A Guide to the Quanah Parker Letters, 1909
Quanah Parker (ca. 1845-1911), son of Comanche chief Peta Nocona and famous Indian captive Cynthia Ann Parker, was the last chief of the Quahada Comanche Indians. He played a prominent role in the Comanche tribe’s resistance to white settlement and ultimately to their adjustment to reservation life. Parker led the Quahada assault on Adobe Walls, 1874, conducting raids into Texas to avenge the murders of Indian relatives. Despite this fact, and that he practiced nomadic hunting, he also became a cattle rancher, supported the construction of schools on reservation lands, and encouraged Indian youths to learn about the white people. Furthermore, Parker developed agreements with white ranchers, leasing out to them grazing lands on the Comanche reservation. He invested wisely, including in the Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway, and became quite wealthy. Committed to learning white ways, Parker was friendly with prominent Texas Panhandle ranchers and American Presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt.
Though Parker advocated assimilation into the white way of life, he did not completely renounce his heritage. He remained faithful to many of his native traditions, including polygamy and the rejection of Christianity. He also kept his long braids. By 1901 the federal government had broken up reservation lands belonging to the Comanches for individual sale. Parker continued to ranch and work with whites. He became deputy sheriff of Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1902. He fell ill and died in 1911.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Parker, Quanah," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/PP/fpa28.html (accessed July 27, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Parker, Cynthia Ann," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/PP/fpa18.html (accessed July 28, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Red River War," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/RR/qdr2.html (accessed July 28, 2010).
The Quanah Parker Letters, 1909, include three letters written by Parker to Samuel Burk Burnett, cattle raiser in Fort Worth and owner of the Four Sixes Ranch, and to the Texas Legislature requesting permission for his people to hunt in Texas.
The collection is open for research.
Quanah Parker Letters, 1909, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Alison Beck, January 1985.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers