The Two Captivities of Cynthia Ann Parker: The Capture


Tonkawa scouts tracked them up on the Pease

through a bitter cold December sandstorm.

Just when they’d lost the trail they found it again.

and followed the sign through the biting cold.

The skinning of a polecat had left an

unmistakable sign further down river.

Blinded by driving wind and swirling dust

they almost rode up on the dying camp fires

but pulled back quick without making a sound.

Captain Ross rode ahead, when he heard,

to see for himself. These were the raiders.

They struck Jack County first three weeks before.

They murdered Mrs. Landman, and her son Lewis

And took away the Masterson girls. Catherine

Was thrown on a horse, Jane was tied and dragged

Through the brush for a mile before they cut

her battered body loose and shot her with

five arrows and left her there for dead.

The Gage and Saunders cabins were hit next.

Katy Saunders was killed. Fourteen year Matilda

became captive. Anna Gage was beaten almost

to death, then she was shot through with arrows,

the house ransacked

beds ripped open

feathers fell like snow.

John Brown was lanced, scalped and they cut off his nose.

Mary found him in the snow next morning

and buried him in the yard.

Martha Sherman was stripped, tortured, raped

scalped. Horses rode over, left for dead,

and they stole the family bible.

Ross had come to pay them back

He dismounted just below the rise of the butte

and crawled the last twenty yards around the

far side of the hill so as to remain

hidden. There it was, large camp of Quahadi.

No guards could be seen. This made Ross nervous.

Scouring sand blinded them but he could just

make it out in the early light. They were

breaking camp.

He summoned the men to ride forward quietly.

Selecting forty to make the main attack,

the sergeant he sent with the rest around the hills

to cut off all hope of retreat. Then it began.

Fury of the Rangers shattered them.

The Comanche were caught completely unawares

They could make no defense, and many fell

shot dead without any resistance at all.

The rest were scattered by the freezing wind.

Nocona—he the great war chief—mounted

With a young girl, riding hard to escape.

Another rider followed close behind.

Shouting Rangers rode close on the chase

Killiheir drew up and swung his colt free

when the second rider stopped instantly

and held out an infant to the killer.

Ross continued on after the other,

gave chase for a mile then fired, shooting

the girl through the heart. When she fell

the Great Chief fell with her but leapt up quick

unleashing an arrow, into Ross’ horse.

The horse bucked, screamed, and clinging to

the horn Ross fired wild, the shot shattering

Nocona’s arm. The horse calmed, Ross fired twice

and hit Nocona in the chest. The brave man staggered

over to a tree. As he slumped against it

the wily Indian began his death song.

Refusing to surrender and helpless

they shot him dead.

Upon returning, Ross stared deep into

the prisoner and childs’ frightened, dark faces.

Killiher was furious he had only caught a squaw.

He was about to shoot her when Ross stopped

him, shut him up and said,

“Comanche do not have blue eyes.”

This is a white woman.”

That night, by the campfire the woman

Held her infant close and cried.

“No indian woman would cry like that.”

A Ranger said. Captain Ross agreed.

“¿Habla español? Ross said to her.

“Si.”

“Jose come over here and translate.”

“She is Cynthia Ann Parker I’ll bet.”

“How do you know?”

“She’s the right age. She’s been long time savage.”

“How long’s she been gone?”

“Twenty-six years this May.”

“Tell her, don’t be afraid.”

“No tengas miedo.”

“You are among your own people.”

“Estás entre tu propia gente.”

“We won’t hurt you. You and your child are safe.”

“No te lastimaremos. Usted y su hijo están a salvo.”

She tried to stop crying but found that hard.

“Tengo miedo por mis chicos.”

“She is a afraid for her sons.”

“Mis dos hijos estaban conmigo.”

“My two sons were with me.”

“Me temo que fueron asesinados. No sé qué les pasó.”

“She doesn’t know what happened to them. She is afraid they were killed.”

Ross assured her, her sons had not been seen and

Were likely alive and well, fled with the rest.

He spoke with her a long time about what

she remembered from when she was taken

and then he sent a rider to fetch Colonel Isaac Parker

in Weatherford. Another of the men asked.

“Why’s she crying? You’d think she’d be grateful.”

“We killed her husband. And her sons are gone.”

“Her husband?”

“Ain’t you heard the stories? White Queen of the Comanch.”

“Parkers ‘ve tried to buy her back for years.”

She won’t leave her Comanche family.”

“But about her sons. Wonder what happened.”

“They must’ve run off onto the prairie.”

“Then they’re good as dead.”

“Most likely.”


© Jon Mark Hogg 2022

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