Parker, Quanah

Quanah Parker (1845? to 1911)

Quanah Parker (circa 1845 to 1911) was the son of Peta Nocona, a Comanche chief, and Cynthia Ann Parker, the daughter of a settler who was captured in 1836 when she was nine years old. She grew up happily in the Comanche culture until she was abducted back into white civilization where she lived unhappily and finally died. Quanah fought against the westward pressures caused by the settlers but ultimately changed his opinion and supported white ways. In 1886 he was appointed a judge of the Court of Indian Affairs. He ultimately lost this position in 1898 due to factionalism within the tribe and white pressures against his polygamy. He had seven wives and seven children.

Quanah advertised in the Fort Worth Gazette for an image of his mother. Captain Ross, later governor of Texas, sent him a photograph taken circa 1862 that was used as the basis for this oil painting which Parker hung in his home at Fort Sill.

Cynthia Ann (circa 1825 to 1870) was born in Illinois, the daughter of Lucy and Silas. When she was young, her family moved to Texas and built a religious settlement known as Fort Parker. On May 19, 1836 they were attacked by several hundred Indians. The Comanches seized five captives including Cynthia Ann. Four were released, but she remained with them and was integrated into the tribe, refusing all attempts to ransom her. She married Peta Nocoma, a chief, and had three children, two boys of which Quanah was the eldest, and a girl. While traveling through Fort Worth, she was photographed with her daughter. Her hair has been cut off in mourning, as she feared her husband had been killed during a raid by the Texas Rangers.

In 1861 the Texas legislature voted her money, land and appointed guardians, however she made several unsuccessful attempts to return to the Comanche. She grieved for her family and in 1863 when she learned that her younger son, Pecos had died of small pox and her daughter of influenza, she became a recluse, rarely speaking or eating. She died in 1870 and was buried in Anderson County. She was later reinterred beside Quanah at Fort Sill.

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