When the Parker family relocated to the Texas frontier and built Parker’s Fort, no one might have imagined that their young daughter Cynthia would be taken captive by the Comanche. Nor could they imagine that she might become so completely Comanche that she would not want to be rescued or return to white civilization.
When the Comanche attacked Parker’s Fort in north Texas on May 19, 1836, the Parker family claimed not to know why. Several versions suggest that the Native American tribe might well have been provoked. In one version, the Comanche attacked after Cynthia’s father refused their request for water and beef. In another story, Parker had stolen horses with the Comanche but cheated the Narive Americans out of the profits when the horses were sold. No matter what the reason, the Comanche attacked the fort and killd several Parker men. The women, including matriarch Granny Parker, were raped. Granny Parker was pinned to the ground with a spear and raped but being of tough pioneer stock, she removed the spear after the Comanches left and survived. Five members of the Parker clan were taken captive and one of the captivs was then nine year old Cynthia Ann. Her aunts, her younger brother John, and one cousin were also taken but these four either escaped or were rescued.
Blonde haired, blue-eyed Cynthia Ann Parker was given up for dead. Like most captives taken by Native Americans, Cynthia Ann was adopted into the tribe. She was first given to a couple who raised her as their daughter and in a few years, she married Peta Nacona, a young chief of the Noconi band of Comanche. Her name was no longer Cynthia but Nadua. By the time of her marriage, Cynthia had all but forgotten herh early life and was completely a Comanche woman. She and Peta Nocona had three children, son Quanah, another son, Pecos, and a daughter, Topsannah.
Several reports of a white woman that might be the long lost Cynthia Parker circulated through Texas but it was not until 1860 when a party of Texas Rangers pursued a Comanche party. During a skirmish, the Rangers captured what they thought was a Comanche woman and her young daughter. Her blue eyes and blonde hair, however, indicated that she was not so they took her to a military camp. Isaac Parker arrived to claim his lost sister. The woman did not want to go with the stranger but longed to return to her own people. She spoke no English and gave her name as Nadua. After intensive questioning, however, she told one of her uncles in halting English that she was Cynthia.
Cynthia and her 18-month old daughter returned the Parker family. She was led to believe that her Comanche husband was dead but he was not. Her son Pecos died a short time after her capture from illness. Her sole surviving son Quanah survived and became a Comanche war leader who often led war parties against the white settlers. Cynthia Ann made many attempts to escape to return to the Comanche who she viewed as her own people but was thwarted. After twenty-five years as a Comanche she could not adapt to the life of a white settler.
When her daughter died four years after capture, Cynthia Ann reverted to being Nadua. She scared her own breast in self-mutilation, a Comanche way to grieve. She prayed to the Comanche spirits and starved herself until she died after a slight ilness at the age of 45.
Although she was granted a pension and a parcel of land by the State of Texas, she never accepted her return and longed for her husband. Cynthia Ann Parker was buried with her Parker relatives in Texas but was later moved to lie beside her son Quanah at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, in a cemetery that also holds the remains of the great Apache chief Geronimo.