Cynthia Ann (words and music by Gordon McLeod )

Oh Cynthia Ann, You’ve been stolen twice again

From your Mama’s hands and from Quanah’s lands Now you can’t go home again

 

Parker County Edge of the Range, your happy childhood up in flames

Restless ponies, desperate braves, kill what they can’t carry

To Palo Duro they took you home, they fed you well, put meat on bone

You learned to love strong as stone, Nocona you did marry

 

 

Sul Ross and Charlie Goodnight ride, along the cold Pease riverside,

 Stole you from Nocona’s side, from Quanah and from Pecos

 

Oh Cynthia Ann, you’ve been stolen twice again

From your Mama’s hands and Nocona’s lands now you can’t go home again

 

Comanche moon on a summer night, Quanah’s set to ride all night

Mama’s gone, gotta set things right but there’s no right way to set them

The Llano’s wide and deep and strange, buffalo gone, time has changed

But it won’t go backward, that’s the game, you can lose more than you bet them

 

Oh Cynthia Ann, you’ve been stolen twice again

From your Mama ’s hands and your husband’s lands now you can’t go home again

 

Prairie Flower, gone too soon, Agonizing afternoon’s

You sit in grief in your Uncle’s room and wish for time’s reversal

In spite of all of our affections, time only moves in one direction,

Be it choice or predilection, this is real life, not rehearsal

The Taibo never fail to fail to see that good intentions

Don’t justify a cruel lie, and your freedom’s just detention

 

Oh Cynthia Ann, You’ve been stolen twice again

From your Mama’s hands, and from Quanah’s lands 

Now you can’t go home again

 

Cynthia Ann Parker (also known by her Comanche name, Nadua meaning "someone found") was abducted by a group of Comanche and Kiowa in 1836 when she was 9 or 10 years old. The raiding party came to the  Parker  family compound near Mexia Texas and sacked the fort, killing several family members and kidnapping Cynthia Ann and five other members of the compound.

Cynthia Ann was taken into the Comanche band of one of the raiding party and was integrated into their life and culture. She completely forgot the way of life that she had been born into and adopted the Comanche customs and language. She was quite happy with her new life by all accounts and lived as a Comanche for approximately 24 years. She married a respected Comanche war chief, Peta Nacona, and they had three children, two sons, Quanah (who later became a famed warrior himself) and  Pecos, and a daughter, Topsannah (Prairie Flower). On at least one occasion Nadua (Cynthia Ann) was approached by whites which she encountered during a trading visit to a Texas frontier town, and asked if she would like to return to white society. She adamantly refused stating that she was very happy in her Comanche life.

In 1860 a group of Texas Rangers led by Sul Ross and including Charlie Goodnight, attacked Cynthia Ann's Comanche camp on the banks of the Pease River, killing many of the men and others and, recognizing Nadua as a white woman, took her and her infant daughter back to North Texas. Cynthia Ann's uncle, Colonel Isaac Parker , took her to his home near Birdville, Texas. She was taken on a tour of some of the larger cities in Texas including Austin and was presented as a living curiosity, the white woman who had become a savage. She later went to live with her brother, Silas Parker Jr. in Van Zandt County, Texas.

Cynthia never adjusted to her new life and was very unhappy in white society. She never ceased attempting to return to the Comanche and she worried incessantly over her two sons, whose fate she had no way of ascertaining. After four years , her daughter Topsannah, died of influenza which plunged Cynthia Ann deeper into despair. She died in 1870 after a long period of grief. 

Cynthia Ann's story is undoubtedly one of the saddest of the American frontier. Numerous other stories of Comanche and Kiowa captives have been recorded and nearly all of the captives preferred their native life to their original lives in the white world. 

I wrote this song after reading the book "Empire Of The Summer Moon" by S.C Gwynne. This fine book has a wealth of information on the Comanche, Quannah Parker, Cynthia Ann Parker and many other important people in the history of the southern plains. 

 

 

Catalpa Rescue—Song lyrics and notes

 

Catalpa Rescue  is a song performed by McLeod Nine and written by Gordon McLeod about the true story of a daring rescue of six Fenian prisoners from Fremantle Prison in west Australia in 1876. Years earlier in 1869 the seven Irish rebels were imprisoned in Fremantle along with 55 other “Fenian” prisoners of the British who had been convicted of treason and rebellion. In 1869 John O'Reilly escaped aboard an American whaleship, The Gazelle, with the help of the prison's priest. He sailed to Boston and became a successful newspaper editor. But the fate of his fellow Fenian brothers haunted him, so he and fellow Fenian, John Devoy organized the purchase of another Yankee whaleship, The Catalpa, and organized the rescue of six of their remaining comrades from Fremantle. Here are the lyrics to the song:

Catalpa Rescue Words and music by Gordon McLeod , August, 2018

We were transported, we sixty two
Our crime rebellion, our hopes were few
I was a soldier, O’Reilly was my name
Locked up in Fremantle prison, 10,000 miles from home.

I yearned for freedom more than I feared the rope
I worked outside the walls, so had cause for hope
I swam and boarded the whaling ship Gazelle
Those Yankee whalers saved me form Fremantl’es hell
Chorus:
Catalpa Rescue from New Bedford we set sail
To free our brothers from Fremantle jail
We are all soldiers of the fearless Clan na Gael
We dare not falter, tyranny shall not prevail

I sailed to Boston, was free it seemed
But visions of my brothers in chains haunted my dreams
I met John DeVoy, a Fenian like me
We vowed we sail to Australia and set our brothers free

On Good Ship Catalpa we sailed halfway round the world
With bloody hands we rowed and dodged the cannonballs they hurled
Six Fenian captives worked outside Fremantle’s walls
We rescued them in our whaleboat rowing in the squall

Chorus:Catalpa Rescue from New Bedford we set sail
To free our brothers from Fremantle jail
We are all soldiers of the fearless Clan na Gael
We dare not falter, tyranny shall not prevail

Though pursued by Brittania on the waves
Our lust for justice gave us strength to cheat the grave
We beat the Royal Navy at her game
And slipped away across the Australian main

Chorus: Catalpa Rescue from New Bedford we set sail
To free our brothers from Fremantle jail
We are all soldiers of the fearless Clan na Gael
We dare not falter, tyranny shall not prevail

 

 

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