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Full text of "Cynthia Ann Parker : the story of her capture at the massacre of the inmates of Parker's Fort; of her quarter of a century spent among the Comanches, as the wife of the war chief, Peta Nocona; and of her recapture at the battle of Pease River, by Captain L.S. Ross, of the Texian rangers"


AMES <s>. DESHIEDDS 



BANCROFT LIBRARY 







C^A^- 

M^ 

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/ 






CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 



CYNTHIA AM PAEKEE. 



THE STORY OF HER CAPTURE 



At the Massacre of the Inmates of Parker's Fort; of her Quarter of a Century 

Spent Among the Comanches, as the Wife of the War Chief, Peta No- 

cona; and of her Recapture at the Battle of Pease River, by 

Captain L. S. Ross, of the Texian Rangers. 



BT 



JAMES T. DeSHIELDS, 



Author of "Frontier Sketches," Etc. 



"Tr-utH is Stranger tHan Fiction.' 



ILLUSTRATED. 



ST. LOUIS: 



for the Author, 

1886. 



Copyright 1886 by 

JAMES T. DRSHIELDS. 

All Rights Reserved. 



CHAS. B. WOODWARD 

Printing and Book Manufacturing Co., 

8T. LOUIS. 



DEDICATED 



(By Permission) 
TO 



GEN L L. S. ROSS, 



OF 



WACO, TEXAS. 



V. 



PREFACE. 

In the month of June, 1884, there appeared in the 
columns of the Forth Worth Gazette an advertisement 
signed by the Comanche chief, Quanah Parker, and 
dated from the reservation near Fort Sill, in the In 
dian Territory, enquiring for a photograph of his late 
mother, Cynthia Ann Parker, which served to revive 
interest in a tragedy which has always been enveloped 
in a greater degree of mournful romance and pathos 
than any of the soul-stirring episodes of our pioneer 
life, so fruitful of incidents of an adventurous nature. 

From the valued narratives kindly furnished us by 
Victor M. Ross, Major John Henry Browi>and Gen. 
L. S. Ross, supplemented by the Jas. W. Parker book 
and copious notes from Hon. Ben. F. Parker, together 
with most of the numerous partial accounts of the fall 
of Parker's Fort and subsequent relative events, pub 
lished during the past fifty years ; and after a careful 
investigation and study of the whole, we have laborious 
ly and with much pains-taking, sifted out and evolved 
the foregoing narrative of plain, unvarnished facts, 
which form a part of the romantic history of Texas. 

In the preparation of our little volume the thanks of 
the youthful author are due to Gen. L. S. Ross, of 



VI. 



Waco; Major John Henry Brown of Dallas; Gen. 
Walter P. Lane of Marshall; Col. John S. Ford of 
San Antonio; Rev. Homer S. Thrall the eminent 
historian of Texas ; Mr. A. F. Corning of Waco ; Capt. 
Lee Hall, Indian Agent, I. T., and Mrs. C. A. West- 
brook of Lorena, for valuable assistance rendered. 

To Victor M. Ross of Laredo, Texas, the author has 
been placed under many and lasting obligations for 
valuable data so generously placed at his disposal, and 
that too at considerable sacrifice to the donor. 

From this source we have obtained much of the 
matter for our narrative. 

In submitting our little work the first efforts of the 
youthful author we assure the reader that while there 
are, doubtless, many defects and imperfections, he is 
not reading fiction, but facts which form only a part of 
the tragic and romantic history of the Lone Star State. 

JAMES T. DESHIELDS, 

BELTON, Texas, May 19, 1886. 



VII 



CONTENTS. 



Page. 
PREFACE 5 

CHAPTER I. 

THE PARKER FORT MASSACRE, ETC 9-21 

CHAPTER II. 

THE CAPTIVES CYNTHIA ANN AND JOHN PARKER 22-35 

CHAPTER III. 

THE BATTLE OF "ANTELOPE HILLS," 36-46 

CHAPTER IV. 

GENL. L. S. Ross. BATTLE OF THE WICHITA..- 47-57 

CHAPTER V. 

BATTLE OF PEASE RIVER. RECAPTURE OF CYNTHIA ANN 

PARKER 58-68 

CHAPTER VI. 

( 'VXTIIIA ANN PARKER. QUANAII PARKER 69-80 



CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 



CHAPTER I. 
The Parker Port Massacre, Etc. 

CONTEMPORARY with, and among the earliest of the 
daring and hardy pioneers that penetrated the eastern 
portion of the Mexican province of Texas, were the 
" Parker family," who immigrated from Cole county, 
Illinois, in the fall of the year 1833, settling on the west 
side of the Navasota creek, near the site of the present 
town of Groesbeck, in Limestone county, one or two 
of the family coming a little earlier and some a little 
later. 

The elder John Parker was a native of Virginia, 
resided for a time in Elbert county, Georgia, but chiefly 
reared his family in Bedford county, Tennessee, whence 
in 1818 he removed to Illinois. 

The family, with perhaps one or two exceptions, 
belonged to one branch of the primitive Baptist church, 
commonly designated as "two seed," or "hard shell" 
Baptists. 



10 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

In the spring of 1834 tne colonist erected Parker's 
Fort, l ) a kind of wooden barricade, or wall around 
their cabins, which served as a means of better protect 
ing themselves against the numerous predatory bands 
of Indians into that, then, sparsely settled section. 

As early as 1829 the "Prairie Indians" had declared 
war against the settlers, and were now actively hostile, 

1) The reader will understand by this term, not only a place of 
defense, but the residence of a small number of families belonging to the 
same neighborhood. As the Indian mode of warfare was an indiscrim 
inate slaughter of all ages, and both sexes, it was as requisite to provide 
for the safety of the women and children as for that of the men. 

Dodridge's faithful pen picture of early pioneer forts, will perhaps 
give the reader a glimps of old Fort Parker in the dark and bloody 
period of its existence. He says : 

"The fort consisted of cabins, blockhouses, and stockades. A range 
of cabins commonly formed on one side at least of the fort. Divisions, 
or portions of logs, separated the cabins from each other. The walls 
on the outside were ten or twelve feet high, the slope of the roof being 
turned wholly inward. A very few of these cabins had puncheon floors, 
the greater part were earthen. The blockhouses were built at the angles 
of the fort. They projected about two feet beyond the outer walls of the 
cabins and stockades. Their upper stories were about eighteen inches 
every way larger in dimension than the under one, leaving an opening at 
the commencement of the second to prevent the enemy from making a 
lodgment under their walls. In some forts, instead of blockhouses the 
angles of the fort were furnished with bastions. A large folding gate, 
made of thick slabs, nearest the spring, closed the fort. The stockades, 
bastions, cabins, and blockhouse walls, were furnished with port-holes at 
proper heights and distances. The whole of the outside was completely 
bullet-proof. 

It may be truly said that "necessity is the mother of invention"; for 
the whole of this work was made without the aid of a single nail or 
spike of iron; and for this reason such things were not to be had. In 
some places, less exposed, a single blockhouse, with a cabin or two, con 
stituted the whole fort. Such places of refuge may appear very trifling 
to those who have been in the habit of seeing the formidable military 
garrisons of Europe and America, but they answered the purpose, as 
the Indians had no artillery. They seldom attacked, and scarcely ever 
took one of them." 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 11 

constantly committing depredations in different local 
ities. 

Parker's colony at this time consisted of only some 
eight or nine families, viz : Elder John Parker, patri 
arch of the family, and his wife ; his son James W. 
Parker, wife, four single children and his daughter, 
Mrs. Rachel Plummer, her husband, L. M. T. Plum- 
mer, and infant son, fifteen months old ; Mrs. Sarah 
Nixon, another daughter, and her husband L. D. 
Nixon ; Silas M. Parker (another son of Elder John), 
his wife and four children Benjamin F. Parker, an 
unmarried son of the Elder 2 ) ; Mrs. Nixon, sr., 
mother of Mrs. James W. Parker* Mrs. Elizabeth 
Kellogg, daughter of Mrs. Nixon ; Mrs. - - Duty ; 
Samuel M. Frost, wife and two children ; G. E. 
Dwight, wife and two children in all thirty-four per 
sons. 

Besides those above mentioned, old man Lunn, 

David Faulkenberry and his son Evan, Silas Bates, 
and Abram Anglin, a boy, had erected cabins a mile 
or two distant from the fort, where they resided. 

2) Elder Daniel Parker, a man of strong mental powers, a son of 
Elder John, does not ligure in these events. He signed the Declaration 
of Independence in 1836, and preached to his people till his death in 
Anderson county in 1845. Ex-Representative Ben. F. Parker, is his son 
and successor in preaching at the same place. Isaac Parker, above men 
tioned, another son, long represented Houston and Anderson counties in 
Senate and House, and in 1855 represented Tarrant county. He died in 
Parker county, not long since, not far from 88 years of age. Isaac D. 
Parker of Tarrant is his son. 



12 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

These families were truly the advance guard of civil 
ization of that part of our frontier. Fort Houston, in 
Anderson county, being the nearest protection, except 
their own trusty rifles. 

Here the struggling colonist remained, engaged in 
the avocations of a rural life, tilling the soil, hunting 
buffalo, bear, deer, turkeys and smaller game, which 
served abundantly to supply their larder at all times 
with fresh meat, in the enjoyment of a life of Arcadian 
simplicity, virtue and contentment, until the latter part 
of the year 1835, wnen the Indians and Mexicans 
forced the little band of compatriots to abandon their 
homes, and flee with many others before the invading 
army from Mexico. 

On arriving at the Trinity river they were compelled 
to halt in consequence of an overflow. Before they 
could cross the swollen stream the sudden and unex 
pected news reached them that Santa Anna and his 
vandal hordes had been confronted and defeated at San 
Jacinto, that sanguinary engagement which gave birth 
to the new sovereignty of Texas, and that TEXAS 
WAS FREE FROM MEXICAN TYRANNY. 

On receipt of this news the fleeing settlers were over 
joyed, and at once returned to their abandoned homes. 

The Parker colony now retraced their steps, first 
going to Fort Houston, where they remained a few 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 13 

days in order to procure supplies, after which they 
made their way back to Fort Parker to look after their 
stock and to prepare for a crop. 

These hardy sons o toil spent their nights in the 
fort, repairing to their farms early each morning. 

On the night of May 18, 1836, all slept at the fort, 
James W. Parker, Nixon and Plummer repairing to 
their field a mile distant on the Navasota, early next 
morning, little thinking of the great calamity that was 
soon to befall them. 

About 9 o'clock a. m. the fort was visited by several 
hundred 3 ) Comanche and Kiowa Indians. On ap 
proaching to within about three hundred yards of the 
fort the Indians halted in the prairie, presenting a white 
flag ; at the same time making signs of friendship. 

At this time there were only six men in the fort, 
three having gone out to work in the field as above 
stated. Of the six men remaining, only five were able 
to bear arms, viz : Elder John Parker, Benjamin and 
Silas Parker, Samuel and Robert Frost. There were 
ten women and fifteen children. 

The Indians, artfully feigning the treacherous semb 
lance of friendship, pretented that they were looking for 
a suitable camping place, and enquired as to the exact 

3) Different accounts have variously estimated the number of In 
dians at from 300 to 700. One account says 300, another 500, and still 
another 700. There were perhaps about 500 warriors. 



14 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

locality of a water-hole in the vicinity, at the same time 
asking for a beef to appease their hungry a want 
always felt by an Indian, when the promise of fresh 
meat loomed up in the distant perspective ; and he 
would make such pleas with all the servile sicophancy 
of a slave, like the Italian who embraces his victim ere 
plunging the poniard into his heart. 

Not daring to resent so formidable a body of savages, 
or refuse to comply with their requests, Mr. Benjamin 
F. Parker went out to them, had a talk and returned, 
expressing the opinion that the Indians were hostile 
and intented to fight, but added that he would go back 
and try to avert it. His brother Silas remonstrated, 
but he persisted in going, and was immediately sur 
rounded and killed, whereupon the whole force their 
savage instincts aroused by the sight of blood charged 
upon the works, uttering the most terrific and unearth 
ly yells that ever greeted the ears of mortals. Cries 
and confusion reigned. The sickening and bloody 
tragedy was soon enacted. Brave Silas M. Parker fell 
on the outside of the fort, while he was gallantly fight 
ing to save Mrs. Plummer. Mrs. Plummer made a 
most manful resistance, but was soon overpowered, 
knocked down with a hoe and made captive. Samuel 
M. Frost and his son Robert met their fate while hero 
ically defending the women and children inside the 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 15 

stockade. Old Granny Parker was outraged, stabbed 
and left for dead. Elder John Parker, wife and Mrs. 
Kellogg attempted to make their escape, and in the 
effort had gone about three-fourths of a mile, when 
they were overtaken and driven back near to the fort 
where the old gentleman was stripped, murdered, 
scalped and horribly mutilated. Mrs. Parker was 
stripped, speared and left for dead, but by feigning 
death escaped, as will be seen further on. Mrs. 
Kellogg was spared as a captive. 

The result summed up, was as follows : 

Killed Elder John Parker, aged seventy-nine ; Silas 
M. and Benjamin F. Parker; Samuel M. and his son 
Robert Frost. 

Wounded dangerously Mrs. John Parker; Old 
Granny Parker and Mrs. Duty. 

Captured Mrs. Rachel Plummer, (daughter of 
James W. Parker), and her son James Pratt Plummer, 
two years of age ; Mrs. Elizabeth Kellogg ; Cynthia 
Ann Parker, nine years old, and her little brother John 
Parker, aged six years, children of Silas M. Parker. 
The remainder of the inmates making their escape, 
as we shall narrate. 

When the attack on the fort first commenced, Mrs. 
Sarah Nixon made her escape and hastened to the field 
to advise her father, husband and Plummer. On her 



16 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

arrival, Plummer hurried on horseback to inform the 
Faulkenberrys, Limn, Bates and Anglin. Parker and 
Nixon started to the fort, but the former met his family 
on the way, and carried them some five miles down 
the Navasota, secreting them in the bottom. Nixon, 
though unarmed, continued on towards the fort, and 
met Mrs. Lucy, wife of the dead Silas Parker, with her 
four children, just as they were intercepted by a small 
party of mounted and foot Indians. They compelled 
the mother to lift behind two mounted warriors her 
daughter Cynthia Ann, and her little son John. The 
foot Indians now took Mrs. Parker, her two youngest 
children and Nixon back to the fort. 

Just as the Indians were about to kill Nixon, David 
Faulkenberry appeared with his rifle, and caused them 
to fall back. Nixon, after his narrow escape from 
death, seemed very much excited, and immediately left 
in search of his wife, soon falling in with Dwight, with 
his own and Frost's family. Dwight and party soon 
overtook J. W. Parker and went with him to the hid 
ing place in the bottom. 

Faulkenberry, thus left with Mrs. Parker and her 
two children, bade her to follow him. With the infant 
in her arms and leading the other child she obeyed. 
Seeing them leave the fort, the Indians made several 
feints, but were held in check by the brave man's 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. . 17 

rifle. Several mounted warriors, armed with bows 
and arrows strung and drawn, and with terrific yells 
would charge them, but as Faulkenberry would present 
his gun they would halt, throw up their shields, right 
about, wheel and retire to a safe distance. This con 
tinued for some distance, until they had passed through 
a prairie of some forty or fifty acres. Just as they 
were entering the woods, the Indians made a desperate 
charge, when one warrior, more daring than the 
others, dashed up so near that Mrs. Parker's faithful 
dog seized his horse by the nose, whereupon both 
horse and rider somersaulted, alighting on their backs 
in a ravine. Just at this moment Silas Bates, Abram 
Anglin and Evan Faulkenberry, armed, and Plummer 
unarmed, came up, causing the Indians to retire, after 
which the party made their way unmolested. 

As they were passing through the field where the 
three men had been at work in the morning, Plum 
mer, as if aroused from a dream, demanded to know 
what had become of his wife and child. Armed only 
with a butcher knife, he left the party, in search of his 
loved ones, and was seen no more for six days. 

The Faulkenberry s, Lunn, with Mrs. Parker and 
children, secreted themselves in a small creek bottom, 
some distance from the first party, each unconcious of 
the other's whereabouts. 



18 CYNTHIA ANN PAKKER. 

At twilight Abraham Anglin and Evan Faulken- 
berry started back to the fort to succor the wounded 
and those who might have escaped. On their way, 
and just as they were passing Faulkenberry's cabin, 
Anglin saw his first and only ghost. He says, "It 
was dressed in white with long, white hair streaming 
down its back. I admit that I was worse scared at 
this moment than when the Indians were yelling and 
charging us. Seeing me hesitate, my ghost now 
beckoned me to come on. Approaching the object it 
proved to be old Granny Parker, whom the Indians 
had wounded and stripped, with the exception of her 
underwear. She had made her way to the house 
from the fort by crawling the entire distance. I took 
some bed clothing, and carrying her some distance 
from the house, made her a bed, covered her up and 
left her until we should return from the fort. On ar 
riving at the fort we could not see a single individual 
alive or hear a human sound. But the dogs were 
barking, the cattle lowing, the horses neighing and 
the hogs squealing, making a hideous and strange 
meadly of sounds. Mrs. Parker had told me where 
she had left some silver, $106.50. This I found 
under a hickory bush by moonlight. Finding no one 
at the fort we returned to where I had hid Granny 
Parker. On taking her up behind me, we made our 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 19 

way back to our hiding place in the bottom, where we 
found Nixon, whom we had not seen since his coward 
ly flight at the time he was rescued by Faulkenberry 
from the Indians." 4 ) 

On the next morning, Bates, Anglin and E. Faulk 
enberry went back to the fort to get provisions and 
horses and to look after the dead. On reaching the 
fort they found five or six horses, a few saddles and 
some meal, bacon and honey. Fearing an attack 
from the red devils who might still be lurking around, 
they left without burying the dead. Returning to 
their comrades in the bottom, they all concealed them 
selves until the next night, when they started through 
the woods to Fort Houston, which place they reached 
without material suffering. 

Fort Houston, an asylum on this as on many other 
occasions, stood on what has been for many years the 
farm of a wise statesman, a chivalrous soldier and a 
true patriot John H. Reagan two miles west of 
Palestine. 

After wandering around and traveling for six days 
and nights, during which time they suffered much 

(4 In the book published by James W. Parker on pages ten and 
eleven, he states that Nixon liberated Mrs. Parker from the Indians and 
rescued old Granny Parker. Mr. Angliu, in his account contradicts, or 
rather corrects this statement. He says : "I positively assert that this 
is a mistake and I am willing to be qualified to the statement I here 
make and can prove the same by Silas H. Bates, now living near Graes- 
beck." 



20 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

from hunger and thirst, with their clothing torn into 
shreads, their bodies lacerated with briars and thorns, 
the women and children with unshod and bleeding 

feet, the party of James W. Parker men, 

and 5 ) women and children reached Tin- 

nin's, at the old San Antonio and Nacogdoches cross 
ing of the Navasota. Being informed of their approach, 
Messrs. Carter and Courtney, with five horses, met 
them some miles away, and thus enabled the women 
and children to ride. The few people around, though 
but returned to their deserted homes after the victory 
of San Jacinto, shared all they had of food and cloth 
ing with them. 

Plummer, after six days of wanderings alone in the 
wilderness, arrived at the fort the same day. 

In due time the members of the party located tem 
porarily as best suited the respective families, most of 
them returning to Fort Parker soon afterwards. 

A burrial party of twelve men from Fort Houston 
went up and burried the dead. Their remains now 
repose near the site of old Fort Parker. Peace to 
their memories. Unadorned are their graves ; not 
even a slab of marble or a memento of any kind has 
been erected to tell the traveler where rests the re 
mains of this brave little band of pioneer heroes who 
wrestled with the savage for the mastery of this proud 
domain. 

5) We are unable to ascertain the exact number. Different accounts 
variously estimate the number from 10 to 20. 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 21 

After the massacre the savages retired with their 
booty to their own wild haunts amid the hills and 
valleys of the beautiful Canadian and Pease rivers. 



22 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 



CHAPTER II. 

The Captives Cynthia Ann and John Parker. 

Of the captives we will briefly trace their subsequent 
checkered career. 

After leaving the fort the two tribes, the Coman- 
ches and Kiowas, remained and traveled together until 
midnight. They then halted on an open prairie, 
staked out their horses, placed their pickets, and 
pitched their camp. Bringing all their prisoners to 
gether for the first time, they tied their hands behind 
them with raw-hide thongs so tightly as to cut the flesh, 
tied their feet close together, and threw them upon 
their faces. Then the braves, gathering around with 
their yet bloody, dripping scalps, commenced their 
usual war dance. They danced, screamed, yelled, 
stamping upon their prisoners, beating them with 
bows until their own blood came near strangling them. 
The remainder of the night these frail women suffered 
and had to listen to the cries and groans of their tender 
little children. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Kellogg, soon fell into the hands of 
the Keechis, from whom, six months after her cap 
ture, she was purchased by a party of Delawares, who 
carried her into Nacogdoches and delivered her to 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 23 

Gen. Houston, who paid them $150.00, the amount 
they had paid and all they asked. 

On the way thence to Fort Houston, escorted by 
James W. Parker and others, a hostile Indian was 
slightly wounded and temporarily disabled by a Mr. 
Smith. Mrs. Kellogg instantly recognized him as the 
savage who had scalped the patriarch, Elder John 
Parker, whereupon, without judge, jury or court-mar 
tial, or even dallying with " Judge Lynch," he was 
involentarily hastened to the " happy hunting grounds" 
of his fathers. 

Mrs. Rachel Plummer remained a captive about 
eighteen months. Soon after her capture she was de 
livered of a child. The crying of her infant annoyed 
her captors, and the mother was forced to yield up her 
offspring to the merciless fiends, in whose veins the 
milk of human sympathy had never flowed, to be 
murdered before her eyes with all the demoniacal 
demonstrations of brutality intact in those sav 
ages. The innocent little babe but six weeks old was 
torn madly from the mother's bosom by six giant 
Indians, one of them clutched the little prattling inno 
cent by the throat, and like a hungry beast with de 
fenseless prey, he held it out in his iron grasp until all 
evidence of life seemed extinct. Mrs. Plummer's fee 
ble efforts to save her child were utterly fruitless. They 
tossed it high in the air and repeatedly let it fall on 



24 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

rocks and frozen earth. Supposing the child dead 
they returned it to its mother, but discovering traces of 
lingering life, they again, by force, tore it angrily from 
her, tied plaited ropes around its neck and threw its 
unprotected body into hedges of prickley pear. They 
would repeatedly pull it through these lacerating rushes 
with demonic yells. Finally, they tied the rope at 
tached to its neck to the pommel of a saddle and rode 
triumphantly around a circuit until it was not only dead 
but litterly torn to shreds. All that remained of that 
once beautiful babe was then tossed into the lap of its 
poor, distracted mother. With an old knife the weep 
ing mother was allowed to dig a grave and bury her 
babe. 

After this she was given as a servant to a very cruel 
old squaw, who treated her in a most bruatl manner. 
Her son had been carried off by another party to the 
far West and she supposed her husband and father had 
been killed at the massacre. Her infant was dead, and 
death to her would have been a sweet relief. Life was 
a burden, and driven almost to desperation, she re 
solved no longer to submit to the intolerant old squaw. 
One day when the two were some distance from, al 
though still in sight of the camp, her mistress attempt 
ed to beat her with a club. Determined not to submit 
to this, she wrenched the club from the hands of the 
squaw and knocked her down. The Indians, who had 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 25 

witnessed the whole proceedings from their camp, now 
came running up, shouting at the top of their voices. 
She fully expected to be killed, but they patted her on 
the shoulder, crying, " Bueno ! bueno ! ! ' (Good! 
good ! !) or well done ! She now fared much better 
and soon became a great favorite and was known as 
the " Fighting Squaw." She was eventually ransom 
ed through the agericy of some Mexican Santa Fe 
traders, by a noble-hearted, American merchant of 
that place, Mr. William Donahue. She was pur 
chased in the Rocky Mountains so far north of Santa 
Fe that seventeen days were consumed in reaching 
that place. She was at once made a member of her 
benefactor's family, where she received the kindest of 
care and attention. Ere long she accompanied Mr. 
and Mrs. Donahue on a visit to Independence, Mis 
souri, where she had the pleasure of meeting and em 
bracing her brother-in-law, L. D. Nixon, and by him 
was escorted back to her people in Texas. 1 

On the 1 9th of February, 1838, she reached her 
father's house, exactly twenty-one months from her 

(1 During her stay with the Indians, Mrs. Plnmmer had many 
thrilling adventures, which she often related after her reclamation. In 
narrating her reminiscences, she said that in one of her rambles, after 
she had been with the Indians some time, she discovered a cave in the 
mountains, and in company with the old squaw that guarded her, she 
explored it and found a large diamond, but her mistress immediately de 
manded it, and she was forced to give it up. She said also here in these 
mountains she saw a bush which had thorns on it resembling fish-hooks 
which the Indians used to catch fish with, and she herself has often 
caught trout with them in the little mountain streams. 



CYNTHIA ANN PAKKER. 

capture. She had never seen her little son, James Pratt, 
since soon after their capture, and knew nothing of his 
fate. She wrote, or dictated a thrilling and graphic 
history of her capture and the horrors of her captivity f 
the tortures and hardships she endured, and all the inci 
dents of her life with her captors, with observations 
among the savages. 2 In this book she tells the last she 
saw of Cynthia Ann and John Parker. She died on 
the 1 9th of February, 1839, 3 ust one Y ear after reach 
ing home. As a remarkable coincidence it may be 
stated that she was born on the i9th, married on the 
1 9th, captured on the i9th, released on the i9th, 
reached Independence on the I9th, arrived at home on 
the 1 9th, and died on the i9th of the month. 

Her son, James Pratt Plummer, after six long and 
weary years of captivity and suffering, during which 
time he had lived among many different tribes and 
traveled several thousand miles, was ransomed and 
taken to Fort Gibson late in 1842, and reached home 
in February, 1843, in charge of his grand-father. He 



(2 This valuable and interesting little book is now rare, scarce and 
out of print. The full title of the volume is : 

"Narration of the Perilous Adventures, miraculous escapes and suf 
ferings of Kev. Jas. W. Parker, during a frontier residence in Texas of 
fifteen years. With an impartial geographical description of the climate, 
soil, timber, water, etc., of Texas." To which is appended the narra 
tive of the capture and subsequent sufferings of Mrs. Kachel Plummer 
(his daughter) during a captivity of twenty-one months among the 
Comanche Indians, etc. 18 mo, p. p. 95 35, boards. Louisville, 1844. 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 27 

became a respected citizen of Anderson county. Both 
he and his father are now dead. 

This still left in captivity Cynthia and John Parker, 
who, as subsequently learned,. were held by separate 
bands. The brother and sister thus separated, gradu 
ally forgot the language, manners and customs of their 
own people, and became thorough Comanches as the 
long years stole slowly away. How long the camera 
of their young brains retained impressions of the old 
home within the fort, and the loved faces of their pale- 
faced kindred, no one knows ; though it would appear 
that the fearful massacre should have stamped an im 
press indellible while life continued. But the young 
mind, as the twig, is inclined by present circumstances, 
and often forced in a way wholly foreign to its native 
and original bent. 

John grew up with the little semi-nude Comanche 
boys of his own age, and played at "hunter" and 
" warrior" with pop-guns made of the elder stem, or 
bows and arrows, and often flushed the chaparral for 
hare and grouse, or entrapped the finny denizens of 
the mountain brooks with the many peculiar and in 
genious devices of the wild man for securing for his 
repast the toothsome trout which abounds so plentifully 
in that elevated and delightful region, so long inhab 
ited by the lordly Comanches. 



28 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

When just arrived at manhood, John accompanied 
a raiding party down the Rio Grande and into Mexico. 
Among the captives taken was a young Mexican girl 
of great beauty, to whom the young warrior felt his 
heart go out. The affection was reciprocated on the 
part of the fair Dona Juanita, and the two were soon 
engaged to be married, so soon as they should arrive at 
the Comanche village. Each day as the cavalcade 
moved leisurely, but steadily along, the lovers could be 
seen riding together, and discussing the anticipated 
pleasures of connubial life, when suddenly John was 
prostrated by a violent attack of small-pox. The cav 
alcade could not tarry, and so it was decided that the 
poor fellow should be left all alone in the vast Llano 
Esticado to die or recover as fate decreed. But the 
little Aztec beauty refused to leave her lover, insisting 
on her captors allowing her to remain and take care of 
him. To this the Indians reluctantly consented. 
With Juanita to nurse and cheer him up, John ling 
ered, lived, and ultimately recovered, when, with as 
little ceremony, perhaps, as consummated the nuptials 
of the first pair in Eden, they assumed the matrimoni 
al relation ; and Dona Juanita' s predilections for the 
customs and comforts of civilization were sufficiently 
strong to induce her lord to abandon the wild and no 
madic life of a savage for the comforts to be found in a 
straw-thatched Jackal. "They settled," says Mr. 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 29 

Thrall, the historian of Texas, "on a stock ranch in the 
far West." When the civil war broke out John Parker 
joined a Mexican company in the Confederate service, 
and was noted for his gallantry and daring. He, how 
ever, refused to leave the soil of Texas, and would, 
under no circumstances, cross the Sabine into Louisi 
ana. He was still living on his ranch across the Rio 
Grande a few years ago, but up to that time had never 
visited any of his relatives in Texas. 

Of Cynthia Ann Parker (we will anticipate the 
thread of the narrative). Four long years have 
elapsed since she was cruelly torn from a mother's em 
brace and carried into captivity. During this time no 
tidings have been recieved of her. Many efforts have 
been made to ascertain her whereabouts, or fate, but 
without success; when in 1840, Col. Len. Williams, 
an old and honored Texian, Mr. - Stoat, a trader, 
and a Delaware Indian guide, named "Jack Harry," 
packed mules with goods and engaged in an expedi 
tion of private traffic with the Indians. 

On the Canadian river they fell in withPa-ha-u-ka's 
band of Comanches, with whom they were peaceably 
conversant. And with this tribe was Cynthia Ann 
Parker, who from the day of her capture had never 
seen a white person. She was then about fourteen 
years of age and had been with the Indians nearly five 
years. 



30 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

Col. Williams found the Indian into whose family 
she had been adopted, and proposed to redeem her, 
but the Comanche told him all the goods he had 
would not ransom her, and at the same time "the 
fierceness of his countenance," says Col. Williams, 
"warned me of the danger of further mention of the 
subject." But old Pa-ha-u-ka prevailed upon him to 
let them see her. She came and sat down by the root of 
a tree, and while their presence was doubtless a happy 
event to the poor stricken captive, who in her doleful 
captivity had endured everything but death, she refused 
to speak a word. As she sat there, musing, perhaps, 
of distant relatives and friends, and the bereavements 
at the beginning and progress of her distress, they em 
ployed every persuasive art to evoke some expression. 
They told her of her playmates and relatives, and 
asked what message she would send them, but she had 
doubtless been commanded to silence, and with no 
hope or prospect of return was afraid to appear sad or 
dejected, and by a stocial effort in order to prevent fu 
ture bad treatment, put the best face possible on the 
matter. But the anxiety of her mind was betrayed by 
the perceptible quiver of her lips, showing that she was 
not insensible to the common feelings of humanity. 

As the years rolled by Cynthia Ann speedily devel 
oped the charms of womanhood, as with the dusky 
maidens of her companionship she performed the 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 31 

menial offices of drudgery to which savage custom 
consigns women, or practiced those little arts of 
coquetry maternal to the female heart, whether she be 
a belle of Madison Square, attired in the most elabor 
ate toilet from the elite bazars of Paris, or the half 
naked savage with matted locks and claw-like nails. 

Doubtless the heart of more than one warrior was 
pierced by the Ulyssean darts from her laughing eyes, 
or charmed by the silvery ripple of her joyous laughter, 
and laid at her feet the game taken after a long and 
arduous chase among the Antelope Hills. 

Among the number whom her budding charms 
brought to her shrine was Peta Nocona. a Comanche 

O ' 

war chief, in prowess and renown the peer of the 
famous and redoubtable "Big Foot," who fell in a 
desperately contested hand-to-hand encounter with the 
veteran ranger and Indian fighter, Captain S. P. Ross, 
now living at Waco, and whose wonderful exploits 
and deeds of daring furnished themes for song and 
story at the war dance, the council, and the camp-fire. 
Cynthia Ann, stranger now to every word of her 
mother tongue save her own name became the bride 
of Pata Nocona, performing for her imperious lord all 
the slavish offices which savageism and Indian custom 
assigns as the duty of a wife. She bore him children, 
and we are assured loved him with a species of fierce 
passion, and wifely devotion; " for some fifteen years 



32 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

after her capture," says Victor M. Rose, u a party of 
white hunters, including some friends of her family, 
visited the Comanche encampment on the upper Cana 
dian, and recognizing Cynthia Ann probably through 
the medium of her name alone, sounded her in a se 
cret manner as to the disagreeableness of a return to 
her people and the haunts of civilization. She shook 
her head in a sorrowful negative, and pointed to her 
little, naked barbarians sporting at her feet, and to the 
great greasy, lazy buck sleeping in the shade near at 
hand, the locks of a score of scalps dangling at his 
belt, and whose first utterance upon arousing would be 
a stern command to his meek, pale-faced wife. Though 
in truth, exposure to sun and air had browned the 
complexion of Cynthia Ann almost as intensely as 
were those of the native daughters of the plains and 
forest. 

She retained but the vaguest remembrance of her 
people as dim and flitting as the phantoms of a 
dream ; she was accustomed now to the wild life she 
led, and found in its repulsive features charms which 
"upper tendom" would have proven totally deficient 
in : "I am happily wedded," she said to these visitors. 
"I love my husband, who is good and kind, and my 
little ones, who, too, are his, and I cannot forsake 
them!" 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 33 

What were the incidents in the savage life of these 
children which in after times became the land marks in 
the train of memory, and which with civilized crea 
tures serves as incentives to reminiscence? 

"Doubtless," says Mr. Rose, "Cynthia Ann arrayed 
herself in the calico borne from the sacking of Linville, 
and fled with the discomfited Comanches up the Gaud- 
aloupe and Colorado, at the ruthless march of John 
H. Moore, Ben McCulloch and their hardy rangers. 
They must have been present at the battle of Antelope 
Hills, on the Canadian, when Col. John S. Ford, 
"Old Rip" and Captain S. P. Ross encountered the 
whole force of the Comanches, in 1858; perhaps John 
Parker was an actor in that celebrated battle ; and 
again at the Wichita." 

" Their' s must have been a hard and unsatisfactory 
life the Comanches are veritable Ishmaelites, their 
hands being raised against all men, and every man's 
hand against them. Literally, "eternal vigilance was 
the price of liberty" with them, and of life itself. 
Every night the dreaded surprise was sought to be 
guarded against ; and every copse was scanned for the 
anticipated ambuscade while upon the march. Did 
they flount the blood-drabbled scalps of helpless whites 
in fiendish glee, and assist at the cruel torture of the 
unfortunate prisoners that fell into their hands? Alas ! 
forgetful of their race and tongue, they were thorough 



34 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

savages, and acted in all particulars just as their Indian 
comrades did. Memory was stored but with the hard 
ships and the cruelties of the life about them ; arid the 
stolid indifference of mere animal existence furnishes 
no finely wrought springs for the rebound of reminis 
cence." 

******** 

The year 1846, one decade from the fall of Parker's 
Fort, witnessed the end of the Texian Republic, in 
whose councils Isaac Parker served as a senator, and 
the blending of the Lone Star with the gallaxy of the 
great constellation of the American Union during 
which time many efforts were made to ascertain defi 
nitely the whereabouts of the captives, as an indispen 
sable requisite to their reclamation sometimes by soli 
tary scouts and spies, sometimes through the medium of 
negotiation and sometimes by waging direct war 
against their captors, but all to no avail. 

******** 

Another decade passes away, and the year 1856 ar 
rives. The hardy pioneers have pushed the frontier of 
civilization far to the north and west, driving the In 
dian and the buffalo before them. The scene of Park 
er's Fort is now in the heart of a dense population; 
farms, towns, churches, and school houses lie along the 
path by which the Indians marched from their camp 
at the " water-hole" in that bloody May of 1836, 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 35 

Isaac Parker is now a Representative in the Legislature 
of the State of Texas. It is now twenty years since the 
battle of San Jacinto twenty years since John and 
Cynthia Ann were borne into a captivity worse than 
death the last gun of the Mexican war rung out its 
last report over the conquered capital of Mexico ten 
long years ago ; but John and Cynthia Ann Parker 
have sent no tokens to their so long anxious friends 
that they even live : Alas ! time even blunts the edge 
of anxiety, and sets bounds alike to the anguish of 
man, as well as to his hopes. 

The punishment of Prometheas is not of this world ! 



36 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 



CHAPTER III. 

The Battle of Antelope Hills. 

"Brave Colonel Ford the commander and ranger bold, 
On the South Canadian did the Comauches behold, 

On the 12th of May, at rising of sun, 
The armies did meet and the battle begun." 



The battle of the South Canadian or " Antelope 
Hills," fought in 1858, was probably one of the most 
splendid scenic exhibitions of Indian warfare ever en 
acted upon Texas soil. This was the immemorial 
home of the Comanches here they sought refuge from 
their marauding expeditions into Texas and Mexico ; 
and here, in their veritable "city of refuge," should 
the adventurous and daring rangers seek them, it was 
certain that they would be encountered in full force 
Pohebits Quasho "Iron Jacket," so called from the 
fact that he wore a coat of scale mail, a curious piece 
of ancient armor, which doubtless had been stripped 
from the body of some unfortunate Spanish Knight 
slain, perhaps, a century before some chevalier who 
followed Coronado, De Leon, La Salle was the war 
chief. He was a "Big Medicine" man, or Prophet, 
and claimed to be invulnerable to balls and arrows 
aimed at his person, as by a necromantic puff of his 
breath the missives were diverted from their course, or 
charmed, and made to fall harmless at his feet. 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 37 

Peta Nocono, the young and daring husband of 
Cynthia Ann Parker, was second in command. 

About the ist of May, in the year above named, 
Col. John S. Ford, ("Old Rip,") at the head of 100 
Texian Rangers comprising such leaders as Capts. 
S. P. Ross, (the father of Gen. L. S. Ross) ; W. A. 
Pitts, Preston, Tankersley, and a contingent of in 
Toncahua Indians, the latter commanded by their cele 
brated chief, Placido so long the faithful and implic 
itly trusted friend of the whites marched on a cam 
paign against the maruding Comanches, determined to 
follow them up to their stronghold amid the hills of the 
Canadian river, and if possible surprise them and in 
flict a severe and lasting chastisement. 

After a toilsome march of several days the Toncahua 
scouts reported that they were in the immediate vicini 
ty of the Comanche encampment. The Comanches, 
though proverbial for their sleepless vigilance, were un 
suspicious of danger and so unsuspected was the ap 
proach of the rangers, that on the day preceding the 
battle, Col. Ford and Capt. Ross stood in the old road 
from Fort Smith to Santa Fe, just north of the Rio 
Negro or "False Wichita," and watched through their 
glasses the Comanches running buffalo in the valleys 
still more to the north. That night the Toncahua 
spies completed the hazardous mission of locating defi 
nitely the position of the enemy's encampment. The 



CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

next morning (May 12) the rangers and "reserve" or 
friendly Indians, marched before sunrise to the attack. 

Placido claimed for his "red warriors" the privi 
lege of wreaking vengeance upon their hereditary 
enemies. His request was granted, and the Tonca- 
huas effected a complete surprise. The struggle was 
short, sharp and sanguinary. The women and chil 
dren were made prisoners, but not a Comanche brave 
surrendered. Their savage pride preferred death to 
the restraints and humiliations of captivity. Not a 
single warrior escaped to bear the sorrowful tidings of 
this destructive engagement to their people. 

A short time after the sun had lighted the tops of the 
hills, the rangers came in full view of the hostile camp, 
pitched in one of the picturesque valleys of the Cana 
dian, and on the opposite side of the stream, in the 
immediate vicinity of the famous "Antelope Hills." 

The panorama thus presented to the view of the 
rangers was beautiful in the extreme, and their pent- 
up enthusiasm found vent in a shout of exultation, 
which was speedily suppressed by Col. Ford. Just at 
this moment a solitary Comanche was descried riding 
southward, evidently heading for the village which 
Placido had so recently destroyed. He was wholly un- 
concious of the proximity of an enemy. Instant pur 
suit was now made ; he turned, and fled at full speed 
toward the main camp across the Canadian, closely fol- 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 39 

lowed by the rangers. He dashed across the stream, 
and thus revealed to his pursuers the locality of a safe 
ford across the miry and almost impassable river. He 
rushed into the village beyond, sounding the notes of 
alarm ; and soon the Comanche warriors presented a 
bold front of battle-line between their women and 
children and the advancing rangers. After a few min 
utes occupied in forming line of battle, both sides were 
arrayed in full force and effect. The friendly Indians 
were placed on the right, and thrown a little forward. 
Col. Ford's object was to deceive the Comanches as to 
the character of the attacking force, and as to the qual 
ity of arms they possessed. 

Pohebits Quasho, arrayed in all the trappings of his 
"war toggery" coat of mail, shield, bow and lance, 
completed by a head-dress decorated with feathers and 
long red flannel streamers; and besmeared in " war 
paint," gaily dashed about on his " war-horse" mid 
way of the opposing lines, delivering taunts and chal 
lenges to the whites. As the old chief dashed to and 
fro a number of rifles were discharged at him in point 
blank range without any effect whatever ; which seem 
ing immunity to death encouraged his warriors greatly ; 
and induced even some of the more superstitious 
among the rangers to enquire within themselves if it 
were possible that "Old Iron Jacket" really bore a 
charmed life? Followed by a few of his braves, he 



40 CYNTHIA ANN PAKKER. 

now bore down upon the rangers, described a few 
" charmed circles," gave a few necromantic puffs with 
his breath and let fly several arrows at Col. Ford, Capt. 
Ross and chief Placido ; receiving their fire without 
harm. But as he approached the line of the Tonca- 
huas, a rifle directed by the steady nerve and unerring 
eye of one of their number, Jim Pockmark, brought 
the "Big Medicine" to the dust. The shot was a 
mortal one. The fallen chieftain was instantly sur 
rounded by his braves, but the spirit of the conjuring 
brave had taken its flight to the "happy hunting 
grounds." 

These incidents occupied but a brief space of time, 
when the order to charge was given ; and then ensued 
one of the grandest assaults ever made against the 
Comanches. The enthusiastic shouts of the rangers 
and the triumphant yell of their red allys greeted the 
welcome order. It was responded to by the defiant 
"war-hoop" of the Comanches, and in those virgin 
hills, remote from civilization, the saturnalia of battle 
was inaugurated. The shouts of enraged combatants, 
the wail of women, the piteous cries of terrified chil 
dren, the howling of frightened dogs, the deadly re 
ports of rifle and revolver, constituted a discordant 
confusion of sounds, blent together in an unearthly 
mass of infernal noise. 

The conflict was sharp and quick a charge ; a mo 
mentary exchange of rifle and arrow shots, and the 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 41 

heart-rending wail of discomfiture and dismay, and 
the beaten Comanches abandoned their lodges and 
camp to the victors, and began a disorderly retreat. 
But sufficient method was observed to take advantage 
of each grove of timber, each hill and ravine, to make 
a stand against their pursuers ; and thus enable the 
women and children to make their escape. The noise 
of battle now diverged from a common center like 
the spokes of a wheel, and continued to greet the ear 
for several hours, gradually growing fainter as the pur 
suit disappeared in the distance. 

But another division, under the vigilant Peta No- 
cona, was soon marching through the hills north of 
the Canadian, to the rescue. Though ten miles dis 
tant, his quick ear had caught the first sounds of the 
battle ; and soon he was riding, with Cynthia Ann by 
his side, at the head of (500) five hundred warriors. 

About i o'clock of the afternoon the last of the 
rangers returned from the pursuit of Pohebits Qua- 
sho's discomfited braves, just in time to anticipate this 
threatened attack. 

As Capt. Ross (who was one of the last to return) 
rode up, he enquired u What hour of the morning is 
it, Colonel?" "Morning!" exclaimed Col. Ford, "it 
is one o'clock of the afternoon ;" so unconscious is one of 
the flight of time during an engagement, that the work of 



42 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

hours seems comprised within the space of a few 
moments. 

4 "Hello! what are you in line of battle for?" asked 
Ross. "Look at the hills there, and you will see," 
calmly replied Col. Ford, pointing to the hills some 
half a mile distant, behind which the forces of Peta 
Nocona were visible ; an imposing line of 500 war 
riors drawn up in battle array. 

Col. Ford had with 221 men fought and routed over 
400 Comanches, and now he was confronted by a 
stronger force, fresh from their village still higher up 
on the Canadian. They had come to drive the "pale 
faces" and their hated copper-colored allies from the 
captured camp, to retake prisoners, to retake over four 
hundred head of horses and an immense quantity of 
plunder. They did not fancy the defiant state of 
preparations awaiting them in the valley, however, and 
were waiting to avail themselves of some incautious 
movement on the part of the rangers, when the wily 
Peta Nocona with his forces would spring like a lion 
from his lair, and with one combined and desperate 
effort swoop down and annihilate the enemy. But his 
antagonist was a soldier of too much sagacity to allow 
any advantage to a vigilant foe. 

The two forces remained thus contemplating each 
other for over an hour ; during which time a series of 
operations ensued between single combatants illustrat- 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 43 

ive of the Indian mode of warfare, and the marked 
difference between the nomadic Comanche and his 
semi-civilized congeners, the Tonchua. The Ton- 

O 7 

chuas took advantage of ravines, trees and other natu 
ral shelter. Their arms were rifles and "six-shooters." 
The Comanches came to the attack with shield and 
bow and lance, mounted on gaily caparisoned and 
prancing steeds, and flaunting feathers and all the 
"georgeous" display incident to savage " finery" and 
pomp. They are probably the most expert equestri 
ans in the world. A Comanche warrior would gaily 
canter to a point half way between the opposing lines, 
yell a defiant "war hoop," and shake his shield. This 
was a challenge to single combat. 

Several of the friendly Indians who accepted such 
challenges were placed hors de combat by their more 
expert adversaries, and in consequence Col. Ford or 
dered them to decline the savage banters ; much to the 
dissatisfaction of Placido, who had conducted himself 
throughout the series of engagements with the bearing 
of a savage hero. 

Says Col. Ford: "In these combats the mind of the 
spectator was vividly carried back to the days of chiv 
alry ; the jousts and tournaments of knights and to 
the concomitants of those scenic exhibitions of gal 
lantry. The feats of horsemanship were splendid, the 
lances and shields were used with great dexterity, and 



44 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

the whole performance was a novel show to civilized 



man." 



Col. Ford now ordered Placido, with a part of his 
warriors, to advance in the direction of the enemy, and if 
possible draw them in the valley, so as to afford the 
rangers an opportunity to charge them. This had the 
desired effect, and the rangers were ready to deliver a 
charge, when it was discovered that the friendly Indi 
ans had removed the white badges from their heads 
because they served as targets for the Comanches, con 
sequently the rangers were unable to distinguish friend 
from foe. This necessitated the entire withdrawal of 
the Indians. The Comanches witnessed these prepa 
rations and now commenced to recoil. The rangers 

o 

advanced ; the trot, the gallop, the headlong charge, 
followed in rapid succession. Lieut. Nelson made a 
skillful movement and struck the enemy's left flank. 
The Comanche line was broken. A running fight for 

& o 

three or four miles ensued. The enemy was driven back 
wherever he made a stand. The most determined re 
sistance was made in a timbered ravine. Here one of 
Placido's warriors was killed, and one of the rangers, 
young George W. Pascal wounded. The Comanches 
left some dead upon the spot and had several more 
wounded. After routing them at this point the rangers 
continued to pursue them some distance, intent upon 
taking the women and children prisoners but Peta 



STOKY OF HEK CAPTURE. 45 

Nocona, by the exercise of those commanding qualities 
which had often before signalized his conduct on the 
field, succeeded in covering their retreat, and thus al 
lowing them to escape. It was now about 4 p. M., both 
horses and men were almost entirely exhausted, and 
Col. Ford ordered a halt and returned to the village. 

Brave old Placido and his warriors fought like so 
many demons. It was difficult to restrain them, so 
anxious were they to wreak vengeance on the Co- 
manches. 

In all of these engagements seventy-five (75) Co- 
manches "bit the dust." 

The loss of the rangers was small, two killed and 
five or six wounded. 

The trophies of Pohebits Quasho, including his lance, 
bow, shield, head-dress and the celebrated coat of scale 
mail, was deposited by Col. Ford in the State archives 
at Austin, where, doubtless, they may yet be seen, as 
curious relics of by-gone days. 

The lamented old chief, Placido, fell a victim to the 
revengeful Comanches during the latter part of the 
great civil war, between the North and South ; being 
assassinated by a party of his enemies on the reserva 
tion, near Fort Sill. 

The venerable John Henry Brown, some years 
since, paid a merited tribute to his memory through 
the columns of the Dallas Herald* 



46 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

Of Placido it has been said that he was the "soul of 
honor," and "never betrayed a trust." That he was 
brave to the utmost, we have only to refer to his 
numerous exploits during his long and gratuitous ser 
vice on our frontiers. He was implicitly trusted by 
Burleson and other partisan leaders ; and rendered in 
valuable services in behalf of the early Texian pion 
eers ; in recognition of which he never recieved any 
reward of a material nature, beyond a few paltry 
pounds of gun-powder and salt. Imperial Texas 
should rear a monument commemorative of his mem 
ory. He was the more than Tammany of Texas ! 
But I am digressing from the narrative proper. 

"Doubtless," says Rose, "Cynthia Ann rode from 
this ill-starred field with her infant daughter pressed to 
her bosom, and her sons two youths of about ten and 
twelve years of age, at her side, as fearful of capture 
at the hands of the hated whites, as years ago imme 
diately after the massacre of Parker's Fort she had 
been anxious for the same." 







GENERAL L S Ross. 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 47 

CHAPTER IV. 
Genl. L. S. Ross. Battle of the Wichita. 

It is not our purpose in this connection^ to assume 
the role of biographer to so distinguished a personage 
as is the chevalier Bayard of Texas General Lawrence 
Sullivan Ross. That task should be left to an abler 
pen ; and besides, it would be impossible to do any 
thing like justice to the romantic, adventurous, and 
altogether splendid and brilliant career of the brave and 
daring young ranger who rescued Cynthia Ann Park 
er from captivity, at least in the circumscribed limits of 
a brief biographical sketch, such as we shall be com 
pelled to confine ourself to ; yet, some brief mention 
of his services and exploits as a ranger captain, byway 
of an introduction to the reader beyond the limits of 
Texas, where his name and fame are as household 
words, is deemed necessary, hence we beg leave here 
to give a brief sketch of his life. 

"Texas, though her annals be brief," says the 
author of "Ross' Texas Brigade," counts upon her 
"roll of honor" the names of many heros, living and 
dead. Their splendid services are the inestimable leg 
acies of the past and present, to the future. Of the 
latter, it is the high prerogative of the State to enbalm 



48 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

their names and memories as perpetual examples to 
excite the generous emulation of the Texian youth to 
the latest posterity. Of the former it is our pleasant 
province to accord them those honors which their ser 
vices, in so eminent a degree, entitle them to receive. 
Few lands, since the days of the " Scottish Chiefs," 
have furnished material upon which to predicate a 
Douglas, a Wallace, or a Ravenswood ; and the adven 
tures of chivalric enterprise, arrant quest of danger, 
and the personal combat, were relegated, together with 
the knight's armorial trappings, to the rusty archives 
of "Tower" and "Pantheon," until the Comanche 
Bedouins of the Texian plains tendered in bold defi 
ance the savage gauntlet to the pioneer knights of pro 
gress and civilization. And though her heraldic roll 
glows with the names of a Houston, a Rusk, Lamar, 
McCulloch, Hayes, Chevellie, which illumine the 
pages of her history with an effulgence of glory, Texas 
never nurtured on her maternal bosom a son of more 
filial devotion, of more loyal patriotism, or indomitable 
will to do and dare, than L. S. Ross." 

Lawrence Sullivan Ross was born in the village of 
Bentonsport, Ohio, in the year 1838. His father, 
Captain S.. P. Ross, emigrated to Texas in 1839, 
casting his fortunes with the struggling pioneers who 
were blazing the pathway of civilization into the wilds 
of a terra incognita, as Texas then was. 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 49 

" Captain S. P. Ross was, for many years, pre-emi 
nent as a leader against the implacable savages, who 
made frequent incursions into the settlements. The 
duty of repelling these forays usually devolved upon 
Captain Ross and his neighbors, and, for many years, 
his company constituted the only bulwark of safety 
between the feeble colonist and the scalping knife. 
The rapacity and treachery of his Comanche and 
Kiowa foes demanded of Captain Ross sleepless vigi 
lance, acute sagacity, and a will that brooked no ob 
stacle or danger. It was in the performance of this 
arduous duty that he slew, in single combat, "Big 
Foot," a Comanche chief of great prowess, and who 
was for many years the scourge of the early Texas 
frontier. The services of Captain S. P. Ross are still 
held in grateful remembrance by the descendants of 
his compatriots, and his memory will never be suffered 
to pass away while Texians feel a pride in the sterling 
worth of the pioneers who laid the foundation of Tex 
as' greatness and glory. Vide "Ross* Texas Bri 
gade," p. 158. 

The following incident, as illustrative of the charac 
ter and spirit of the man and times, is given: "On 
one occasion, Captain Ross, who had been visiting a 
neighbor, was returning home, afoot, accompanied by 
his little son, 'Sul,' as the General was familiarly 
called. When within half a mile of his house, he was 



50 CYNTHIA ANN PARKEK. 

surrounded by fifteen or twenty mounted Comanche 
warriors, who commenced an immediate attack. The 
Captain, athletic and swift of foot, threw his son on 
his back, and outran their ponies to the house, escap 
ing unhurt amid a perfect shower of arrows." 

Such were among the daily experiences of the child, 
and with such impressions stamped upon the infantile 
mind, it was but natural that the enthusiastic spirit of 
the ardent youth should lead him to such adventures 
upon the "war-path," similar to those that had signal 
ized his honored father's prowess upon so many occa 
sions. 

Hence, we find "Sul" Ross, during vacation from 
his studies at Florence Weslean University, Alabama, 
though a beardless boy, scarcely twenty years of age, 
in command of a contingent of 135 friendly Indians, 
co-operating with the United States cavalry under the 
dashing Major Earl Van Dorn, in a compaign against 
the Comanches. 

# # -x- * # #&# 

Notwithstanding the severe chastisement that had 
been inflicted on the Comanches at " Antelope Hills," 
they soon renewed their hostilities, committing many 
depredations and murders during the summer of 1858. 

Early in September Major Van Dorn received or 
ders from Gen. Twiggs, to equip four companies, in 
cluding Ross' "red warriors," and go out on a scout- 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 51 

ing expedition against the hostile Indians. This he 
did, penetrating the heart of the Indian country where 
he proceeded to build a stockade, placing within it all 
the pack mules, extra horses and supplies, which was 
left in charge of the infantry. 

Ross' faithful Indian scouts soon reported the discov 
ery of a large Comanche village near the Wichita 
Mountains, about ninety miles away. The four com 
panies, attended by the spies, immediately set out for 
the village, and after a fatiguing march of thirty-six 
hours, causing the men to be continuously in the saddle 
the lattei sixteen hours of the ride, arrived in the im 
mediate vicinity of the Indian camp just at daylight on 
the morning of October ist. 

A reconnoissance showed that the wily Comanches 
were not apprehensive of an attack, and were sleeping 
in fancied security. The horses of the tribe, which 
consisted of a caballado of about 500 head, were graz 
ing near the outskirts of the village. Major Van Dorn 
directed Captain Ross, at the head of his Indians, to 
"round up" the horses, and drive them from the 
camp, which was effected speedily, and thus the Co 
manches were forced to fight on foot a proceeding 
extremely harrowing to the proud warriors' feelings. 

"Just as the sun was peeping above the eastern 
horizon," says Victor M. Rose, whose graphic narra 
tive we again quote, "Van Dorn charged the upper 



52 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

end of the village, while Ross' command, in conjunc 
tion with a detachment of United States cavalry, 
charged the lower. The village was strung out along 
the banks of a branch for several hundred yards. The 
morning was very foggy, and after a few moments of 
firing the smoke and fog became so dense that objects 
at but a short distance could be distinguished only with 
great difficulty. The Comanches fought with absolute 
desperation, and contended for every advantage, as 
their women and children., and all their possessions, 
were in peril. 

'A few moments after the engagement became gen 
eral, Ross discovered a number of Comanches running 
down to the branch, about one hundred and fifty yards 
from the village, and concluded that they were beating 
a retreat. Immediately, Ross, Lieutenant Van Camp 
of the United States Army, Alexander, a ' regular' 
soldier, and one Caddo Indian, of Ross' command, 
ran to the point with the intention of intercepting them. 
Arriving, it was discovered that the fugitives were the 
women and children. In a moment, another posse of 
women and children came running immediately past 
the squad of Ross, who, discovering a little white girl 
among the number, made his Caddo Indian grab her 
as she was passing. The little pale-face apparently 
about twelve years of age was badly frightened at 
finding herself a captive to a strange Indian and 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 53 

stranger white men, and was hard to manage at first. 
"Ross now discovered, through the fog and smoke 
of the battle, that a band of some twenty-five Co- 
manche warriors had cut his small party off from com 
munication with Van Dorn, and were bearing immedi 
ately down upon them. They shot Lieutenant Van 
Camp through the heart, killing him ere he could fire 
his double-barrelled shot-gun. Alexander, the United 
States Cavalryman, was likewise shot down before he 
could fire his gun (a rifle). Ross was armed with a 
Sharp's rifle, and attempted to fire upon the exultant 
red devils, but the cap snapped. 'Mohee,' a Co- 
manche warrior, siezed Alexander's rifle and shot Ross 
down. The indomitable young ranger fell upon the 
side on which his pistol was borne, and though partially 
paralyzed by the shot, he turned himself, and was get 
ting his pistol out when 'Mohee' drew his butcher- 
knife, and started towards his prostrate foe some 
fifteen feet away with the evident design of stabbing 
and scalping him. He made but a few steps, however, 
when one of his companions cried out something in the 
Comanche tongue, which was a signal to the band, 
and they broke away in confusion. 'Mohee' ran 
about twenty steps, when a wire-cartridge, containing 
nine buck-shot, fired from a gun in the hands of Lieu 
tenant James Majors, (afterwards a Confederate Gen 
eral), struck him between the shoulders, and he fell 



54 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

forward on his face, dead. 'Mohee' was an old ac 
quaintance of Ross, as the latter had seen him fre 
quently at his father's post on the frontier, and recog 
nized him as soon as their eyes met. The faithful 
Caddo held on to the little girl throughout this desper 
ate melee, and, strange to relate, neither were harmed. 
The Caddo, doubtless, owed his escape to the fact that 
the Comanches were fearful of wounding or killing the 
little girl. This whole scene transpired in a few mo 
ments, and Captain N. G. Evans' company of the 
Second United States Cavalry, had taken possession of 
the lower end of the Comanche village, and Major 
Van Dorn held the upper, and the Comanches were 
running into the hills and brush ; not, however, before 
an infuriated Comanche shot the gallant Van Dorn 
with an arrow. Van Dorn fell, and it was supposed 
that he was mortally wounded. In consequence of 
their wounds, the two chieftains were compelled to re 
main on the battle ground five or six days. After the 
expiration of this time, Ross' Indians made a 'litter,' 
after their fashion, borne between two gentle mules, 
and in it placed their heroic and beloved 'boy cap 
tain,' and set out for the settlements at Fort Belknap. 
When this mode of conveyance would become too 
painful, by reason of the rough, broken nature of 
the country, these brave Caddos whose race and his 
tory are but synonyms of courage and fidelity would 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 55 

vie with each other in bearing the burden upon their 
own shoulders. At Camp Radziminski, occupied by 
United States forces, an ambulance was obtained, and 
the remainder of the journey made with comparative 
comfort. Major Van Dorn was also conveyed to 
Radziminski. He speedily recovered of his wound, and 
soon made another brilliant campaign against the Co- 
manches, as we shall see further on. Ross recovered 
sufficiently in a few weeks so as to be able to return to 
college at Florence, Alabama, where he completed his 
studies, and graduated in 1859." 

This was the battle of the Wichita Mountains, a 
hotly contested and most desperate hand to hand fight 
in which the two gallant and dashing young officers, 
Ross and Van Dorn, were severely wounded. The loss 
of the whites was five killed and several wounded. 

The loss of the Comanches was, eighty or ninety 
warriors killed, many wounded, and several captured ; 
besides losing all their horses, camp equipage, sup 
plies, etc. 

The return of this victorious little army was hailed 
with enthusiastic rejoicing and congratulation, and the 
Wichita fight and Van Dorn and Ross were the themes 
of song and story for many years along the borders and 
in the halls and banqueting-rooms of the cities, and the 
martial music of the " Wichita March" resounded 
through the plains of Texas wherever the Second 



56 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

Cavalry encamped or rocle off on scouts in after years. 

The little girl captive of whose parentage or history 
nothing could be ascertained, though strenuous efforts 
were made was christened " Lizzie Ross," in honor 
of MissZzV^VTinsley, daughter of Dr. D. R. Tinsley, 
of Waco, to whom Ross at that time was engaged ; and 
afterwards married May, 1861. 

Of Lizzie Ross, it can be said that, in her career, is 
afforded a thorough verification of Lord Byron's say 
ing: " Truth is stranger than fiction!" She was 
adopted by her brave and generous captor, properly 
reared and educated, and became a beautiful and ac 
complished woman. Here were sufficient romance and 
vicissitude, in the brief career of a little maiden, to 
have turned the " roundelay's" of " troubadour and 
meunesauger." A solitary lily, blooming amidst the 
wildest grasses of the desert plains. A little Indian 
girl in all save the Caucasian's conscious stamp of su 
periority. Torn from home, perhaps, amid the heart 
rending scenes of rapine, torture and death. A stran 
ger to race and lineage stranger even to the tongue 
in which a mother's lullaby was breathed. Affiliating 
with these wild Ishmaelites of the prairie a Comanche 
in all thingss ave the intuitive premonition that she ivas 
not of them! Finally, redeemed from a captivity 
worse than death by a knight entitled to rank, for all 













LIZZIE Ross 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 57 

time in the history of Texas, "primus inter -pores" 
Vide "Ross Texas Brigade," p. 178. 

Lizzie Ross accompanied Gen. Ross' mother on a 
visit to the State of California, a few years since, and 
while there, became the wife of a wealthy merchant 
near Los Angeles, where she now resides. 

Such is the romantic story of " Lizzie Ross" a 
story that derives additional interest because of the fact 
of its absolute truth in all respects. 1 

(1. The following letter from Gen. L. S. Ross, touching upon the 
battle of the Wichita Mountains and the re-capture of "Lizzie Ross," is 
here appropriately inserted : 

"WACO, TEXAS, July 12. 1884. 

"MR. JAMES T. DESHIELDS. Dear Sir: My father could give 
you reliable data enough to fill a volume. I send you photograph of 
Cynthia Ann Parker, with notes relating to her on back of photo. On 
the 28th of October, 1858, 1 had a battle with the Comauches at Wichita 
Mts., and there recaptured a little white girl about eight years old, 
whose parentage, nor indeed any trace of her kindred, was ever found. 
I adopted, reared, and educated her, giving her the name of Lizzie Ross; 
the former name being in honor of the young lady Lizzie Tinsley to 
whom I was then engaged and afterwards married May, 1861. 

"Lizzie Ross grew to womanhood, and married a wealthy merchant 
living near Los Angeles, California, where she now resides. See History 
of 'Ross' Brigade' by Victor M. Rose, and published by Courier-Jour 
nal, for a full and graphic description of the battle and other notable in 
cidents. I could give you many interesting as well as thrilling adven 
tures of self and father's family with the Indians in the early settlement 
of the country. 

"He can give you more information than any living Texian, touch 
ing the Indian character, having been their agent and warm and trusted 
friend, in whom they had confidence. 

"My early life was one of constant danger from their forays, and I 
was twice in their hands and at their mercy, as well as the other mem 
bers of my father's family. 

"But I am just now too busy with my farm matters to give you such 
data as would subserve your purpose. 

-Yours truly, L. S. Ross." 



58 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

CHAPTER V. 
Battle of Pease River. Cynthia Ann Parker. 

For some time after Ross' victory at the Wichita 
Mountains the Comanches were less hostile, seldom 
penetrating far down into the settlements. But in 
1 85 9-' 60 the condition of the frontier was again truly 
deplorable. The people were obliged to stand in a con 
tinued posture of defense, and were in continual alarm 
and hazard of their lives, never daring to stir abroad 
unarmed, for small bodies of savages, quick-sighted 
and accustomed to perpetual watchfulness, hovered on 
the outskirts, and springing from behind bush or rock, 
surprised his enemy before he was aware of danger, 
and sent tidings of his presence in the fatal blow, and 
after execution of the bloody work, by superior knowl 
edge of the country and rapid movements, safely re 
tired to their inaccessable deserts. 

In the Autumn of 1860 the indomitable and fearless 
Peta Nocona led a raiding party of Comanches 
through Parker county, so named in honor of the fam 
ily of his wife, Cynthia Ann, committing great depre 
dations as they passed through. The venerable Isaac 
Parker was at the time a resident of the town of 
Weatherford, the county seat ; and little did he imag 
ine that the chief of the ruthless savages who spread 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 59 

desolation and death on every side as far as their arms 
could reach , was the husband of his long lost niece 
and that the comingled blood of the murdered Parkers 
and the atrocious Comanche now coursed in the veins 
of a second generation bound equally by the ties of 
consanguinity to murderer and murdered ; that the son 
of Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker would be 
come the chief of the proud Comanches, whose boast 
it is that their constitutional settlement of government 
is the purest democracy ever originated and adminis 
tered among men. It certainly conserved the object of 
its institution the protection and happiness of the peo 
pie for a longer period, and much more satisfactorily 
than has that of any other Indian tribe. The Co 
manches claimed a superiority over the other Texian 
tribes and they unquestionably were more intelligent 
and courageous. The "Reservation Policy," neces- 
essary though it be brings them all to an object level, 
the plane of lazy beggars and thieves. The Co 
manche is the most qualified by nature for receiving 
education and for adapting himself to the requirements 
of civilization, of all the southern tribes, not excepting 
even the Cherokees, with their churches, school-houses 
and farms. The Comanches after waging an unceasing 
war for nearly fifty years against the United States, 
Texas and Mexico, still number 16,000 souls* a far 
better showing than any other tribe can make, though 



60 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

not one but has enjoyed privileges to which the Co- 
manche was a stranger. It is a shame to the civiliza 
tion of the age that a people so susceptible of a high 
degree of development should be allowed to grovel in 
the depths of heathenism and savagery. But we are 
digressing. 

The loud and clamorous cries of the settlers along 
the frontier for protection, induced the Government to 
organize and send out a regiment under Col. M. T. 
Johnson to take the field for public defense. But these 
efforts proved of small service. The expedition, 
though at great expense to the state, failed to find an 
Indian until returning, the command was followed by 
the wily Comanches, their horses "stampeded" at 
night and most of the men compelled to reach the settle 
ments on foot, under great suffering and exposure. 

Captain "Sul" Ross, who had just graduated from 
Florence Wesleyan University, of Alabama, and re 
turned to Texas, was commissioned a captain of rang 
ers, by Governor Sam Houston, and directed to organ 
ize a company of sixty men, with orders to repair to 
Fort Belknap, receive from Col. Johnson all govern 
ment property, as his regiment was disbanded, and 
take the field against the redoubtable Peta Nocona, and 
afford the frontier such protection as was possible to 
this small force. The necessity of vigorous measures 
soon became so pressing that Capt. Ross determined to 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 61 

attempt to curb the insolence of these implacable 
enemies of Texas by following them into their fast 
nesses and carry the war into their own homes. In 
his graphic narration of this campaign Gen. L. S. Ross 
says : ' ' As I could take but forty of my men from my 
post, I requested Capt. N. G. Evans, in command of 
the United States troops, at Camp Cooper, to send me 
a detachment of the Second Cavalry. We had been 
intimately connected on the Van Dorn campaign, dur 
ing which I was the recipient of much kindness from 
Capt. Evans while I was suffering from a severe 
wound received from an Indian in the battle of the 
' Wichita.' He promptly sent me a sergeant and twen 
ty well mounted men. My force was still further aug 
mented by some seventy volunteer citizens under 
command of the brave old frontiersman, Capt. Jack 
Cureton, of Bosque county. These self-sacrificing pa 
triots, without the hope of pay or reward, left their de- 
defenseless homes and families to avenge the sufferings 
of the frontier people. With pack-mules laden down 
with necessary supplies the expedition marched for the 
Indian country. 

"On the 1 8th of December, 1860, while march 
ing up Pease river, I had some suspicions that Indians 
were in the vicinity, by reason of the buffalo that came 
running in great numbers from the north towards us, 
and while my command moved in the low ground I 



62 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

visited all neighboring high points to make discoveries. 
On one of these sand hills I found four fresh pony 
tracks, and being satisfied that Indian videtts had just 
gone, I galloped forward about a mile to a higher point, 
and riding to the top, to my inexpressable surprise, 
found myself within 200 yards of a Comanche village, 
located on a small stream winding around the base of 
the hill. It was a most happy circumstance that a 
piercing north wind was blowing, bearing with it 
clouds of sand, and my presence was unobserved and 
the surprise complete. By signaling my men as I 
stood concealed, they reached me without being dis 
covered by the Indians, who were busy packing up pre 
paratory to a move. By this time the Indians mounted 
and moved off north across the level plain. My com 
mand, with the detachment of the Second Cavalry, 
had out-marched and become separated from the citi 
zen command, which left me about sixty men. In 
making disposition for attack, the sergeant and his 
twenty men were sent at a gallop, behind a chain of 
sand hills, to encompass them in and cut off their re 
treat, while with forty men I charged. The attack was 
so sudden that a considerable number were killed be 
fore they could prepare for defense. They fled precipi 
tately right into the presence of the sergeant and his 
men. Here they met with a warm reception, and 
finding themselves completely encompassed, every one 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 63 

fled his own way, and was hotly pursued and hard 
pressed. 

"The chief of the party, Peta Nocona, a noted war 
rior of great repute, with a young girl about fifteen 
years of age mounted on his horse behind him, and 
Cynthia Ann Parker, with a girl child about two years 
of age in her arms and mounted on a fleet pony, fled 
together, while Lieut. Tom. Kelliheir and I pursued 
them. After running about a mile Killiheir ran up by 
the side of Cynthia's horse, and I was in the act of 
shooting when she held up her child and stopped. I 
kept on after the chief and about a half a mile further, 
when in about twenty yards of him I fired my pistol, 
striking the girl (whom I supposed to be a man, as she 
rode like one, and only her head was visible above the 
buffalo robe with which she was wrapped) near the 
heart, killing her instantly, and the same ball would 
have killed both but for the shield of the chief, 
which hung down, covering his back. When the girl 
fell from the horse she pulled him off also, but he 
caught on his feet, and before steadying himself, my 
horse, running at full speed, was very nearly upon top 
of him, when he was struck with an arrow, which 
caused him to fall to pitching or 'bucking,' and it was 
with great difficulty that I kept my saddle, and in the 
meantime, narrowly escaped several arrows coming in 
quick succession from the chief's bow. Being at such 



64 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

disadvantage he would have killed me in a few minutes 
but for a random shot from my pistol (while I was 
clinging with my left hand to the pommel of my sad 
dle) which broke his right arm at the elbow, complete 
ly disabling him. My horse then became quiet, and I 
shot the chief twice through the body, whereupon he 
deliberately walked to a small tree, the only one in 
sight, and leaning against it, began to sing a wild, 
wierd song. At this time my Mexican servant, who 
had once been a captive with the Comanches and spoke 
their language as fluently as his mother tongue, came 
up, in company with two of my men. I then sum 
moned the chief to surrender, but he promptly treated 
every overture with contempt, and signalized this dec 
laration with a savage attempt to thrust me with the 
lance which he held in his left hand. I could only 
look upon him with pity and admiration. For, de 
plorable as was his situation, with no chance of escape, 
his party utterly destroyed, his wife and child captured 
in his sight, he was undaunted by the fate that awaited 
him, and as he seemed to prefer death to life, I direct 
ed the Mexican to end his misery by a charge of buck 
shot from the gun which he carried. Taking up his 
accouterments, which I subsequently sent Gov. Hous 
ton, to be deposited in the archives at Austin, we rode 
back to Cynthia Ann and Killiheir, and found him bit 
terly cursing himself for having run his pet horse so 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 65 

hard after an 'old squaw.' She was very dirty, both 
in her scanty garments and her person. But as soon 
as I looked on her face, I said, 'Why, Tom, this is a 
white woman, Indians do not have blue eyes.' On the 
way to the village, where my men were assembling 
with the spoils, and a large caballado of 'Indian 
ponies,' I discovered an Indian boy about nine years of 
age, secreted in the grass. Expecting to be killed, he 
began crying, but I made him mount behind me, and 
carried him along. And when in after years I frequent 
ly proposed to send him to his people, he steadfastly re 
fused to go, and died in McLennan county last year. 
"After camping for the night Cynthia Ann kept cry 
ing, and thinking it was caused from fear of death at 
our hands, I had the Mexican tell her that we recog 
nized her as one of our own people, and would not 
harm her. She said two of her boys were with her 
when the fight began, and she was distressed by the 
fear that they had been killed. It so happened, how 
ever, both escaped, and one of them, 'Quanah' is now 
a chief. The other died some years ago on the plains. 
I then asked her to give me the history of her life with 
the Indians, and the circumstances attending her cap 
ture by them, which she promptly did in a very sensi 
ble manner. And as the facts detailed corresponded 
with the massacre at Parker's Fort, I was impressed 



66 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

with the belief that she was Cynthia Ann Parker. Re 
turning to my post, I sent her and child to the ladies at 
Cooper, where she could recieve the attention her situa 
tion demanded, and at the same time dispatched a 
messenger to Col. Parker, her uncle, near Weather- 
ford, and as I was called to Waco to meet Gov. Hous 
ton, I left directions for the Mexican to accompany Col. 
Parker to Cooper in the capacity of interpreter. When 
he reached there, her identity was soon discovered to 
Col. Parker's entire satisfaction and great happiness." 

And thus was fought the battle of " Pease river" be 
tween a superior force of Comanches under the implac 
able chief, Peta Nocona on one side, and sixty rangers 
led by their youthful commander, Capt. L. S. Ross, on 
the other. Ross, sword in hand, led the furious rush 
of the rangers ; and in the desperate encounter of "war 
to the knife" which ensued, nearly all the warriors bit 
the dust. 

So signal a victory had never before been gained over 
the fierce and war-like Comanches and never since 
that fatal December clay in 1860 have they made any 
military demonstrations at all commensurate with the 
fame of their proud campaigns in the past. The great 
Comanche confederacy was forever broken. The in 
cessant and sanguinary war which had been waged for 
more than thirty years was now virtually at an end. 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 67 

The blow was a most decisive one ; as sudden and irre- 
sistable as a thunder-bolt, and as remorseless and crush 
ing as the hand of Fate. 

It was a short but desperate conflict. Victory trem 
bled in the balance. A determined charge, accompan 
ied by a simultaneous fire from the solid phalanx of 
yelling rangers and the Comanches beat a hasty retreat, 
leaving many dead and wounded upon the field. Es 
pying the chief and a chosen few riding at full speed, 
and in a different direction from the other fugitives, 
from the ill-starred field, Ross quickly pursued. Divin 
ing his purpose, the watchful Pete Nocona rode at full 
speed, but was soon overtaken, when the two chiefs 
engaged in a personal encounter, which must result in 
the death of one or the other. Peta Nocona fell, and 
his last sigh was taken up in mournful wailings on the 
wings of defeat. Most of the women and children 
with a few warriors escaped. Many of these perished 
on the cold and inhospitable plains, in an effort to reach 
their friends on the head-waters of the Arkansas river. 

The immediate fruits of the victory was some four 
hundred and fifty horses, and their accumulated win 
ter's supply of food. But the incidental fruits are not 
to be computed on the basis of dollars and cents. The 
proud spirit of the Comanche was here broloen, and to 
this signal defeat is to be attributed the measurably pa 
cific conduct of these heretofore implacable foes of the 



68 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

white race during the course of the late civil war in the 
Union, a boon of incalculable value to Texas. 

In a letter recognizing the great service rendered the 
state by Ross in dealing the Comanches this crushing 
blow, Governor Houston said : 

"Your success in protecting the frontier gives me 
great satisfaction. I am satisfied that with the same 
opportunities, you would rival, if not excel, the great 
est exploits of McCulloch and Hays. Continue to re 
pel, pursue, and punish every body of Indians coming 
into the State, and the people will not withhold their 
praise." Signed: SAM HOUSTON. 




QUANAH PARKER. 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 69 



CHAPTER VI. 

Cynthia Ann Parker. Quanah Parker. 

From May I9th, 1836, to December i8th, 1860, 
was twenty-four years and seven months. Add to this 
nine years, her age when captured, and at the later 
date Cynthia Ann Parker was in her thirty-fourth 
year. During the last ten years of this quarter of a 
century, which she spent as a captive among the Co- 
manches, no tidings had been received of her. She 
had long been given up as dead or irretrievably lost to 
civilization. 

Notwithstanding the long lapse of time which had 
intervened since the Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker, 
Ross, as he interrogated his "blue eyed" but bronzed 
captive, more than suspected that she was the veritable 
" Cynthia Ann Parker," of which he had heard so 
much from his boyhood. She was dressed in female 
attire, of course, according to the custom of the Co- 
manches, which being very similar to that of the males, 
doubtless, gave rise to the eroneous statement that she 
was dressed in male costume. So sure was Ross of her 
identity that, as before stated, he at once dispatched a 
messenger to her uncle, the venerable Isaac Parker ; in 
the meantime placing Cynthia Ann in charge of Mrs. 



70 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

Evans, wife of Capt. N. G. Evans, the commandant 
at Fort Cooper, who at once, with commendable be 
nevolence, administered to her necessities. 

Upon the arrival of Col. Parker at Fort Cooper, in 
terrogations were made her through the Mexican inter 
preter, for she remembered not one word of English, 
respecting her identity ; but she had forgotten absolute 
ly everything, apparently, at all connected with her 
family or past history. 

In dispair of being able to reach a conclusion, Col. 
Parker was about to leave, when he said, "The name 
of my niece was Cynthia Ann." The sound of the 
once familiar name, doubtless the last lingering me 
mento of the old home at the fort, seemed to touch a 
responsive chord in her nature, when a sign of intelli 
gence lighted up her countenance, as memory by some 
mystic inspiration resumed its cunning as she looked 
up, and patting her breast, said, " Cynthia Ann ! Cyn 
thia Ann I" At the awakening of this single spark of 
reminiscence, the sole gleam in the mental gloom of 
many years, her countenance brightened with a pleas 
ant smile in place of the sullen expression which ha 
bitually characterizes the looks of an Indian restrained 
of freedom. There was now no longer any doubt as 
to her identity with the little girl lost and mourned so 
long. It was in reality Cynthia Ann Parker, but, O, 
so changed ! 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 71 

But as savage-like and dark of complexion as she 
was, Cynthia Ann was still dear to her overjoyed uncle, 
and was welcomed home by relatives with all the joy 
ous transports with which the prodigal son was hailed 
upon his miserable return to the parental roof. 

As thorough an Indian in manner and looks as if 
she had been so born, she sought every opportunity to 
escape, and had to be closely watched for some time. 
Her uncle carried herself and child to his home, then 
took them to Austin, where the secession convention 
was in session. Mrs. John Henry Brown and Mrs. 
N. C. Raymond interested themselves in her, dressed 
her neatly, and on one occasion took her into the gal 
lery of the hall while the convention was in session. 
They soon realized that she was greatly alarmed by the 
belief that the assemblage was a council of chiefs, sit 
ting in judgment on her life. Mrs. Brown beckoned 
to her husband, Hon. John Henry Brown, who was a 
member of the convention, who appeared and succeed 
ed in reassuring her that she was among friends. 

Gradually her mother tongue came back, and with 
it occasional incidents of her childhood, including a 
recognition of the venerable Mr. Anglin, and perhaps 
one or two others. 

The civil war coming on soon after, which necessi 
tated the resumption -of such primitive arts, she learned 
to spin, weave and to perform the domestic duties. 



72 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

She proved quite an adept in such work, and became a 
very useful member of the household. 

The ruling passion of her bosom seemed to be the 
maternal instinct, and she cherished the hope that when 
the war was concluded she would at last succeed in re 
claiming her two children who were still with the In 
dians. But it was written otherwise, and Cynthia Ann 
and her little ' 'barbarian" were called hence ere "the 
cruel war was over." She died at her brother's in 
Anderson county, Texas, in 1864, preceded a short 
time by her sprightly little daughter, " Prairie Flower." 

Thus ended the sad story of a woman far famed 
along the border. 

###&#### 

How fared it with the two young orphans we may 
only imagine. The lot of these helpless ones is too 
often one of trials, heart-pangs, and want, even among 
our enlightened people ; and it would require a painful 
recital to follow the children of Peta Nocona and Cyn 
thia Ann Parker from the terrible fight on Pease river, 
across trackless prairies, and rugged mountain-ways, in 
the inhospitable month of December, tired, hungry, 
and carrying a load upon their hearts far heavier than 
the physical evils which so harshly beset them. Their 
father was slain, and their mother a captive. Doubt 
less they were as intent upon her future recovery, dur 
ing the many years in which they shared the vicissi- 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 73 

tudes of their people, until the announcement of her 
death reached them, as her own family had been for 
her rescue during her quarter of a century of captivity. 
One of the little sons of Cynthia Ann died some years 
after her recapture. The other, now known as Capt. 
Quanah Parker, born as he says in 1854, is the chief of 
Comanches, on their reservation in the Indian Terri 
tory, eencroft LibrgJ 

Finally, in 1874, the Comanches were forced upon 
a "reservation," near Fort Sill, to lead the beggarly 
life of "hooded harlots and blanketed thieves," and it 
was at this place that the "war-chief" Quanah, learned 
that it was possible he might secure a photograph of 
his mother. 1 

An advertisement to that effect was inserted in the 
Fort Worth Gazette, when General Ross at once for 
warded him a copy. To his untutored mind it seemed 
that a miracle had been wrought in response to his 
"paper prayer*" and his exclamations, as he gazed in 
tently and long upon the faithful representation of 
"Preloch," or Cynthia Ann, were highly suggestive of 
Cowper's lines on his mother's picture 5 and we take 

(1 Mr. A. F. Corning was at Fort Worth in 1862, when Cynthia 
Ann Parker passed through there. He (Mr. C.) prevailed on her to go 
with him to a daguerreotype gallery (there were no photographs then) 
and have her picture taken. Mr. Corning still has this daguerreotype, 
and says it is an excellent likeness of the woman as she looked then. It 
is now at the Academy of Art, Waco, and several photographs have been 
taken from it, one of which was sent to Quanah Parker, and another to 
the writer, from which the frontispiece to this work was engraved. 



74 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER . 

the liberty of briefly presenting a portion of the same 
in verse : 

My mother ! and do my weeping eyes once more 
Half doubting scan thy cherished features o'er? 

Yes, 'tis the pictured likeness of my dead mother, 
How true to life ! It seems to breathe and move ; 

Fire, love, and sweetness o'er each feature melt ; 
The face expresses all the spirit felt ; 

Here, while I gaze within those large, dark eyes, 
I almost see the living spirit rise ; 

While lights and shadows, all harmonious, glow, 
And heavenly radiance settles on that brow. 

What is the "medicine" I must not know, 
Which thus can give to death life's bloom and glow. 

O, could the white man's magic art but give 
As well the happy power, and bid her live ! 

My name, me thinks, would be the first to break 
The seal of silence, on those lips, and wake 

Once more the smile that charmed her gentle face, 
As she was wont to fold me in her warm embrace. 

Yes, it is she, "Preloch," Nocona's pale-faced bride, 
Who rode, a matchless princess, at his side, 

'Neath many a bloody moon afar, 
O'er tortuous paths devoted alone to war. 

Long since she's joined him on that blissful shore, 
Where parting and heart-breakings are no more, 

And since our star with him went down in gloom, 
No more to shine above the blighting doom, 

'Neath which my people's hopes, alas, are fled, 
I, too, but long that silent path to tread, 

A child, to be with her and him again, 
Healed every wound an orphan's heart can pain ! 



STOEY OF HER CAPTURE. 75 

Quanah Parker is a Nocone, which means wanderer, 
but on the capture of his mother, Preloch, and death 
of his father, Quanah was adopted and cared for by the 
Cohoites, and when just arrived at manhood, was 
made chief by his benefactors on account of his brav 
ery. His name before he became a chief was Cepe. 
He has lived among several tribes of the Comanches. 
He was at one time with the Cochetaker, or Buffalo 
Eaters, and was the most influential chief of the Pena- 
takers. Quanah is at present one of the four chiefs of 
the Cohoites, who each have as many people as he has. 
The Cohoite Comanches were never on a reservation 
until 1874, but are to-day further advanced in civiliza 
tion than any Indians on the "Comanche reservation." 
Quanah speaks English, is considerably advanced in 
civilization, and owns a ranche with considerable live 
stock and a small farm ; wears a citizen's suit, and con 
forms to the customs of civilization withal a fine-look 
ing and dignified son of the plains. In 1-884, Quanah, 
in company with two other prominent Comanche 
chiefs, visited Mexico. In reporting their passage 
through that city, the San Antonio Light thus speaks 
of them : 

"They bear relationship to each other of chief and two subor 
dinates. Quanah Parker is the chief, and as he speaks very good 
English, they will visit the City of Mexico before they return. 
They came from Kiowa, Comanche and Wichita Indian Agency, 



76 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

and Parker bears a paper from Indian Agent Hunt that he, Park 
er, is a son of Cynthia Ann Parker, and is one of the most promi 
nent chiefs of the half-breed Comanche tribe. He is also a suc 
cessful stock man and farmer. He wears a citizen's suit of black, 
neatly fitting, regular "tooth-pick" dude shoes, a watch and gold 
chain and black felt hat. The only peculiar item in his appear 
ance is his long hair, which he wears in two plaits down his back. 
His two braves also wear civilization's garb. But wear heavy 
boots, into which their trousers are thrust in true western fashion. 
They speak nothing but their native language." 

In 1885 Quanah Parker visited the World's Fair at 
New Orleans. 

The following extract from the Fort Worth Gazette, 
is a recent incident in his career : 

"HE BLEW OUT THE GAS" 



AND ON THAT BREATH THE SOUL OF YELLOW BEAR 
FLEW TO ITS HAPPY HUNTING GROUNDS. 



Another Instance in Which the Noble Red Man Suc 
cumbs to the Influence of Civilization! 



"A sensation was created on the streets yesterday by 
the news of a tragedy from asphyxiation at the Pickwick 
hotel, of which two noted Indians, Quanah Parker and 
Yellow Bear, were the victims. 

"The circumstances of the unfortunate affair were 
very difficult to obtain because of the inability of the 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 77 

only two men who were possessed of definite infor 
mation on the subject to reveal it one on account of 
death, and the other from unconsciousness. The In 
dians arrived here yesterday from the Territory, on the 
Fort Worth & Denver incoming train. They register 
ed at the Pickwick and were asigned an apartment to 
gether in the second story of the building. 
Very little is known of their subsequent movements, 
but from the best evidence that can be collected it ap 
pears that Yellow Bear retired alone about 10 o'clock, 
and that in his utter ignorance of modern appliances, he 
blew out the gas. Parker, it is believed, did not seek 
his room until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morn-ing, when, not 
detecting from some cause the presence of gas in the 
atmosphere, or not locating its origin in the room, he 
shut the door and scrambled into bed, unmindful of 
the deadly forces which were even then operating so 
disastrously. 

"The failure of the two Indians to appear at breakfast 
or dinner caused the hotel clerk to send a man around 
to awake them. He found the door locked and was 
unable to get a response from the inmates. The room 
was then forceably entered, and as the door swung back 
the rush of the deathly perfume through the aperture 
told the story. A gastly spectacle met the eyes of the 
hotel employes. By the bedside in a crouched posi 
tion, with his face pressed to the floor, was Yellow 



78 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

Bear, in the half-nude condition which Indian fashion 
in night clothes admits. In the opposite corner near 
the window, which was closed, Parker was stretched 
at full length upon his back. Yellow Bear was stone 
dead, while the quick gasps of his companion indicated 
that he was in but a stone's throw of eternity. The 
chief was removed to the bed, and through the untiring 
efforts of Drs. Beall and Moore his life has been saved. 

"Finding Quanah sufficiently able to converse, the 
reporter of the Gazette questioned him as to the cause 
of the unhappy occurrence, and elicited the following 
facts : 

" 'I came,' said the chief, 'into the room about mid 
night, and found Yellow Bear in bed. I lit the gas 
myself. I smelt no gas when I came into the room. 
When I went to bed I turned the gas off. I did not 
blow it out. After a while I smelt the gas, but went 
to sleep. I woke up and shook Yellow Bear and told 
him 'I'm mighty sick and hurting all over.' Yellow 
Bear says, 'I'm mighty sick, too.' I got up, and fell 
down and all around the room, and that's all I know 
about it.' 

" 'Why didn't you open the door?' asked the re 
porter. 

" 'I was too crazy to know anything,' replied the 
chief, * * * * * 



STORY OF HER CAPTURE. 79 

"It is indeed, a source of congratulation that the 
chief will recover, as otherwise his tribe could not be 
made to understand the occurrence, and results detri 
mental to those having interests in the Territory would 
inevitably follow. ' ' 

The new town of Quanah, in Hardeman county, 
Texas, was named in honor of chief Quanah Parker. 

We will now conclude our little work by appending 
the following letter, which gives a true pen portrait of 
the celebrated chief as he appears at his home on the 
"reservation :" 

"ANADARKO, I. T., Feb. 4, 1886. 



"We visited Quanah in his teepe. He is a fine 
specimen of physical manhood, tall, muscular as 
straight as an arrow ; gray, look-you-straight-through- 
the-eyes, very dark skin, perfect teeth, and a heavy, 
raven-black hair the envy of feminine hearts he 
wears hanging in two rolls wrapped around with red 
cloth. His hair is parted in the middle the scalp- 
lock is a portion of hair the size of a dollar, plaited and 
tangled, signifying: 'If you want fight you can have 
it.' 

"Quanah is how camped with a thousand of his sub 
jects at the foot of some hills near Anadarko. Their 
white teepes, and the inmates dressed in their bright 
blankets and feathers, cattle grazing, children playing, 



80 CYNTHIA ANN PARKER. 

lent a wierd charm to the lonely, desolate hills, lately 
devastated by prairie fire. 

"He has three squaws, his favorite being the daugh 
ter of Yellow Bear, who met his death by asphyxiation 
at Fort Worth in December last. He said he gave 
seventeen horses for her. His daughter Cynthia, 
named for her grandmother, Cynthia Parker, is an in 
mate of the Indian Agent's house. Quanah was at 
tired in a full suit of buck-skin tunic, leggins and 
moccasins elaborately trimmed in beads a red breech- 
cloth, with ornamental ends hanging down. A very 
handsome and expensive Mexican blanket was thrown 
around his body; in his ears were little stuffed birds. 
His hair done with the feathers of bright plumaged birds. 
He was handsomer by far than any I ngomar the writer 
has ever seen but there was no squaw fair enough to 
personate his Parthenia. His general aspect, manners, 
bearing, education, natural intelligence, show plainly 
that white blood trickles through his veins. When 
traveling he assumes a complete civilian's outfit dude 
collar, watch and chain takes out his ear-rings he of 
course cannot cut off his long hair, saying that he 
could no longer be 4 big chief.' He has a handsome 
carriage ; drives a pair of matched grays, always 
traveling with one of his squaws (to do the chores). 
Minna-a-ton-ccha is with him now. She knows no 
English, but while her lord is conversing, gazes, dumb 
with admiration, at 'my lord' ready to obey his 
slightest wish or command."