- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
The great cattle baron John Simpon Chisum was immortalized almost 85 years after his death by the 1970 movie Chisum! In which he was portrayed by John Wayne. But in life John Chisum was also legend, amassing land and owning over 100,000 head of cattle. Born in Tennessee in 1824, Chisum’s family moved to Texas where he became a building contractor and county clerk here in Lamar County.
In the mid-1850s Chisum became driving cattle to New Mexico providing beef for the westward expansion of the frontier. By 1866 Chisum partnered with two other now famous cattle barons Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving to herd massive amounts of cattle to supply beef for Colorado miners, the armies at Ft. Sumner and the still expanding frontiers of New Mexico. Chisum, Goodnight and Loving were three of the founders of early cattle drives that along with Jesse Chisolm (no relation) and others moved over 20 million head of cattle over the next two decades creating numerous “cow towns” along the way.
“In 1880, Chisum was involved in getting Pat Garrett elected as sheriff of Lincoln County. Garrett immediately attempted to deal with the problems being caused by Billy the Kid. In December 1880, Garrett shot dead two of the Kid’s gang, Tom O’Folliard and Charles Bowdre. Soon afterwards Billy the Kid, Dave Rudabaugh and Billy Wilson were captured by Garrett.”*
Upon his death in Eureka Springs in 1884, Chisum’s body was returned to Lamar County and buried on West Washington street where the magnificent grave market remains today.
In addition to having a John Wayne film made about him, Chisum was also portrayed by James Coburn in the 1990 film Young Guns II
Special thanks to Chronicles of the Old West for the use of the picture above.
The picture on the home page of Chisum is tar on plexiglass mounted to painted plywood by Canadian artist Neil Klassen. See his work on www.neilklassen.com. Thanks Neil!