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Bianca Babb, abducted by Comanches


Couple
Bianca Babb and her husband, J.D. Bell, as pictured in the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 1939.

Even a casual history-lover of the Southwest has heard about Cynthia Ann Parker's interesting life as an Anglo-turned-Comanche, but not everyone is familiar with Bianca Babb's story.


Bianca Babb (pictured on her wedding day with her husband, J.D. Bell) was only seven years old when, in 1866, she was abducted by Comanches in a raid at her home near Chico (Wise County, Texas) during which her mother was killed. Often, Comanches did not exploit but rather adopted the children they stole. For two years, she and her brother, who was also taken, lived as Comanches. She was ransomed by her father at Fort Arbuckle in 1869.


Bianca freely talked about her experiences as a "Comanche captive" in a Fort Worth Star Telegram interview given in 1939, when she was the guest of honor when the opera "Cynthia Ann Parker" premiered in Denton.


She told the interviewer that "I was terribly frightened at first. It was a horrible thing to see my mother shot through with arrows and then scalped. When I got over the first grief and fear I got made. I kicked, hit, bit and clawed... They must have liked my spirit, for they treated me pretty well, as well as they did their own children... The worst thing was being hungry nearly all the time. The Indians were supposed to be on the Indian Territory Reservation [Fort Sill], but they roved all over North and west Texas, and into New Mexico... they had to kill or steal their food, and food was always scarce. But they divided generously with me, what they had."


Bianca, nicknamed "the little Tejana" by the Comanches, became the adopted daughter of Tek-wa-shana, the sister of the tribal chief. Her adopted mother taught her Comanche and treated her well.


After she returned to Anglo society, Bianca lived with several relatives until she married J.D. Bell in Henrietta, Clay County, Texas. She and her husband had seven children; some of her descendants probably still live in the Red River Valley region. She lived to be 93 (!) and is buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Denton (Denton County, Texas).

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