Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Walking Today In Quanah Parker Park Listening To The Quanah Parker Comanche Blues

Today was the first time I've been back to Quanah Parker Park since I've been reading Empire of the Summer, a very excellent book about Quanah Parker and the Comanche tribe.

Over the years there have been many times when I have arrived at Quanah Parker Park and stepped out of my motorized vehicular transport to be surprised by the mournful sounds blaring from a solo saxophonist.

Today was the first time this year I have heard the Quanah Parker Park solo saxophonist.

I think the tune being played today may have been the Quanah Parker Comanche Blues.

Today, looking at the sign commemorating Quanah Parker at Quanah Parker Park, I could not help but wonder if, at some time during his raiding career, Quanah Parker parked his tribed at the location on the Trinity River which is the location of the park named after him.

One of Quanah's Parker relatives lived a short distance to the east of Quanah Parker Park, in the now, long gone, town of Birdville, near the now, long gone, Bird's Fort, which was located at the northern edge of the east side of River Legacy Park in Arlington.

When Quanah Parker finally gave up the fight and moved to the Comanche Reservation near Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he quickly worked hard to adapt to American ways.

Colonel Ranald Mackenzie, he being the man many think was the best Indian fighter of all the American Indian fighters, was the man who was finally able to get Quanah Parker to give up the fight.

The sign telling the short version of the story of Quanah Parker, in Quanah Parker Park, mentions that he became friends with President Theodore Roosevelt and Charles Goodnight.

The sign neglects to mention Quanah Parker's surprising friendship with Colonel Ranald Mackenzie, which began soon after Quanah's Comanches surrendered.

Mackenzie wrote letters on Quanah's behalf to Quanah's mother's relatives. It was Mackenzie who found out and told Quanah that his mother, Cynthia Ann and sister, Prairie Flower, were dead.

Quanah wanted to learn the white man's ways, asked Mackenzie to help him, and so Mackenzie did.

Quanah Parker Wearing
Business Suit & Tophat
In the years that followed, those who met Quanah Parker were at times startled by his refined good manners. Quanah would explain he was taught how to be like a white man by Colonel Ranald Mackenzie.

The Parkers rebuffed Quanah's initial attempts to make contact with them. I do not know, yet, if in later years, after Quanah Parker became widely respected in the Anglo world, and due to wise investments, the wealthiest American Indian, if the Parkers accepted Quanah and his offspring into their clan.

Are any of Quanah Parker's descendants leaders in today's Comanche Tribe, I can't help but wonder.

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