“Me Cincee Ann”
Cynthia Ann Parker had the unusual distinction in life of being kidnapped twice. Born in about 1825 in Crawford County, Illinois, Cynthia and her large family settled in east Texas in the 1830s and built Fort Parker on the headwaters of the Navasota River in Limestone County.
On the morning of 19 May 1836 several hundred men from the Caddo, Comanche and Kiowa tribes attacked Fort Parker and captured five people, including Cynthia. The others were released but Cynthia stayed with the Comanche for almost 25 years and adopted their ways. She married the Comanche chief Peta Nocona and had two sons, Quanah Parker and Pecos, and a daughter, Topsannah.
On 18 December 1860 Texas Rangers, led by Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, captured Cynthia and her daughter at the Battle of Pease River at Mule Creek. Nocona was shot but managed to escape with his sons. Back at the Ranger’s base Ross noticed that the woman his men had captured had blue eyes. The woman could not speak English and did not know her name but, when questioned, she told them of her capture as a child.
The details matched what Ross knew of the Fort Parker Massacre of 1836. Ross sent the woman to Camp Cooper and a message to Colonel Isaac Parker, the uncle of a young girl kidnapped in the raid. When the colonel said that his niece’s name was Cynthia Anne, the woman said, “Me Cincee Ann.” On 8 April 1861 the Texas legislature made her cousins, Isaac Duke Parker and Benjamin F. Parker, Cynthia Anne’s legal guardians and gave her a league of land and $100 a year for five years.
Fort Parker, Limestone County, Texas, USA
Thursday 19 May 1836
Cynthia never enjoyed her return to “civilization” and attempted to escape several times. In 1863, her son Pecos died of smallpox and her daughter caught influenza and died, aged five, from pneumonia.
Cynthia was heartbroken and refused to eat. She died in 1870 at the age of 45 and was buried in Fosterville Cemetery in Anderson County near Frankston. In 1910 her son, Quanah, moved her body to the Post Oak Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma. She was later moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and reburied beside Quanah who died on 23 February 1911.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The city of Crowell, Texas, holds an annual Cynthia Ann Parker Festival.