In its estimated 150 year life, an oddly shaped pecan tree south of Holliday and inside the Stonewall Jackson Campgrounds has probably attracted the attention of generations of curious people.
It wasn’t until about eight years ago that someone realized the bent tree was not the work of nature but of man.
The Indian marker tree dedication had a big turnout, with community members and several Comanche Nation Elders coming from Oklahoma to dedicate and bless a tree their ancestors put their permanent mark on.
Groups of all ages were all brought together by an old bent tree, found to hold a rich past.
“These marker trees were significant because they told us where water was and they would also tell us which direction there was another watering hole,” Phyllis Narcomey said. “You weren’t ever lost, even though there was no highways or no compass. You know, we knew where we were going.”
Narcomey was one of 40 Comanche Nation elders coming from Lawton for the dedication. She says the tree brings to life some of the stories passed down by her family.
“The stories that I heard was that they would be at a watering place just like this one. There’s a little creek here and that they would also point at the next watering place you could go to,” Narcomey said.
“That was so inspiring to me to realize who they were and where they came from.” It’s why Steve Houser with the Texas Historic Tree Coalition is in search of these unique trees, helping reconnect Comanches to their ancestors who lived here generations.
“We see nature as something that is outside. We don’t see ourselves as being the same as and being interconnected with nature,” Houser said.
In more than 20 years of research, Houser says more than 600 trees across the state have been submitted to the coalition. This is one of only seven in Texas recognized as an authentic Indian marker tree.
“I’ve seen a lot of trees bent by nature but this is not a bend and the shape that I found not created by nature,” Houser said.
Houser adds that the tree is declining in health, losing 40 to 50 percent of its water supply over the years. The coalition plans to work with the city of Holliday to preserve it for more generations to come.