The Medicine Mounds
A few miles east of Quanah, four cone-shaped erosion mounds occupy landscape south of U.S. 287. These mounds, known today as the Medicine Mounds, permit a birds-eye view of the surrounding area for more than sixty miles. The mounds were an ideal campsite for the archaic hunter-gather groups as well as the Plains Indians, who arrived in the late 1700s. Because the mounds had abundant spring water, the site was a favorite camp ground for hunting, that gathering of medicinal plants, and for worship.
The Comanche Nation considers two of these mounds to be sacred: the tallest mound, Medicine Mound; and the second tallest, Cedar Mound. It was here that Comanche braves came for vision quest – a ritual where the young man isolated himself from him tribe and sought communication with nature and the spirit world. At this point, Comanche and other peoples would gather medicinal plants to maintain their health. Today, Native-Americans continue this practice and return to such sites to gather the necessary plants and herbs, as well as to seek spiritual guidance.
Legend of Medicine Mound
In what was once the great buffalo – and therefore Comanche and Kiowa – range between Pease River and the Red River in Hardeman County, stand a line of four rounded hills called Medicine Mounds. They are extraordinarily conspicuous, the cones rising about 350 feet above the surrounding plain. Flanking them to the west is the gully-washed scar of an ancient buffalo trail. Round about are yet to be picked up Indian arrowheads of flint. The gypsum waters of a spring at the base of one mound drunk by sick Indians as a psychic. To the mounds pertains a legend common in the county.
On top of the highest of the four is the flat cap-rock, a protector against erosion. It was, the Indians believed, the dwelling place of a powerful land benevolent spirit. Here the spirit could view the country for miles and miles on all sides, and from this lofty point of vantage, he was wont to direct the arrows of hunters to the vitals of buffaloes and to deflect those of enemies shot at his wards, the Comanches.
- J. Frank Dobie, “Stories in Texas Place Names,” Straight Texas, pp. 32
Downtown Medicine Mound Museum
The Downtown Medicine Mound Museum is located at the junction of FM 91 and FM 1167 in the ghost town of Medicine Mounds, Texas.
On permanent display are over 200 pictures of area settlers. There are also newspaper articles of interest, as well as memorabilia, books and Indian artifacts of the area. The building is open on Saturdays or by appointment by contacting museum curator Myna Potts at (940) 839-4344.