Frontier Blood: The Saga of the Parker Familyby Jo Ella Exley
The descendants of Elder John Parker were a strange and often brilliant family who may have changed the course of Texas and western history. Their obsession with religion and their desire for land took them from Virginia to Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, and finally Texas. From their midst came Cynthia Ann, taken captive by Comanches as a young girl and recaptured as an adult to live in grief among her birth family until she died. From their line too came her son, Quanah Parker, last of the great Comanche war chiefs -- and first of their great peace leaders.
Though the broad outlines of the stories of Cynthia Ann and Quanah are familiar, Jo Ella Powell Exley adds a new dimension by placing them in the context of the stubborn, strong, contentious Parker clan, who lived near and dealt with restive Indians across successive frontiers until history finally brought them to Texas, where their fate changed. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary accounts, including several first-person stories, she follows Cynthia Ann through her life in the Indian camp and eventually her recapture by her birth family. Exley also tells the dramatic story of Quanah Parker, often in his own words as recorded by his friends, through childhood, battle, surrender, and reservation life.
This gripping narrative is filled with authentic flavor and sets straight a story that has sometimes been distorted. It offers new insight if not a definitive interpretation of Cynthia Ann Parker's last years, providing a more complex picture of the "white" years of a woman who had matured among the Comanches since the age of nine.
Among the documents from which Exley draws are a short autobiography of Daniel Parker, Rachel Parker Plummer's two narratives of her Indian captivity, James Parker's account of his search for Rachel and the other captives, and several autobiographical accounts Quanah dictated to his friends.
In this fascinating narrative history, Exley tells a compelling story and gives rich character insights into the extended Parker family. But she also does more: she gives a feeling of what it was like to live on the frontier in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
"Vivid, unsparing accounts, much insight into the pioneer experience and the details of early interracial relations will make this book popular among devotees of the history of the American West." --Publisher's Weekly
" . . . . only now do we have the whole fascinating story of the Parker clan, from their westward migration to Texas and Cynthia's Comanche captivity, to Quanah's role as the last great war chief." --True West
"This narrative provides a stunning portrayal of frontier life in Texas, the dangers of Indian-white conflict, the Comanche tradition of kidnapping young children, and the shortsighted Indian policies of the Texas Republic and the United States government. This book will interest religious historians because of the Baptist influence among the Parkers, frontier scholars because of the chronological period and geographic setting, and those who favor smooth biographies of pioneering Texans." --Journal of the West
"Entertaining as well as informative, Frontier Blood brings a fresh perspective to a familiar Texas story." --Texas Parks & Wildlife
- Texas A&M University Press
- Publication date:
- Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students
- Product dimensions:
- 6.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.20(d)
Meet the Author
JO ELLA POWELL EXLEY is a fifth-generation descendant of Texas pioneers. She is a longtime schoolteacher in the Houston area and editor of Texas Tears and Texas Sunshine: Voices of Frontier Women, also published by Texas A&M University Press.
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