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Texas Plains Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Texas Plains Trail: Quanah Parker Day 2020


September 12, 2020 (All day)
Quanah Parker portrait
Quanah Parker, c. 1885. Photo by Hutchins & Lanney

WHAT: Quanah Parker Day in the Texas Plains Trail Region

WHEN: Sat., Sept 12, 2020
WHERE: Communities with Quanah Parker Trail giant arrow markers

TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL REGION — By proclamation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Saturday, September 12, 2020, has been declared Quanah Parker Day to commemorate the legacy of the famed Comanche chief Quanah Parker. In the Texas Plains Trail Region, one of the ten regions designated as part of the Texas Heritage Trails Program of the Texas Historical Commission, volunteer leaders launched a Quanah Parker Trail project in 2010, which has organized some regional events and avenues for participating in the statewide recognition.

Communities/Attractions participating:

  • Bayer Museum of Agriculture: Visit their museum this week for a photo with their arrow. Saturday, September 12th, participate in an arrow scavenger hunt for a prize; visit here: 
  • Visit Big Spring: Visit the historic spring and take a photo with their arrow for a chance to win a gift certificate to their visitor's center; visit here
  • National Ranching Heritage Center: Visit their webpage honoring Chief Quanah Parker visit here and follow their social media for postings celebrating the day; visit here: 
  • City of Plainview: Take a photo with their arrow at the newly renovated Plainview Point, a national historical marker that recognizes the place near the Runningwater Draw where distinctive spear points were discovered and associated with the fossilized remains of about 100 extinct bison; visit here
  • Scurry County Historical Commission: Virtual tour of cultural assets connecting Scurry county to Comanche Chief Quanah Parker occurring this week on their Facebook; visit here
  • Wheeler Chamber of Commerce: Take a photo with their arrow and shop their Community Sale and summer sidewalk sales along the courthouse square, Fall Panhandle Market and Wheeler General Store customer appreciation day; visit here: 

 

What visitors can do to honor Quanah’s legacy

In advance of this special day, visitors can honor Quanah in several ways. Learn more about the legacy of Quanah Parker and the Comanche in our region on our website, the Quanah Parker Trail website, at museums in our region, or by resources listed below. As you are visiting our region, or planning to, search for arrows along the Quanah Parker Trail and snap a photo of the arrow or you by the arrow. We love to showcase these photos on social media to spread the word about the arrows and Quanah's legacy. To share please email info@texasplainstrail.com.

What local communities can do to honor Quanah’s legacy

In advance of this special day, communities can honor Quanah in several ways. The site where QPT Arrows are installed can be cleared of tall growth that may obscure them from view. Weathered arrows can be touched up with paint made for metal tractors and available at local farm and feed stores, or hardware stores. Streamers of red, yellow and blue, the colors of the shield for the logo of the Comanche Nation, can be tied onto the arrows to flutter in the wind and draw the attention of travelers to the history of the region. 

About the Quanah Parker Trail

Every Texas student passing through 4th and 7th grade by now has learned the story of Quanah Parker; his mother Cynthia Ann Parker, who was kidnapped as a child and raised among the Comanches; and their lives as Texas Indians. The Comanches were called “Lords of the Southern Plains” owing to their superb horsemanship and prowess in hunting bison from horseback.  

In the Texas Plains Trail Region (TPTR), identified by the Texas Historical Commission as a cultural heritage region that includes 52 counties of the High and Rolling Plains, everyone can honor Quanah Parker Day by paying a visit to a nearby steel arrow sculpture that marks their county’s inclusion on the Quanah Parker Trail (QPT). 

By now, most counties have placed at the foot of their giant arrows a granite marker. Visitors can learn from the granite marker a unique historical fact or event associated with Quanah Parker, his family, or the Comanches and their allies who once dominated the region. 

By making a visit to their county’s regional museums, or any one of the TPTR’s three state parks (Copper Breaks, Caprock Canyons, or Palo Duro Canyon State Park), or its national historic landmark (Lubbock Lake Landmark), one can discover exhibits that convey facets of Quanah’s story. 

And the heart of the story is this: Every county’s land within TPTR was once part of the territory of the Comanches, known as the Comanchería. 

The arrows of the Quanah Parker Trail and the granite markers placed beneath make visible to all that Quanah Parker and the Comanches once dominated our region.  

The QPT placed within the TPTR is conceptual in nature. Counties of the TPTR installed 86 steel arrows created by sculptor welder Charles A. Smith (1943–2018), to commemorate their inclusion in the Comanchería, the territorial range of the Comanches in the 19th century. The trail is named for Quanah Parker, as he is considered as the most renowned Indian leader who frequented this area. 

More about Quanah Parker and the Comanches

And the other part of the story this: At one time or another, Quanah crossed the lands where we live now. As a warrior, Quanah rode with the Kwahada division of the Comanche tribe. The Kwahada made their home on the southern High Plains of the Llano Estacado and as well traversed the Rolling Plains of Texas in the late 19th century. Under Quanah’s leadership, the Kwahada remained the last Comanche holdouts who resisted the U.S. military's effort to force all Indians to move onto reservations.  

After the Comanches moved to the reservation in Indian Territory by the end of 1875, Quanah continued as a leader, helping them adjust to a different way of life. He was appointed as a Comanche chief by Indian agents of the federal government. Quanah coordinated cultural and political activities felt to be necessary to aid the Comanche people in adapting to the challenges of modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In this capacity, he continued to travel throughout our region, by mule-drawn wagon, touring car, and train. He became a celebrity, and as a much sought-after representative of frontier history, in the TPTR alone he attended a funeral in Dalhart, addressed a crowd in Matador, attended a celebration in the town of Quanah named for him, and visited ranchers Samuel Burk Burnett in Guthrie and Charles Goodnight near Claude.   

For more information

• About the Quanah Parker Trail in the TPTR, visit: www.quanahparkertrail.com

On the location of museums, state parks, and landmarks in the TPTR that feature exhibits that convey aspects of Quanah and the Comanches' way of life, visit www.texasplainstrail.com

• From books that cite in-depth accurate information about Quanah’s life that are used by the QPT Steering Committee or edited by the TPTR, and which can be ordered online:

Biographies of Quanah

• Bill Neeley, “The Last Comanche Chief: The Life and Times of Quanah Parker” (J. Wiley, 1996).

• William T. Hagan, “Quanah Parker, Comanche Chief” (University of Oklahoma Press, 1993). 

History about his mother, Cynthia Ann Parker

•Paul Carlson and Tom Crum, “Myth, Memory, and Massacre: The Pease River Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker” (Texas Tech University Press, 2010).

• Jack K. Selden, “Return: The Parker Story” (Clacton Press, 2006).

History of the Comanches

• Pekka Hämäläinen, “The Comanche Empire” (Yale University Press, 2009). 

• Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel, “Comanches, Lords of the South Plains”

(University of Oklahoma Press, 1952). 

Location

  • Texas Plains Trail
  • Texas Plains Trail Region
  • Texas Plains Trail, Texas
  • 79408

Contact

  • Contact:
    Allison Kendrick, TPTR
  • Phone:
    800-930-6024
  • Visit Website

Fees

  • Free and open to the public