The Real Josh Deets

Everybody who has read the book and seen the movie knows the relationship between Deets and Call. Call trusted Deets more than he trusted any other human being. Oh you can say he and Gus were lifelong friends and depended on each other; but when something important needed doing, he turned to none other than good old Deets.

Now mind you this was Texas in the late 1870’s and a black man was considered less than equal; yet time after time, Call relied on Deets. When Deets was killed, I felt it shook Call much more than the death of Gus. Who knows, maybe it was an attack of guilt for treatment of Deets by never calling him by his first name and that he lost a friend that he never truly acknowledged as one.

Now then, I’d like to tell you about the real Josh Deets. A man born a slave yet became a scout for one of the most famous cattle trails in Texas History and a good, lifelong friend to one of the most influential men in Texas in a time when blacks and whites rarely associated. Y’all, I give you, Bose Ikard.

Bose Ikard was born a slave in Mississippi in the 1840’s and came to Texas as a child with the family of his owner, Dr. Milton L. Ikard.

After the Civil War ended in 1865, Bose found himself a free man and in 1866 he went to work for Oliver Loving as a trail driver. After Loving was killed by Comanche Indians in New Mexico, Ikard continued in the service of Loving’s partner, Charles Goodnight, for four years. The two men became lifelong friends. Goodnight later commented that he trusted Bose Ikard “farther than any living man. He was my detective, banker, and everything else in Colorado, New Mexico, and the other wild country I was in.”

In 1869 Ikard wanted to settle in Colorado, but Goodnight persuaded him to buy a farm in Parker County, Texas, because there were so few blacks in Colorado. Ikard settled in Weatherford and began his family at a time when Indian attacks were still common in North Texas. In 1869 he participated in a running battle with Quanah Parker’s Comanche band, riding alongside his former master, Milton Ikard.

Bose married a woman named Angeline in 1869 or 1870 and together they raised their children on their Weatherford farm.

Good friends to the end, whenever Goodnight came to Weatherford, he always dropped in on Bose and helped him with gifts of money. When Bose died in 1928, Charles Goodnight paid for the granite marker that bears the following:

”Bose Ikard (1859–1928) with me 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

Does this sound familiar?


  1. Heather says:

    I found this a very interesting piece, another important character to the storyline

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