Parker County Today July 2016 - Page 28

PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY JULY 2016 jano.” The Plains Indians night-Loving Trail. (Loving, were particularly bitter wounded in a skirmish against the white settlers with Indians along the trail who had pushed their way in 1867, died of gangrene across Texas like wildfire, in Fort Sumner. Goodever pushing the frontier night brought him back to westward. Knowing this, Weatherford for burial in Goodnight told the curious Greenwood Cemetery.) inquisition he came from At times the Indians Colorado, which was, in a were allowed off reservasense, true, as in ’69 he’d tion on sanctioned hunts, established a ranch near though by then the white Pueblo, Colo. After queshunters had all but oblitertioning him on geography ated the great buffalo herds and other matters Quanah of the plains. It was on Fort Parker and his contingent were such a hunt in the fall of 1878 that Quanah met the then 42-year-old Goodnight. A satisfied that Goodnight was no Tejano, and talk turned to terms. seasoned cattleman by then, the prior year Charlie Goodnight had, with John G. Adair, launched the JA Ranch in “I’ve got plenty of guns and plenty of bullets, good men and good shots, but I don’t want to fight unless you the Texas Panhandle. force me,” Goodnight told the band. Pointing to Quanah When the Comanche and Kiowa arrived in their oncehe added, “You keep order and behave yourself, protect bountiful hunting grounds they found virtually no game my property and let it alone, and I’ll give you two beeves and turned their hands to killing JA cattle they found in every other day until you find out where the buffaloes are.” the lower reaches of Palo Duro Canyon. According to biQuanah agreed. ographer J. Evetts Haley, line riders on the east side of the The treaty apparently held because on Sept. 25, 1880, ranch sent a runner to inform Goodnight of the situation. Goodnight wrote to Indian Agent P.B. Hunt — “Dear Sir: I “I at once mounted a good horse and started to meet have for the past two years promised Quanah a good Durthem,” Goodnight told Haley. “… they were killing cattle ham Bull for cattle which General Mackenzie gave him. I at a fearful rate. …” will do this if he can come for him and I may give him one Upon striking the canyon the reservation Indians split or two cows. …” into three groups — one made up of Kiowas and the othAccording to Haley, in his later years the old cattle barers Comanches. Goodnight made first contact with the on took a number of Comanches to Palo Duro Canyon and Kiowas, who were “in an ugly mood” and “looked like trouble.” He followed them until they and the other bands “he saw them look upon their old campgrounds, watched their mingled emotions, and felt his soul quake for having pitched camp in the waning light of a bitterly cold day. When he rode up and asked to see the “principal,” he was taken the gorge from them. Haley recorded that Goodnight admired Quanah, and “exercised as much influence over directed to Quanah. When Goodnight asked his name, Quanah said, “Maybe so two names —Mr. Parker or Qua- him and any man, and kept up his friendship until the nah.” (Goodnight’s ears probably pricked at this as he had Indian died.” been the scout who some 18 years earlier and led rangers to a camp on the Pease River where Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah’s white mother, had been recaptured for return to her white family.) Never short on gumption, Goodnight told Quanah he wanted to head up the canyon to JA headquarters where they could talk treaty. Quanah declined, saying his ponies and papooses were tired, but agreed to meet the rancher the next morning. As promised, next morning Quanah and about a dozen of the “old heads” and a few younger braves trailed in to headquarters. Designated as inquisitors, eight or so of the group formed a circle around Goodnight and his interpreter. Straightaway one of the Indians asked the cowman a poignant question: “Don’t Sources: you know this country is ours?” • The Last Comanche Chief: The Life and Times of Quanah Goodnight acknowledged he had heard that they still Parker, Bill Neely, 1995, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. considered the Llano Estacado their country, but quickly • added that the “Captain of Texas” also claimed the land, • Handbook of Texas Online and that the Captain was making him (Goodnight) “pay for • Last Days of the Comanches, S.C. Gwynne, May 2010 it.” He suggested the argument was between the Indians Texas Monthly and the government, not him. Quanah, likely impressed • Charles Goodnight, Cowman and Plainsman, by J. Evetts by Goodnight’s straightforward manne r, said this was fair. Haley, University of Oklahoma Press, 1981. Next the Indians asked Goodnight if he were a “Te• Other Internet sources 26