Touring Texoma: Quanah Parker II

Last thursday night, we looked back on how Quanah Parker became the last great chief of the Comanche Nation.

He was born in the Wichita Mountains area, and he's now buried at Fort Sill.

He was a great Comanche warrior and chief of the Quahadas, who lead some of the last real battles against the white man.

He was even the leading chief of several tribes at the second Battle of Adobe Walls.

But then, because of sickness and hunger, and to avoid extermination, Parker lead his people onto Fort Sill and negotiated peace.

Parker then became a celebrity known 'round the world.

Despite the fact the Comanches had never had a single chief over its bands of indians, Quanah Parker was named Chief of the Comanche Nation by the U.S. Government, which he remained until his death.

Towana Spivey/Director & Curator Fort Sill Museum: "Because of his situation being recognized as a principled leader in the Comanches, people got to know him in the course of business and such."

And, that was about the time Quanah took his land to the west of Fort Sill about 14- to 15- miles, and later had built what's known as the Star House, which sits today in the Cache area.

Scarlett Daugherty/Curator, Hardeman Co. Museum: "I love this picture because it has the kids all over the porch, and hanging over. Looks like they're probably having a good Sunday afternoon family get together time."

Spivey: "The pistol and holster you see here in the photograph is the same pistol and holster that is on display here."

Spivey: "These are his peyote fans and rattles up here. One of his coffee pots. His branding iron."

Spivey: "Quanah was a judge on the Court of Indian Offenses here."

Quanah Parker often came to Fort Sill to do business and for activities. In fact, in 1879, at the old post headquarters, he listened through a telephone for the very first time. The first telephone in all of Oklahoma. He heard a bugle playing from 80 miles away at Fort Reno."

Spivey: "He had business interests, business involvements, cattle.  He had a large ranch. He hired Texans and white people to work for him, to cut wood, break horses, build fences, all kinds of.. it was an odd circumstance in history where an indian owned all the property and white people worked for him. He adopted some of those white people."

And, Spivey says Quanah Parker quickly grew in prosperity.

Spivey: "He was involved in many investments. Quanah, Texas for example. He created Quanah Railroad. He didn't put money into Quanah Railroad, but they used his influence, his name, his reputation to push that and to gain status. He appeared at the Fort Worth Stock Shows."

Daugherty: "He did make this bow and arrow right here out of bowdark, and gave it to this little boy."

Daugherty: "Quanah came here a lot before and after he was on the reservation. He brought his family. They were Plains Indians, so they'd have their homes with them.

And, Daugherty says they'd stay and feel welcome for very long visits.

Daugherty: "There's Quanah Parker and his family when they came here in 1896 for the 4th of July parade."

Daugherty: "That's how we became the town of Quanah. They liked him so well they named the town after him. And, because we named the town after him, he blessed our town. And, we have a pretty marker on our courthouse square with the blessing where he blessed our town."

Spivey: "He was proud that a Texas town would change their name, or name their town after him, and the railroad as well, the Quanah Railway. And, he showed off many times. Took people there and talked about it. It was talked about a lot."

Possibly even with a friend who carried a big stick.

President Theodore Roosevelt joined Quanah and other locals here in 1905 for "The Great Wolf Hunt".

Spivey: "Jack Abernathy had a reputation of capturing wolves with his bare hands."

Spivey: "Quanah Parker, Jack Abernathy, U.S. Deputy or U.S. Marshal, several Texas ranchers, Burk Burnett and others, Waggoners, some Army officers from Fort Sill, all convened near Frederick, south of here in the Big Pasture area as it was known to hunt wolves."

Daugherty: "The very last visit he made to Quanah Texas was a couple of weeks before he passed away. He was on a coal black horse, dressed with all of his indian regalia, with a six shooter in the air. He never fired it it was said. And, he rode as hard as he could from one end of town to the other. And, that was his last hurrah through his town."

After Quanah Parker's death 100 years ago, in February, 1911, he was buried near Cache. Then, in 1957 his remains, along with his mother's, Cynthia Ann Parker and sister, Prairie Flower were reburied here on post. Quanah Parker was reburied with full military honors here at Fort Sill, a place you could visit as well while Touring Texoma.

Quanah Parker had 8 wives and 25- children.

And, Spivey says by the time he died, his funeral was one of the largest attended funerals ever seen in this part of the country.

Spivey also says Parker was unique for a Native American in that he had a stagecoach.

In fact, Parker and his stagecoach appeared in silent movies produced in the Fort Sill area in 1907 and 1908.

Don't forget the Quanah Parker Celebration, with his descendants, is set for June 9th through the 11th in historic downtown Quanah.

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