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
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.
“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.”
“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.”
© Jon Mark Hogg 2022