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Killing Cynthia Ann

Charles Brashear

Publication Year: 2011

The saga of Cynthia Ann Parker is well known to historians of the Texas frontier and readers of historical fiction. Kidnapped from Parker's Fort near Mexia by raiding Comanches in 1836, she was completely assimilated into the Noconi band. She married tribal leader Peta Nocona and bore him two sons, Quanah and Pecos, and a daughter, Toh-Tsee-Ah. Late in 1860, she and toddler Topsannah (as the whites called her) were recaptured by Texas Rangers and returned to "civilization" and the extended Parker clan.

Cynthia Ann never adapted to white culture. She was shunted from one Parker family to another, living in constant grief and doubt—about herself and her daughter and about the fate of her Comanche family still on the prairies. Convinced she was a captive of the Texans, Cynthia Ann was determined to escape to the high plains and the Comanche way. The Parkers neither cared for nor understood Cynthia Ann's obsession with returning to her homeland and her people.
Charles Brashear's thoroughly researched and vividly realistic novel, Killing Cynthia Ann, tells the story as it might have happened and turns it into a compelling and unforgettable drama.

“Basing his fictional speculation on a careful reading of the historical record, Brashear chronicles the heartbreaking descent into despair of a proud woman who could not forget her warrior husband and two sons. . . [The public] will appreciate this engrossing novel, which can also supply a personal perspective to supplement history texts.”--Library Journal

Published by: TCU Press

Title Page

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pp. v

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1 On the Pease River, 18 Dec. 1860

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pp. 1-14

Naudah paused and looked up from stripping the flesh and striffen from a fresh buffalo hide. A few steps to the east, several women-friends and relatives-bent over buffalo hides pegged out among the tipis in various stages of curing and tanning. The sliced...

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2 Camp Cooper

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pp. 15-26

" I'll bet she's Cynthia Ann Parker," said Captain Nathan Evans, commanding at Camp Cooper on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. "It all fits when you down to it. She's about the right age. Quahada band. And last time we heard anything, they said she was married to...

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3 Lost in the Snow

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pp. 27-40

Overnight snow fell, leaving the rut-marked roads icy and smothering the earth in a white envelope that showed no signs of melting. Isaac Parker was put out. The weather meant he and his niece would not be able to start for his home near Fort Worth until it cleared. In the officers' mess at Camp Cooper, Naudah would hardly eat. She sat on a bench...

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4 Victory Dance at Birdville

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pp. 41-50

Naudah woke when Bess opened the door and found them asleep on the rug. "Goodness!" exclaimed Bess. "You'll catch your death! Aren't you cold?" She hugged her own shoulders and shivered. "Tengo frio," Naudah admitted. Bess put a few shavings on the embers in the fireplace, puffed and fanned until..

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5 Ceremonies

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pp. 51-62

In a white woman's frock Isaac had forced on her, Naudah sat on the porch and waited. Waited for nothing. The emptiness in her ached. Except for her images of Peta Nocona, Quanah, and Pecos, her mind had gone blank; she yearned for the others, the grandmothers, the adopted...

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6 At the Secession Convention: Austin

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pp. 63-74

Three moons and more had passed since She-Mourns came to the Parker house, and there was no sign that they would honor any of their promises to her. She sat in a rocking chair on the porch and held Toh-Tsee-Ah tightly, too tightly. The child squirmed, wanting...

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7 House of No Escape

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pp. 75-84

"I'll swear," Isaac muttered on the porch stoop. "I'll sweat" They no longer let She-Mourns out of sight of some family member except when they locked her in at night. The words registered in She-Mourns' mind, her brain understanding the English words without...

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8 The Cowrie-Shell Dress

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pp. 85-90

"you may not wear that dress around here, Cynthia Ann," said Amelia Parker, indicating her Comanche sheath with the cowrie shell decorations. "I won't have it. Maybe Uncle Isaac couldn't scrub your heathenish ways out of you, but I certainly will." Amelia stood in the doorway of their small white, wood-frame...

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9 Preloch, The Queen

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pp. 91-98

As soon as Preloch realized what had happened to her doeskin dress-and Toh-Tsee-Ah-ne's little antelope shift, too-she came out of her dutiful quiescence, and she was far from silent. She lunged at Amelia and hit her chest with a clenched fist, knocking the breath out of her. "You-you-" She could not get..

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10 Fighting Amelia, Winter 1861

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pp. 99-104

When cold weather came and it was time to slaughter hogs and cure the meat, Preloch pitched in and helped. No one asked her to, but she saw work that needed to be done, so she rolled up her sleeves, took a knife, and got right into the necessary...

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11 Gathering at the River, Summer 1862

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pp. 105-110

One Sunday after church on a sweltering day when they had decided not to visit anyone, and no one had decided to visit them, they sat around the porch after lunch, humming the morning's hymn: "Shall We Gather at the River?" "I know," said Silas. "Let's go down to the river, where it's shady and moist." Amelia...

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12 With Serena and Billy Parker, Fall 1862

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pp. 111-116

Smiling Billy Parker was a Unionist, but he had been conscripted into the Confederate Army and forced to fight for a cause he abhorred. An exploding bombshell had torn chunks of flesh from both of his legs, so he was sent to a hospital, then home on furlough. Later...

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13 Peta Nocona at Fort Cobb

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pp. 117-120

At the beginning of the Civil War, Camp Cooper on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River was abandoned and the Union troops sent to various military posts. Those who were Union sympathizers went north with their units. Like many Texans, interpreter...

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14 Run Away With Billy

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pp. 121-124

"Por favor, Billy. Vamanos a la Comancheria. We go to Comancheria, no? My heart so crying por mis hijos y mi esposo." "I know, Cynthia Ann. And I know I said I'd help as best I can; and I will, too. It's just that I need to get around a little better, and we need a plan."...

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15 Courting Coho Smith

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pp. 125-132

Back in Birdville, after the waning moon forced their return, Billy Parker took six gallons of whiskey to Fort Worth to sell to Ed Terrell at the First and Last Chance Saloon and came back with a new piece of news. He had met a Confederate cotton agent named Coho..

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16 Sunday School, Spring 1863

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pp. 133-140

" She's got to go to Sunday school," insisted Orlena, lifting Still-She-Mourns' chin to force her to meet Orlena's eyes. "Aren't you concerned for her soul?" Still-She-Mourns pulled Toh-Tsee-Ah closer to her chest, as if she could hide them both in the wicker chair. "No. No. She wanted to say...

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17 Tecks Ann

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pp. 141-148

T. J. and Frances Cates came often after church on Sundays to take Cynthia Ann and Topsannah for autumn drives in the countryside. "That's good," said Orlena, folding her arms under her bosom. "It'll be good for both them and us to look at something besides each other's ugly faces for a while." She reached up and brushed...

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18 A Parker Thanksgiving, November 1863

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pp. 149-160

When the summer grass had wilted in 1863, Toh-Tsee-Ah, Child of the Prairie Flowers, caught a bad cold. "That's what you get for letting her nap without a sheet," scolded Orlena. "I always say, don't come in hot and sweaty from a hot day-and a lot of play-and lay down in a draft. You'll catch cold ever time." Still-She-Mourns felt...

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19 Has-No-Name

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pp. 161-168

"You're downright gloomy," said Orlena. "You turn everybody's disposition sour. Ruff has a sawmill out by the county line, and there's a cabin empty out there. So you can just go there and live alone." What did Has-No-Name care? She had no child, no family, no life, any...

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20 "She's Getting Better"

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pp. 169-178

" She's getting better," Wilma reported to Ruff and Orlena, her hand on the rounded end of the dashboard of their buggy, as if she were holding it in place. Ruff and Orlena sat in the buggy, ready to return to Slater's Creek. "Some days, she almost seems like she's getting well." "Getting well?" exclaimed Orlena. "Has she been sick?" "Oh, no. Not...

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21 Goes-Blank

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pp. 179-186

At first, Naudah took good care of the horse and rode often. But, though some men came with gear to mend, there was not much business. With the opening of spring buds, the unfurling of leaves everywhere, she fell into melancholy. To see so much of the world coming alive again only makes one aware of progressing age and..

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22 Looking at Walls, 1867

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pp. 187-192

Winter came and spring. Then another winter and spring. And another. Forgot-Her-Real-Name was not counting. She had no sense of time. She sat in her cabin, where the walls gave her a measure of safety. It was a little island where the storms outside did not reach her. Sometimes she fixed food, sometimes...

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23 The Death of Cynthia Ann

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pp. 193-200

In 1869, T. J. Cates read Cynthia Ann the news that the U.S. Government had established Fort Sill on Cache Creek, right next to the Comanche-Kiowa-Apache Reservation in Indian Territory and staffed it with cavalry. Walks-Again frowned at the word. "Cavalry. Horse...

Historic and Bibliographic Notes

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pp. 201-209

E-ISBN-13: 9780875655123
E-ISBN-10: 0875655122
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875654317

Page Count: 215
Publication Year: 2011