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Title: Cynthia Ann Parker - The Story of her Capture at the Massacre of the Inmates of Parker's Fort
Author: DeShields, James T.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: CYNTHIA ANN PARKER.]



      At the Massacre of the Inmates of Parker’s Fort; of her Quarter
      of a Century Spent Among the Comanches, as the Wife of the War
      Chief, Peta Nocona; and of her Recapture at the Battle of Pease
      River, by Captain L. S. Ross, of the Texian Rangers.


    Author of “Frontier Sketches,” Etc.

      “Truth is Stranger than Fiction.”


  Printed for the Author,

  Copyright 1886 by
  All Rights Reserved.

  Printing and Book Manufacturing Co.,


  (By Permission)






In the month of June, 1884, there appeared in the columns of the Forth
Worth _Gazette_ an advertisement signed by the Comanche chief, Quanah
Parker, and dated from the reservation near Fort Sill, in the Indian
Territory, enquiring for a photograph of his late mother, Cynthia Ann
Parker, which served to revive interest in a tragedy which has always
been enveloped in a greater degree of mournful romance and pathos than
any of the soul-stirring episodes of our pioneer life, so fruitful of
incidents of an adventurous nature.

From the valued narratives kindly furnished us by Victor M. Ross,
Major John Henry Brown and Gen. L. S. Ross, supplemented by the Jas.
W. Parker book and copious notes from Hon. Ben. F. Parker, together
with most of the numerous partial accounts of the fall of Parker’s
Fort and subsequent relative events, published during the past fifty
years; and after a careful investigation and study of the whole, we
have laboriously and with much pains-taking, sifted out and evolved the
foregoing narrative of plain, unvarnished facts, which form a part of
the romantic history of Texas.

In the preparation of our little volume the thanks of the youthful
author are due to Gen. L. S. Ross, of Waco; Major John Henry Brown
of Dallas; Gen. Walter P. Lane of Marshall; Col. John S. Ford of San
Antonio; Rev. Homer S. Thrall--the eminent historian of Texas; Mr. A.
F. Corning of Waco; Capt. Lee Hall, Indian Agent, I. T., and Mrs. C. A.
Westbrook of Lorena, for valuable assistance rendered.

To Victor M. Ross of Laredo, Texas, the author has been placed under
many and lasting obligations for valuable data so generously placed at
his disposal, and that too at considerable sacrifice to the donor.

From this source we have obtained much of the matter for our narrative.

In submitting our little work--the first efforts of the youthful
author--we assure the reader that while there are, doubtless, many
defects and imperfections, he is not reading fiction, but facts which
form only a part of the tragic and romantic history of the Lone Star

                                         JAMES T. DeSHIELDS,

  BELTON, Texas, May 19, 1886.


  PREFACE                                            5

  THE PARKER FORT MASSACRE, ETC.                  9-21


  THE BATTLE OF “ANTELOPE HILLS”                 36-46


        ANN PARKER                               58-68




The Parker Fort Massacre, Etc.

Contemporary with, and among the earliest of the daring and hardy
pioneers that penetrated the eastern portion of the Mexican province
of Texas, were the “Parker family,” who immigrated from Cole county,
Illinois, in the fall of the year 1833, settling on the west side of
the Navasota creek, near the site of the present town of Groesbeck, in
Limestone county, one or two of the family coming a little earlier and
some a little later.

The elder John Parker was a native of Virginia, resided for a time
in Elbert county, Georgia, but chiefly reared his family in Bedford
county, Tennessee, whence in 1818 he removed to Illinois.

The family, with perhaps one or two exceptions, belonged to one branch
of the primitive Baptist church, commonly designated as “two seed,” or
“hard shell” Baptists.

In the spring of 1834 the colonist erected Parker’s Fort,[1] a kind of
wooden barricade, or wall around their cabins, which served as a means
of better protecting themselves against the numerous predatory bands of
Indians into that, then, sparsely settled section.

  [1] The reader will understand by this term, not only a place
      of defense, but the residence of a small number of families
      belonging to the same neighborhood. As the Indian mode of
      warfare was an indiscriminate slaughter of all ages, and both
      sexes, it was as requisite to provide for the safety of the
      women and children as for that of the men.

      Dodridge’s faithful pen picture of early pioneer forts, will
      perhaps give the reader a glimps of old Fort Parker in the
      dark and bloody period of its existence. He says:

      “The _fort_ consisted of cabins, blockhouses, and stockades. A
      range of cabins commonly formed on one side at least of the
      fort. Divisions, or portions of logs, separated the cabins
      from each other. The walls on the outside were ten or twelve
      feet high, the slope of the roof being turned wholly inward.
      A very few of these cabins had puncheon floors, the greater
      part were earthen. The blockhouses were built at the angles
      of the fort. They projected about two feet beyond the outer
      walls of the cabins and stockades. Their upper stories
      were about eighteen inches every way larger in dimension
      than the under one, leaving an opening at the commencement
      of the second to prevent the enemy from making a lodgment
      under their walls. In some forts, instead of blockhouses the
      angles of the fort were furnished with bastions. A large
      folding gate, made of thick slabs, nearest the spring, closed
      the fort. The stockades, bastions, cabins, and blockhouse
      walls, were furnished with port-holes at proper heights
      and distances. The whole of the outside was completely

      It may be truly said that “necessity is the mother of
      invention”; for the whole of this work was made without the
      aid of a single nail or spike of iron; and for this reason
      such things were not to be had. In some places, less exposed,
      a single blockhouse, with a cabin or two, constituted the
      whole fort. Such places of refuge may appear very trifling
      to those who have been in the habit of seeing the formidable
      military garrisons of Europe and America, but they answered
      the purpose, as the Indians had no artillery. They seldom
      attacked, and scarcely ever took one of them.”

As early as 1829 the “Prairie Indians” had declared war against
the settlers, and were now actively hostile, constantly committing
depredations in different localities.

Parker’s colony at this time consisted of only some eight or nine
families, viz: Elder John Parker, patriarch of the family, and his
wife; his son James W. Parker, wife, four single children and his
daughter, Mrs. Rachel Plummer, her husband, L. M. T. Plummer, and
infant son, fifteen months old; Mrs. Sarah Nixon, another daughter, and
her husband L. D. Nixon; Silas M. Parker (another son of Elder John),
his wife and four children; Benjamin F. Parker, an unmarried son of
the Elder[2]; Mrs. Nixon, sr., mother of Mrs. James W. Parker; Mrs.
Elizabeth Kellogg, daughter of Mrs. Nixon; Mrs. ---- Duty; Samuel M.
Frost, wife and two children; G. E. Dwight, wife and two children; in
all thirty-four persons.

  [2] Elder Daniel Parker, a man of strong mental powers, a son
      of Elder John, does not figure in these events. He signed
      the Declaration of Independence in 1836, and preached to
      his people till his death in Anderson county in 1845.
      Ex-Representative Ben. F. Parker, is his son and successor in
      preaching at the same place. Isaac Parker, above mentioned,
      another son, long represented Houston and Anderson counties
      in Senate and House, and in 1855 represented Tarrant county.
      He died in Parker county, not long since, not far from 88
      years of age. Isaac D. Parker of Tarrant is his son.

Besides those above mentioned, old man ---- Lunn, David Faulkenberry
and his son Evan, Silas Bates, and Abram Anglin, a boy, had erected
cabins a mile or two distant from the fort, where they resided.

These families were truly the advance guard of civilization of that
part of our frontier. Fort Houston, in Anderson county, being the
nearest protection, except their own trusty rifles.

Here the struggling colonist remained, engaged in the avocations of
a rural life, tilling the soil, hunting buffalo, bear, deer, turkeys
and smaller game, which served abundantly to supply their larder at
all times with fresh meat, in the enjoyment of a life of Arcadian
simplicity, virtue and contentment, until the latter part of the
year 1835, when the Indians and Mexicans forced the little band of
compatriots to abandon their homes, and flee with many others before
the invading army from Mexico.

On arriving at the Trinity river they were compelled to halt in
consequence of an overflow. Before they could cross the swollen stream
the sudden and unexpected news reached them that Santa Anna and his
vandal hordes had been confronted and defeated at San Jacinto, that
sanguinary engagement which gave birth to the new sovereignty of Texas,

On receipt of this news the fleeing settlers were overjoyed, and at
once returned to their abandoned homes.

The Parker colony now retraced their steps, first going to Fort
Houston, where they remained a few days in order to procure supplies,
after which they made their way back to Fort Parker to look after their
stock and to prepare for a crop.

These hardy sons of toil spent their nights in the fort, repairing to
their farms early each morning.

On the night of May 18, 1836, all slept at the fort, James W. Parker,
Nixon and Plummer repairing to their field a mile distant on the
Navasota, early next morning, little thinking of the great calamity
that was soon to befall them.

About 9 o’clock a. m. the fort was visited by several hundred[3]
Comanche and Kiowa Indians. On approaching to within about three
hundred yards of the fort the Indians halted in the prairie, presenting
a white flag; at the same time making signs of friendship.

  [3] Different accounts have variously estimated the number of
      Indians at from 300 to 700. One account says 300, another
      500, and still another 700. There were perhaps about 500

At this time there were only six men in the fort, three having gone
out to work in the field as above stated. Of the six men remaining,
only five were able to bear arms, viz: Elder John Parker, Benjamin and
Silas Parker, Samuel and Robert Frost. There were ten women and fifteen

The Indians, artfully feigning the treacherous semblance of friendship,
pretented that they were looking for a suitable camping place, and
enquired as to the exact locality of a water-hole in the vicinity, at
the same time asking for a beef to appease their hungry--a want always
felt by an Indian, when the promise of fresh meat loomed up in the
distant perspective; and he would make such pleas with all the servile
sicophancy of a slave, like the Italian who embraces his victim ere
plunging the poniard into his heart.

Not daring to resent so formidable a body of savages, or refuse to
comply with their requests, Mr. Benjamin F. Parker went out to them,
had a talk and returned, expressing the opinion that the Indians were
hostile and intented to fight, but added that he would go back and
try to avert it. His brother Silas remonstrated, but he persisted in
going, and was immediately surrounded and killed, whereupon the whole
force--their savage instincts aroused by the sight of blood--charged
upon the works, uttering the most terrific and unearthly yells that
ever greeted the ears of mortals. Cries and confusion reigned. The
sickening and bloody tragedy was soon enacted. Brave Silas M. Parker
fell on the outside of the fort, while he was gallantly fighting to
save Mrs. Plummer. Mrs. Plummer made a most manful resistance, but was
soon overpowered, knocked down with a hoe and made captive. Samuel M.
Frost and his son Robert met their fate while heroically defending
the women and children inside the stockade. Old Granny Parker was
outraged, stabbed and left for dead. Elder John Parker, wife and Mrs.
Kellogg attempted to make their escape, and in the effort had gone
about three-fourths of a mile, when they were overtaken and driven
back near to the fort where the old gentleman was stripped, murdered,
scalped and horribly mutilated. Mrs. Parker was stripped, speared and
left for dead, but by feigning death escaped, as will be seen further
on. Mrs. Kellogg was spared as a captive.

The result summed up, was as follows:

Killed--Elder John Parker, aged seventy-nine; Silas M. and Benjamin F.
Parker; Samuel M. and his son Robert Frost.

Wounded dangerously--Mrs. John Parker; Old Granny Parker and Mrs. ----

Captured--Mrs. Rachel Plummer, (daughter of James W. Parker), and her
son James Pratt Plummer, two years of age; Mrs. Elizabeth Kellogg;
Cynthia Ann Parker, nine years old, and her little brother John Parker,
aged six years, children of Silas M. Parker. The remainder of the
inmates making their escape, as we shall narrate.

When the attack on the fort first commenced, Mrs. Sarah Nixon made her
escape and hastened to the field to advise her father, husband and
Plummer. On her arrival, Plummer hurried on horseback to inform the
Faulkenberrys, Lunn, Bates and Anglin. Parker and Nixon started to the
fort, but the former met his family on the way, and carried them some
five miles down the Navasota, secreting them in the bottom. Nixon,
though unarmed, continued on towards the fort, and met Mrs. Lucy,
wife of the dead Silas Parker, with her four children, just as they
were intercepted by a small party of mounted and foot Indians. They
compelled the mother to lift behind two mounted warriors her daughter
Cynthia Ann, and her little son John. The foot Indians now took Mrs.
Parker, her two youngest children and Nixon back to the fort.

Just as the Indians were about to kill Nixon, David Faulkenberry
appeared with his rifle, and caused them to fall back. Nixon, after his
narrow escape from death, seemed very much excited, and immediately
left in search of his wife, soon falling in with Dwight, with his own
and Frost’s family. Dwight and party soon overtook J. W. Parker and
went with him to the hiding place in the bottom.

Faulkenberry, thus left with Mrs. Parker and her two children, bade
her to follow him. With the infant in her arms and leading the other
child she obeyed. Seeing them leave the fort, the Indians made several
feints, but were held in check by the brave man’s rifle. Several
mounted warriors, armed with bows and arrows strung and drawn, and with
terrific yells would charge them, but as Faulkenberry would present
his gun they would halt, throw up their shields, right about, wheel
and retire to a safe distance. This continued for some distance, until
they had passed through a prairie of some forty or fifty acres. Just
as they were entering the woods, the Indians made a desperate charge,
when one warrior, more daring than the others, dashed up so near that
Mrs. Parker’s faithful dog seized his horse by the nose, whereupon both
horse and rider somersaulted, alighting on their backs in a ravine.
Just at this moment Silas Bates, Abram Anglin and Evan Faulkenberry,
armed, and Plummer unarmed, came up, causing the Indians to retire,
after which the party made their way unmolested.

As they were passing through the field where the three men had been at
work in the morning, Plummer, as if aroused from a dream, demanded to
know what had become of his wife and child. Armed only with a butcher
knife, he left the party, in search of his loved ones, and was seen no
more for six days.

The Faulkenberrys, Lunn, with Mrs. Parker and children, secreted
themselves in a small creek bottom, some distance from the first party,
each unconcious of the other’s whereabouts.

At twilight Abraham Anglin and Evan Faulkenberry started back to the
fort to succor the wounded and those who might have escaped. On their
way, and just as they were passing Faulkenberry’s cabin, Anglin saw
his first and only ghost. He says, “It was dressed in white with long,
white hair streaming down its back. I admit that I was worse scared at
this moment than when the Indians were yelling and charging us. Seeing
me hesitate, my ghost now beckoned me to come on. Approaching the
object it proved to be old Granny Parker, whom the Indians had wounded
and stripped, with the exception of her underwear. She had made her way
to the house from the fort by crawling the entire distance. I took some
bed clothing, and carrying her some distance from the house, made her a
bed, covered her up and left her until we should return from the fort.
On arriving at the fort we could not see a single individual alive
or hear a human sound. But the dogs were barking, the cattle lowing,
the horses neighing and the hogs squealing, making a hideous and
strange meadly of sounds. Mrs. Parker had told me where she had left
some silver, $106.50. This I found under a hickory bush by moonlight.
Finding no one at the fort we returned to where I had hid Granny
Parker. On taking her up behind me, we made our way back to our hiding
place in the bottom, where we found Nixon, whom we had not seen since
his cowardly flight at the time he was rescued by Faulkenberry from the

  [4]--In the book published by James W. Parker on pages ten and
      eleven, he states that Nixon liberated Mrs. Parker from the
      Indians and rescued old Granny Parker. Mr. Anglin, in his
      account contradicts, or rather corrects this statement. He
      says: “I positively assert that this is a mistake and I am
      willing to be qualified to the statement I here make and can
      prove the same by Silas H. Bates, now living near Graesbeck.”

On the next morning, Bates, Anglin and E. Faulkenberry went back to
the fort to get provisions and horses and to look after the dead. On
reaching the fort they found five or six horses, a few saddles and some
meal, bacon and honey. Fearing an attack from the red devils who might
still be lurking around, they left without burying the dead. Returning
to their comrades in the bottom, they all concealed themselves until
the next night, when they started through the woods to Fort Houston,
which place they reached without material suffering.

Fort Houston, an asylum on this as on many other occasions, stood on
what has been for many years the farm of a wise statesman, a chivalrous
soldier and a true patriot--John H. Reagan--two miles west of Palestine.

After wandering around and traveling for six days and nights, during
which time they suffered much from hunger and thirst, with their
clothing torn into shreads, their bodies lacerated with briars and
thorns, the women and children with unshod and bleeding feet, the party
of James W. Parker ---- men, and ----[5] women and children--reached
Tinnin’s, at the old San Antonio and Nacogdoches crossing of the
Navasota. Being informed of their approach, Messrs. Carter and
Courtney, with five horses, met them some miles away, and thus enabled
the women and children to ride. The few people around, though but
returned to their deserted homes after the victory of San Jacinto,
shared all they had of food and clothing with them.

  [5] We are unable to ascertain the exact number. Different
      accounts variously estimate the number from 10 to 20.

Plummer, after six days of wanderings alone in the wilderness, arrived
at the fort the same day.

In due time the members of the party located temporarily as best suited
the respective families, most of them returning to Fort Parker soon

A burrial party of twelve men from Fort Houston went up and burried
the dead. Their remains now repose near the site of old Fort Parker.
Peace to their memories. Unadorned are their graves; not even a slab of
marble or a memento of any kind has been erected to tell the traveler
where rests the remains of this brave little band of pioneer heroes who
wrestled with the savage for the mastery of this proud domain.

After the massacre the savages retired with their booty to their own
wild haunts amid the hills and valleys of the beautiful Canadian and
Pease rivers.


The Captives--Cynthia Ann and John Parker.

Of the captives we will briefly trace their subsequent checkered career.

After leaving the fort the two tribes, the Comanches and Kiowas,
remained and traveled together until midnight. They then halted on
an open prairie, staked out their horses, placed their pickets, and
pitched their camp. Bringing all their prisoners together for the first
time, they tied their hands behind them with raw-hide thongs so tightly
as to cut the flesh, tied their feet close together, and threw them
upon their faces. Then the braves, gathering around with their yet
bloody, dripping scalps, commenced their usual war dance. They danced,
screamed, yelled, stamping upon their prisoners, beating them with bows
until their own blood came near strangling them. The remainder of the
night these frail women suffered and had to listen to the cries and
groans of their tender little children.

Mrs. Elizabeth Kellogg soon fell into the hands of the Keechis, from
whom, six months after her capture, she was purchased by a party of
Delawares, who carried her into Nacogdoches and delivered her to Gen.
Houston, who paid them $150.00, the amount they had paid and all they

On the way thence to Fort Houston, escorted by James W. Parker and
others, a hostile Indian was slightly wounded and temporarily disabled
by a Mr. Smith. Mrs. Kellogg instantly recognized him as the savage who
had scalped the patriarch, Elder John Parker, whereupon, without judge,
jury or court-martial, or even dallying with “Judge Lynch,” he was
involentarily hastened to the “happy hunting grounds” of his fathers.

Mrs. Rachel Plummer remained a captive about eighteen months. Soon
after her capture she was delivered of a child. The crying of her
infant annoyed her captors, and the mother was forced to yield up her
offspring to the merciless fiends,--in whose veins the milk of human
sympathy had never flowed,--to be murdered before her eyes with all the
demoniacal demonstrations of brutality intact in those savages. The
innocent little babe but six weeks old was torn madly from the mother’s
bosom by six giant Indians, one of them clutched the little prattling
innocent by the throat, and like a hungry beast with defenseless prey,
he held it out in his iron grasp until all evidence of life seemed
extinct. Mrs. Plummer’s feeble efforts to save her child were utterly
fruitless. They tossed it high in the air and repeatedly let it fall
on rocks and frozen earth. Supposing the child dead they returned it
to its mother, but discovering traces of lingering life, they again,
by force, tore it angrily from her, tied plaited ropes around its neck
and threw its unprotected body into hedges of prickley pear. They
would repeatedly pull it through these lacerating rushes with demonic
yells. Finally, they tied the rope attached to its neck to the pommel
of a saddle and rode triumphantly around a circuit until it was not
only dead but litterly torn to shreds. All that remained of that once
beautiful babe was then tossed into the lap of its poor, distracted
mother. With an old knife the weeping mother was allowed to dig a grave
and bury her babe.

After this she was given as a servant to a very cruel old squaw, who
treated her in a most bruatl manner. Her son had been carried off by
another party to the far West and she supposed her husband and father
had been killed at the massacre. Her infant was dead, and death to her
would have been a sweet relief. Life was a burden, and driven almost
to desperation, she resolved no longer to submit to the intolerant old
squaw. One day when the two were some distance from, although still
in sight of the camp, her mistress attempted to beat her with a club.
Determined not to submit to this, she wrenched the club from the hands
of the squaw and knocked her down. The Indians, who had witnessed the
whole proceedings from their camp, now came running up, shouting at the
top of their voices. She fully expected to be killed, but they patted
her on the shoulder, crying, “Bueno! bueno!!” (Good! good!!) or well
done! She now fared much better and soon became a great favorite and
was known as the “Fighting Squaw.” She was eventually ransomed through
the agency of some Mexican Santa Fe traders, by a noble-hearted,
American merchant of that place, Mr. William Donahue. She was purchased
in the Rocky Mountains so far north of Santa Fe that seventeen days
were consumed in reaching that place. She was at once made a member of
her benefactor’s family, where she received the kindest of care and
attention. For long she accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Donahue on a visit
to Independence, Missouri, where she had the pleasure of meeting and
embracing her brother-in-law, L. D. Nixon, and by him was escorted back
to her people in Texas.[6]

  [6]--During her stay with the Indians, Mrs. Plummer had many
      thrilling adventures, which she often related after her
      reclamation. In narrating her reminiscences, she said that
      in one of her rambles, after she had been with the Indians
      some time, she discovered a cave in the mountains, and in
      company with the old squaw that guarded her, she explored
      it and found a large diamond, but her mistress immediately
      demanded it, and she was forced to give it up. She said also
      here in these mountains she saw a bush which had thorns on it
      resembling fish-hooks which the Indians used to catch fish
      with, and she herself has often caught trout with them in the
      little mountain streams.

On the 19th of February, 1838, she reached her father’s house, exactly
twenty-one months from her capture. She had never seen her little son,
James Pratt, since soon after their capture, and knew nothing of his
fate. She wrote, or dictated a thrilling and graphic history of her
capture and the horrors of her captivity, the tortures and hardships
she endured, and all the incidents of her life with her captors, with
observations among the savages.[7] In this book she tells the last she
saw of Cynthia Ann and John Parker. She died on the 19th of February,
1839, just one year after reaching home. As a remarkable coincidence
it may be stated that she was born on the 19th, married on the 19th,
captured on the 19th, released on the 19th, reached Independence on the
19th, arrived at home on the 19th, and died on the 19th of the month.

  [7]--This valuable and interesting little book is now _rare_,
      _scarce_ and _out_ of _print_. The full title of the volume

      “Narration of the Perilous Adventures, miraculous escapes
      and sufferings of Rev. Jas. W. Parker, during a frontier
      residence in Texas of fifteen years. With an impartial
      geographical description of the climate, soil, timber, water,
      etc., of Texas.”--To which is appended the narrative of the
      capture and subsequent sufferings of Mrs. Rachel Plummer
      (his daughter) during a captivity of twenty-one months among
      the Comanche Indians, etc. 18 mo, p. p. 95--35, boards.
      Louisville, 1844.

Her son, James Pratt Plummer, after six long and weary years of
captivity and suffering, during which time he had lived among many
different tribes and traveled several thousand miles, was ransomed
and taken to Fort Gibson late in 1842, and reached home in February,
1843, in charge of his grand-father. He became a respected citizen of
Anderson county. Both he and his father are now dead.

This still left in captivity Cynthia and John Parker, who, as
subsequently learned, were held by separate bands. The brother and
sister thus separated, gradually forgot the language, manners and
customs of their own people, and became thorough Comanches as the long
years stole slowly away. How long the camera of their young brains
retained impressions of the old home within the fort, and the loved
faces of their pale-faced kindred, no one knows; though it would appear
that the fearful massacre should have stamped an impress indellible
while life continued. But the young mind, as the twig, is inclined by
present circumstances, and often forced in a way wholly foreign to its
native and original bent.

John grew up with the little semi-nude Comanche boys of his own age,
and played at “hunter” and “warrior” with pop-guns made of the elder
stem, or bows and arrows, and often flushed the chaparral for hare and
grouse, or entrapped the finny denizens of the mountain brooks with
the many peculiar and ingenious devices of the wild man for securing
for his repast the toothsome trout which abounds so plentifully in
that elevated and delightful region, so long inhabited by the lordly

When just arrived at manhood, John accompanied a raiding party down
the Rio Grande and into Mexico. Among the captives taken was a young
Mexican girl of great beauty, to whom the young warrior felt his
heart go out. The affection was reciprocated on the part of the fair
Dona Juanita, and the two were soon engaged to be married, so soon as
they should arrive at the Comanche village. Each day as the cavalcade
moved leisurely, but steadily along, the lovers could be seen riding
together, and discussing the anticipated pleasures of connubial life,
when suddenly John was prostrated by a violent attack of small-pox.
The cavalcade could not tarry, and so it was decided that the poor
fellow should be left all alone in the vast _Llano Esticado_ to die
or recover as fate decreed. But the little Aztec beauty refused to
leave her lover, insisting on her captors allowing her to remain and
take care of him. To this the Indians reluctantly consented. With
Juanita to nurse and cheer him up, John lingered, lived, and ultimately
recovered, when, with as little ceremony, perhaps, as consummated
the nuptials of the first pair in Eden, they assumed the matrimonial
relation; and Dona Juanita’s predilections for the customs and comforts
of civilization were sufficiently strong to induce her lord to abandon
the wild and nomadic life of a savage for the comforts to be found
in a straw-thatched _Jackal_. “They settled,” says Mr. Thrall, the
historian of Texas, “on a stock ranch in the far West.” When the civil
war broke out John Parker joined a Mexican company in the Confederate
service, and was noted for his gallantry and daring. He, however,
refused to leave the soil of Texas, and would, under no circumstances,
cross the Sabine into Louisiana. He was still living on his ranch
across the Rio Grande a few years ago, but up to that time had never
visited any of his relatives in Texas.

Of Cynthia Ann Parker (we will anticipate the thread of the narrative).
Four long years have elapsed since she was cruelly torn from a mother’s
embrace and carried into captivity. During this time no tidings have
been recieved of her. Many efforts have been made to ascertain her
whereabouts, or fate, but without success; when in 1840, Col. Len.
Williams, an old and honored Texian, Mr. ---- Stoat, a trader, and a
Delaware Indian guide, named “Jack Harry,” packed mules with goods and
engaged in an expedition of private traffic with the Indians.

On the Canadian river they fell in with Pa-ha-u-ka’s band of Comanches,
with whom they were peaceably conversant. And with this tribe was
Cynthia Ann Parker, who from the day of her capture had never seen a
white person. She was then about fourteen years of age and had been
with the Indians nearly five years.

Col. Williams found the Indian into whose family she had been adopted,
and proposed to redeem her, but the Comanche told him all the goods
he had would not ransom her, and at the same time “the fierceness of
his countenance,” says Col. Williams, “warned me of the danger of
further mention of the subject.” But old Pa-ha-u-ka prevailed upon him
to let them see her. She came and sat down by the root of a tree, and
while their presence was doubtless a happy event to the poor stricken
captive, who in her doleful captivity had endured everything but death,
she refused to speak a word. As she sat there, musing, perhaps, of
distant relatives and friends, and the bereavements at the beginning
and progress of her distress, they employed every persuasive art to
evoke some expression. They told her of her playmates and relatives,
and asked what message she would send them, but she had doubtless been
commanded to silence, and with no hope or prospect of return was afraid
to appear sad or dejected, and by a stocial effort in order to prevent
future bad treatment, put the best face possible on the matter. But the
anxiety of her mind was betrayed by the perceptible quiver of her lips,
showing that she was not insensible to the common feelings of humanity.

As the years rolled by Cynthia Ann speedily developed the charms of
womanhood, as with the dusky maidens of her companionship she performed
the menial offices of drudgery to which savage custom consigns
women,--or practiced those little arts of coquetry maternal to the
female heart, whether she be a belle of Madison Square, attired in the
most elaborate toilet from the _elite_ bazars of Paris, or the half
naked savage with matted locks and claw-like nails.

Doubtless the heart of more than one warrior was pierced by the
Ulyssean darts from her laughing eyes, or charmed by the silvery ripple
of her joyous laughter, and laid at her feet the game taken after a
long and arduous chase among the Antelope Hills.

Among the number whom her budding charms brought to her shrine was Peta
Nocona, a Comanche war chief, in prowess and renown the peer of the
famous and redoubtable “Big Foot,” who fell in a desperately contested
hand-to-hand encounter with the veteran ranger and Indian fighter,
Captain S. P. Ross, now living at Waco, and whose wonderful exploits
and deeds of daring furnished themes for song and story at the war
dance, the council, and the camp-fire.

Cynthia Ann,--stranger now to every word of her mother tongue save
her own name--became the bride of Pata Nocona, performing for her
imperious lord all the slavish offices which savageism and Indian
custom assigns as the duty of a wife. She bore him children, and we
are assured _loved_ him with a species of fierce passion, and wifely
devotion; “for some fifteen years after her capture,” says Victor M.
Rose, “a party of white hunters, including some friends of her family,
visited the Comanche encampment on the upper Canadian, and recognizing
Cynthia Ann probably through the medium of her name alone, sounded her
in a secret manner as to the disagreeableness of a return to her people
and the haunts of civilization. She shook her head in a sorrowful
negative, and pointed to her little, naked barbarians sporting at her
feet, and to the great greasy, lazy buck sleeping in the shade near at
hand, the locks of a score of scalps dangling at his belt, and whose
first utterance upon arousing would be a stern command to his meek,
pale-faced wife. Though in truth, exposure to sun and air had browned
the complexion of Cynthia Ann almost as intensely as were those of the
native daughters of the plains and forest.

She retained but the vaguest remembrance of her people--as dim and
flitting as the phantoms of a dream; she was accustomed now to the wild
life she led, and found in its repulsive features charms which “upper
tendom” would have proven totally deficient in:--“I am happily wedded,”
she said to these visitors. “I love my husband, who is good and kind,
and my little ones, who, too, are his, and I cannot forsake them!”

       *       *       *       *       *

What were the incidents in the savage life of these children which in
after times became the land marks in the train of memory, and which
with civilized creatures serves as incentives to reminiscence?

“Doubtless,” says Mr. Rose, “Cynthia Ann arrayed herself in the calico
borne from the sacking of Linville, and fled with the discomfited
Comanches up the Gaudaloupe and Colorado, at the ruthless march of John
H. Moore, Ben McCulloch and their hardy rangers. They must have been
present at the battle of Antelope Hills, on the Canadian, when Col.
John S. Ford, “Old Rip” and Captain S. P. Ross encountered the whole
force of the Comanches, in 1858; perhaps John Parker was an actor in
that celebrated battle; and again at the Wichita.”

“Their’s must have been a hard and unsatisfactory life--the Comanches
are veritable Ishmaelites, their hands being raised against all men,
and every man’s hand against them. Literally, “eternal vigilance was
the price of liberty” with them, and of life itself. Every night the
dreaded surprise was sought to be guarded against; and every copse was
scanned for the anticipated ambuscade while upon the march. Did they
flount the blood-drabbled scalps of helpless whites in fiendish glee,
and assist at the cruel torture of the unfortunate prisoners that
fell into their hands? Alas! forgetful of their race and tongue, they
were thorough savages, and acted in all particulars just as their
Indian comrades did. Memory was stored but with the hardships and the
cruelties of the life about them; and the stolid indifference of mere
animal existence furnishes no finely wrought springs for the rebound of

       *       *       *       *       *

The year 1846, one decade from the fall of Parker’s Fort, witnessed
the end of the Texian Republic, in whose councils Isaac Parker served
as a senator, and the blending of the _Lone Star_ with the gallaxy
of the great constellation of the American Union;--during which time
many efforts were made to ascertain definitely the whereabouts of
the captives, as an indispensable requisite to their reclamation;
sometimes by solitary scouts and spies, sometimes through the medium
of negotiation; and sometimes by waging direct war against their
captors,--but all to no avail.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another decade passes away, and the year 1856 arrives. The hardy
pioneers have pushed the frontier of civilization far to the north and
west, driving the Indian and the buffalo before them. The scene of
Parker’s Fort is now in the heart of a dense population; farms, towns,
churches, and school houses lie along the path by which the Indians
marched from their camp at the “water-hole” in that bloody May of
1836. Isaac Parker is now a Representative in the Legislature of the
State of Texas. It is now twenty years since the battle of San Jacinto;
twenty years since John and Cynthia Ann were borne into a captivity
worse than death; the last gun of the Mexican war rung out its last
report over the conquered capital of Mexico ten long years ago; but
John and Cynthia Ann Parker have sent no tokens to their so long
anxious friends that they even live: Alas! time even blunts the edge of
anxiety, and sets bounds alike to the anguish of man, as well as to his

The punishment of Prometheas is not of this world!


The Battle of Antelope Hills.

  “Brave Colonel Ford the commander and ranger bold,
    On the South Canadian did the Comanches behold,
  On the 12th of May, at rising of sun,
    The armies did meet and the battle begun.”

The battle of the South Canadian or “Antelope Hills,” fought in 1858,
was probably one of the most splendid scenic exhibitions of Indian
warfare ever enacted upon Texas soil. This was the immemorial home of
the Comanches; here they sought refuge from their marauding expeditions
into Texas and Mexico; and here, in their veritable “city of refuge,”
should the adventurous and daring rangers seek them, it was certain
that they would be encountered in full force--Pohebits Quasho--“Iron
Jacket,” so called from the fact that he wore a coat of scale mail, a
curious piece of ancient armor, which doubtless had been stripped from
the body of some unfortunate Spanish Knight slain, perhaps, a century
before--some chevalier who followed Coronado, De Leon, La Salle--was
the war chief. He was a “Big Medicine” man, or Prophet, and claimed
to be invulnerable to balls and arrows aimed at his person, as by a
necromantic puff of his breath the missives were diverted from their
course, or charmed, and made to fall harmless at his feet.

Peta Nocono, the young and daring husband of Cynthia Ann Parker, was
second in command.

About the 1st of May, in the year above named, Col. John S. Ford,
(“Old Rip,”) at the head of 100 Texian Rangers--comprising such
leaders as Capts. S. P. Ross, (the father of Gen. L. S. Ross); W. A.
Pitts, Preston, Tankersley, and a contingent of 111 Toncahua Indians,
the latter commanded by their celebrated chief, Placido--so long the
faithful and implicitly trusted friend of the whites--marched on a
campaign against the maruding Comanches, determined to follow them
up to their stronghold amid the hills of the Canadian river, and if
possible surprise them and inflict a severe and lasting chastisement.

After a toilsome march of several days the Toncahua scouts reported
that they were in the immediate vicinity of the Comanche encampment.
The Comanches, though proverbial for their sleepless vigilance, were
unsuspicious of danger; and so unsuspected was the approach of the
rangers, that on the day preceding the battle, Col. Ford and Capt. Ross
stood in the old road from Fort Smith to Santa Fe, just north of the
Rio Negro or “False Wichita,” and watched through their glasses the
Comanches running buffalo in the valleys still more to the north. That
night the Toncahua spies completed the hazardous mission of locating
definitely the position of the enemy’s encampment. The next morning
(May 12) the rangers and “reserve” or friendly Indians, marched before
sunrise to the attack.

Placido claimed for his “red warriors” the privilege of wreaking
vengeance upon their hereditary enemies. His request was granted,--and
the Toncahuas effected a complete surprise. The struggle was short,
sharp and sanguinary. The women and children were made prisoners, but
not a Comanche brave surrendered. Their savage pride preferred death
to the restraints and humiliations of captivity. Not a single warrior
escaped to bear the sorrowful tidings of this destructive engagement to
their people.

A short time after the sun had lighted the tops of the hills, the
rangers came in full view of the hostile camp, pitched in one of the
picturesque valleys of the Canadian, and on the opposite side of the
stream, in the immediate vicinity of the famous “Antelope Hills.”

The panorama thus presented to the view of the rangers was beautiful
in the extreme, and their pent-up enthusiasm found vent in a shout of
exultation, which was speedily suppressed by Col. Ford. Just at this
moment a solitary Comanche was descried riding southward, evidently
heading for the village which Placido had so recently destroyed. He was
wholly unconcious of the proximity of an enemy. Instant pursuit was now
made; he turned, and fled at full speed toward the main camp across
the Canadian, closely followed by the rangers. He dashed across the
stream, and thus revealed to his pursuers the locality of a safe ford
across the miry and almost impassable river. He rushed into the village
beyond, sounding the notes of alarm; and soon the Comanche warriors
presented a bold front of battle-line between their women and children
and the advancing rangers. After a few minutes occupied in forming
line of battle, both sides were arrayed in full force and effect. The
friendly Indians were placed on the right, and thrown a little forward.
Col. Ford’s object was to deceive the Comanches as to the character of
the attacking force, and as to the quality of arms they possessed.

Pohebits Quasho, arrayed in all the trappings of his “war
toggery”--coat of mail, shield, bow and lance, completed by a
head-dress decorated with feathers and long red flannel streamers;
and besmeared in “war-paint,”--gaily dashed about on his “war-horse”
mid-way of the opposing lines, delivering taunts and challenges to the
whites. As the old chief dashed to and fro a number of rifles were
discharged at him in point blank range without any effect whatever;
which seeming immunity to death encouraged his warriors greatly; and
induced even some of the more superstitious among the rangers to
enquire within themselves if it were possible that “Old Iron Jacket”
really bore a charmed life? Followed by a few of his braves, he now
bore down upon the rangers, described a few “charmed circles,” gave a
few necromantic puffs with his breath and let fly several arrows at
Col. Ford, Capt. Ross and chief Placido; receiving their fire without
harm. But as he approached the line of the Toncahuas, a rifle directed
by the steady nerve and unerring eye of one of their number, Jim
Pockmark, brought the “Big Medicine” to the dust. The shot was a mortal
one. The fallen chieftain was instantly surrounded by his braves, but
the spirit of the conjuring brave had taken its flight to the “happy
hunting grounds.”

These incidents occupied but a brief space of time, when the order to
charge was given; and then ensued one of the grandest assaults ever
made against the Comanches. The enthusiastic shouts of the rangers
and the triumphant yell of their red allys greeted the welcome order.
It was responded to by the defiant “war-hoop” of the Comanches, and
in those virgin hills, remote from civilization, the saturnalia of
battle was inaugurated. The shouts of enraged combatants, the wail
of women, the piteous cries of terrified children, the howling of
frightened dogs, the deadly reports of rifle and revolver, constituted
a discordant confusion of sounds, blent together in an unearthly mass
of infernal noise.

The conflict was sharp and quick--a charge; a momentary exchange of
rifle and arrow shots, and the heart-rending wail of discomfiture
and dismay, and the beaten Comanches abandoned their lodges and camp
to the victors, and began a disorderly retreat. But sufficient method
was observed to take advantage of each grove of timber, each hill
and ravine, to make a stand against their pursuers; and thus enable
the women and children to make their escape. The noise of battle now
diverged from a common center like the spokes of a wheel, and continued
to greet the ear for several hours, gradually growing fainter as the
pursuit disappeared in the distance.

But another division, under the vigilant Peta Nocona, was soon marching
through the hills north of the Canadian, to the rescue. Though ten
miles distant, his quick ear had caught the first sounds of the battle;
and soon he was riding, with Cynthia Ann by his side, at the head of
(500) five hundred warriors.

About 1 o’clock of the afternoon the last of the rangers returned from
the pursuit of Pohebits Quasho’s discomfited braves, just in time to
anticipate this threatened attack.

As Capt. Ross (who was one of the last to return) rode up, he enquired
“What hour of the morning is it, Colonel?” “Morning!” exclaimed Col.
Ford, “it is one o’clock of the afternoon;” so unconscious is one of
the flight of time during an engagement, that the work of hours seems
comprised within the space of a few moments.

“Hello! what are you in line of battle for?” asked Ross. “Look at the
hills there, and you will see,” calmly replied Col. Ford, pointing to
the hills some half a mile distant, behind which the forces of Peta
Nocona were visible; an imposing line of 500 warriors drawn up in
battle array.

Col. Ford had with 221 men fought and routed over 400 Comanches, and
now he was confronted by a stronger force, fresh from their village
still higher up on the Canadian. They had come to drive the “pale
faces” and their hated copper-colored allies from the captured camp,
to retake prisoners, to retake over four hundred head of horses and an
immense quantity of plunder. They did not fancy the defiant state of
preparations awaiting them in the valley, however, and were waiting
to avail themselves of some incautious movement on the part of the
rangers, when the wily Peta Nocona with his forces would spring like a
lion from his lair, and with one combined and desperate effort swoop
down and annihilate the enemy. But his antagonist was a soldier of too
much sagacity to allow any advantage to a vigilant foe.

The two forces remained thus contemplating each other for over an
hour; during which time a series of operations ensued between single
combatants illustrative of the Indian mode of warfare, and the
marked difference between the nomadic Comanche and his semi-civilized
congeners, the Tonchua. The Tonchuas took advantage of ravines, trees
and other natural shelter. Their arms were rifles and “six-shooters.”
The Comanches came to the attack with shield and bow and lance, mounted
on gaily caparisoned and prancing steeds, and flaunting feathers and
all the “georgeous” display incident to savage “finery” and pomp. They
are probably the most expert equestrians in the world. A Comanche
warrior would gaily canter to a point half way between the opposing
lines, yell a defiant “war hoop,” and shake his shield. This was a
challenge to single combat.

Several of the friendly Indians who accepted such challenges were
placed _hors de combat_ by their more expert adversaries, and in
consequence Col. Ford ordered them to decline the savage banters; much
to the dissatisfaction of Placido, who had conducted himself throughout
the series of engagements with the bearing of a savage hero.

Says Col. Ford: “In these combats the mind of the spectator was vividly
carried back to the days of chivalry; the jousts and tournaments
of knights; and to the concomitants of those scenic exhibitions of
gallantry. The feats of horsemanship were splendid, the lances and
shields were used with great dexterity, and the whole performance was
a novel show to civilized man.”

Col. Ford now ordered Placido, with a part of his warriors, to advance
in the direction of the enemy, and if possible draw them in the valley,
so as to afford the rangers an opportunity to charge them. This had the
desired effect, and the rangers were ready to deliver a charge, when it
was discovered that the friendly Indians had removed the white badges
from their heads because they served as targets for the Comanches,
consequently the rangers were unable to distinguish friend from foe.
This necessitated the entire withdrawal of the Indians. The Comanches
witnessed these preparations and now commenced to recoil. The rangers
advanced; the trot, the gallop, the headlong charge, followed in rapid
succession. Lieut. Nelson made a skillful movement and struck the
enemy’s left flank. The Comanche line was broken. A running fight for
three or four miles ensued. The enemy was driven back wherever he made
a stand. The most determined resistance was made in a timbered ravine.
Here one of Placido’s warriors was killed, and one of the rangers,
young George W. Pascal wounded. The Comanches left some dead upon the
spot and had several more wounded. After routing them at this point
the rangers continued to pursue them some distance, intent upon taking
the women and children prisoners; but Peta Nocona, by the exercise
of those commanding qualities which had often before signalized his
conduct on the field, succeeded in covering their retreat, and thus
allowing them to escape. It was now about 4 P. M., both horses
and men were almost entirely exhausted, and Col. Ford ordered a halt
and returned to the village.

Brave old Placido and his warriors fought like so many demons. It was
difficult to restrain them, so anxious were they to wreak vengeance on
the Comanches.

In all of these engagements seventy-five (75) Comanches “bit the dust.”

The loss of the rangers was small,--two killed and five or six wounded.

The trophies of Pohebits Quasho, including his lance, bow, shield,
head-dress and the celebrated coat of scale mail, was deposited by Col.
Ford in the State archives at Austin, where, doubtless, they may yet be
seen,--as curious relics of by-gone days.

The lamented old chief, Placido, fell a victim to the revengeful
Comanches during the latter part of the great civil war, between the
North and South; being assassinated by a party of his enemies on the
reservation, near Fort Sill.

The venerable John Henry Brown, some years since, paid a merited
tribute to his memory through the columns of the Dallas _Herald_.

Of Placido it has been said that he was the “soul of honor,” and “never
betrayed a trust.” That he was brave to the utmost, we have only to
refer to his numerous exploits during his long and gratuitous service
on our frontiers. He was implicitly trusted by Burleson and other
partisan leaders; and rendered invaluable services in behalf of the
early Texian pioneers; in recognition of which he never recieved any
reward of a material nature, beyond a few paltry pounds of gun-powder
and salt. Imperial Texas should rear a monument commemorative of his
memory. He was the more than Tammany of Texas! But I am digressing from
the narrative proper.

“Doubtless,” says Rose, “Cynthia Ann rode from this ill-starred field
with her infant daughter pressed to her bosom, and her sons--two youths
of about ten and twelve years of age, at her side,--as fearful of
capture at the hands of the hated whites, as years ago--immediately
after the massacre of Parker’s Fort--she had been anxious for the

[Illustration: GENERAL L. S. ROSS.]


Genl. L. S. Ross.--Battle of the Wichita.

It is not our purpose in this connection, to assume the role of
biographer to so distinguished a personage as is the chevalier Bayard
of Texas--General Lawrence Sullivan Ross. That task should be left
to an abler pen; and besides, it would be impossible to do anything
like justice to the romantic, adventurous, and altogether splendid
and brilliant career of the brave and daring young ranger who rescued
Cynthia Ann Parker from captivity, at least in the circumscribed
limits of a brief biographical sketch, such as we shall be compelled
to confine ourself to; yet, some brief mention of his services and
exploits as a ranger captain, by way of an introduction to the reader
beyond the limits of Texas, where his name and fame are as household
words, is deemed necessary, hence we beg leave here to give a brief
sketch of his life.

“Texas, though her annals be brief,” says the author of “Ross’ Texas
Brigade,” counts upon her “roll of honor” the names of many heros,
living and dead. Their splendid services are the inestimable legacies
of the past and present, to the future. Of the latter, it is the
high prerogative of the State to enbalm their names and memories as
perpetual examples to excite the generous emulation of the Texian youth
to the latest posterity. Of the former it is our pleasant province to
accord them those honors which their services, in so eminent a degree,
entitle them to receive. Few lands, since the days of the “Scottish
Chiefs,” have furnished material upon which to predicate a Douglas, a
Wallace, or a Ravenswood; and the adventures of chivalric enterprise,
arrant quest of danger, and the personal combat, were relegated,
together with the knight’s armorial trappings, to the rusty archives
of “Tower” and “Pantheon,” until the Comanche Bedouins of the Texian
plains tendered in bold defiance the savage gauntlet to the pioneer
knights of progress and civilization. And though her heraldic roll
glows with the names of a Houston, a Rusk, Lamar, McCulloch, Hayes,
Chevellie, which illumine the pages of her history with an effulgence
of glory, Texas never nurtured on her maternal bosom a son of more
filial devotion, of more loyal patriotism, or indomitable will to do
and dare, than L. S. Ross.”

Lawrence Sullivan Ross was born in the village of Bentonsport, Ohio,
in the year 1838. His father, Captain S. P. Ross, emigrated to Texas
in 1839, casting his fortunes with the struggling pioneers who were
blazing the pathway of civilization into the wilds of a _terra
incognita_, as Texas then was.

“Captain S. P. Ross was, for many years, pre-eminent as a leader
against the implacable savages, who made frequent incursions into
the settlements. The duty of repelling these forays usually devolved
upon Captain Ross and his neighbors, and, for many years, his company
constituted the only bulwark of safety between the feeble colonist
and the scalping knife. The rapacity and treachery of his Comanche
and Kiowa foes demanded of Captain Ross sleepless vigilance, acute
sagacity, and a will that brooked no obstacle or danger. It was in the
performance of this arduous duty that he slew, in single combat, “Big
Foot,” a Comanche chief of great prowess, and who was for many years
the scourge of the early Texas frontier. The services of Captain S. P.
Ross are still held in grateful remembrance by the descendants of his
compatriots, and his memory will never be suffered to pass away while
Texians feel a pride in the sterling worth of the pioneers who laid
the foundation of Texas’ greatness and glory.--_Vide_ “_Ross’ Texas
Brigade_,” p. 158.

The following incident, as illustrative of the character and spirit
of the man and times, is given: “On one occasion, Captain Ross, who
had been visiting a neighbor, was returning home, afoot, accompanied
by his little son, ‘Sul,’ as the General was familiarly called. When
within half a mile of his house, he was surrounded by fifteen or
twenty mounted Comanche warriors, who commenced an immediate attack.
The Captain, athletic and swift of foot, threw his son on his back, and
outran their ponies to the house, escaping unhurt amid a perfect shower
of arrows.”

Such were among the daily experiences of the child, and with such
impressions stamped upon the infantile mind, it was but natural that
the enthusiastic spirit of the ardent youth should lead him to such
adventures upon the “war-path,” similar to those that had signalized
his honored father’s prowess upon so many occasions.

Hence, we find “Sul” Ross, during vacation from his studies at Florence
Weslean University, Alabama, though a beardless boy, scarcely twenty
years of age, in command of a contingent of 135 friendly Indians,
co-operating with the United States cavalry under the dashing Major
Earl Van Dorn, in a compaign against the Comanches.

       *       *       *       *       *

Notwithstanding the severe chastisement that had been inflicted on the
Comanches at “Antelope Hills,” they soon renewed their hostilities,
committing many depredations and murders during the summer of 1858.

Early in September Major Van Dorn received orders from Gen. Twiggs,
to equip four companies, including Ross’ “red warriors,” and go out
on a scouting expedition against the hostile Indians. This he did,
penetrating the heart of the Indian country where he proceeded to build
a stockade, placing within it all the pack mules, extra horses and
supplies, which was left in charge of the infantry.

Ross’ faithful Indian scouts soon reported the discovery of a large
Comanche village near the Wichita Mountains, about ninety miles away.
The four companies, attended by the spies, immediately set out for the
village, and after a fatiguing march of thirty-six hours, causing the
men to be continuously in the saddle the latter sixteen hours of the
ride, arrived in the immediate vicinity of the Indian camp just at
daylight on the morning of October 1st.

A reconnoissance showed that the wily Comanches were not apprehensive
of an attack, and were sleeping in fancied security. The horses of the
tribe, which consisted of a _caballado_ of about 500 head, were grazing
near the outskirts of the village. Major Van Dorn directed Captain
Ross, at the head of his Indians, to “round up” the horses, and drive
them from the camp, which was effected speedily, and thus the Comanches
were forced to fight on foot--a proceeding extremely harrowing to the
proud warriors’ feelings.

“Just as the sun was peeping above the eastern horizon,” says Victor
M. Rose, whose graphic narrative we again quote, “Van Dorn charged the
upper end of the village, while Ross’ command, in conjunction with a
detachment of United States cavalry, charged the lower. The village was
strung out along the banks of a branch for several hundred yards. The
morning was very foggy, and after a few moments of firing the smoke
and fog became so dense that objects at but a short distance could be
distinguished only with great difficulty. The Comanches fought with
absolute desperation, and contended for every advantage, as their women
and children, and all their possessions, were in peril.

“A few moments after the engagement became general, Ross discovered a
number of Comanches running down to the branch, about one hundred and
fifty yards from the village, and concluded that they were beating
a retreat. Immediately, Ross, Lieutenant Van Camp of the United
States Army, Alexander, a ‘regular’ soldier, and one Caddo Indian, of
Ross’ command, ran to the point with the intention of intercepting
them. Arriving, it was discovered that the fugitives were the women
and children. In a moment, another posse of women and children came
running immediately past the squad of Ross, who, discovering a little
white girl among the number, made his Caddo Indian grab her as she
was passing. The little pale-face--apparently about twelve years of
age--was badly frightened at finding herself a captive to a strange
Indian and stranger white men, and was hard to manage at first.

“Ross now discovered, through the fog and smoke of the battle, that a
band of some twenty-five Comanche warriors had cut his small party off
from communication with Van Dorn, and were bearing immediately down
upon them. They shot Lieutenant Van Camp through the heart, killing him
ere he could fire his double-barrelled shot-gun. Alexander, the United
States Cavalryman, was likewise shot down before he could fire his gun
(a rifle). Ross was armed with a Sharp’s rifle, and attempted to fire
upon the exultant red devils, but the cap snapped. ‘Mohee,’ a Comanche
warrior, siezed Alexander’s rifle and shot Ross down. The indomitable
young ranger fell upon the side on which his pistol was borne, and
though partially paralyzed by the shot, he turned himself, and was
getting his pistol out when ‘Mohee’ drew his butcher-knife, and started
towards his prostrate foe--some fifteen feet away--with the evident
design of stabbing and scalping him. He made but a few steps, however,
when one of his companions cried out something in the Comanche tongue,
which was a signal to the band, and they broke away in confusion.
‘Mohee’ ran about twenty steps, when a wire-cartridge, containing nine
buck-shot, fired from a gun in the hands of Lieutenant James Majors,
(afterwards a Confederate General), struck him between the shoulders,
and he fell forward on his face, dead. ‘Mohee’ was an old acquaintance
of Ross, as the latter had seen him frequently at his father’s post
on the frontier, and recognized him as soon as their eyes met. The
faithful Caddo held on to the little girl throughout this desperate
_melee_, and, strange to relate, neither were harmed. The Caddo,
doubtless, owed his escape to the fact that the Comanches were fearful
of wounding or killing the little girl. This whole scene transpired in
a few moments, and Captain N. G. Evans’ company of the Second United
States Cavalry, had taken possession of the lower end of the Comanche
village, and Major Van Dorn held the upper, and the Comanches were
running into the hills and brush; not, however, before an infuriated
Comanche shot the gallant Van Dorn with an arrow. Van Dorn fell, and
it was supposed that he was mortally wounded. In consequence of their
wounds, the two chieftains were compelled to remain on the battle
ground five or six days. After the expiration of this time, Ross’
Indians made a ‘litter,’ after their fashion, borne between two gentle
mules, and in it placed their heroic and beloved ‘boy captain,’ and set
out for the settlements at Fort Belknap. When this mode of conveyance
would become too painful, by reason of the rough, broken nature of the
country, these brave Caddos--whose race and history are but synonyms
of courage and fidelity--would vie with each other in bearing the
burden upon their own shoulders. At Camp Radziminski, occupied by
United States forces, an ambulance was obtained, and the remainder of
the journey made with comparative comfort. Major Van Dorn was also
conveyed to Radziminski. He speedily recovered of his wound, and soon
made another brilliant campaign against the Comanches, as we shall see
further on. Ross recovered sufficiently in a few weeks so as to be
able to return to college at Florence, Alabama, where he completed his
studies, and graduated in 1859.”

This was the battle of the Wichita Mountains, a hotly contested and
most desperate hand to hand fight in which the two gallant and dashing
young officers, Ross and Van Dorn, were severely wounded. The loss of
the whites was five killed and several wounded.

The loss of the Comanches was, eighty or ninety warriors killed, many
wounded, and several captured; besides losing all their horses, camp
equipage, supplies, etc.

The return of this victorious little army was hailed with enthusiastic
rejoicing and congratulation, and the Wichita fight and Van Dorn and
Ross were the themes of song and story for many years along the borders
and in the halls and banqueting-rooms of the cities, and the martial
music of the “Wichita March” resounded through the plains of Texas
wherever the Second Cavalry encamped or rode off on scouts in after

The little girl captive--of whose parentage or history nothing could
be ascertained, though strenuous efforts were made--was christened
“Lizzie Ross,” in honor of Miss _Lizzie_ Tinsley, daughter of Dr. D. R.
Tinsley, of Waco, to whom Ross at that time was engaged; and afterwards
married--May, 1861.

Of Lizzie Ross, it can be said that, in her career, is afforded a
thorough verification of Lord Byron’s saying: “Truth is stranger than
fiction!” She was adopted by her brave and generous captor, properly
reared and educated, and became a beautiful and accomplished woman.
Here were sufficient romance and vicissitude, in the brief career of
a little maiden, to have turned the “roundelay’s” of “troubadour and
meunesauger.” A solitary lily, blooming amidst the wildest grasses of
the desert plains. A little Indian girl in all save the Caucasian’s
conscious stamp of superiority. Torn from home, perhaps, amid the
heart-rending scenes of rapine, torture and death. A stranger to race
and lineage--stranger even to the tongue in which a mother’s lullaby
was breathed. Affiliating with these wild Ishmaelites of the prairie--a
Comanche in all things save the intuitive premonition _that she was
not of them_! Finally, redeemed from a captivity worse than death by a
knight entitled to rank, for all time in the history of Texas, “_primus
inter pores_.” _Vide_ “_Ross’ Texas Brigade_,” p. 178.

[Illustration: LIZZIE ROSS.]

Lizzie Ross accompanied Gen. Ross’ mother on a visit to the State of
California, a few years since, and while there, became the wife of a
wealthy merchant near Los Angeles, where she now resides.

Such is the romantic story of “Lizzie Ross”--a story that derives
additional interest because of the fact of its absolute truth in all

  [8]--The following letter from Gen. L. S. Ross, touching upon the
      battle of the Wichita Mountains and the re-capture of “Lizzie
      Ross,” is here appropriately inserted:

                                “WACO, TEXAS, July 12. 1884.

      “MR. JAMES T. DeSHIELDS. _Dear Sir_:--My father could give you
      reliable data enough to fill a volume. I send you photograph
      of Cynthia Ann Parker, with notes relating to her on back
      of photo. On the 28th of October, 1858, I had a battle with
      the Comanches at Wichita Mts., and there recaptured a little
      white girl about eight years old, whose parentage, nor
      indeed any trace of her kindred, was ever found. I adopted,
      reared, and educated her, giving her the name of Lizzie Ross;
      the former name being in honor of the young lady--Lizzie
      Tinsley--to whom I was then engaged and afterwards
      married--May, 1861.

      “Lizzie Ross grew to womanhood, and married a wealthy merchant
      living near Los Angeles, California, where she now resides.
      See History of ‘Ross’ Brigade’ by Victor M. Rose, and
      published by Courier-Journal, for a full and graphic
      description of the battle and other notable incidents.
      I could give you many interesting as well as thrilling
      adventures of self and father’s family with the Indians in
      the early settlement of the country.

      “He can give you more information than any living Texian,
      touching the Indian character, having been their agent and
      warm and trusted friend, in whom they had confidence.

      “My early life was one of constant danger from their forays, and
      I was twice in their hands and at their mercy, as well as the
      other members of my father’s family.

      “But I am just now too busy with my farm matters to give you such
      data as would subserve your purpose.

                             “Yours truly,      L. S. ROSS.”


Battle of Pease River.--Cynthia Ann Parker.

For some time after Ross’ victory at the Wichita Mountains the
Comanches were less hostile, seldom penetrating far down into the
settlements. But in 1859-’60 the condition of the frontier was again
truly deplorable. The people were obliged to stand in a continued
posture of defense, and were in continual alarm and hazard of their
lives, never daring to stir abroad unarmed, for small bodies of
savages, quick-sighted and accustomed to perpetual watchfulness,
hovered on the outskirts, and springing from behind bush or rock,
surprised his enemy before he was aware of danger, and sent tidings
of his presence in the fatal blow, and after execution of the bloody
work, by superior knowledge of the country and rapid movements, safely
retired to their inaccessable deserts.

In the Autumn of 1860 the indomitable and fearless Peta Nocona led a
raiding party of Comanches through Parker county, so named in honor
of the family of his wife, Cynthia Ann, committing great depredations
as they passed through. The venerable Isaac Parker was at the time a
resident of the town of Weatherford, the county seat; and little did he
imagine that the chief of the ruthless savages who spread desolation
and death on every side as far as their arms could reach, was the
husband of his long lost niece; and that the comingled blood of the
murdered Parkers and the atrocious Comanche now coursed in the veins
of a second generation--bound equally by the ties of consanguinity to
murderer and murdered; that the son of Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann
Parker would become the chief of the proud Comanches, whose boast it
is that their constitutional settlement of government is the purest
democracy ever originated and administered among men. It certainly
conserved the object of its institution--the protection and happiness
of the people--for a longer period, and much more satisfactorily than
has that of any other Indian tribe. The Comanches claimed a superiority
over the other Texian tribes; and they unquestionably were more
intelligent and courageous. The “Reservation Policy,”--necesessary
though it be--brings them all to an object level,--the plane of lazy
beggars and thieves. The Comanche is the most qualified by nature
for receiving education and for adapting himself to the requirements
of civilization, of all the southern tribes, not excepting even the
Cherokees, with their churches, school-houses and farms. The Comanches
after waging an unceasing war for nearly fifty years against the United
States, Texas and Mexico, still number 16,000 souls; a far better
showing than any other tribe can make, though not one but has enjoyed
privileges to which the Comanche was a stranger. It is a shame to the
civilization of the age that a people so susceptible of a high degree
of development should be allowed to grovel in the depths of heathenism
and savagery. But we are digressing.

The loud and clamorous cries of the settlers along the frontier for
protection, induced the Government to organize and send out a regiment
under Col. M. T. Johnson to take the field for public defense. But
these efforts proved of small service. The expedition, though at great
expense to the state, failed to find an Indian until returning, the
command was followed by the wily Comanches, their horses “stampeded” at
night and most of the men compelled to reach the settlements on foot,
under great suffering and exposure.

Captain “Sul” Ross, who had just graduated from Florence Wesleyan
University, of Alabama, and returned to Texas, was commissioned a
captain of rangers, by Governor Sam Houston, and directed to organize
a company of sixty men, with orders to repair to Fort Belknap, receive
from Col. Johnson all government property, as his regiment was
disbanded, and take the field against the redoubtable Peta Nocona,
and afford the frontier such protection as was possible to this small
force. The necessity of vigorous measures soon became so pressing
that Capt. Ross determined to attempt to curb the insolence of these
implacable enemies of Texas by following them into their fastnesses and
carry the war into their own homes. In his graphic narration of this
campaign Gen. L. S. Ross says: “As I could take but forty of my men
from my post, I requested Capt. N. G. Evans, in command of the United
States troops, at Camp Cooper, to send me a detachment of the Second
Cavalry. We had been intimately connected on the Van Dorn campaign,
during which I was the recipient of much kindness from Capt. Evans
while I was suffering from a severe wound received from an Indian in
the battle of the ‘Wichita.’ He promptly sent me a sergeant and twenty
well mounted men. My force was still further augmented by some seventy
volunteer citizens under command of the brave old frontiersman, Capt.
Jack Cureton, of Bosque county. These self-sacrificing patriots,
without the hope of pay or reward, left their dedefenseless homes
and families to avenge the sufferings of the frontier people. With
pack-mules laden down with necessary supplies the expedition marched
for the Indian country.

“On the 18th of December, 1860, while marching up Pease river, I had
some suspicions that Indians were in the vicinity, by reason of the
buffalo that came running in great numbers from the north towards us,
and while my command moved in the low ground I visited all neighboring
high points to make discoveries. On one of these sand hills I found
four fresh pony tracks, and being satisfied that Indian videtts had
just gone, I galloped forward about a mile to a higher point, and
riding to the top, to my inexpressable surprise, found myself within
200 yards of a Comanche village, located on a small stream winding
around the base of the hill. It was a most happy circumstance that a
piercing north wind was blowing, bearing with it clouds of sand, and
my presence was unobserved and the surprise complete. By signaling my
men as I stood concealed, they reached me without being discovered by
the Indians, who were busy packing up preparatory to a move. By this
time the Indians mounted and moved off north across the level plain. My
command, with the detachment of the Second Cavalry, had out-marched and
become separated from the citizen command, which left me about sixty
men. In making disposition for attack, the sergeant and his twenty
men were sent at a gallop, behind a chain of sand hills, to encompass
them in and cut off their retreat, while with forty men I charged. The
attack was so sudden that a considerable number were killed before
they could prepare for defense. They fled precipitately right into
the presence of the sergeant and his men. Here they met with a warm
reception, and finding themselves completely encompassed, every one
fled his own way, and was hotly pursued and hard pressed.

“The chief of the party, Peta Nocona, a noted warrior of great repute,
with a young girl about fifteen years of age mounted on his horse
behind him, and Cynthia Ann Parker, with a girl child about two years
of age in her arms and mounted on a fleet pony, fled together, while
Lieut. Tom. Kelliheir and I pursued them. After running about a mile
Killiheir ran up by the side of Cynthia’s horse, and I was in the act
of shooting when she held up her child and stopped. I kept on after
the chief and about a half a mile further, when in about twenty yards
of him I fired my pistol, striking the girl (whom I supposed to be a
man, as she rode like one, and only her head was visible above the
buffalo robe with which she was wrapped) near the heart, killing her
instantly, and the same ball would have killed both but for the shield
of the chief, which hung down, covering his back. When the girl fell
from the horse she pulled him off also, but he caught on his feet,
and before steadying himself, my horse, running at full speed, was
very nearly upon top of him, when he was struck with an arrow, which
caused him to fall to pitching or ‘bucking,’ and it was with great
difficulty that I kept my saddle, and in the meantime, narrowly escaped
several arrows coming in quick succession from the chief’s bow. Being
at such disadvantage he would have killed me in a few minutes but for
a random shot from my pistol (while I was clinging with my left hand
to the pommel of my saddle) which broke his right arm at the elbow,
completely disabling him. My horse then became quiet, and I shot the
chief twice through the body, whereupon he deliberately walked to a
small tree, the only one in sight, and leaning against it, began to
sing a wild, wierd song. At this time my Mexican servant, who had once
been a captive with the Comanches and spoke their language as fluently
as his mother tongue, came up, in company with two of my men. I then
summoned the chief to surrender, but he promptly treated every overture
with contempt, and signalized this declaration with a savage attempt
to thrust me with the lance which he held in his left hand. I could
only look upon him with pity and admiration. For, deplorable as was his
situation, with no chance of escape, his party utterly destroyed, his
wife and child captured in his sight, he was undaunted by the fate that
awaited him, and as he seemed to prefer death to life, I directed the
Mexican to end his misery by a charge of buck-shot from the gun which
he carried. Taking up his accouterments, which I subsequently sent Gov.
Houston, to be deposited in the archives at Austin, we rode back to
Cynthia Ann and Killiheir, and found him bitterly cursing himself for
having run his pet horse so hard after an ‘old squaw.’ She was very
dirty, both in her scanty garments and her person. But as soon as I
looked on her face, I said, ‘Why, Tom, this is a white woman, Indians
do not have blue eyes.’ On the way to the village, where my men were
assembling with the spoils, and a large _caballado_ of ‘Indian ponies,’
I discovered an Indian boy about nine years of age, secreted in the
grass. Expecting to be killed, he began crying, but I made him mount
behind me, and carried him along. And when in after years I frequently
proposed to send him to his people, he steadfastly refused to go, and
died in McLennan county last year.

“After camping for the night Cynthia Ann kept crying, and thinking it
was caused from fear of death at our hands, I had the Mexican tell
her that we recognized her as one of our own people, and would not
harm her. She said two of her boys were with her when the fight began,
and she was distressed by the fear that they had been killed. It so
happened, however, both escaped, and one of them, ‘Quanah’ is now
a chief. The other died some years ago on the plains. I then asked
her to give me the history of her life with the Indians, and the
circumstances attending her capture by them, which she promptly did in
a very sensible manner. And as the facts detailed corresponded with
the massacre at Parker’s Fort, I was impressed with the belief that
she was Cynthia Ann Parker. Returning to my post, I sent her and child
to the ladies at Cooper, where she could recieve the attention her
situation demanded, and at the same time dispatched a messenger to Col.
Parker, her uncle, near Weatherford, and as I was called to Waco to
meet Gov. Houston, I left directions for the Mexican to accompany Col.
Parker to Cooper in the capacity of interpreter. When he reached there,
her identity was soon discovered to Col. Parker’s entire satisfaction
and great happiness.”

And thus was fought the battle of “Pease river” between a superior
force of Comanches under the implacable chief, Peta Nocona on one side,
and sixty rangers led by their youthful commander, Capt. L. S. Ross, on
the other. Ross, sword in hand, led the furious rush of the rangers;
and in the desperate encounter of “war to the knife” which ensued,
nearly all the warriors bit the dust.

So signal a victory had never before been gained over the fierce and
war-like Comanches; and never since that fatal December day in 1860
have they made any military demonstrations at all commensurate with
the fame of their proud campaigns in the past. The great Comanche
confederacy was forever broken. The incessant and sanguinary war which
had been waged for more than thirty years was now virtually at an end.
The blow was a most decisive one; as sudden and irresistable as a
thunder-bolt, and as remorseless and crushing as the hand of Fate.

It was a short but desperate conflict. Victory trembled in the balance.
A determined charge, accompanied by a simultaneous fire from the solid
phalanx of yelling rangers and the Comanches beat a hasty retreat,
leaving many dead and wounded upon the field. Espying the chief and
a chosen few riding at full speed, and in a different direction from
the other fugitives, from the ill-starred field, Ross quickly pursued.
Divining his purpose, the watchful Peta Nocona rode at full speed,
but was soon overtaken, when the two chiefs engaged in a personal
encounter, which must result in the death of one or the other. Peta
Nocona fell, and his last sigh was taken up in mournful wailings on the
wings of defeat. Most of the women and children with a few warriors
escaped. Many of these perished on the cold and inhospitable plains,
in an effort to reach their friends on the head-waters of the Arkansas

The immediate fruits of the victory was some four hundred and fifty
horses, and their accumulated winter’s supply of food. But the
incidental fruits are not to be computed on the basis of dollars and
cents. The proud spirit of the Comanche was here broken, and to this
signal defeat is to be attributed the measurably pacific conduct of
these heretofore implacable foes of the white race during the course
of the late civil war in the Union,--a boon of incalculable value to

In a letter recognizing the great service rendered the state by Ross in
dealing the Comanches this crushing blow, Governor Houston said:

“Your success in protecting the frontier gives me great satisfaction. I
am satisfied that with the same opportunities, you would rival, if not
excel, the greatest exploits of McCulloch and Hays. Continue to repel,
pursue, and punish every body of Indians coming into the State, and the
people will not withhold their praise.”

                                   Signed:      SAM HOUSTON.

[Illustration: QUANAH PARKER.]


Cynthia Ann Parker.--Quanah Parker.

From May 19th, 1836, to December 18th, 1860, was twenty-four years and
seven months. Add to this nine years, her age when captured, and at the
later date Cynthia Ann Parker was in her thirty-fourth year. During
the last ten years of this quarter of a century, which she spent as a
captive among the Comanches, no tidings had been received of her. She
had long been given up as dead or irretrievably lost to civilization.

Notwithstanding the long lapse of time which had intervened since the
Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker, Ross, as he interrogated his “blue eyed”
but bronzed captive, more than suspected that she was the veritable
“Cynthia Ann Parker,” of which he had heard so much from his boyhood.
She was dressed in female attire, of course, according to the custom
of the Comanches, which being very similar to that of the males,
doubtless, gave rise to the eroneous statement that she was dressed in
male costume. So sure was Ross of her identity that, as before stated,
he at once dispatched a messenger to her uncle, the venerable Isaac
Parker; in the meantime placing Cynthia Ann in charge of Mrs. Evans,
wife of Capt. N. G. Evans, the commandant at Fort Cooper, who at once,
with commendable benevolence, administered to her necessities.

Upon the arrival of Col. Parker at Fort Cooper, interrogations were
made her through the Mexican interpreter, for she remembered not
one word of English, respecting her identity; but she had forgotten
absolutely everything, apparently, at all connected with her family or
past history.

In dispair of being able to reach a conclusion, Col. Parker was about
to leave, when he said, “The name of my niece was Cynthia Ann.” The
sound of the once familiar name, doubtless the last lingering memento
of the old home at the fort, seemed to touch a responsive chord in her
nature, when a sign of intelligence lighted up her countenance, as
memory by some mystic inspiration resumed its cunning as she looked
up, and patting her breast, said, “Cynthia Ann! Cynthia Ann!” At the
awakening of this single spark of reminiscence, the sole gleam in the
mental gloom of many years, her countenance brightened with a pleasant
smile in place of the sullen expression which habitually characterizes
the looks of an Indian restrained of freedom. There was now no longer
any doubt as to her identity with the little girl lost and mourned so
long. It was in reality Cynthia Ann Parker,--but, O, so changed!

But as savage-like and dark of complexion as she was, Cynthia Ann was
still dear to her overjoyed uncle, and was welcomed home by relatives
with all the joyous transports with which the prodigal son was hailed
upon his miserable return to the parental roof.

As thorough an Indian in manner and looks as if she had been so born,
she sought every opportunity to escape, and had to be closely watched
for some time. Her uncle carried herself and child to his home, then
took them to Austin, where the secession convention was in session.
Mrs. John Henry Brown and Mrs. N. C. Raymond interested themselves in
her, dressed her neatly, and on one occasion took her into the gallery
of the hall while the convention was in session. They soon realized
that she was greatly alarmed by the belief that the assemblage was
a council of chiefs, sitting in judgment on her life. Mrs. Brown
beckoned to her husband, Hon. John Henry Brown, who was a member of the
convention, who appeared and succeeded in reassuring her that she was
among friends.

Gradually her mother tongue came back, and with it occasional incidents
of her childhood, including a recognition of the venerable Mr. Anglin,
and perhaps one or two others.

The civil war coming on soon after, which necessitated the resumption
of such primitive arts, she learned to spin, weave and to perform the
domestic duties. She proved quite an adept in such work, and became a
very useful member of the household.

The ruling passion of her bosom seemed to be the maternal instinct,
and she cherished the hope that when the war was concluded she would
at last succeed in reclaiming her two children who were still with the
Indians. But it was written otherwise, and Cynthia Ann and her little
“barbarian” were called hence ere “the cruel war was over.” She died at
her brother’s in Anderson county, Texas, in 1864, preceded a short time
by her sprightly little daughter, “Prairie Flower.”

Thus ended the sad story of a woman far famed along the border.

       *       *       *       *       *

How fared it with the two young orphans we may only imagine. The lot
of these helpless ones is too often one of trials, heart-pangs, and
want, even among our enlightened people; and it would require a painful
recital to follow the children of Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker
from the terrible fight on Pease river, across trackless prairies, and
rugged mountain-ways, in the inhospitable month of December, tired,
hungry, and carrying a load upon their hearts far heavier than the
physical evils which so harshly beset them. Their father was slain, and
their mother a captive. Doubtless they were as intent upon her future
recovery, during the many years in which they shared the vicissitudes
of their people, until the announcement of her death reached them, as
her own family had been for her rescue during her quarter of a century
of captivity. One of the little sons of Cynthia Ann died some years
after her recapture. The other, now known as Capt. Quanah Parker, born
as he says in 1854, is the chief of Comanches, on their reservation in
the Indian Territory.

Finally, in 1874, the Comanches were forced upon a “reservation,” near
Fort Sill, to lead the beggarly life of “hooded harlots and blanketed
thieves,” and it was at this place that the “war-chief” Quanah, learned
that it was possible he might secure a photograph of his mother.[9]

  [9]--Mr. A. F. Corning was at Fort Worth in 1862, when Cynthia
      Ann Parker passed through there. He (Mr. C.) prevailed on
      her to go with him to a daguerreotype gallery (there were no
      photographs then) and have her picture taken. Mr. Corning
      still has this daguerreotype, and says it is an excellent
      likeness of the woman as she looked then. It is now at the
      Academy of Art, Waco, and several photographs have been taken
      from it, one of which was sent to Quanah Parker, and another
      to the writer, from which the frontispiece to this work was

An advertisement to that effect was inserted in the Fort Worth
_Gazette_, when General Ross at once forwarded him a copy. To his
untutored mind it seemed that a miracle had been wrought in response to
his “paper prayer;” and his exclamations, as he gazed intently and long
upon the faithful representation of “Preloch,” or Cynthia Ann, were
highly suggestive of Cowper’s lines on his mother’s picture; and we
take the liberty of briefly presenting a portion of the same in verse:

    My mother! and do my weeping eyes once more--
  Half doubting--scan thy cherished features o’er?
    Yes, ’tis the pictured likeness of my dead mother,
  How true to life! It seems to breathe and move;
    Fire, love, and sweetness o’er each feature melt;
  The face expresses all the spirit felt;
    Here, while I gaze within those large, dark eyes,
  I almost see the living spirit rise;
    While lights and shadows, all harmonious, glow,
  And heavenly radiance settles on that brow.
    What is the “medicine” I must not know,
  Which thus can give to death life’s bloom and glow.
    O, could the white man’s magic art but give
  As well the happy power, and bid her live!
    My name, me thinks, would be the first to break
  The seal of silence, on those lips, and wake
    Once more the smile that charmed her gentle face,
  As she was wont to fold me in her warm embrace.
    Yes, it is she, “Preloch,” Nocona’s pale-faced bride,
  Who rode, a matchless princess, at his side,
    ’Neath many a bloody moon afar,
  O’er tortuous paths devoted alone to war.
    Long since she’s joined him on that blissful shore,--
  Where parting and heart-breakings are no more,--
    And since our star with _him_ went down in gloom,
  No more to shine above the blighting doom,
    ’Neath which my people’s hopes, alas, are fled,
  I, too, but long that silent path to tread,--
    A child, to be with her and him again,
  Healed every wound an orphan’s heart can pain!

Quanah Parker is a Nocone, which means wanderer, but on the capture of
his mother, Preloch, and death of his father, Quanah was adopted and
cared for by the Cohoites, and when just arrived at manhood, was made
chief by his benefactors on account of his bravery. His name before
he became a chief was Cepe. He has lived among several tribes of the
Comanches. He was at one time with the Cochetaker, or Buffalo Eaters,
and was the most influential chief of the Penatakers. Quanah is at
present one of the four chiefs of the Cohoites, who each have as many
people as he has. The Cohoite Comanches were never on a reservation
until 1874, but are to-day further advanced in civilization than
any Indians on the “Comanche reservation.” Quanah speaks English,
is considerably advanced in civilization, and owns a ranche with
considerable live stock and a small farm; wears a citizen’s suit, and
conforms to the customs of civilization--withal a fine-looking and
dignified son of the plains. In 1884, Quanah, in company with two other
prominent Comanche chiefs, visited Mexico. In reporting their passage
through that city, the San Antonio _Light_ thus speaks of them:

  “They bear relationship to each other of chief and two
  subordinates. Quanah Parker is the chief, and as he
  speaks very good English, they will visit the City of
  Mexico before they return. They came from Kiowa, Comanche
  and Wichita Indian Agency, and Parker bears a paper from
  Indian Agent Hunt that he, Parker, is a son of Cynthia
  Ann Parker, and is one of the most prominent chiefs of
  the half-breed Comanche tribe. He is also a successful
  stock man and farmer. He wears a citizen’s suit of black,
  neatly fitting, regular “tooth-pick” dude shoes, a watch
  and gold chain and black felt hat. The only peculiar
  item in his appearance is his long hair, which he wears
  in two plaits down his back. His two braves also wear
  civilization’s garb. But wear heavy boots, into which
  their trousers are thrust in true western fashion. They
  speak nothing but their native language.”

In 1885 Quanah Parker visited the World’s Fair at New Orleans.

The following extract from the Fort Worth _Gazette_, is a recent
incident in his career:


         *       *       *       *       *


         *       *       *       *       *

  _Another Instance in Which the Noble Red Man Succumbs to
  the Influence of Civilization!_

         *       *       *       *       *

  “A sensation was created on the streets yesterday by the news of
  a tragedy from asphyxiation at the Pickwick hotel, of which two
  noted Indians, Quanah Parker and Yellow Bear, were the victims.
  *    *    *

  “The circumstances of the unfortunate affair were very difficult
  to obtain because of the inability of the only two men who
  were possessed of definite information on the subject to reveal
  it--one on account of death, and the other from unconsciousness.
  The Indians arrived here yesterday from the Territory, on the
  Fort Worth & Denver incoming train. They registered at the
  Pickwick and were asigned an apartment together in the second
  story of the building. * * Very little is known of their
  subsequent movements, but from the best evidence that can be
  collected it appears that Yellow Bear retired alone about 10
  o’clock, and that in his utter ignorance of modern appliances, he
  blew out the gas. Parker, it is believed, did not seek his room
  until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, when, not detecting from
  some cause the presence of gas in the atmosphere, or not locating
  its origin in the room, he shut the door and scrambled into bed,
  unmindful of the deadly forces which were even then operating so
  disastrously.    *    *    *    *

  “The failure of the two Indians to appear at breakfast or dinner
  caused the hotel clerk to send a man around to awake them. He
  found the door locked and was unable to get a response from
  the inmates. The room was then forceably entered, and as the
  door swung back the rush of the deathly perfume through the
  aperture told the story. A gastly spectacle met the eyes of the
  hotel employes. By the bedside in a crouched position, with his
  face pressed to the floor, was Yellow Bear, in the half-nude
  condition which Indian fashion in night clothes admits. In the
  opposite corner near the window, which was closed, Parker was
  stretched at full length upon his back. Yellow Bear was stone
  dead, while the quick gasps of his companion indicated that he
  was in but a stone’s throw of eternity. The chief was removed to
  the bed, and through the untiring efforts of Drs. Beall and Moore
  his life has been saved.

  “Finding Quanah sufficiently able to converse, the reporter of
  the _Gazette_ questioned him as to the cause of the unhappy
  occurrence, and elicited the following facts:

  “‘I came,’ said the chief, ‘into the room about midnight, and
  found Yellow Bear in bed. I lit the gas myself. I smelt no gas
  when I came into the room. When I went to bed I turned the gas
  off. I did not blow it out. After a while I smelt the gas, but
  went to sleep. I woke up and shook Yellow Bear and told him ‘I’m
  mighty sick and hurting all over.’ Yellow Bear says, ‘I’m mighty
  sick, too.’ I got up, and fell down and all around the room, and
  that’s all I know about it.’

  “‘Why didn’t you open the door?’ asked the reporter.

  “‘I was too crazy to know anything,’ replied the chief.
  *    *    *    *    *

  “It is indeed, a source of congratulation that the chief will
  recover, as otherwise his tribe could not be made to understand
  the occurrence, and results detrimental to those having interests
  in the Territory would inevitably follow.”

The new town of Quanah, in Hardeman county, Texas, was named in honor
of chief Quanah Parker.

We will now conclude our little work by appending the following letter,
which gives a true pen portrait of the celebrated chief as he appears
at his home on the “reservation:”

                             “ANADARKO, I. T., Feb. 4, 1886.

  “*    *    *    *

                                     “*    *    *    *

  “We visited Quanah in his teepe. He is a fine specimen of
  physical manhood, tall, muscular--as straight as an arrow; gray,
  look-you-straight-through-the-eyes, very dark skin, perfect
  teeth, and a heavy, raven-black hair--the envy of feminine
  hearts--he wears hanging in two rolls wrapped around with red
  cloth. His hair is parted in the middle; the scalp-lock is a
  portion of hair the size of a dollar, plaited and tangled,
  signifying: ‘If you want fight you can have it.’

  “Quanah is now camped with a thousand of his subjects at the foot
  of some hills near Anadarko. Their white teepes, and the inmates
  dressed in their bright blankets and feathers, cattle grazing,
  children playing, lent a wierd charm to the lonely, desolate
  hills, lately devastated by prairie fire. *    *     *     *

  “He has three squaws, his favorite being the daughter of Yellow
  Bear, who met his death by asphyxiation at Fort Worth in December
  last. He said he gave seventeen horses for her. His daughter
  Cynthia, named for her grandmother, Cynthia Parker, is an inmate
  of the Indian Agent’s house. Quanah was attired in a full suit
  of buck-skin tunic, leggins and moccasins elaborately trimmed in
  beads--a red breech-cloth, with ornamental ends hanging down. A
  very handsome and expensive Mexican blanket was thrown around
  his body; in his ears were little stuffed birds. His hair done
  with the feathers of bright plumaged birds. He was handsomer by
  far than any Ingomar the writer has ever seen--but there was no
  squaw fair enough to personate his Parthenia. His general aspect,
  manners, bearing, education, natural intelligence, show plainly
  that white blood trickles through his veins. When traveling he
  assumes a complete civilian’s outfit--dude collar, watch and
  chain--takes out his ear-rings--he of course cannot cut off
  his long hair, saying that he could no longer be ‘big chief.’
  He has a handsome carriage; drives a pair of matched grays,
  always traveling with one of his squaws (to do the chores).
  Minna-a-ton-ccha is with him now. She knows no English, but while
  her lord is conversing, gazes, dumb with admiration, at ‘my
  lord’--ready to obey his slightest wish or command.”

Transcriber’s Note

The following changes to the original publication have been made:

  Page 46
    GENERAL L S ROSS _changed to_

  Page 56
    in all thingss ave _changed to_
    in all things save

  Page 57
    Vide “Ross Texas Brigade _changed to_
    _Vide_ “Ross’ Texas Brigade

  Page 75
    civilization--withal a fine-looklng _changed to_
    civilization--withal a fine-looking

  Page 79
    Quanah is how camped with a thousand _changed to_
    Quanah is now camped with a thousand

The following issues were noted when transcribing from the
original publication but have not been changed. The first line
is as the text appears in the original publication; the second
as it might have been intended.

  Page v
    columns of the Forth Worth _Gazette_
    columns of the Fort Worth _Gazette_

  Page 10
    give the reader a glimps of
    give the reader a glimpse of

  Page 13
    pretented that they were looking for
    pretended that they were looking for

  Page 14
    with all the servile sicophancy
    with all the servile sycophancy

    and intented to fight
    and intended to fight

  Page 17
    each unconcious of
    each unconscious of

  Page 18
    meadly of sounds
    medley of sounds

  Page 19
    now living near Graesbeck
    now living near Groesbeck

  Page 20
    shreads, their bodies lacerated
    shreds, their bodies lacerated

    A burrial party of twelve men from
    A burial party of twelve men from

    went up and burried the dead
    went up and buried the dead

  Page 23
    involentarily hastened to the
    involuntarily hastened to the

  Page 25
    but litterly torn to shreds
    but literally torn to shreds

  Page 24
    who treated her in a most bruatl manner
    who treated her in a most brutal manner

  Page 27
    indellible while life continued
    indelible while life continued

  Page 29
    have been recieved of her
    have been received of her

  Page 30
    and by a stocial effort
    and by a stoical effort

  Page 31
    bazars of Paris, or the half
    bazaars of Paris, or the half

    of Pata Nocona, performing for her
    of Peta Nocona, performing for her

    the slavish offices which savageism
    the slavish offices which savagism

  Page 33
    discomfited Comanches up the Gaudaloupe
    discomfited Comanches up the Guadaloupe

    they flount the blood-drabbled scalps
    they flaunt the blood-drabbled scalps

  Page 34
    with the gallaxy of the
    with the galaxy of the

  Page 35
    punishment of Prometheas is not
    punishment of Prometheus is not

  Page 37
    Peta Nocono, the young and daring
    Peta Nocona, the young and daring

    against the maruding Comanches
    against the marauding Comanches

  Page 38
    He was wholly unconcious
    He was wholly unconscious

  Page 40
    yell of their red allys greeted the
    yell of their red allies greeted the

  Page 43
    semi-civilized congeners, the Tonchua. The Tonchuas
    semi-civilized congeners, the Toncahua. The Toncahuas

    “georgeous” display incident to savage
    “gorgeous” display incident to savage

  Page 46
    in recognition of which he never recieved
    in recognition of which he never received

  Page 47
    to confine ourself to
    to confine ourselves to

    author of “Ross’ Texas Brigade,” counts
    author of “Ross’ Texas Brigade,” “counts

    the names of many heros, living and
    the names of many heroes, living and

    high prerogative of the State to enbalm
    high prerogative of the State to embalm

  Page 49
    greatness and glory.--_Vide_
    greatness and glory.”--_Vide_

  Page 50
    Major Earl Van Dorn, in a compaign against
    Major Earl Van Dorn, in a campaign against

  Page 51
    reconnoissance showed that the wily Comanches
    reconnaissance showed that the wily Comanches

  Page 53
    warrior, siezed Alexander’s rifle and shot Ross
    warrior, seized Alexander’s rifle and shot Ross

  Page 58
    to their inaccessable deserts
    to their inaccessible deserts

  Page 59
    The “Reservation Policy,”--necesessary
    The “Reservation Policy,”--necessary

  Page 61
    left their dedefenseless
    left their defenseless

  Page 62
    to my inexpressable surprise,
    to my inexpressible surprise,

  Page 63
    while Lieut. Tom. Kelliheir and I pursued
    while Lieut. Tom. Killiheir and I pursued

  Page 64
    wierd song. At this time my Mexican servant
    weird song. At this time my Mexican servant

  Page 66
    she could recieve the attention her situation
    she could receive the attention her situation

  Page 67
    decisive one; as sudden and irresistable
    decisive one; as sudden and irresistible

  Page 69
    doubtless, gave rise to the eroneous statement
    doubtless, gave rise to the erroneous statement

  Page 70
    dispair of being able to reach a conclusion
    despair of being able to reach a conclusion

  Page 75
    civilization, and owns a ranche with
    civilization, and owns a ranch with

  Page 77
    and were asigned an apartment together
    and were assigned an apartment together

    gastly spectacle met the eyes of the
    ghastly spectacle met the eyes of the

  Page 79
    visited Quanah in his teepe
    visited Quanah in his teepee

    white teepes, and the inmates
    white teepees, and the inmates

  Page 80
    lent a wierd charm to the lonely
    lent a weird charm to the lonely

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