Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cynthia Ann Parker

Cynthia nursing her daughter


  Cynthia Ann Parker was born in 1825 and died in 1871. She was from Illinois and when she was nine or ten her family moved to central Texas where they built Fort Parker. The family built a community around the church of her uncle Elder John Parker who was the leader of the Texas branch of the Primitive Baptist Church. They built thick walls and the fort was protected by Texas Rangers. On May 19, 1836 the fort was attacked by several tribes of \Indians which included the Comanche. Several defenders were killed and five were captured from the fort. Within six years all of the captives were returned to their families with the exception of Cynthia. At first she was mistreated by the Indians but after awhile she was adopted by an Indian family who raised her as if she were their own daughter. She lived with the Comanche for twenty-five years. She totally adapted to the Indian lifestyle and turned away from her white family. Every time they attempted to negotiate for her return she refused. She married a Comanche named Peta and had three children, two boys and a girl. Her oldest was Quanah, Pecos and a girl named Topsannah. 

  Quanah became a fierce warrior and Chief. In 1860 Texas Rangers attacked Peta's camp and he was able to escape with his sons Quanah and Pecos. Several Indians were captured including Cynthia and her infant daughter Topsannah. They discovered that Cynthia had blue eyes and was a white woman. About this time they took her to Ft. Worth and had her photographed. She is nursing her daughter in the picture and her hair is cut short. This was the Comanche sign of mourning because she thought that her husband had been killed. On April 8, 1861 the Texas legislature voted her a 100.00 dollar per month pension for five years and gave her some land. They appointed Isaac and Benjamin Parker her guardians but she never adapted to white ways. She was shuttled from one family to another and tried to escape several times but was always caught and returned. Finally they began locking her in her room to prevent her from escaping. In 1863 Topsannah died from influenza and Cynthia seemed to lose the will to live. She died of influenza at the age of 43 in 1871. She was buried nearby in Fosterville Cemetery. Quanah had her moved to a cemetery in Oklahoma. Then after Quanah died he was buried at Ft. Sill Oklahoma and Cynthia was re-interred again to be placed by the side of Quanah. 



Quanah Parker


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