Quanah Parker author to sign new book
A Lawton-based author who also is a noted authority on Comanche chief Quanah Parker has taken on a new subject.
Bill Neeley went back to his Texas roots to write "A Tejano Knight The Quest of Don Juan Seguin," and will be available to discuss the book at a signing scheduled from 2-5 p.m. Saturday in Room 1 of Lawton Public Library, 110 SW 4th. The event is free.
Neeley is best known for his expertise on Quanah Parker, designated as the last chief of the Comanches and the warrior head of the last Comanche band to surrender, then a tribal statesman who help the tribe transition from its Plains life. His book "The Last Comanche Chief The Life and Times of Quanah Parker" is a noted history of one of the most prominent names in the Comanche Nation and one that was written after Neeley did exhaustive research and talked to tribal members.
He turned that same intensity toward Juan Seguin, a native of Mexico who gained fame when he fought on the side of Texas and against Mexican general Santa Anna at the Alamo and became a Texas leader, before he lost some luster after he went to Mexico and ended up fighting with Santa Anna, before eventually returning to Texas.
The story is complicated and Neeley enjoyed the dive into Texas history, saying his research proved what he has believed all along: Seguin was blackmailed into joining the Mexican army and fighting against the U.S.
The book explores a major player in the Texas revolution whose story is largely unknown outside of Texas history circles.
"This man fought against Santa Anna," Neeley said, explaining that Seguin was a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army when Texans were battling Mexico for their freedom. After the Republic of Texas established itself, Seguin became mayor of San Antonio, until his enemies (which Neeley described as new Texans who came to the state without knowing its history) drove him out of office and out of Texas. Seguin fled to Mexico and was arrested there. He gained his freedom from jail and countered threats to his wife and children by agreeing to become an officer in the Mexican Army and fight against the U.S., a role he filled for six years.
Neeley said there is plenty of research to indicate Seguin made that choice against his will, including the fact that while he technically was a colonel in the Mexican Army, he was never referred to by rank, only by his name or the title Don.
"But, he distinguished himself in the Mexican uniform, as he did in the Texas uniform," Neeley said.