Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987 Page: 22
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the Kiowas a substantial period of time
during his days as a warrior, so he spoke
Kiowa. He was also fluent in Spanish,
as were most Indians of the southern
plains, and he spoke English, if somewhat
Influencing his people to become
ranchers and, to a lesser extent, farmers,
was one of Quanah's greater achievements.
Himself a pioneer cattleman,
having received a few cattle from
Mackenzie and a herd bull from Charles
Goodnight, Chief Parker observed his
own growing herd while he ate freely of
beef taken from herds as payment for
their crossing the reservation during the
peak years of the drives up the Western
Trail (westward branch of the Chisholm
Trail) to Abilene and, later, to Dodge
City. Hunger eased on the reservation between
1879, when the first herds of Texas
cattle crossed the reservation, and the
opening of Comanche lands to white
settlement in 1901. Quanah aided the big
cattlemen of Northwest Texas in leasing
the vast range of the reservation for grazing.
Chief Parker's reward was a magnificent
twelve-room house, built in the
mid-1880s by Burk Burnett and other
cattlemen in the region. The large stars
painted on the roof symbolized the status
of the last chief of the Comanches.
Perhaps Quanah's greatest influence
over the People was in the world of the
spiritual. Unfairly judged as godless by
some, the Comanches were spiritual in an
individual sense. Quanah's first medicine
was traditional-it was bear medicine.
Shortly after reaching the reservation,
however, Quanah began practicing, as he
had occasionally done since early youth,
the peyote religion. Under his influence
the religion grew until it became known
as the Native American Church. By the
turn of the century, peyotism had reached
native Americans nationwide.
In business Quanah also set an example
for his followers. A portion of the
proceeds of Quanah's ranching operations
went into the Quanah, Acme and Pacific
Railway. According to Charles H. Somer,
former president of the railroad, Chief
Parker invested $40,000 in the railroad
during the early 1900s. For that time period,
such a sum amounted to a fortune.
Quanah helped promote his railroad, as
he referred to it, by visiting the depot in
Quanah, Texas, and mingling with the
passengers. He was also a frequent traveler
himself, making more than forty trips
to Washington, D.C. during his lifetime.
Probably his favorite journeys were to
Fort Worth to the annual stock show
and rodeo and to the vast rangelands of
West Texas, a land which, according to
Quanah's grandchildren, the war chief of
yesteryear continued to love in old age as
he had in his youth. Burk Burnett, famed
owner of the 6666 Ranch, gave Quanah
and his family free range of his lands, as
did other large ranchers in the area. The
chief's cousin, John Parker, who lived in
Dickens County near Blanco Canyon, received
Quanah with hospitality whenever
the old warrior visited his ranch.
Quanah, in fact, told John Parker of his
plan to extend the Quanah, Acme and
Pacific from Floydada, the terminus of the
line, to Parker's ranch, where the two
Parkers proposed to build holding pens
and loading chutes to ship the cattle
raised in the region to the packing houses
in Fort Worth and Kansas City. Unknown
to either man, however, Quanah was
running out of time.
Although his life had been filled with
adventure, and Chief Parker had enjoyed
the warmth of a large family and a
plethora of friends, both Indian and
white, there remained one aching need in
his heart: to move his mother's remains
from Texas to Oklahoma. To that end
Quanah appealed to the citizens of Texas
through his white relatives in the Lone
Star Stat and, finally, directly to them
from the speaker's stand in front of one of
his trains at the State Fair in Dallas in
1910. In his impassioned appeal for his
mother's remains to be buried in his family
cemetery, Quanah spoke as follows:
Now, ladies and gentlemen, you read the
papers. We move from Texas over to Oklahoma,
my country. Two years ago I been to
Washington, I see John Stephens, Congressman
from Texas. I tell him would like to get
bill $1,000 to move my mother's remains. Two
year ago bill passed and after that somebody,
New York men, start that bill and last June I
been to Washington. I come again and see
about it. Made bill $800. I use $200 to buy
new coffin. Now, ladies and gentlemen, Texas
objects me do that. I have over at my home
my older son dead some seven or eight years
ago. Nobody know when me die, maybe tomorrow
or ten years. But me have family
graveyard and me want bury my mother there.
Meet A Great American
QUANAH PARKER AND HIS PEOPLE
by Bill Neeley
"The definitive book of Quanah"
A Sesquicentennial Project of the Swisher County Museum
At Bookstores in Austin, Amarillo, Lubbock, Abilene, Ft. Worth,
San Angelo, and Oklahoma City.
Order by mail from Swisher County Museum
$28.50 includes tax and postage
SWISHER COUNTY MUSEUM
Box 145, Tulia, Texas 79088
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987, periodical, Summer 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45437/m1/22/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.