FRANK L. GOODNIGHT. There is more than one man with experience, so that he speaks with authority, who would echo the sentiment of Frank L. Goodnight of Englewood that the "cattle business is the thing that sustains the farmer and ranchman in Southwestern Kansas." It is as a stockman that Mr. Goodnight has gone farthest and climbed highest in the scale of material and business affairs in Kansas, and his operations make him one of the prominent figures in the modern era of stock raising, not only in Kansas but in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.
Mr. Goodnight is in fact a product of Kansas pioneer conditions. He was born near Lebanon, Indiana, October 6, 1871, and was four years old when his parents came and settled in Cowley County, Kansas. The Goodnights were far from being a well to do family, and it was a rugged industry and a high sense of honesty that made them substantial and esteemed residents of this section of the state. The Goodnights as a family lived for a couple of generations in Ohio and Indiana. The grandfather, George Goodnight, died in Ohio, and among his children were the following: Tim, whose last residence was at Houston, Texas; George, Jr.; "Doc," who spent his life about Dexter, Kansas; Thomas, of Coffey County, Kansas; Susan, who married Herman Godehart, and she was the first milliner in Arkansas City, Kansas, where Mr. Godehart was the pioneer grocer.
George Goodnight, Jr., was born in Ohio and married Hannah Irich, n native of the same state. They had a family of nine children when they came by wagon overland from Boone County, Indiana, to Cowley County, Kansas. They started as renters on a tract of land and George Goodnight afterwards farmed the land upon which a portion of the town of Winfield is built. He was a hard worker but never accumulated a competence. One distinguishing characteristic was his stubborn refusal to go into debt. He was a democrat in politics and spent his life as a private citizen. He died near Dexter, Kansas, at the age of sixty-seven, and his wife died there when about sixty-eight. Their children were: John, of Shawnee, Oklahoma; Ella, of Arkansas City, Kansas, wife of Nicholas Howe; Ann, who married Ed Booth, of Boone County, Indiana; Joseph, of Englewood, Kansas; William, of Arkansas City; George, of Englewood, Kansas; Jonah, of Arkansas; Frank L., of Englewood; and Edward, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Mr. Frank L. Goodnight attended a few terms of country school in Cowley County. Experience was his real educator, teacher, common school and university. He remained at home with his parents until reaching his majority and on leaving home first went to Butler County, Kansas, where he did farming and also handled a bunch of cattle on Walnut River. Leaving that locality and with a few hundred dollars of capital he went into Oklahoma and to the No Man's Land with a commission as manager of the Greene and Ewing Ranch. That was in 1898, and his location was in Beaver County, Oklahoma, but adjacent to Englewood, Kansas. As manager for the firm of Greene & Ewing of Eldorado he spent three years and then started in business for himself, handling cattle, buying and selling, and raising beef for the market. This is the business he has followed continuously since that time and has acquired ownership of a ranch of 1,000 acres near Englewood and altogether is operating over about 32,000 acres in Clark County, Kansas, and Beaver County, Oklahoma. As a cattle man he runs some 5,000 cattle in his herd and is one of the well known members of the Kansas Cattlemen's Association.
He started the stock business in this locality with about 200 head of native cattle. He has gradually bred up his cattle to a good grade of Herefords. Occasionally he finishes off his stock, but his chief business is shipping stock cattle to the Kansas City markets. To a large extent practical farming enters into his calculations, and he has about 1,500 acres under cultivation, devoted to wheat and stock feeds. For a number of years Mr. Goodnight has employed the methods of Bonanza farming, especially in the use of a tractor. His experience enables him to speak with knowledge and authority of that modern implement in the farmer's business, and he has found them on the whole thoroughly practical, the only reservation being an insistence upon the right make of engine.
Mr. Goodnight is also connected with the banking business of his locality, being vice president of the First National Bank of Englewood. He is perhaps most widely known over this part of the Southwest as an auctioneer. He has been crying sales for twenty years and did his first work in that line in Cowley County, Kansas. His professional skill is a matter of native talent developed by experience. He is a free lance in auction work and has no connection with auction associations. His business as an auctioneer takes him from the Texas Panhandle to the Arkansas River and Central Kansas. In public affairs he has participated to the degree expected of every interested citizen. He votes as a democrat, and for many years was identified with the Englewood schools as a director and has also served as trustee of Englewood Township and has been deputy sheriff under Sheriffs Grimes and Johnson.
Mr. Goodnight married in Butler County, Kansas, March 7, 1894, Miss Etta Hoy. Mrs. Goodnight was born in Perry County, Ohio, in April, 1871, daughter of William and Ann (Davidson) Hoy. Her father came to Butler County as a pioneer from Perry County, Ohio. He was a farmer, and had served as a Union soldier during the Civil war. He died in Butler County, and besides Mrs. Goodnight his children were: Mrs. Daisy Robinson, of Cassady, Kansas; Frank, of Cassady; and Mrs. Ethel Wright, of Aroya, Colorado.
Mr. and Mrs. Goodnight are parents of an interesting family of children named Irene, Paul, Vivian, Olis, Elsworth and Wanda. Irene is still at home and was well educated in the public schools. Paul is a rancher in Beaver County, Oklahoma. Vivian is now a student in the Kansas Musical Conservatory at Kansas City.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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