Events in Lubbock, throughout Texas Plains Trail Region to recognize statewide Quanah Parker Day, creators of Quanah Parker Trail
WHAT: Quanah Parker Day in the Texas Plains Trail Region
WHEN: Sat., Sept 14, 2019
WHERE: Communities with Quanah Parker Trail giant arrow markers
• LUBBOCK, 10:00 a.m. The National Ranching Heritage Center, Texas Tech University, will host Comanche Parker family descendants to recall the historical legacy of their great-grandfather.
•NEW HOME, 2:00 p.m. Fellowship Hall of the Baptist Church (128 Smith Street, New Home, TX 79381), 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 through his generosity in creating 86 steel arrows to mark the Quanah Parker Trail.
•NEW HOME, 3:00 p.m. The commemoration will continue at a location one half mile down the road, where a granite marker will be dedicated outdoors at the first arrow Smith created and installed on the grounds of the Gid Moore Crop Insurance Agency (127 W Broadway, New Home, TX 79381). Participants should bring folding chairs, water bottles, 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 that contributed so much to the region in honor of their ancestor.
TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL REGION — By proclamation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Saturday, September 14, 2019, 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 Hertiage 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.
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.
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.
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).
• Marybeth Little Weston, “The Comanche with Blue Eyes” (one-act play followed by an historical appendix of maps, photos, and facts) available at: https://texasplainstrail.com/books
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).