In 1832, Silas and Lucy Parker relocated their young family from Illinois to Texas. The Parkers had settled right on the edge of the 250,000-square-mile Comanche empire, writes author S.C. Gwynne in Empire of the Summer Moon.
They practically built a fort which was a solidly constructed civilian stockade about 40 miles east of present-day Waco. If properly defended, the tall wooden stockade was said to be capable of withstanding "a large enemy force".
However, after months of no Native American attacks, the Parker family and relatives who joined them in the fort became careless. They quite often left the bulletproof gates to the fort wide open for extended periods of time.
And as white settlers began to encroach on Native's territories, which was critical to their way of life, particularly buffalo hunting, the Comanche launched a series of raids against white settlers as well as neighboring Native American tribes.
Several hundred Comanche, Kiowa, and Caddo Native Americans launched a surprise attack on May 19, 1836. Five Parkers were killed during the ensuing battle by Native Americans. During the chaos, Native Americans kidnapped Cynthia Ann Parker, who was around 9 or 10 years old at the time, as well as four other white women and children.
Women and children were later divided between the Comanche and Caddo bands. Parker was taken by the Comanche and lived with them for the next 25 years.
She was spotted by different people throughout the years, some even tried to buy her freedom but she would hide and avoid talking to the buyers. In 1845, Parker, who was 17 years old at the time, was seen by two other white men. When inquired, a Comanche warrior informed them that he was now her husband, and the men reported that she was unable to leave.
Her husband, a rising young warrior named Peta Nocona, treated her well by all accounts, and the couple was happily married. She had three children, two boys and a girl, and Nocona was reportedly so pleased with her that he refused to take multiple wives and remained monogamous.
Parker lived among the Comanche until her tribe's village was raided by Texan rangers, leaving her husband Nocona mortally wounded and herself and her daughter Prairie Flower captured and forced to live among other Anglo-Americans on her Uncle's farm.
She tried unsuccessfully to flee several times until her daughter, the only link to her previous life died of influenza and pneumonia in 1863, three years after her relocation. Parker struggled for seven more years, depressed and lonely, before succumbing to starvation and influenza in 1870.