Cynthia Ann Nocona

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Cynthia Ann Nocona (Parker)

Also Known As: "Naut dah", "Nautdah", "Nadua", "Naduah"
Birthplace: Charleston, Coles, Illinois OR, Crawford County, Illinois, United States
Death: between October 28, 1864 and October 28, 1870 (37-43)
Orleana, Anderson, Texas (influenza, self-starvation, heartbreak)
Place of Burial: Fort Sill, Comache County, Oklahoma
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Silas Mercer Parker and Lucinda Mercer Roberts
Wife of Peta Nocona, Comanche Chief
Mother of Quanah Parker, Comanche Chief; Pecan Parker and Prairie Flower 'Toh-Tsee-Ah' Parker (Nocona)
Sister of John Henry Parker; Silas Mercer Parker, Jr.; Orlena O'Quinn and John Richard Parker
Half sister of Benjamin Milam Usry

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About Cynthia Ann Nocona

For info about Cynthia Ann Parker, see:,CynthiaAnn.html


Cynthia Ann Parker, or Naduah (also sometimes spelled "Nadua" and "Nauta," meaning "someone found"), (ca 1827–1870) was an Anglo-Texas woman of Scots-Irish descent who was kidnapped at the age of nine by a Native American raiding party. Cynthia Ann was a member of the large Parker frontier family that settled in east Texas in the 1830s. She was captured in 1836 by Comanches during the raid of Fort Parker near present-day Groesbeck, Texas. She was later re-kidnapped at age 34 by the Texas Rangers and subsequently spent the remaining ten years of her life trying to escape back to the Comanche people.

Early life

Cynthia Ann Parker was born to Silas M. Parker and Lucy Parker in Crawford County, Illinois. There is considerable dispute about her age, as according to the 1870 census of Anderson County, Texas, she would have been born between June 2, 1824, and May 31, 1825. When she was nine years old, her family moved to Central Texas and built Fort Parker, a log fort, on the headwaters of the Navasota River in what is now Limestone County. Her brother James was killed on the way from Illinois to Texas, when the wagon lost a wheel and he was struck through the chest with a piece of splintered wood.

Fort Parker Massacre

Her Grandfather, Elder John Parker, the Patriarch of the family, had negotiated treaties with the local Indians, and historians conjecture that he believed those treaties would bind all Native Americans, and that his family was safe from attack. If so, this was a tragic error. On May 19, 1836, a huge force of Comanche warriors approximately 500 strong, accompanied by Kiowa and Kichai allies, attacked the fort and killed a number of its inhabitants. During the attack, the Comanches seized five captives, including Cynthia Ann Parker The other four were released after the typical ransom was paid, but Cynthia remained with the Indians for nearly twenty-five years. She completely forgot whatever she had known as a white child, and became a Comanche.

Cynthia Ann Parker and Peta Nocona

Peta Nocona was one of the war chiefs present at the Fort Parker massacre, and had formed his own band of the Comanche called the Noconi or Nokoni, afterwards. He became the husband of Cynthia Ann Parker. A great tribute to his affection to her was that he never took another wife, though it was common among the Comanche for such a successful war chief to do so. The couple had three children, famed Comanche chief Quanah Parker, another son named Pecos ("Pecan") and a daughter named Topsanna ("Prairie Flower").

Recapture by Texas Rangers at Pease River

In December 1860, Cynthia Ann and her 2-year-old daughter, Topsanna(Anglicization: Topsannah), or "Prairie Flower", were among a Native American party captured at the Battle of Pease River by Texas Rangers led by Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross. After fierce fighting, the Comanche realized they were losing and fled. Ross and several of his men pursued the chief who had been giving orders. The chief was fleeing alongside another rider. As Ross and his men neared, the other rider held a child over her head; the men did not shoot, but instead surrounded and stopped her. Ross continued to follow the chief, eventually shooting him three times. Although the chief fell from his horse, he was still alive, and refused to surrender. Ross's cook, Antonio Martinez, who had been taken captive in Mexico after Nocona killed his family, identified the captured chief as Nocona. With Ross's permission, Martinez fired the shot that took Nocona's life. There is some dispute whether the man killed was actually Nocona or someone else.

When Ross arrived back at the campground, he discovered that the woman his men had captured had blue eyes. He assured her that no young boys had been killed in the battle, so her sons, Quanah and Pecos were safe. The woman could not speak English, and did not know her American name or where she came from. After much questioning, she remembered a few details of her capture as a child. The details matched what Ross knew of the Fort Parker Massacre of 1836.

Though some of the Rangers urged Ross to set her free to return to the Comanches, he considered it best to try to return her to her white family. Ross knew many settlers had lost children to the Indians, and many of them might feel this was their child or relative.[citation needed] Ross sent the woman to Camp Cooper and sent a message to Colonel Isaac Parker, the uncle of a young girl kidnapped in the raid. When Parker mentioned that his niece's name was Cynthia Ann Parker, the woman slapped her chest and said "Me Cincee Ann."[7] Isaac Parker took her to his home near Birdville. In 1861, the Texas legislature granted her a league (about 4,400 acres) of land, a pension of $100 per year for the next five years, and made her cousins, Isaac Duke Parker and Benjamin F. Parker, her legal guardians.


Cynthia Ann never adapted to her new life among the whites, and attempted to escape on several occasions. Her brother, Silas Jr., was appointed her guardian in 1862, and took her to his home in Van Zandt County. When Silas was mustered into the Confederate Army, Cynthia Ann went to live with her sister, Orlena. According to some accounts, the Parker family was negotiating to return her to west Texas and her adopted people when the American Civil War broke out. The chief cause of Cynthia Ann's unhappiness was that she missed her sons and never knew what had happened to them. In 1863, her daughter, Toh-Tsee-Ah, caught influenza and died from pneumonia.

In her grief, Cynthia Ann stopped eating. She became sick and died in 1870. She was buried in Fosterville Cemetery in Anderson County near Frankston. Her son, Quanah, moved her body in 1910 to the Post Oak Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma. He was buried there in 1911. She and her son were moved in 1957 to the Fort Sill military cemetery in Oklahoma.


The city of Crowell, Texas, holds the Cynthia Ann Parker Festival annually - a two-day celebration to honor the memory of Cynthia Ann Parker. They advertise the event as "a fun and educational weekend showcasing both Native American and European settlers history of the region."

The town of Groesbeck, Texas, holds an annual Christmas Festival at the site of old Fort Parker every December. The original fort has been re-built on the original site to exact specifications.

The 1956 movie The Searchers, which was based on an Alan Le May novel, directed by John Ford, and featured John Wayne as an obsessed frontiersman searching for years for his kidnapped niece, is widely believed to have been principally based on Cynthia Ann Parker's story; Natalie Wood and her younger sister Lana Wood portray the kidnapped woman at different ages.

The Opera

Cynthia Parker is a one act opera composed by Julia Smith.

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Cynthia Ann Nocona's Timeline

October 28, 1827
Crawford County, Illinois, United States
McIntosh County, Oklahoma, United States
Staked Plains, Lubbock County, Texas, United States
Texas, United States
October 28, 1864
Age 37
Orleana, Anderson, Texas
December 4, 1910
Age 37
Fort Sill, Comache County, Oklahoma