Native American Relations

Quanah Parker to Governor Campbell, 1909

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Restoration of Fort Parker, near present-day Groesbeck, Texas,
from which Cynthia Ann Parker was captured by Comanches on May 19, 1836.

Cynthia Ann Parker was 9 or 10 when she and her brother John were captured by Comanches. Her brother was eventually ransomed, but Cynthia Ann remained with the tribe, eventually marrying the warrior Peta Nocona. On December 18, 1860, Texas Rangers commanded by Lawrence Sullivan Ross raided her village and took her and her daughter captive.

She was restored to her family, under the guardianship of Isaac D. and Benjamin F. Parker, and the Texas Legislature voted her a pension and a league of land. Her return to her family was not a happy one, and she tried several times to return to the Comanche. She remained separated from her two sons, Quanah and Pecos.

Her name appears in the 1870 census, but she died shortly thereafter. She was buried originally in Fosterville Cemetery in Anderson County. 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 reinterred beside Quanah.

Quanah Parker, the oldest son of Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker remained with the tribe after the raid that killed his father and returned his mother and sister to her American family. With the Nocones tribe virtually extinguished, he found refuge with the Quahadi Comanches of the Llano Estacado. He rode and fought with the tribe throughout the 1860s and into the 1870s. Eventually, though, he and his tribe were forced onto the reservation where Quanah's exceptional ability to adjust to reservation life led the army to declare him chief of the scattered Comanche tribes under their jurisdiction.

Parker worked to improve the lot of his people and to defend them against further encroachments on their land. By 1901, however, the government broke up the reservation lands, and left the tribe to fend for itself. In 1902, the Comanche named him deputy sheriff of Lawton, Oklahoma. On February 11, 1911, while visiting the Cheyenne Reservation, he became ill. He died at his ranch on February 23.

Cynthia Ann's capture and eventual rescue formed the basis of John Ford's great western film "The Searchers."


Cache Okla.
July 22rd, 1909

Governor Campbell,
Austin, Texas.

Dear sir,
Congress has set aside money for
me to remove the body of my Mother Cynthia
Ann Parker and build a monunt and some
time pasted I was hunting in Texas and
they accused me killing antelope and Iam afriad to come for fear they might make some
trouble for me because of a dislike to a friend
of mine in Texas, would you protect me
if Iwas to come to Austin and neighbor
hood to remove my mother's body some time soon.

Yours very truly,
Quanah Parker

Page last modified: December 5, 2017