Comanchero Canyons Museum
The Comanchero Canyons Museum, located in Quitaque, Texas, is progressing toward a projected opening in 2014. The organization began as a Texas nonprofit corporation in February of this year, directing its efforts to serve an area of the Caprock encompassing Briscoe, Floyd, Hall, Motley and Swisher counties. The intention of the museum is to focus on occupants of these counties prior to the 20th Century.
A number of exhibits are being planned, beginning with the first known inhabitants of the area, hunter-gatherers associated with the mastodons and other pre-historic animals, then progressing through the various Native American tribes, named and unnamed, early Spanish influence, including the 1808 200 man led expedition of Spaniards from San Antonio traversed this area to Santa Fe to quell an uprising, the ill-fated Texan-Santa Fe Expedition in 1841, the 4th Calvary campaigns of 1871-72, along with the battles of the Red River War in 1874-75. Artifacts from the Texan-Santa Fe Expedition and the Red River War have already been given for display in the museum, as well as fossil remains discovered in the area and an authentic Mexican carreta (cart) recently donated by Marisue Potts of Motley County, in memory of her husband, Ralph Powell. It is of particular interest due to its connection with the Comancheros that utilized this area in the 1700s and 1800s. A Comanchero was a term connected to the traders who came primarily from New Mexico to do business with the various tribes, principally Comanche, Kiowa and Cheyenne, who inhabited the canyons.
The first major donation to the museum came in the form of a 3,000 square feet church building in Quitaque, which led to the decision to be located in that town. The close proximity to Caprock Canyons State Park and their efforts to increase tourist visits to the area also helped.
A number of businesses and individuals have contributed to the start-up of the museum. Donations of money and acceptable artifacts continue to be needed for the success of the museum. In some cases, loans of artifacts are accepted.
Although originally formed with five directors, one director resigned due to a lack of time necessary to devote to the museum. The remaining directors voted to expand to a maximum of eleven directors. Presently there are eight directors of the museum. They are Jana Carpenter, Quitaque; Ronnie Carpenter, Quitaque; Anthony Kingery, Silverton; Jerry Leatherman (current chairman of the board), Silverton; Wade Proctor, Quitaque; Bryan Schott, Silverton; Cecil White, Hall County; and Kim White, Floyd County. The board is currently considering filling the last three openings, hopefully with at least one member from Motley County and one from Swisher County.