Military Anecdote Day

by Daniel Russ on July 23, 2010

Quanah Parker, Comanche Chief

One of the strangest tales from the American West is that of Cynthia Ann Parker and her son. Quahadi Comanches retaliated against the white settlers by raiding their outposts, and often this involved rather brutal behavior like rape and torture. Cynthia Ann Parker was only nine in 1836 when Quahadis captured her from Grosebeck Texas and killed family members. She was taken into the family of a Comanche chief named Tah-con-ne-ah-pe-ah, famous for wearing Spanish armor into battle. She was famously recaptured and brought back into white culture, but by then had already become Comanche enough that she wanted to return to the plains.

She had a son, Quanah, with Tah-con-ne-ah-pe-ah and he became a highly respected Comanche warrior. After decades of fighting white settlers Quanah decided to give in and stay on a reservation. He became a rancher and a liason between the US Government and other tribes, who also revered him.

In his later days, he built himself a huge clapboard house and would have dinner with a neighbor named Miller. One night sitting around a campfire, Miller asked him how the White men took all of their land. Quanah sat next to Miller on a log and said “Move over”. Miller moved over and Quanah squeezed right next to him again and repeated “move over.” Miller moved again. Quanah repeated this until Miller fell off the log.

“That is how,” Quanah said.

Source: Empire of the Summer Moon, Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. S.C. Gwynne. Scribner, 2009.

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