(August 5, 1824 - December 20, 1884)
John S. Chisum was born in Tennessee and moved to Texas with his family. He started his cattle business in Texas. Chisum moved his herd to New Mexico. He was one of the first to ranch in the New Mexico area.
It was here that he prospered despite rustlers and Indians. Soon, John Chisum became the undisputed cattle king of New Mexico and may have owned the world's largest cattle herd at the time. Small ranchers accused him of gobbling up their stock, but since many of Chisum's dealings were verbal, his connection in various events can not be traced.
John Chisum's famous Jinglebob Ranch was named after his way of identifying cattle. The ear of the cattle would be notched making a clear distinction of ownership.
Many of his early cowboys were involved in the Lincoln County War: Billy the Kid, Jesse Evans, etc. Chisum seemed to remain neutral on this aspect of history, but his political power did help elect Pat Garrett as sheriff.
John Chisum died in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and is buried in Paris, Texas. The gravesite is in a family plot.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm
Drawing by Richard Florence