Notes and Documents
Cynthia Ann Parker and Pease Ross-
The Forgotten Photographs
LAWRENCE T. JONES III*
C YNTHIA ANN PARKER WAS NINE YEARS OLD WHEN SHE WAS CAPTURED
in a Comanche raid on Fort Parker, Texas, in late May 1836. For
almost twenty-five years she lived happily with the Comanches, mar-
ried a chief, reared a family, and completely adopted the Comanche
culture and language. She was recaptured on December 17, 186o, in a
raid on a Comanche camp on the Pease River by a mixed command of
Texas Rangers, U.S. troops, and volunteer citizens led by a young
ranger captain, Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross. In nineteenth-century
America her story was the most widely known of the numerous Indian
captive cases that occurred on the Texas frontier, and she is best re-
membered today as the mother of Quanah Parker, last chief of the
This tintype of Cynthia Ann Parker, shown on the following page, is
one of two known photographic images of her and is the first photo-
graph taken of her after she was recaptured. The other, more familiar
photograph of Cynthia Ann shows her with her nursing baby daugh-
ter, Topsannah (Prairie Flower). It was taken in the Fort Worth gallery
of A. F. Corning in 1862 when she visited that city with her brother,
Silas M. Parker, Jr., prior to moving to East Texas.2 This tintype of
Parker was taken in Austin in February 1861, barely two months after
the fight on the Pease River.a It is a sixth-plate (24 by 3'/4 inches) of the
* Lawrence T. Jones is an Austin publisher and free-lance photo historian who recently pub-
lished the fifteenth edition of the Confederate Calendar.
'Walter P. Webb, H. Bailey Carroll, and Eldon Stephen Branda (eds.), The Handbook of Texas
(3 vols.; Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1952, 1976), II, 335-
2 Grace Jackson, Cynthia Ann Parker (San Antonio: Naylor Co., i959), 96; James T. DeShields,
Cynthza Ann Parker. The Story of Her Capture. . (St. Louis: Chas. B. Woodward, 1886), 73.
3A piece of paper with detailed information concerning the date of the tintype is perma-
nently attached to the back of the tintype case.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed September 16, 2014.