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Dear Friends and Members of the Quanah Parker Trail:

Please find below and attached information regarding the steps now being taken to address the deteriorating condition of Quanah Parker's "Star House." Holle Humphries of the Quanah Parker Trail steering committee had forwarded the information regarding the most recent meeting on August 29 as a follow-up to the first meeting in June. One of the individuals figuring prominently in some of the preliminary preservation survey work of the "Star House" is our own Dr. Elizabeth Louden of Texas Tech University who has also been an active contributor to historic preservation efforts with the Texas Plains Trail region and affiliates such as Sammie Simpson and others.

If you have any follow-up questions regarding the current project please address those to Holle Humphries of the QPT steering committee.

Best wishes, tai

Tai Kreidler
Quanah Parker Trail Steering Committee


It's Good That Way, Don Parker

From: Holle Humphries []
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 12:06 AM
Subject: Report: Comanche Nation's "Save the Star House" meetings: 1. June 20, 2015; 2. August 29, 2015

Dear Quanah Parker Trail Steering Committee,

This is a report for you of this summer's two events surrounding the initiative launched by Wallace Coffey, Chair of the Comanche Nation, to save Quanah Parker's "Star House" from total deterioration.

The good news is that apparently, our efforts to create the Quanah Parker Trail throughout our region as a non-profit entity commemorating places and events in Quanah's life and that of The People, all undertaken with research, dignity, and respect, have gained the nod of the Comanche Nation's administrative leadership in this regard, as Wallace Coffey asked Ardith Parker Leming to see that a representative of the QPT was invited to the Star House proceedings.

Wallace Coffey called two meetings of all interested members of the Parker family and representatives of organizations affiliated with the interests of the Comanche Nation to bring them together on the grounds of the Star House to discuss possibilities for saving it from ruin.

The Star House has suffered years of weathering, with the final blow delivered this spring by 4-foot floodwaters that filled it as high as the electrical switches mounted on its interior walls.

Owing to the nature of its condition, inciting alarm in all who have witnessed its current state, these meetings were called to be convened on June 20, 2015, and August 29, 2015.

In doing so, Wallace Coffey has commendably utilized his considerable clout as a leader to bring together previously fragmented factions and groups of people inside and outside the Comanche Nation by enjoining them to join together in a last collective effort to save the Star House.

This is history resonating in our time on multiple fronts.

Wallace Coffey himself is descended from the formidable, notable and mighty Ten Bears (c. 1790 - 1872), a significant Comanche principle chief of the Yamparika band in the nineteenth century and a war chief whose warriors counterattacked Kit Carson to drive off his men after the First Battle of Adobe Walls in 1864.

Ten Bears repeatedly met toe-to-toe with the U.S. government at the treaty table and in Washington D.C. in a heroic effort to stave off encroachment on Indian lands, efforts that ultimately ended in futility, owing to the Zeitgeist of Manifest Destiny driving U.S. government policy during that time at the expense of all its indigenous First People.

Ten Bears is known famously for his eloquent speech delivered at the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867, decrying the U.S. government's efforts to force Indians who had lived and roamed freely throughout the continent onto the confined boundaries of reservation lands.

Following the leadership legacy of his great-great-grandfather, Wallace Coffey decided this summer to bring together The People in a collective effort to resurrect the Star House and save it from ruin.

He stated he wanted to this effort to rank as one among others to stand as his historical legacy left for the generations of those to come after him.

Ardith Parker Leming telephoned in early June and said that Wallace Coffey had asked her to contact the Quanah Parker Trail and Texas Tech University, and Parker family members to ask them to come to a meeting to discuss the fate of the Star House.

Ardith, like her great grandfather, Quanah Parker, also is a leader. And so she contacted them all, and so we all went.

First meeting: June 20, 2015:

Attended by over two hundred people, this first meeting provided Wallace Coffeey with the affirmation he needed from Parker family descendants and the leaders and people of the Comanche Nation to signify that all were willing to work together to surmount any political challenges posed in the past and join in a new collective effort to stabilize and hopefully eventually restore the Star House.

After the meeting, U. S. Army Ft. Sill Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Waters escorted visitors via automobile caravan to the original site of the Star House. In anticipation of doing so, Col. Waters had re-graveled the road leading to the original property site.

Despite the tall grasses, tribal members located on the Star House original grounds, the original well and the cement foundation for the windmill, that had been impressed with the mark of Quanah's brand.

This first meeting was reported in the news media, and concomitantly, the New York Times ran an article about its current deteriorated state.

2. Second meeting: August 29, 2015:

At this meeting, Wallace Coffey reported that:

a. Legal paperwork had been submitted as of the past week to create a 501c(3) non-profit entity for "Save the Star House", w/ legal status hopefully to be confirmed soon.

b. Several agencies were working to combine efforts and expertise to assist in assessing the condition of the Star House, so that projections can be made as to what needs to be done to first stabilize and then possibly restore it, and how much money needs to be raised to achieve such goals. These agencies include:
-- National Trust for Historic Preservation
-- Preservation Oklahoma
-- the State Historic Preservation Office

c. Under the auspices of the Comanche Nation and advising agencies (cited above), the TAP architectural firm, noted for its preservation work, had been contracted and paid by a grant to assess the current condition of the Star House.

The lead architect of the TAP firm gave the report of the firm's assessment, and distributed comprehensive documentation profiling the assessment made, to the audience.

It is estimated that $220K is needed for immediate stabilization; it is as yet undetermined how much $$ will be needed to restore the house in its entirety.

d. Benny Tahmahkera, direct descendant of Quanah Parker, performed a 10 minute monologue summarizing the history of the Star House.

This Comanche White House West of the Mississippi hosted within its walls such illuminaries and former adversaries as well as allies of Quanah Parker to include: President Theodore Roosevelt; British Ambassador Lord Brice; Commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert G. Valentine; U.S. Army Generals Hugh L. Scott, Nelson Miles, and Frank Baldwin, all of whom had fought Quanah and his Indian allies in the Red River War; ranchers Charles Goodnight, Samuel Burk Burnett, Tom Burnett, and Dan Waggoner; and many historic Indian chiefs of the time, to include Geronimo (Apache), Eschiti (Comanche), Lone Wolf (Kiowa), and American Horse (Sioux), to name a few.

3. Future PR efforts:

Donna Wahnee, Director of Special Projects for the Comanche Nation, reported that several events are in the works to profile the efforts to "Save the Star House."

There are hopes and plans for the Chair to travel to Lubbock for the Cowboy Symposium, and as well to Quanah, TX; Fort Worth, TX; and other destinations, as well as to work with civic and historical groups such as the West Texas Historical Association, to publicize the efforts and promote fundraising endeavors to save the Star House.

Noted asides:

A. In a private conversation with Johnny Owens, Comanche County Commissioner, he acknowledged that he is aware that there is a need as well to consider flood control for the future, as the Star House is located in a 100-year flood plain. This is indeed important.

B. It should be of interest to the QPT Steering Committee to note that one of architectural firm's staff members in private conversation with Tai Kreidler, QPT SC member, noted the importance of Tai having earlier referred Dr. Elizabeth Louden of the TTU architectural faculty to execute a laser scan of the entire structure, previously.

The house has deteriorated considerably since then, and her laser scan provides to architects an important resource of data regarding the structure of the building.

In closing:

Here are URLS from two media sources that profiled stories about the Star House: ... star-house ... .html?_r=0

See the PDF file attached that summarizes the Comanche Nation's "Save the Star House" efforts.

See attached: a few photos taken at the June 20 and August 29 meetings.

Sincere regards,
Holle Humphries

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Finding the Great Western Trail by Sylvia Gann Mahoney
Foreword by Ray Klinginsmith

History / American West

Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest

6 x 9, 304 pages; index
60 halftones; 12 maps
$34.95 hc 978-0-89672-943-8
E-book available

The Great Western Trail (GWT) is a nineteenth-century cattle trail that originated in northern Mexico, ran west parallel to the Chisholm Trail, traversed the United States for some two thousand miles, and terminated after crossing the Canadian border. Yet through time, misinformation, and the perpetuation of error, the historic path of this once-crucial cattle trail has been lost. Finding the Great Western Trail documents the first multi-community effort made to recover evidence and verify the route of the Great Western Trail.

The GWT had long been celebrated in two neighboring communities: Vernon, Texas, and Altus, Oklahoma. Separated by the Red River, a natural border that cattle trail drovers forded with their herds, both Vernon and Altus maintained a living trail history with exhibits at local museums, annual trail-related events, ongoing narratives from local descendants of drovers, and historical monuments and structures. So when Western Trail Historical Society members in Altus challenged the Vernon Rotary Club to mark the trail across Texas every six miles, the effort soon spread along the trail in part through Rotary networks from Mexico, across nine US states, and into Saskatchewan, Canada.

This book is the story of finding and marking the trail, and it stands as a record of each communities efforts to uncover their own GWT history. What began as local bravado transformed into a grass-roots project that, one hopes, will bring the previously obscured history of the Great Western Trail to light.

Sylvia Gann Mahoney was an educator for thirty-three years at community colleges in Texas and New Mexico as an administrator, teacher, and rodeo team coach. In 2015, she was named a fellow of the West Texas Historical Association. She became invested in the Great Western Trail project through her involvement in the Rotary Club of Vernon. She now lives in Fort Worth.

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“Boys, I have done the best I could for you. Go home now. And if you make as good citizens as you have soldiers, you will do well. I shall always be proud of you. Goodbye. And God bless you all."

Robert E. Lee
April 1865

Faded and weather-beaten by more than a century of harsh sun, wind and rain, an ornately carved gravestone in the Paint Rock cemetery marks the final resting place of James Wylie Ratchford. This prominent Concho County pioneer lived an extraordinary life of seventy years, nine months and nine days leaving this world on December 3, 1910. Ratchford miraculously survived twenty-three major Civil War battles during which thousands of soldiers clad in both blue and gray gave their lives fighting for a cause they considered worthwhile. James fought in the first land battle of the war in 1861 at Big Bethel, Virginia as well as one of the last at Bentonville, North Carolina in 1865. It should also be said that seventeen other Confederate veterans rest in the Paint Rock grave yard.

James Ratchford served the Confederate States of America advancing from the rank of lieutenant to major and adjutant during his military career. Ratchford carried out duties as staff officer for three very prominent Confederate generals; Daniel Harvey Hill, John Bell Hood and Stephen D. Lee. As a staff officer for these famous Confederates, Ratchford personally delivered countless urgent dispatches and reports to Generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Joseph E. Johnston, and James Longstreet as well as Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Major Ratchford knew Robert E. Lee well delivering dispatches and attending meetings with the Confederate leader. Sometimes General Lee asked the young officer for his opinion in military matters. As John Bell Hood’s adjutant Major Ratchford shared the cramped quarters of a field tent and took meals with the gallant but crippled general. Hood had lost his left arm and right leg in combat but recovered remarkably and returned to the war within months. Although Hood’s aids had to help the determined warrior into the saddle he fought on to the end of the war in spite of his terrible injuries.

After the war, James Ratchford married, started a family and moved in 1879 to west central Texas to begin a new life. In 1880, Ratchford, his wife and family arrived at Paint Rock where he took a leading role in the affairs of the newly formed Concho County. Ratchford was one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church as well as the Masonic lodge. Before the establishment of a school system in the Concho County seat, the major taught twelve students in a hastily formed private school. He received a dollar per student per month for his efforts. He served as the first Concho County clerk until 1882. Ratchford took part in surveying the boundaries of the new county. As a proud Confederate veteran Ratchford and Henry Davis Pearce founded the Concho-Colorado Confederate Veteran’s Association serving as president until his death in 1910. Henry Davis Pearce served for many years as the secretary and treasurer of the association and went on to be the first postmaster and Justice of the Peace in nearby Runnels County.

I am presently working on a manuscript titled “Where Two Rivers Meet: Little Known History of Concho, Coleman and Runnels Counties, Texas”. My research has unearthed some quite remarkable stories about this part of west central Texas. Among them are the numbers of Confederate veterans who came here after the war to begin a new life. I think these are most important accounts that very much deserve not to be brushed aside or forgotten. So much of today’s politically motivated history attempts to demonize those who fought for the cause of defending their home states and establishing a new southern nation. It is an undeniable fact that the Civil War was not fought to free the slaves and started with the election of Abraham Lincoln. These Confederate veterans, particularly those from Texas, did not go to war to preserve slavery. Most never owned slaves. They fought to defend their states, homes, values and families from a punitive federal invading army. I suggest anyone wishing to dispute this point first read Charles David Grear’s excellent book “Why Texans Fought In the Civil War”. It is published by Texas A&M University. It is well researched and documented and not driven by some modern day political agenda.

After the war, great numbers of Confederate veterans came to central and west Texas needing to start over. Many had lost everything they owned in the other southern states. Of course the Texas frontier the came to was hardly much safer that the war torn southern states. These veterans came for opportunity and cheap land. My research has shown that a great many of the first pioneering settlers of Concho, Runnels and Coleman counties had some relationship or were a family member of a Confederate veteran. Their numbers are difficult to accurately state although I think it fair to say there were probably more than 1,000 Confederate veterans associated in one way or the other in these three counties. Many of these veterans became leaders in these counties in county government, church and business. They did exactly what Robert E. Lee had hoped they would do by becoming the good citizens they proved to be.

Glenn Justice
Copyright 2015

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I have lived along the west Texas Rio Grande border on and off for many years. During this time I did a fair amount of research and writing about Big Bend border history and as a historian I cannot ignore the lessons of the past. Today Mexico is at war with itself. A massive tide of refugees is reportedly crossing our southern border. The U. S. Border Patrol is overwhelmed. The issue has become quite politicized as tempers flair with vehement demands to militarize our Rio Grande boundary. Shadowy militia groups with their own agendas have also entered the picture.

Few seem to realize that none of this is particularly new. Striking similarities exist between this present day crisis and what took place on the border a century ago. In mid-1916 President Woodrow Wilson ordered the National Guards of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, consisting of some 110,000 officers and men, to the southern border to prevent ongoing bandit raids and violence originating in Mexico. In the upper Big Bend of Texas a number of new cavalry outposts came into existence within a matter of months. For the next three years the U. S. Army, including members of the National Guard, the Texas Rangers as well as armed vigilantes took part in numerous deplorable punitive actions that destroyed the lives of hundreds of Mexicans living on both sides of the Rio Grande. Today it would be called collateral damage but that does not mitigate the inhumanity that resulted. The similarities between those times and today are striking.

Perhaps the most serious of these reprisals took place just after midnight on January 27, 1918 when Troop G of the Eighth U.S. Cavalry, Texas Rangers of Company B from Marfa, Texas and a group of vigilantes surrounded the tiny Presidio County village of Porvenir. A little more than a month previous a group of Mexican raiders had attacked the west Presidio County Brite Ranch robbing a store and stealing a herd of cattle and horses as well as shooting up the place. The raid made national newspaper headlines and initiated calls to teach border Mexicans a lesson. The some 140 residents of Porvenir were dragged from their homes into the freezing night. A search of the village turned up little; no stolen goods, only one old gun with no cartridges and a few knives. The Rangers selected fifteen Porvenir men between the ages of 16 and 72 years and marched their prisoners off into the darkness. Some distance away, the fifteen were unceremoniously shot to death. A few days after the massacre, Troop G returned to Porvenir and destroyed the village. The U.S. Army successfully covered up its role in the killings. Five Texas Rangers were fired from their jobs but never faced prosecution. The actions of the U.S. Army, the Texas Rangers and vigilantes at Porvenir went well beyond the murders of fifteen poor tenant farmers. Forty-two children lost their fathers and their homes as a result of the atrocity. The tension and border raids did not end at Porvenir however. The border raids and brutal retaliations continued on for another year and a half only ending when the U. S. Army left the border entirely in the fall of 1919.

More recently in May 1997, a member of U.S. Marine Joint Task Force 6 drug interdiction patrol shot and killed eighteen-year-old Esequiel Hernandez near the Rio Grande border as he herded goats near his family home outside Redford, Texas. Young Hernandez carried an antique single shot .22 rifle that day to fend off predators. According to the Marines, Esequiel fired a shot in their direction. He probably did not realize the Marines were nearby since they wore camouflaged “ghillie” suits. Acting on orders to return fire, Corporal Clemente Banuelos opened up killing the innocent goat herder. The Hernandez killing became a symbol of the failure of U.S. Drug policy. About that same time upriver from Redford, the Marines established a training outpost at Candelaria, Texas that operated for several summers. A U.S. Army camp about 30 miles upstream from Candelaria also went into operation. The build up of U.S. military prompted the Mexican government to move a contingent of several thousand troops from Chiapas to the border to counter the U.S. troops just across the river. For more than a year the Texas upper Big Bend once had again became an armed camp with soldiers from two nations separated only by a small stream of water known as the Rio Grande River. Citizens on both sides of the border were alarmed and things only quieted down when both the U.S. and Mexican forces left the area much to the relief of border residents.

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s recent decision to order 1,000 national guardsmen to the Mexican border is an ill advised political move. At a cost of about $12 million dollars a month, the militarization will only increase border tensions as it always has in the past. These guardsmen have highly questionable arrest powers and lack training in law enforcement. Many of them cannot speak Spanish only adding to the difficulty. Let the Border Patrol and local law enforcement carry out their job, a job they are trained to do and give them the necessary support and funding needed. As Winston Churchill put it, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

Glenn Justice

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Bob Alexander’s "Riding Lucifer’s Line" is a well researched collection of twenty-five sketches about Texas Rangers who died by gunshot in the performance of their duties along the Texas-Mexican border between the years 1875-1921. Writing from the knowledgeable perspective of a retired U.S. Government Treasury officer, Alexander undertook a formidable task piecing together the often-obscure and many times incomplete life stories of these selected lawmen. This is not an easy task. Historical records relating to Texas Rangers are frequently spotty and incomplete for a variety of reasons. Some were lost to fire or other calamity while others curiously somehow vanished from state archives, county courthouses and other repositories. These Rangers commonly moved from job to job inside and outside law enforcement seldom staying in one location or position for long periods. Pay was low, hardship plentiful and life threatening danger a constant factor.

Alexander’s Rangers met death in a variety of ways ranging from accident to ambush with a surprising number being the result of inexperience and the absence of modern tactical training. Early day Rangers had to learn law enforcement mostly by performing the job and sometimes this in itself proved deadly particularly on the Texas-Mexican border. An example of this was the 1890 death of Texas Ranger Private John H. Gravis in Presidio County. Gravis had been a Ranger for about five months when he and a deputy sheriff got into a gunfight in the rowdy silver mining town of Shafter. The young Ranger lost his life after being shot in the head. While conflicting accounts cloud the details Alexander pointedly summed up the tragedy by writing “On the Texas/Mexican border rookies were but the raw meat of the devil”. Another example emerged with the death of Ranger Robert E. Doaty some two years later. Doaty had been a Ranger for only twenty-two days when he met death in another border shoot out. The same is true for Eugene B. Hulen killed in Presidio County in 1915 after being a Ranger forfifty-seven days.

Although the author’s wordy writing style might burden some, Alexander does offer the dedicated reader an insight infrequently found in the innumerable volumes of Texas Ranger history. The author avoids the Texas Ranger mythology pitfalls of Walter Prescott Webb and others painting a realistic and sometimes gritty picture of these lawmen as they met their end. There are no stereotypes present in these stories. In a lengthy two-part introduction Alexander lays out his premise in which he acknowledges the wrongs and abuses of some pre-modern era Rangers. He traces the evolution of the Texas Rangers from their early days as Indian and bandit fighters and gunmen to today’s lawmen through advancements in transportation, tactics and technology. While Alexander promises, “no white washing” in his effort he does somewhat subjectively present the lawman’s point of view relegating divergent analysis to being somehow less than creditable. While Alexander seems to disdain the work of agenda driven scholars and those he considers to be “armchair historians”, he does not hesitate to make use of such research.

No one doubts that law enforcement on the Texas-Mexican border is and always has been a very risky but necessary profession. It is also controversial mostly during the bloody years of the Mexican Revolution. This book will probably appeal more to Texas Ranger enthusiasts and less to those persuaded by revisionist views. However, it is an insightful work deserving consideration by all. These Rangers who gave their lives certainly merit inclusion in the pages of history. How and why they died is a worthy topic for reflection. Alexander’s effort is to be commended. As Louis R. Sadler put it “This is Bob’s best book to date” and it is.

"Riding Lucifer’s Line: Ranger Deaths Along the Texas-Mexican Border". By Bob Alexander. Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2013. Pp. xxvi, 404. Photographs. Notes. Bibliography. Index. $29.95 cloth.

Glenn Justice

Used with contractual permission of
"The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History"
Copyright 2014

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Nick Kotz ‘ latest book “The Harness Maker’s Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas” is a well-written and carefully researched piece of Texas history. Kotz tells the story of his uncle, Nathan Allison, born in the Ukrane, who left his native homeland and braved considerable odds to come to the United States in 1890. Living for a time in Chicago the young man married, started learning English and took up harness making. In 1899, Kallison moved his wife and family to San Antonio where he set up a one-room leather goods shop. The venture eventually grew into one of the largest farm and ranch supply businesses in the state.

The Harness Makers Dream is not just a history of a sucessful businessman. Nathan Allison was Jewish and Kotz’s book details the struggles of Jewish immigrants in Texas as well as their contributions to society and the economy. San Antonio born author Nick Kotz has penned a number of books and some years back won the Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper reporting. He is perhaps best known for a 2005 book: “Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws That Changed America”. The Harness Maker’s dream is published by TCU Press, ISBN: 978-0-87565-567-3.


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According to Fort Davis historian Barry Scobee, Comanche Chief Quanah Parker showed up in Fort Davis in the last part of the nineteenth century. As Quanah put it, he came in search of “the gift-of-God cactus to lighten the Red man’s burden”. Accompanied by Chief Rising Star and several other dignitaries from the Indian Territory, Chief Quanah arrived at the Lempert Hotel much to the astonishment of a Miss Finck who presumably worked at the desk. Scobee described this most unusual occurrence. “Miss Finck heard a knock at the door and was somewhat startled to see three heap big Indians standing there in stately silence”. Mr. Fox, an Indian agent accompanying the party, stepped forward explaining that the chief and his two traveling companions came on a peaceful mission simply wishing to obtain bed and board while they searched for peyote somewhere in vicinity of Mitre Peak. Quanah apparently told the Indian agent that Comanche traditions taught the wonderful cactus could not be found in any other locality.

While Scobee’s intriguing glimpse into the past ends there, there is more to the story, much more. Chief Quanah Parker likely knew the Texas Big Bend a lot better than most folks today might expect. Born about 1850 probably near Elk Creek near the Wichita Mountains of today’s Oklahoma, Quanah rose to become the principal Comanche leader during and after the Texas Panhandle Red River War. Quanah’s mother, a white woman of Scotch-Irish extraction taken captive at the age of nine years from Fort Parker, Texas in 1836 is Cynthia Ann Parker. Her story became immortalized in the dark but classic John Wayne movie The Searchers. Quanah came from an impressive line of Comanche chieftains including his father, Peta Nocona, who Quanah said, died of complications from wounds received during a fight with the Apache. Iron Jacket, Quanah’s grandfather, got his name because he wore a Spanish coat of mail in battle. Comanche legend has it that Iron Jacket had the ability to blow threatening bullets away from him with his breath.

Following the death of his father, Chief Wild Horse of the Destanyuka band took the ten year old Quanah Parker under his wing teaching the boy the warrior ways of the Comanche. It is not clear at what point the Comanche first used peyote in shamanistic ceremonies. According to anthropologist Dr. Omar C. Stewart who is considered to be an expert in the study of peyote use by Native Americans, the Comanche probably first learned about peyote during their raids to steal horses as they traveled on the Comanche trail across west Texas into Chihuahua. It is here that the young Quanah most likely first encountered the magical cactus.

While Quanah Parker cannot be credited with introducing peyote to his people he became, according to Stewart, “the most important Comanche roadman in the early history of peyotism”. Long before the arrival of the Comanche, the Native Americans of Mexico including the Tarahumara knew of the power of peyote as a natural medicinal drug. Christian Tarahumaras also associated peyote with their faith. They also applied it to snake bites, wounds, and burns, and thought it cured cure rheumatism. But its power went beyond that. The Tarahumara believed if a man carried peyote on his person that bears could not bite them or deer run away, that game would become tame and easy to kill. During the early 1700’s Chihuahua experienced a considerable number of Spanish Inquisition investigations into the possession and use of Peyote.

U. S. Army Captain Valery Havard, a surgeon stationed in the 1880’s near Presidio became one of the first Anglo physicians to describe the use of peyote and mescal beans in the Big Bend. He noted the beautiful flower produced by the peyote cactus and its presence in most Mexican houses. Although Havard said peyote is mostly an intoxicant he thought it to be good for the relief of fever. The good doctor also pointed out that if one chewed the magical cactus a “delirious exhilaration” could be experienced and that peyote in those days was known as “dry whiskey”.

Quanna liked his peyote for more than one reason. In 1896 an observer saw him sit up all night during a peyote ceremony and eat thirty buttons. The following morning Quanna seemed unaffected and alert. He once sent a roadman to Mexico to obtain 8,000 buttons. Perhaps the chief summed it up best when he said, “The White man goes to his church and talks about Jesus. The Indian goes to his tipi and talks with Jesus.” Perhaps Quanah became a believer in the power of peyote when he went to visit his brother John Parker in Chihuahua about 1885. Previously he opposed the use of peyote. During the visit a Spanish bull is said to have somehow attacked the great chief leaving him with a terrible wound that resulted in a bad case of blood poisoning and fever. Other accounts state that Quanah only contracted some sort of stomach disorder. Whatever the case, a shaman mixed him a strong potion made from peyote juice and he recovered. Apparently Quanah believed the concoction cured him because after that time he became an ardent supporter of the use of peyote.

As a whole, the Comanche and Quanah in particular never really had much confidence the Ghost Dance Movement of 1890. Quanah respected the white man’s religion but when told by the U. S. Secretary of the Interior that he must give up all of his wives except one and he had three, the great chief replied “Mr. Secretary you tell them”. Multiple wifes and peyote were two things Chief Quanah never compromised. He became a quite successful businessman making money in cattle and land. But even in his last days took an active part in peyote ceremonies described the Half Moon ceremony or the Quanah Parker Way.

Quanah Parker died in 1911 but not long before his death C. S. Simmons observed the great chief conduct a peyote ceremony at his home outside Lawton, Oklahoma. “At about three o’clock in the morning, the silent hour and the time of the greatest manifestation of power, Quanah, the leader, knelt before the altar and prayed earnestly. Then, taking the eagle feathers in both hands, he arose to his feet. I saw at once he was under great inspiration. His whole personality seemed to change. His eyes glowed with a strong light and his body swayed to and fro, vibrating with some powerful emotion. Has sang the beautiful song “Ya-na-ah-away” in a most grand and inspiring manner. Then all sang together in harmony. They prayed to God and Jesus and sang of a “narrow way”.

Glenn Justice

Note: Larry Francell tells me that when Quanah Parker came to Fort Davis the chief stayed at the Lempert Hotel not the Limpia Hotel. The present day Limpia Hotel was not constructed until 1912. In the 1880's an earlier Limpia Hotel did operate near the fort but this is not where Quanah stayed according to Larry. The old Lempert Hotel is today the Veranda Bed and Bed and Breakfast. Thanks for the info Larry!

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In 1897 Andrew Prude purchased three sections of land located not far from Fort Davis establishing the A. G. Prude Ranch. Soon he and his wife Ora moved into a small log cabin on their new property. In 1900 Andrew completed a wooden frame house for his family and in 1902 added 1257 acres to the ranch. In 1911 Andrew built a two story ranch house made of adobe bricks cast in a nearby stock tank. They called it the "Big House". By 1920 Prude expanded his ranch to some forty sections of land which comprised a considerable amount of Jeff Davis County.

In 1921 the Prude Ranch started a guest ranch to share the beauty of the land and cool summer weather of the Davis Mountains with city dwellers from across Texas. Early guests arrived on the Southern Pacific Railroad at Alpine and made their way to the ranch by various means. When a terrible drought and the Great Depression of the 1930's forced Andrew Prude to sell his cattle and most of his land, the Prude family decided to operate the guest ranch full time. Soon a new highway near the ranch came into existence and more and more guests began to show up. New guest houses were built as well as a coaching school. The dude ranch program was expanded to include summer camps for boys and girls and various educational programs. The facilities have expanded over the years to accommodate a wide variety of activities. Prude ranch is well known across Texas as a popular tourist destination and continues into the second century of operation.

How the ranch came into existence and continues to operate today after all these years is a fascinating story of determination and survival. Historian Glenn Justice used many primary sources and oral interviews to tell the story of this now famous Texas ranch.

Cattle and Dudes: A Family History of the Prude Ranch 1897-1997 is now available on Amazon as an E-book. For more information or to order go to: ... le%26dudes

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David Dorward arrived in Borden County in 1892. He was born December 15, 1872 in Burleson County Texas to David and Anna Dorward. In 1893 David began working as a wagon cook for the Square and Compass Ranch. A year later he went to work for the Magnolia Land and Cattle Company. In 1901 David became a businessman when he opened the Dorward Drug on the courthouse square in Gail, Texas.

Gail was a thriving community in the early 1900’s. A week after opening his drug store, he married Minnie Russell who taught school in Gail. To this union came three sons, Russell, Maurice and Kelvin. David did home study for his pharmacist license and had it issued by the Texas Board of Pharmacy on September 17, 1907.

Doward supplied prescriptions for two local physicians, Dr. James Prince and Dr. John H. Hannabass. As the little town began to dwindle in population Doward”s Drug became the meeting place of the community by providing over the counter medicines, refreshments, and even ice for the old time iceboxes of the day. When the local telephone switchboard closed in 1918, Doward’s Drug had the only telephone serving Gail and the surrounding farms and ranches until the 1950’s. Telephone messages received by Mr. Dorward at the store would be delivered to local residents or to outlying farms and ranches. David Dorward also served by holding the offices of county treasurer and later served as Borden County Judge.

David and Minnie became strong proponents of the Christian faith. David taught adult Sunday school classes for thirty years and Minnie taught classes for over fifty years. Their dedication left a legacy to the residents of Borden County. After their passing, the Doward Drug building went through many years of neglect until 2012 when R. D. “Buster” and Jean Creighton Taylor acquired the property. Much back breaking work ensued hauling away junk that had accumulated around the property. Jean and Buster were able to salvage the original walls, ceiling, shelving, soda machine and safe from eventual destruction. The pharmacy counter and samples of medicines and many other Dorward treasures may be viewed at the Borden County Museum.

The dedication of the Dorward Drug historical marker will take place on Saturday, June 21 at 2 p.m. in Gail A reception will follow at the Borden County Event Center. For more information contact Lisa Mahler at:

Lisa Mahler

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