9. Cynthia Ann Parker
Cynthia Ann Parker was nine years old when she was kidnapped by Comanche Indians in 1836. Her family was slaughtered, and she and four other children were dragged off into the night. Incredibly, she survived the whole horrific ordeal—but she wouldn’t survive going back home.
Four years after her capture, a trader named Williams heard that she was still alive, living among the Comanche. He rode into their camp and offered their chief any amount of money he wanted for her freedom. But when he was given the chance to speak to her, Parker simply stared at the ground and refused to say a word.
It took another 20 years before she was freed. A Texas Ranger force attacked the Comanche tribe, and upon seeing the white-skinned Parker among them, brought her back to her family. After 24 years living among the Comanche, though, Parker wasn’t happy about going home.
She had been there so long that she’d married one of the Comanche warriors, a man named Peta Nocona, who the Rangers had killed. As far as she was concerned, these men weren’t her liberators. They were murdererswho had killed the man she loved.
They brought her to her uncle’s farm, but Parker didn’t want to be there. She repeatedly tried to run away, and when she realized she wouldn’t escape, she simply stopped eating. Rather than live among the white man, Cynthia Ann Parker starved herself until, weakened and plagued by influenza, she died.
8. Eunice Williams
Eunice Williams’s father got to see her change. After she was kidnapped by Mohawk warriors (reenactment pictured above), her father, Reverend John Williams, tracked her down and tried to get them to let him buy her freedom. The Mohawks refused to sell her, but they did let Rev. Williams talk to the daughter who would never be his again.
Young Eunice was terrified by everything around her. She told her father about the rituals the Mohawks performed, telling him they were “mocking the Devil.” She’d described a French Catholic missionary who’d been making her pray with him. “I don’t understand one word of [the prayers],” she told her father. “I hope it won’t do me any harm.”
Ten years later, a man named John Schuyler went to see Eunice—but now she was a completely different woman. She dressed and lived like a Mohawk. She had converted to Catholicism, married a warrior, and refused to speak English. He only got four words out of her the whole two hours he spoke to her. When he asked her to come home and see her father, Eunice simply said: “It may not be.”