This Saturday marks the state's first official celebration of the legendary Quanah Parker, the last great chief of the Comanches. Parker, who had ties to Anderson County, reigned during the tribe's difficult transition to reservation life.
Quanah Parker, the son of Cynthia Ann Parker and Comanche Chief Peta Nocona, is a legendary historical figure with strong ties to Houston and Anderson counties, as well as to many families who live here today.
He was an influential negotiator with government agents, a prosperous cattle-rancher, and an outspoken advocate of education for Native American children.
In the last legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott made the second Saturday in September Quanah Parker Day.
The bill, signed by Abbott on Jun 10, was sponsored by state Rep. Justin Holland, (R-Rockwall).
There is no actual recording of Quanah’s birth. He is believed to have been born between 1845 and 1852 in the Indian territory of Oklahoma. In a letter to Charles Goodnight, Quanah said, “From the best information I have, I was born about 1850 on Elk Creek, just below the Wichita Mountains.”
Quanah passed away on Feb. 23, 1911 at the age of 59 at his home, Star House, on the Comanche reservation. Before his death, he arranged for his mother and sister to be reburied in a plot next to his own at Post Oak Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma. In 1957, due to an expansion of a missile base, the three were moved to the Fort Sill Military Cemetery in Oklahoma.
Among the reasons he's honored: Quanah founded the official state bison herd of Texas at Caprock Canyons State Park. This free-ranging bison herd is the last of the great Texas southern plains bison herds.
Events planned across Texas include:
Quitaque, 2 P.M. - Official Quitaque welcome reception for members of the Comanche Nation. Phil Barefield, mayor of Quitaque, will welcome an official delegation from the Comanche Nation, led by Vice-Chair LaNora Parker, Quanah's great-granddaughter. Don Parker, Quanah's great-grandson, will sing the Quanah Parker song.
Location: Tri-County Meals Building, 220 E. Main St., Quitaque.
Quitaque, 3 P.M. - Caprock Canyons State Park outside Quitaque (home of the Official Texas State Bison Herd) will sponsor a major celebration with Park Superintendent Donald Beard. More than two dozen Comanches, most of them descendants of Quanah, will attend. Three singers and a flutist will present a multi-faceted program, much of it in the Comanche language.
Location: Caprock Canyons State Park.
Groesbeck, 2 P.M. - Old Fort Parker, the site where nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker was taken, is celebrating Quanah Parker Day, including a program on Quanah at 2 P.M. Please bring pictures, articles, and stories of Quanah Parker. Location: 866 Park Road 35, in Groesbeck.
Lubbock, 10 A.M. - The National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University, a museum and outdoor historical park, will play host to Comanche Parker family descendants to recall the historical legacy of their great-grandfather. Stay to interact with the living history Ranch Host volunteers. Location: 3121 Fourth St., Lubbock.
New Home, 2 P.M. - Multimedia program telling the story of Quanah Parker in the Plains Trail region and how this historical figure became honored by Lynn County resident Charles A. Smith. He created 86 steel arrows to mark the Quanah Parker Trail. Location: Fellowship Hall of the Baptist Church, 128 Smith Street, New Home.
New Home, 3 P.M. - A granite marker will be dedicated outdoors at the Gid Moore Crop. Insurance Agency, 127 W Broadway, New Home. Participants should bring folding chairs, water bottles, and hats. Descendants of Quanah Parker will confer a Comanche Blessing on this giant arrow and its granite marker that commemorates the spirit of Charles Smith and his gift of arrows in honor of their ancestor.
Quanah - The town named for Quanah Parker will sponsor its 36th Annual Quanah Fall Festival on Quanah Parker Day, from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. The Quanah Parker Center will open.
Location: Downtown Courthouse Square in Quanah.