Stephanie Piefer Niemeyer

GOODNIGHT, JAMES P. (1831–1885). James P. Goodnight, farmer and state legislator, was born on November 21, 1831, in Allen County, Kentucky, son of Henry and Jane (Billingsly) Goodnight. He was raised on a farm and received a strong academic education. Goodnight married Mary A. Hill on September 21, 1854, and on November 19, 1854, the couple arrived in Dallas County and purchased 220 acres of land that would become their family farm.

Goodnight became a leader of the Lisbon, Texas, community. He served as a constable for Precinct Seven of Dallas County. Goodnight was county assessor and collector from 1858–1862 and again in 1866. He was chosen to represent Dallas County in the House of the Ninth Texas Legislature after James Thomas resigned; he served from February 2, 1863, to November 2, 1863. During the Civil War Goodnight joined the Thirty-first Texas Cavalry in 1863 and served in Trezevant C. Hawpe's Company A in the Commissary Department.

In 1870 he began a two-year term as county treasurer, and in 1876 he was elected assessor again. He went into business with Emory A. Gracey in 1880. The two had a gin and threshing business in Lisbon. Goodnight and his family were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church where he was a ruling elder. He was also a Mason and a Royal Arch degree of the A.F. & A.M. He identified with the Democratic party.

He died on February 11, 1885. He is buried in the Lisbon Cemetery which is now within the Dallas city limits.


"Goodnight, James P.," Dallas County Pioneer Association (, accessed September 28, 2006. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Stephanie Piefer Niemeyer, "GOODNIGHT, JAMES P.," accessed July 18, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 23, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox