The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Cynthia Ann Parker. By Grace Jackson. San Antonio (The Nay-
lor Company), 1959. Pp. xii+138. Fourteen illustrations,
bibliography. $3.95.
When I picked up this little book, I thought that it would
make good supplementary library reading in Texas History for
High School and Junior High School students. I was mistaken.
It is full of errors. These errors are in typography, spelling (e.g.,
oxens, Natchatoches, etc.), grammar, ethnology, and historical
fact. The errors of earlier writers are given and compounded
and later corrections and historical data on the subject have not
been added.
The story of Cynthia Ann Parker was written by James T.
DeShields in 1885 (Cynthia Ann Parker, The Story Of Her
Capture). It is a famous story, interlaced with legend, concerning
the capture of a white child by the Comanche Indians and her
complete acculturation in Comanche ways. Mrs. Jackson's book
follows the same story in the same sweetly sentimental style of
DeShields. We may forgive DeShields' surmises of 1885 but not
the same repeated by Jackson in 1959. DeShields' original story
is far better reading than Mrs. Jackson's. DeShields may be sup-
plemented by Paul I. Wellman's later known facts obtained from
the family of Quanah Parker. (See "Cynthia Ann Parker," Chron-
icles of Oklahoma, Vol. XII, No. 2, 163-171, June 1934.)
The book deals with the Parker family's coming to Texas, the
massacre at Fort Parker, the Indian captives, Cynthia Ann's life
among the Comanches, her marriage to Peta Nocona, attempts
to find her, her final return in 186o, and her death in 1864. There
is also a short biography of her son, Quanah Parker.
Some of the more glaring errors will be discussed.
Mrs. Jackson says (p. 56) that the "Nocona Indians ... were
a member of the Hasinai Confederacy, and lived southwest of
the Neche and Nebedache rivers, until they were forced to the
northwest by the settlers from the East." This is a major piece
of misinformation. The Noconas were Comanches. The Coman-
ches were intrusive into Texas; they were of Shoshonean linguistic
stock, moving down from the Wyoming area to continue their
nomadism over the South Plains. The Hasinai Confederacy was
a group of about ten tribes among whom were the Nacogdoche,


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 30, 2015.