Chisum, John Simpson (chĭzˈəm) [key], 1824–84, American cattleman, b. Tennessee. In 1837 he moved with his family to Texas. He had no formal education but worked as a builder and contractor, building the first courthouse in Paris, Tex. In 1854 he entered the cattle business; beginning in 1866, in partnership with Charles Goodnight, he drove herds into New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming, selling them to government food contractors for Native American reservations. When, in 1883, he established his ranch near Roswell, N.Mex., he became one of the first cattlemen in that region, and his became one of the largest herds. He was a prominent figure in the Lincoln co. cattle war, and at one time Billy the Kid was employed by him; however, Chisum cooperated with the authorities to end lawlessness in the cattle business.
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