The Holliday Pecan Comanche Marker Tree

Pecan, Carya illinoensis

The Story

In March of 2011, a Pecan tree in Holliday, Texas, was brought to the attention of the Texas Historic Tree Coalition (TXHTC) by Mr. Ken Fibbe, a reporter for the Times Record News. Mr. Fibbe was introduced to the tree by Mr. Don Briix, a local resident who originally noticed the tree after he had read about Indian marker trees.

Mr. Fibbe passed along photos as well as measurements of the tree. When the coalition determined the tree had some potential to be an Indian marker, Mr. Fibbe gathered a dead limb from the tree and cut several sections which he brought to the Dallas area for further research.

In May of 2011, TXHTC volunteers performed a site inspection and collected data and information on the tree, as well as the location. Mr. Robert Atchavit, a Comanche Nation member representing the Penetuka Band was a consultant during the examination of the tree. He believed the Pecan tree was a Comanche Marker Tree and he presented his case as to why and provided his perspective regarding several issues. The coalition was honored to have Mr. Atchavit be a part of the process.  

Following the site inspection, volunteers spent a considerable amount of time collecting historical data. In 2012, a formal report was submitted to the Comanche Nation requesting their consideration to recognize the Pecan as a Comanche Marker Tree. In October of 2014, TXHTC was informed that the Comanche Nation accepted the Pecan as a Comanche Marker Tree.

As with previous Comanche Marker Trees, a framed letter of recognition and a certificate for the tree’s inclusion on the Comanche Marker Tree Registry were created and presented to the City of Holliday. An original drawing of the tree was used as the artwork for the certificate.

Mr. Steve Houser along with Mr. Atchavit and Mr. Briix attended a Holliday City Council meeting on February 9, 2015, where each of the gentlemen spoke briefly. Mr. Houser then presented the Holliday Mayor and City Council with the Holliday Comanche Marker Tree certificate and the letter of recognition.

Shortly after Steve Houser presented the Comanche Marker Tree Certificate to the Holliday Mayor and City Council- Mayor Allen Moore posed for a picture with Steve Houser, Don Briix, and Robert Atchavit. Names are listed in order of appearance from left to right.

To express the collective sentiment of the Comanche Nation’s recognition of the Holliday tree as an official Comanche Marker Tree, the Comanche Business Committee passed Resolution 617, on June 10, 2017. Essentially, the resolution is a formal and public proclamation that the Comanche recognize the Holliday tree as a historical part of the Comanche way of life, their nomadic equestrian life during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Mr. Atchavit worked with Comanche officials as an advocate to encourage a formal recognition ceremony for the tree. And on March 16th, 2018, over 100 people gathered near Holliday Creek, where the tree is located. It was an impressive and notable celebration. 

March 16, 2018, a large crowd gathered at the Holliday Stonewall Jackson Camp to celebrate the Holliday Pecan Comanche Marker Tree.
“Historical Marker Honors Native American Legacy” by Wichita Falls’ Channel 6, broadcast on March 16, 2018.

In The Comanche Nation News, Volume 19, Edition 4 published in April 2018, Ms. Jolene Schonchin, news staff for the paper wrote an article that included the following:

Comanche Singers Robert Tehauno, Kevin Sovo, Sr., and Jim Moore sang the Comanche Flag Song and the Comanche Veteran’s Song, bringing tears to the eyes of many people in the crowd. The singers brought the dedication to a close with a series of Round Dance songs.

Marievel Santiago with KFDX reported on the oddly shaped pecan tree south of Holliday and inside the Stonewall Jackson Campgrounds. During the tree dedication, Santiago interviewed Comanche Nation elder Phyllis Narcomey, as well as TXHTC Indian Marker Tree Project Chair Steve Houser.

Steve Houser, founding member and trustee of the Texas Historic Tree Coalition as well as chairperson for the Indian Marker Tree Project, was honored with a gift of appreciation from the Comanche Elder Council, a Comanche Nation flag.

The recognition ceremony was a memorable event with distinguished guests that included:

  • Comanche Nation Chairman, William Nelson Sr.
  • Comanche Elder Council President, Gwen Kerchee
  • Comanche Elder Council Past President and Master of Ceremonies, Willie Pekah
  • Comanche Nation Business Committeeperson No. 1, Jonathon Poahway
  • Comanche Elder Council Treasurer, Phyllis Crosby
  • Comanche Singers: Kevin Sovo Sr., Robert Tehauno, and Jim Moore
  • Comanche Nation Elder, Robert Atchavit
  • Comanche Nation Elder, Beverly Isaac
  • Red River Intertribal Club Member, Orlando Sosa
  • Holliday City Mayor, Allen Moore
  • Holliday City Secretary, Marie Balthrop
  • TXHTC President, Mary Graves
  • TXHTC Indian Marker Tree Committee Chair, Steve Houser
  • Nominator of the tree to TXHTC, Don Brix   

TXHTC is grateful for all who attended. It was an event that will long be remembered.  

The Times Record News covered the Holliday Pecan Comanche Marker Tree Dedication. In addition to the printed story that ran in their newspaper, they also recorded this video for their online presence.
Data
Gathered on April 5, 2011
Estimated Age
Over 150 Years Old
Height
60 Feet
Circumference
83.25 Inches
Contributors

Comanche Nation, Jimmy W. Arterberry, Robert Atchavit, Pam & Don Briix, Ken Fibbe, and Steve Houser

Written by RuthAnn Jackson