Peta Nocona (unknown–1860)

By: Robert H. Williams

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 14, 2021

Peta Nocona, husband of Cynthia Ann Parker and father of Chief Quanah Parker, was a physically enormous Comanche chief who led a band, the Noconies, in raids on the Texas frontier from the 1830s to December 18, 1860, when he was killed at the Pease River in a battle with Capt. Lawrence Sullivan Ross. Peta Nocona did not know when or where he was born, as Quanah Parker indicated in a letter to Charles Goodnight. He took part in, or perhaps led, the raid on Parker's Fort on May 19, 1836, when the Comanches took Cynthia Ann captive. It is not certain that White settlers knew Peta Nocona's name or distinguished him from other Comanche chiefs until after his death. Many years later, Quanah raised doubts about the identity of the chief killed at the Pease River, perhaps because of a Comanche belief that ill repute disturbs the peace of the dead. But the preponderance of evidence supports the contention that Peta Nocona was the chief killed at the Pease. Ross's Mexican interpreter, for instance, who said Nocona had taken him as a slave when he was a child, identified the chief. Cynthia Ann Parker wept over the dead man and called him Nocona. And after the battle at the Pease, which was itself big news, no one ever heard anything more about Peta Nocona until Quanah's disclaimer almost four decades later.

Dallas Morning News, December 19, 1993. James T. DeShields, Border Wars of Texas, ed. Matt Bradley (Tioga, Texas, 1912; rpt., Waco: Texian Press, 1976). Rupert N. Richardson, The Comanche Barrier to South Plains Settlement (Glendale, California: Clark, 1933; rpt., Millwood, New York: Kraus, 1973). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Quanah Parker). Robert H. Williams, "The Case for Peta Nocona," Texana 10 (1972).

  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Chiefs and Other Leaders
Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert H. Williams, “Peta Nocona,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 14, 2021