It was Bose Ikard who joined Goodnight and Loving on their first cattle drive establishing the Goodnight-Loving trail through Horsehead Crossing and into New Mexico. For those reader who have not put this story together yet, it was Bose Ikard who Larry McMurtry fashioned his character Joshua “Deets” after in his beloved western novel “Lonesome Dove”. When Goodnight returned to Weatherford to get another herd together, it was Bose he took with him to make the 700 miles trip. And when Goodnight fulfilled his promise to his dear friend Oliver Loving to be buried in Weatherford, Texas, again it was with Bose Ikard at his side.
Goodnight and Ikard forged a bond on the trail that could never be broken. Goodnight encouraged Ikard to not return to Colorado with him, where colored men were few and far between. So Ikard remained in Weatherford marrying his wife Angeline and together they had six children of whom five survived. Bose continued to farm and was known around town as a handyman. Upon his death in 1929 of influenza, his dear friend Charles Goodnight had a granite marked inscribed to be put on Ikard grave. It still stands there today.
On it reads: “Served with me for 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
What do you know about Texas?