Quanah Parker
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Quannah Parker


"The Tonkawa killed him - it make my heart hot.
I want my people follow after white way. Some white people do that, too."

Comanche leader; born at Cedar Lake, Texas. He was the son of a Comanche chief and Cynthia Ann Parker, a captive white woman (taken back by whites in 1860). He grew up to become a bold warrior and in 1867 was made war chief of the Kwahadi Comanche of the Staked Plains. For the next eight years he led an alliance of various tribes in raids against frontier settlements in Texas. After finally surrendering in 1875, he quickly accommodated himself to the white culture by learning Spanish and English, adopting new agricultural methods, and promoting education for his fellow Indians.

He himself prospered as both a farmer and the managing agent for business deals between whites and Indian tribes - he was reputed in later years to be the wealthiest Native American in North America - but he also created wealth for fellow Indians by getting them to lease surplus tribal lands to white cattlemen. In 1886 he became a judge of the Court of Indian Affairs; by 1890 he was principal chief of all Comanche bands; he was also a major figure in the peyote religion. He rode beside Geronimo in the inaugural parade of President Theodore Roosevelt (1905).

Quanah Parker's mother, Cynthia Ann Parker (born ca. 1827), was a member of the large Parker frontier family that settled in east Texas in the 1830s. She was captured in 1836 (at age nine) by Comanches during the raid of Fort Parker near present-day Groesbeck, Texas. Given the Indian name Nadua (Someone Found), she was adopted into the Nocona band of Comanches. Assimilated into the Comanche, Cynthia Ann Parker later married the warrior Peta Nocona, (also known as Noconie, Tah-con-ne-ah-pe-ah, or Nocona). His father was the renowned chief Iron Jacket, famous among the Comanche for wearing a Spanish coat of mail.

Quanah Parker

Nadua and Nocona's first child was Quanah (Fragrance), born in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma. Biographer Bill Neeley cites a letter Quanah wrote late in life to his friend, rancher Charles Goodnight, in which Quanah stated, “From the best information I have, I was born about 1850 on Elk Creek just below the Wichita Mountains.”[2] Author S.C. Gwynne supports the Oklahoma claim in his 2010 book, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History.

However, another account disputes the birthplace, contending that in 1911 Parker was seen traveling by automobile near Lubbock, Texas, telling observers he was going to visit what he understood to be his birthplace at Laguna Sabinas (Cedar Lake) in Gaines County, Texas.

Nadua and Nocona also had another son, Pecos, and a daughter, Topsana (Prairie Flower). In December 1860, Nadua (Cynthia Ann) and Topsana were captured in the battle of Pease River, which actually took place along Mule Creek. American forces were led by Sgt. John Spangler, who commanded Company H of the U.S. 2nd Cavalry, and Texas Rangers under Lawrence Sullivan Ross (better known in Texas history as Sul Ross). Quanah, his brother Pecos, and his father Peta Nocona were almost certainly not at Mule Creek. However, in an effort to further his political career, Sul Ross later fabricated a story wherein he claimed to have killed Peta Nocona at Pease River. Ross would later become a Texas state senator, and eventually governor.

Meanwhile, Nadua (Cynthia Ann) and her daughter Topsana were reunited with her white family, but after having made her life 24 years with the Comanche, she wanted to return to them and her sons. However, Topsana died of an illness in 1863. Cynthia Ann Parker died in 1870.


Quanah Parker
C. M. Bell, 1880s
Quanah Parker

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