From the Annals of the Captives – In 1838, Rachel Plummer was reunited with her husband after spending over a year as a Comanche captive. She and her son and three others were kidnapped in a raid on Fort Parker at the headwaters of the Navasota River. Plummer was taken along with the most famous Texas captive her cousin Cynthia Ann Parker. Plummer wrote that “one minute the fields (in front of the fort) were clear, and the next moment, more Indians than I dreamed possible were in front of the fort.” After being returned to her family, Plummer wrote a book about her experience entitled Rachael Plummer’s Narrative of Twenty One Months Servitude as a Prisoner Among the Commanchee Indians. Plummer’s book is considered one of the most insightful accounts of Comanche culture and mindset while still at the height of their powers. Sadly, Plummer died shortly after her reunification with her family.
From the Annals of the Comanche – In 1860, Cynthia Ann Parker was captured by a group of Texas Rangers under the command of Sul Ross. The so-called Battle of the Pease River was actually an attack on a Comanche hunting camp at Mule Creek in Foard County. The Rangers completely surprised the Comanche and most were slaughtered including women and children. During the raid the rangers found Parker who had been kidnapped from Fort Parker by Comanche warriors on May 19, 1836. Parker had no desire to be “rescued” as she was completely socialized as a Comanche with a war chief husband in Pete Nocona and three children – including Quanah and Topasannah (Prairie Flower). Sul Ross did his best to glorify the battle including making the disputed claim that the famed warrior Nocona had been killed in the “battle.” Quanah Parker claimed that his father was not killed at the Pease River, but died years later from his many war wounds. Hiram B. Rogers, a Ranger who joined the Ross command in October 1860, said, “I was in the Pease River fight, but I am not very proud of it. That was not a battle at all, but just a killing of squaws.”
From the Annals of Depredations – In 1836, Commanche, Kiowa, and Caddo Indians in kidnapped nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker and killed her family near present day Mexia. Silas and Lucy Parker had moved to Texas from Illinois in 1832. Their homestead included a civilian stockade called Parker’s Fort intended to protect the family and others from Indian raids. The wooden stockade probably was capable of holding off an Indian raiding party if properly manned and defended. However, a long lull in Indian raids induced the Parker family to drop their guard and they were caught by surprise on the fateful day Cynthia Ann was kidnapped. The more than one hundred raiders killed five of the Parkers and abducted five women and children. Cynthia Ann was taken by the Comanche. The tribe routinely kidnapped their enemy’s women and children for either enslavement or adoption into the tribe – typically in the case of young children. That was Parker’s fate as she lived happily with the Comanche for 25 years.
But her story does not end there. Four years after the Fort Parker raid, her relatives learned that she was still alive. A trader named WIlliams reported seeing her with a band of Comanche in north Texas. He tried to bargain for her, but it was obvious that the girl was happy with her life as a Comanche. The Commanche Chief Pahauka allowed Williams to speak to the girl, but she stared at the ground and refused to answer his questions. After four years, Parker apparently had become accustomed to Commanche ways and did not want to leave. In 1845, two other traders saw Parker, who was 17 years old. They were told that she was now married to a Comanche warrior Peta Nocona and the men reported “she is unwilling to leave” and “she would run off and hide herself to avoid those who went to ransom her.” She stayed happily married to Nocona and gave birth to 3 children including Quanah Parker who would become a famous leader of the last of the free-roaming Comanche bands.
In December 1860, a Texas Ranger force surprised Nocona’s camp on the Pease River in present day Foard County. Nocona was killed and the Rangers captured Parker and her daughter, Prairie Flower. Parker was unwilling to adapt to Anglo and tried to run away several times. But as it became clear that her adopted people were fighting a losing battle, she accepted her place as a stranger among her relatives. After her daughter, Prairie Flower died of influenza and pneumonia in 1863, Parker struggled on for seven more years. Weakened by self-imposed starvation, she died of influenza in 1870