The two tragedies of Cynthia Ann Parker

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : November 28, 2012

The two tragedies of Cynthia Ann Parker

Courtesy Photo
Sons of the American Revolution Athens Chapter president (from left) Harry Fife welcomes early Texas history speaker Art Hall at a recent dinner meeting in November.

Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–Sons of the American Revolution Athens Chapter members heard chapter registar Art Hall speak about Cynthia Ann Parker’s 1836 kidnapping, at the recent November dinner meeting.
Hall is a widely-known speaker on early Texas history, and Parker was the mother of Quanah Parker, the last great chief of the Comanche Indians, who reigned terror on white settlers.
Cynthia Ann Parker was captured by the Comanches during a raid and massacre at Fort Parker near Groesbeck, in 1836, when she was nine years old.
She was not rescued and returned to her white family until 1861, 25 years later, long after she had forgotten her previous life and had adapted to her new Indian life.
She married Peta Nocona, a rising young chief of the Comanche Nocona Band, and had two sons, Quanah and Pecos, and one daughter Topsannah or Prairie Flower.
Texas Rangers rescued her when she was 34 and she was returned to some members of her family. She spent the remaining 10 years of her life, unable to adjust to her previous white culture.
Her brother, Silas, Jr., was appointed her guardian, in 1862, and took Parker and Prairie Flower to his home in Van Zandt County.
In 1864, Prairie Flower died of pneumonia and was buried in the Asbury Cemetery a few miles north of Murchison.
Suffering the loss of her daughter and losing contact with her two sons, Parker suffered much grief over the following years. Her health worsened and in 1870, she died and was buried in the Foster Cemetery in Anderson County, just south of Poynor. A historical marker is all that remains of her burial.
Her son, Quanah, moved her body, in 1910, to Post Oak Mission Cemetery near Cache, Okla. He was also buried there after his death in February 1911. In 1957, both burials were moved to the Fort Sill Post Cemetery in Oklahoma.
Ironically, while his mother never fully adapted to her white family, Quanah realized, in 1875, he could no longer lead his tribe into war with the settlers and he was forced to live on a reservation in Oklahoma.
He quickly adapted and became a model citizen. He mastered the speech of his mother’s people well enough to negotiate the leasing of reservation lands to Texas cattlemen.
He became a major shareholder in a railroad and was successful lobbying for Comanche interests in Washington. As busy as he was with several trips to Washington, he found time to serve as deputy sheriff of Lawton, Okla., and become president of the local school district, which he helped create.
He was befriended by President Theodore Roosevelt, rode in the president’s inaugural parade and went hunting with the president in Oklahoma.