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Oldest child to Silas and Lucinda Parker, Cynthia was born in Illinois sometime around 1825. By 1833, her family had uprooted and moved to Texas as her father became enlisted in the military there. The Parkers were awarded a settlement that abutted Comanche territory. Three years later, on May 19, 1836 Comanche warriors attacked Cynthia’s homestead. Cynthia’s father and uncle lost their lives during the attack. Cynthia along with her brother and sister, an aunt, a cousin and a first cousin were kidnapped by Comanche scouts as well as Kiowa and Kichai sympathizers.

Woman holds a small boy
Adult Cynthia with her son, Quanah.

Throughout history, many tales of white children being taken to native tribes end with the child losing their life. While Cynthia’s first few years with the Comanche were by no means smooth and welcoming, she was eventually taken in by a native couple and raised as one of their own. Later she went on to marry a member of the tribe and produce three children with him.

All the while what remained of her family in the form of younger siblings and an uncle never gave up looking for her and fighting to get her back. Despite several petitions the Comanche refused to give up Cynthia. A newspaper dating back to 1845 documents a meeting between Cynthia and Colonel Leonard G. William and his trading party. The now grown Cynthia makes it clear she does not wish to return to her white family. During the Battle of Pease River, Cynthia was captured by Texas Rangers and forced to return to her old family. Cynthia found this unwelcome and made several attempts to flee back to the Comanche. She never truly felt comfortable with her white family and refused to cut ties with her half-native children. Sadly Cynthia died in 1870. Her son Quanah, had her burial moved to Post Oak Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma. In 1957, Cynthia and her son were moved to the Fort Sill Post Cemetery. When visiting the graves today, you can see small offerings of coins left by modern Comanche visitors.

While facing great danger at such a young age, Cynthia managed to overcome the horrors of her story and find a place within a completely different community. Sadly, while her white family were trying to do what they thought best, they did not realize they must have also caused such a huge disturbance to her world. Cythia’s grit and resilience displayed in her story makes her a prime candidate for Great Girl status as one could not survived such a terrifying situation without heaps upon heaps of courage and bravery.

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