Today in the Old West May 19 Cynthia Ann Parker

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scaramouche, May 19, 2019.

  1. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
    On May 19, 1836, a band of Indians attacked Parker's Fort on the fringes of the Comanche frontier in the newly formed Republic of Texas. In the skirmish that followed, five Texans were killed and five others were taken captive, including nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker and her younger brother John.

    The little girl would become one of the most renowned Indian captives in the history of the West. Both of the Parker children quickly adjusted to the Comanche culture. John became a warrior and took part in several raids, while Cynthia Ann lived as a Comanche for almost twenty-five years. She eventually married Chief Peta Nocona and bore him two sons and a daughter. Their first-born son Quanah became the last-great war chief of the Comanches.

    In 1860, Texas Rangers led by Captain Sul Ross swept down on a Comanche village, killing many inhabitants and taking others captive, including the long-lost Cynthia Ann and her two-year old daughter, Prairie Flower. They were returned to Parker family members, but her many years living with the tribe had changed Cynthia Ann irrevocably.

    HOF-Ross-e1501784347688.jpg
    Captain Sul Ross, became one of the youngest generals in the Confederate army in the Civil War taking part in 135 battles and skirmishes. Lawrence Sullivan Ross went on to become the 19th governor of Texas and after two very successful terms in office he stepped down and became President of what is now A&M University.

    cynthiaannparker.jpg
    Cynthia Ann Parker with her daughter, Prairie Flower.

    She had nothing in common with her white relatives and begged to be returned to her Indian family. Her escape attempts failed, and when her daughter died of influenza in 1864, Cythnia lost all hope. Broken in spirit and bitter at her enforced captivity, she starved herself to death.

    It was not until forty-six years later that her son, Quanah Parker, was able to bring the remains of his beloved mother and his baby sister from Texas to Oklahoma. He dedicated a great feast to honor the memory of his mother, who lived and died as a Comanche.

    comanche-chief-quanah-parker.jpg
    Quanah Parker, considered by many, the greatest Comanche War Chief.

    From S.C. Gwynne's terrific Empire of the Summer Moon:

    "Quanah never forgot his mother. He kept a photograph Sul Ross gave him-the one taken in 1862 at A.E. Corning's studio in Fort Worth, with Prairie Flower nursing at her breast-on the wall above his bed. She had been taken from him when he was only twelve; in a matter of minutes she had disappeared forever into the white man's world. He later learned that she had been unhappy and that she had repeatedly tried to escape to find him. Like her son, she had adapted brilliantly to an alien culture, but she could not do it twice. In 1908 he placed ads in Texas newspapers seeking help in finding her grave. He got a response from a man named J.R. O'Quinn, his first cousin and the son of Cynthia Ann's younger sister Orlena, who told him he knew where to find it. It was Quanah's first contact with his Texas family. Later he heard from another cousin, who invited him to a family function in Athens, Texas, southeast of Dallas. (He would eventually be embraced and celebrated by his Texas family.) Having found his mother, he lobbied for money to move her grave from Texas to Oklahoma. Persistent and persuasive as always, he convinced his congressman to sponsor a bill authorizing $1,000 to relocate Cythnia Ann's bones. The bill became law in March 1909. He traveled to Texas, met some of his white family, and found the cemetery where she lay. On December 10, 1910, she was reinterred at the Post Oak Mission in Cache. At the ceremony over her grave, Quanah gave a simple speech in his fractured English;

    "Forty years ago my mother died," he said. "She captured by Comanches, nine years old. Love Indian and wild life so well, no want to go back to white folks. All same people anyway, God say. I love my mother."

    Some ascribe this story was the inspiration for John Ford's The Searchers, the screen writer had researched more than 60 real life abductions of the old west in writing that screen play. There certainly some striking similarities.

    I think the actual story is a lot more compelling one, it's a story of eternal love shared by a mother and a son. A love that endured the kind of trial, the types of separation of cultures and social forces and time few of us today are equipped to understand. It certainly is one that always gets me every time I hear it.

    quanah-parker-w-mom-cynthia-ann-parker-1884_orig.jpg
     
  2. FWoo45

    FWoo45 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
    Thanks Mouche. Another great history lesson. I love that movie ("the searchers") the true story is even better.
     
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  3. gps man

    gps man Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    Awesome lesson today.

    I love early Texas history.

    I’ve got to find and read that book!
     
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  4. john_anch_ak

    john_anch_ak Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 7, 2017
    I had no idea, thanks very much!
     
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  5. tac45

    tac45 What me worry ? Supporting Addict

    Mar 4, 2012
    Great read Mouche, thanks.
     
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  6. isialk

    isialk Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 7, 2017
    Great teaching today scaramouche! I appreciate your taking the time. It’s a moving story that their love survived through all the hardships and blood that was spilled. Got a lump in my throat reading it to my wife. Thanks again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. gaijin

    gaijin Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2015
    A special type of injustice.
     
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  8. KS95B40

    KS95B40 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Aug 16, 2017
    A very interesting and sad story.

    Thanks for the post.
     
  9. july19

    july19 Womb? Weary? He rests. He has travelled. Supporting Addict

    Sep 16, 2013
    Thanks for the read.
     
  10. Colorado Sonny

    Colorado Sonny Deo Volente Supporting Addict

    Sep 25, 2015
    Thanks for the history lesson Richard!
     

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