Home > Departments > Library


Commanche Nation: The Story of Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker

Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker are well-known figures from the frontier days of Texas and the West. Historians have written much about Comanche history, but there have been few public displays of the photographs and artifacts from this important period in American history.

From September 20 – December 15, 2012, the Central Library hosted an exhibit of artifacts and photographs as well as several programs and presentations about Quanah Parker and his mother, Cynthia Ann Parker.

The exhibit, consisting of 60 historical items and numerous rare objects, was sponsored by the Texas Lakes Trail Heritage Program in cooperation with the Mayor’s Promotional Fund, Redstone Visual Impressions, the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Comanche Nation.

Preview of the Exhibit

Virtual Docent Tour of the Exhibit

Programs and Presentations

Finding Cynthia Ann Parker

Meg Hacker, Director of Archives at the National Archives of Fort Worth traces the history and steps to find the real story behind this legendary woman–Cynthia Ann Parker. Ms. Hacker also discusses tips and tricks into discovering and identifying other historical legends (a.k.a. your family!) at the National Archives at Fort Worth.

Meg Hacker has been with the National Archives at Fort Worth since 1985. She received her B.A. in American History from Austin College and her M.A. in American History from Texas Christian University. She is a frequent presenter of historical information and the author of the book, “Cynthia Ann Parker: The Life and the Legend.”

Relationships: Indians in Northwest Texas

Debbie Liles, PhD Candidate, shows, through the Texas Indian Papers, how Indian depredations in the early years in northwestern Texas were not filled with as many actual horrors as we have been led to believe. The letters and documents point to the fact that there were many problems that existed between the settlers and Indians of Texas, but most were not in the northwestern region. Ms. Lilies research shows is that relationships that did exist between early settlers and Indians were generally amicable and respectful.

Debbie Liles is currently a Doctoral Candidate and Project Manager at the University of North Texas Digital Scholarship Lab. She has had 5 works published to date including a book dealing with the history of Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Coliseum.

An Interview with Cynthia Ann Parker

Cynthia Ann Parker tells her story as she remembers the events from the time she was “captured” by the Comanches until she is re-captured at the Battle of The Pease River and returned to the Parker Family. Cynthia Ann will share with you her life story as she travels back to the world of her heritage and the sadness and happiness she has known in her life.

Cynthia Ann Parker is played by Debi Carl and the interviewer is played by Jerry Eastman. Debi Carl is a well-known actress and performs in the Fort Worth area. She is the Administrative Assistant and Historian for Sid Richardson Museum. Since 1994, Jerry Eastman has been involved with historical 1880’s reenacting and melodrama. Jerry’s main historic character is “Bat Masterson.” Jerry is dedicated to portraying Bat Masterson, Lawmen, cowboys, outlaws and many other old west personalities.

Opening Reception

Reception featured Native American dancers, music and songs and descendants of Quanah and Cynthia Parker attended.

Fighting the Plains Indians – U.S. Army Strategy

The Plains Indians wars (1860s-80s) were uprisings by the ‘hostile’ tribes of the Great Plains horse and buffalo cultural area, excluding the Apache of the south-west and the Utes and others of far west and mountain zones. They were subdued by a strategy of exterminating the buffalo and winter campaigning devised by William Tecumseh Sherman.

Program presented by Bob Bluthardt. Mr. Bluthardt is the Site Manager at Fort Concho National Historic Landmark. He oversees a forty-acre, twenty-four building site, a national historic landmark, one of the best preserved frontier forts west of the Mississippi.

Pease Ross: Third Captive from the Battle of the Pease River

A year old Comanche boy was the only male survivor of the battle. He was “adopted” by Texas Ranger Sul Ross and reared by him in Waco. Learn the history of this young Comanche boy captured with Cynthia Ann Parker and her daughter, Prairie Flower in 1860.

Program is presented by Richard F. Selcer, PhD. Mr. Selcer is the author of several books including The Fort That Became a City and Written in Blood: The Stories of Fort Worth’s Fallen Lawmen, Vol. 1 and 2, as well as numerous articles about military history and the Old West.

Myth, Memory and Massacre: The Pease River Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker

In December 1860, along a creek in northwest Texas, a group of U.S. Cavalry under Sgt. John Spangler and Texas Rangers led by Sul Ross raided a Comanche hunting camp, killed several Indians, and took three prisoners. One was the woman they would identify as Cynthia Ann Parker, taken captive from her white family as a child a quarter century before. This program provides new information about Cynthia Ann’s capture at the Pease River.

Presented by Paul Carlson, Professor Emeritus, Texas Tech University and Tom Crum, Retired Texas District Judge. Mr. Carlson is a retired professor of history and has been active in several Texas historical societies. His research concentrates on ranching, frontier life, the military and Indian affairs. Mr. Crum is a retired state district judge, a past president of the West Texas Historical Association and has published several articles and book chapters.

Quanah Parker and Cynthia Ann Parker’s Legacy

Quanah and Cynthia Ann’s legacy lives on not only in the stories passed down through generations, but also in the artifacts and structures they left behind. Log Cabin Village’s Rena Lawrence presents stories that remember Cynthia Ann and her small daughter, Prairie Flower. Program is presented by Rena Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence currently serves as Log Cabin Village’s Museum Educator

How to Read a Photograph

Janine Smith, a professional photo restoration artist, discusses how to read a photograph and look beyond the main image to discover all the facets of the image. She shows how to read the the subject, topic and information captured in a photograph. Janine Smith is a Photo Restoration Artist and owner of Landailyn Research.

Finding Your Native American Ancestors

Discovering one’s family history is a rewarding and worthwhile pursuit. Learn about some of the most frequently used records relating to Native American genealogy. Learn more about standard genealogical methods that can help you find your Native American ancestors.

Suzanne Fritz is a librarian with the Genealogy, History and Archives Unit at the Fort Worth Library. She is interested in a variety of topics including Italian-American immigration, German-American genealogy and Native-American records.

Remembering Comanche History

Lance Tahmahkera, the great-great grandson of Quanah Parker, tells stories about the history of his family and his Comanche heritage.

Portrayal of Native Americans in Films

The portrayal of Native Americans in films has been contentious. J.R. ‘Jack” Edmondson, historian, re-enactor and author, discusses how Native American Indians have been treated in the films from the earliest films to present day.

Last updated: March 18, 2013