Texas Plains Trail Region

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

Quanah Parker

Quanah Parker in Matador
Quanah Parker in Matador


The legend of Quanah Parker, the last chief of the Quahada Comanche Indians, serves both myth and history, illustrating a cautionary tale that chronicles the end of Native life on the Texas plains as well as our own divergent revisionism in its telling. Was he born in Gaines County as our Centennial marker claims? Not according to Quanah himself who put his birthplace along Elk Creek, now in southern Oklahoma. Was he warrior or statesman? Actually, a large portion of both. He led the dynamic, and final, resistance against white settlement in northern Texas and was instrumental in the assimilation of his fellow Comanches, helping the tribe to cope with their loss of lands and way of life at the hands of Anglo manifest destiny. Born to Peta Nocona, the war chief of the Comanche's Noconi band, and Cynthia Ann Parker, a white captive with her own share of tragedy who assimilated into Native life only to be returned to Anglo society against her will, Quanah Parker was hailed as warrior, hero, and enemy of the state in the long progress from sensationalism to impartialism in the recounting of Texas' Native heritage. In the end analysis, Quanah was fierce, shrewd, entrepreneurial, and influential, and his years spent in Texas mark some of the most compelling in the state's progress towards a civil and diverse society.

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Read more about Quanah Parker in the Handbook of Texas Online.