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Cynthia Ann Parker

1825 – 1871

Cynthia Ann Parker was taken from her white pioneering family on the plains of Texas as a young girl by a band of Comanche warriors. She was raised by the tribe, fully adapted to Native ways and married a chief, gave birth to two sons and one daughter in her nearly twenty-seven years with the Comanches. In a Texas Ranger raid on the camp, Cynthia Ann and her infant daughter, Prairie Flower, were forcibly removed from her Native family. Because her Native ways were strange (even called ‘savage’) she was shuffled from family to family and place to place, unwanted by her own relatives. She tried many times to run away. She was never allowed to see her husband and sons again. After she heard of the death of her husband and one of her sons, she was disconsolate, and a few months later, when Prairie Flower died, Cynthia Ann stopped eating. Weakened and with no will to live, she died shortly thereafter. Her surviving son, Quanah Parker was a great peacemaking chief. The heart break of Cynthia Ann’s life begs the question: Who is our family? How is family defined? To whom do we owe allegiance? Who decides whom we love and how?

Submitted by Susan Quinn Bryan in 2007.