Transcript of Cynthia Ann Parker

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture, and education.

Cynthia Ann Parker is the most famous Indian captive in American history.

She was born in Illinois, around 1827. In 1833, her family moved to Texas and built Fort Parker in what is now Limestone County, east of Waco. Comanche warriors attacked the fort in 1836 and took young Cynthia Ann captive.

Parker spent the next twenty-four years with the Indians, eventually marrying the warrior Peta Nocona, with whom she had two sons and a daughter. White traders and soldiers spotted Parker several times during these years, but she refused to abandon her Comanche family. In 1860, however, Texas Rangers and federal soldiers abducted her, with her infant daughter, in an attack on a Comanche encampment in north Texas.

Parker was reunited with the white family she no longer remembered. Sadly, she struggled to readjust. A number of times she tried to escape with her daughter and return to the Comanche and her two sons.

Parker died in 1871 and was buried in Anderson County in East Texas. Her son Quanah—who became the most important Comanche leader of his day—later had her reinterred near his home in Oklahoma. In 1957, the federal government relocated her remains, along with those of Quanah and some seven hundred other Comanches, to the cemetery at Fort Sill.

More information about Cynthia Ann Parker and other Texas Originals is available at This program is produced by Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.