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February 21, 2002

Headstone of Quanah Parker

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Quanah Parker is often referred to as the last Chief of the Comanches, but the truth is that the Comanche people never elected him as a chief. In fact there was no such thing as Chief over all the Comanches until the reservation era. Each band of Comanches had their own chief.

Comanche Chief Quanah Parker After the surrender of the Comanche people and their placement on the reservation, Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie appointed him Chief of Comanches.

Quanah Parker was the son of Peta Nacona, a noted fierce Comanche chief, and Cynthia Ann Parker, a white woman captured by the Comanches.

Quanah refused to sign the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867 and went on a savage eight year war against the whites. It has been said that he never lost a battle with the white man during those years.

In 1874, he had his closest brush with death when he was shot twice by buffalo hunters in a battle at Adobe Wells.

In the year 1875 it became very clear to Quanah that the white people were far too numerous and too well armed to be defeated. Mackenzie sent Jacob J. Sturm, a physician and post interpreter, to solicit Quanah’s surrender. Sturm found Quanah, whom he called “a young man of much influence with his people,” and pleaded his case.

Quanah rode to a mesa, where he saw a wolf come toward him, howl and trot away to the northeast. Overhead, an eagle “glided lazily and then whipped his wings in the direction of Fort Sill.”

This was a sign, Quanah thought, and on June 2, 1875, he and his band surrendered at Fort Sill in present-day Oklahoma. The Comanches were placed on a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma. The reservation agents saw it as their duty to eliminate all Native American cultures and replace them with the ways of the white man.

Quanah Parker refused to give up his multiple wives and to cease his use of peyote.

After his appointment as chief, the older chiefs resented his youth and particularly resented his white blood. When he signed the Jerome Agreement in 1892, the tribe was split into two factions; those who thought all that could be done had been done; and those who blamed Parker for selling their country.

He invested wisely, including in railroads, and he also negotiated grazing rights with Texas cattlemen. He owned a large, beautiful home in Cache, Oklahoma known as the Star House. He had seven wives and twenty-five children. He was the wealthiest Indian in the United States.

Parker was highly respected by white people and hunted with Theodore Roosevelt. When he died in 1911, he was buried next to his mother and sister in the Post Oak Cemetery in Oklahoma. In 1957, all three bodies were relocated to the Chief’s Knoll in the Fort Sill Cemetery, in Lawton, Oklahoma.

On Quanah Parker’s tombstone it is written:

Resting Here Until Day Breaks
And Shadows Fall and Darkness Disappears is
Quanah Parker, Last Chief of the Comanches
Born – 1852
Died Feb. 23, 1911

Tombstone of Quanah ParkerDo not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glint in snow,

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there, I do not sleep.

Ai!

Relatives of Quanah Parker

Parents:
Cynthia Ann Parker (1827 – 1870)
Peta Nacona

Spouses:
Weckeah Parker (____ – 1923)
Takewm Aerwuth (1853 – 1948)
Maheheet-To-Wook-Ky (1862 – 1914)
Cho ny (1863 – 1913)
To-Nar-Cy (1864 – 1931)
Coby (1865 – 1919)
Topay (1870 – 1963)

Some of his Children:
Lena Parker
Esther Parker Tabbyyetchy (____ – 1919)
Bessie Parker Asenap (____ – 1927)
Cynthia Ann Parker Cox (1873 – 1946)
Laura Neda Parker Birdsong (1877 – 1968)
Knox A. Beall (1878 – 1958)
Weyodee Parker Tahmahkera (1880 – 1965)
Honnie Parker (1882 – 1919)
Harold Parker (1883 – 1902)
Wanada Parker Page (1887 – 1970)
White Parker (1887 – 1956)
Johnnie Parker (1887 – 1922)
Baldwin Parker (1887 – 1963)
Len Parker (1888 – 1960)
Thomas Parker (1889 – 1975)
Mary Pache Parker Clark (1890 – 1952)
Alice Parker Purdy (1894 – 1971)
Kelsey Topay Parker (1899 – 1921)
Goverson Parker (1904 – 1906)

Siblings:
Pecos Parker (1849 – 1862)
Topsanna (Prairie Flower) (1858 – 1863)

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