CYNTHIA ANN CAPTURED HERESOMETHING FOUND
The Pease River Battlefield is a few miles east of Margaret, Texas.
One of the best western movies ever made was called The Searchers
starring John Wayne. It was about a little girl named Cynthia Ann Parker who was abducted by the Comanche on May 19, 1836. Her uncle, John Wayne, started out looking for her the next day and doggedly continued to search for her for several years, but never came close to finding her. Through the passing of years she had become fully assimilated into the tribe and was known among them as Naduah, “Something Found”. When she came of age she married a war chief named Peta Nocona and the happy couple had three children together, two sons and a daughter. The eldest son was named Pecos, or “Pecan”, the second son was named Quannah, and the daughter was named Toh Tsee Ah, “Prairie Flower”.
The Comanche continued to raid pretty much with impunity. Following a particularly vicious and long lasting raid in 1860 the cavalry, some Texas militia forces, and a company of Texas Rangers commanded by Captain Sul Ross went in determined pursuit. It was a poorly organized effort that became widely scattered as their weak horses wore down. On the morning
TREELINE IN MIDGROUND SHOWS THE PEASE RIVER
It seems apparent that Captain Ross attacked the peaceful hunting party across the farmland towards the river.
of December 18, 1860 the Rangers stumbled across a small hunting party of Comanche just as they were breaking camp on the Pease River. Captain Ross and the few of his men who could keep up attacked them. They killed a few women and children, and a couple of old men. Ross ran down a couple fleeing with a small child. The warrior was killed and the woman and child were captured. The woman turned out to be Cynthia Ann Parker and the child was the three year old daughter, Prairie Flower. In Texas history it became known as the Battle of Pease River, and deserved to be quickly forgotten had it not been for Sul Ross. He eventually was elected Governor of Texas and repeated the story of the battle many times to suit his political needs. His various stories were repeated in different newspapers with the result that historians have no idea which story, if any of them, was true.
In one story he claimed that the warrior he killed was Peta Nocona. In another story he claimed that Peta Nocona was killed by a Mexican guide who rode up and saved his bacon as he was
Throughout pretty much all of her life she was a captive, but her happiest times were as a captive of the Comanche. This is her third and final resting place and it is a place of high honor.
taking Cynthia Ann into custody. In all stories the number of casualties suffered by each is side is different. Other accounts were given by men who were not even there. Rangers who were there claimed that the fight should not even be dignified as a battle.
What seems clear enough is that Cynthia Ann was once again taken into captivity and finally remanded into the custody of surviving family members that she did not even know and had no interest in remaining among. Several times she attempted to slip away and return to her Comanche family. At the age of five years Prairie Flower died of pneumonia. In 1871 Cynthia decided to starve herself to death rather than remain in forced captivity. She was buried without regret in a family plot beside her daughter. She would have been forgotten to history had it not been for her middle child, Quannah, who would become the most implacable and feared war chief among all of the Comanche.
During the Red River War in 1874 Colonel Ranald MacKenzie surprised and defeated Quannah’s band of holdouts in Palo Duro Canyon. They were brought onto a reservation near Cache, Oklahoma and Quannah was
She died of pneumonia at the age of five years in captivity by the whites.
made principal chief. His people seemed to prosper under his guidance. He was revered by his people and highly respected by the whites. He lived in a fine two story home, called the Star House, that is still standing but has fallen into a poor state of repair and closed to the public. The Star House is on reservation land that has since become the county fairgrounds, but the fairgrounds are now closed too. His home is called the Star House because the roof was festooned with several star shaped shingles. When Quannah learned the fate of his mother and her name, he added Parker as his last name and had both her and his sister dug up and reburied in a Comanche cemetery near Cache. When he died in 1911 all three of them were buried at Fort Sill.
Quannah insisted for years that he and his dad got up early on the morning of December 18, 1860 and had already left camp to go hunting before Captain Ross attacked it. He maintained that the Indian who died defending his mom was a captive Mexican servant. His dad got sick and died in bed a few years later
The Oak Hill Cemetery at Fort Sill, near Lawton, Oklahoma is hallowed ground. Many notable war chiefs are buried there. Quannah Parker has the largest monument among them.
without ever taking another wife. Out of all the stories told about the Battle of Pease River his makes the most sense.
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