Texas will observe its second annual Quanah Parker Day Saturday.
This year, a statewide Virtual Celebration is being streamed on QuanahParkerDay.com website all day Saturday, September 12, honoring the life of the legendary Quanah Parker, the last great chief of the Comanches. Parker, who had ties to Anderson County, reigned during the tribe's difficult transition to reservation life.
Quanah Parker, the son of Cynthia Ann Parker and Comanche Chief Peta Nocona, is a legendary historical figure with strong ties to Houston and Anderson counties, as well as to many families who live here today.
He was an influential negotiator with government agents, a prosperous cattle-rancher, and an outspoken advocate of education for Native American children.
In 2019, Gov. Greg Abbott made the second Saturday in September Quanah Parker Day. The bill, signed by Abbott Jun 10, 2019 was sponsored by state Rep. Justin Holland, (R-Rockwall).
There is no actual recording of Quanah’s birth. He is believed to have been born between 1845 and 1852 in the Indian territory of Oklahoma. In a letter to Charles Goodnight, Quanah said, “From the best information I have, I was born about 1850 on Elk Creek, just below the Wichita Mountains.”
Quanah passed away on Feb. 23, 1911 at the age of 59 at his home, Star House, on the Comanche reservation. Before his death, he arranged for his mother and sister to be reburied in a plot next to his own at Post Oak Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma. In 1957, due to an expansion of a missile base, the three were moved to the Fort Sill Military Cemetery in Oklahoma.
Among the reasons he's honored: Quanah founded the official state bison herd of Texas at Caprock Canyons State Park. This free-ranging bison herd is the last of the great Texas southern plains bison herds.
Ardith Parker Leming, great-granddaughter of Quanah, and Scott Nicholson, Chairman of the Parker Family Reunion in Texas, jointly announced the Virtual Celebration.
“We will begin the Virtual Celebration at Cynthia Ann Parker’s original gravesite in Anderson County, Texas, where she died shortly after 1870 (the exact date is unknown),” Nicholson said.
“The Celebration will continue from the current gravesite of Cynthia Ann and Quanah at Chief's Knoll on Fort Sill Military Reservation, Lawton, OK,” Ardith Parker Leming said. “Members of the Comanche Indian Veterans Association will post the colors and descendants of Quanah and Cynthia Ann will speak.”
Bob Saul of My Comancheria Institute will host the Virtual Celebration with an overarching historical narrative of Cynthia Ann and Quanah.
Last year, the Official Delegation of the Comanche Nation joined the inaugural celebration of Quanah Parker Day in Quitaque, Texas, and at nearby Caprock Canyons State Park. The Comanche Nation considers the area of Quitaque, the park landscape, and the Texas State Bison Herd a special part of their heritage and culture.
That inaugural celebration was hosted by My Comancheria Institute, a five-state educational nonprofit which works with local museums and historical groups to educate all ages about the intertwined cultures of historic Comancheria.