In Photos: Honoring frontier, Texas life

HARLINGEN — A traveling photo exhibit of a kidnapped Texas girl and her son who became the last Comanche chief is in town.

“The Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker Exhibit, A Woman of Two Worlds and a Man In Two Worlds,” is a traveling exhibit of rarely seen photos of Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker.

The 38-photo exhibit is on display today through April 29, at The Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum.

“We have had a lot of interest about this exhibit,” said Stefanie Miller, museum director.

Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker are two important names in U.S. frontier and Texas history.

The exhibit is an effort to tell the story of the Comanche Indians of Texas.

In 1836, a Comanche raiding party took Cynthia Ann from her family from Fort Parker in West Texas. Over the following years, she became wife to a Comanche chief and mother to his children, including Quanah.

Quanah became a full warrior at age 15. A series of raids established his reputation as an aggressive and fearless fighter, and he became a war chief at a relatively young age.

Quanah mounted an unsuccessful war against white expansion in northwest Texas in 1874 and 1875.

Quanah eventually agreed to settle on a southwestern Oklahoma reservation.

Cynthia struggled with re-assimilation into American culture.

“She didn’t like it,” Miller said. “And she made many unsuccessful attempts to escape back home to her husband and son.”

After Cynthia Ann was taken back by Texas Rangers, Quanah became one of the most important Comanche leaders both in war and peace.

The photo exhibit tells this story of the lives of these two persons caught between two different worlds.

Miller said a short documentary film about the Parkers is available for viewing at the museum.

The Lakes Trail Region in West Texas views this traveling exhibit as a way to educate visitors about their lives.