Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West
Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West
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Oliver Loving

 

(1812 - July, 1867)

 

Oliver Loving was born in Kentucky and moved to Texas where he started his ranching business. In 1855 he drove a herd to Chicago and the route would later be called the Shawnee Trail. During the Civil War, Loving supplied meat to the Confederacy, but when the war ended, the Confederate money was worthless.

 

Oliver Loving met Charles Goodnight. With Goodnights background as a Texas Ranger and indian fighter combined with Oliver Lovings knowledge of cattle, the two made a great pair. This combo formed the Goodnight-Loving Trail which ran from central Texas to Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

 

During one drive to Fort Sumner, the group was delayed by indian attacks and stampedes. Loving and another drover went ahead to notify the buyers of the delay. These two were attack by indians with Loving receiving an arrow in the wrist and in the side. He sent his drover back to the camp for help, but days past. He finally crawled to the trail where Mexicans took him to the fort. An inexperienced doctor hesitated in a necessary amputation of the arm and gangrene developed. Goodnight found his friend Loving, saw the situation and the arm was removed. However, it was too late, Oliver Loving died three weeks later. Loving's last request was to be buried in Texas since he did not want to be buried in "foreign soil".

 

Oliver Loving was originally buried in post cemetery at Fort Sumner, NM. The next year, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving's son, Joe, transported Oliver Loving 600 miles on a buckboard for burial in the Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford, Texas. The headstone over Oliver Loving's grave was placed by Charles Goodnight.

 

If this story sounds similar to the movie Lonesome Dove, it is because parts of that movie are based on the lives of Goodnight and Loving.

 

 

Gravesite Map

 

Information compiled by Steve Grimm

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© Wild West History Association - a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation

http://www.WildWestHistory.org