U.S.S. Oklahoma / Cynthia Ann Parker
December 6, 2000
The anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor is such a landmark date in our history that I felt it
had to be included in the Almanac. There were several ways I could have accomplished this task. The best way I thought of was to talk with Oklahomans who were actually there. The EASIEST way to include Pearl Harbor in the Almanac was to talk about the battleship, U.S.S. Oklahoma. Beyond being relevant, because it was the beginning of our involvement in World War II, the story of the U.S.S. Oklahoma is a great piece of state and national history and culture.
The story of Cynthia Ann Parker is interesting. I had never heard anything about it until I discovered
the material in the Angie Debo collection. I enjoyed the story and thought others would as well.
Resources for "U.S.S. Oklahoma":
Chronicles of Oklahoma (Autumn 1999). 77 (3).
Resources for "Cynthia Ann Parker":
The Angie Debo Papers are held at OSU's Special Collections & University Archives.
Hello, I'm Steven Kite welcoming you to the Oklahoma Audio Almanac where
we turn the pages of history to bring you the stories of our state's past.
It was in this week that the U.S.S. Oklahoma was bombed and sunk by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
On December 7, 1941 the US Navy was hit in a surprise attack on their fleet docked at the naval base in
Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. Oklahoma, only one of dozens of ships hit during the raid, was struck broadside
by three torpedoes at approximately 8:00AM. In a matter of minutes the ship capsized trapping hundreds
of sailors below decks. Of the 480 crew members aboard only thirty-two survived. After the attack on Pearl
Harbor the U.S.S. Oklahoma was decommissioned retrieved from the harbor and sold as scrap metal to a company
in California. The ship, being towed to its ultimate death in 1944, sank to the bottom once more when
the towing line snapped, landing this time at a depth too great to merit retrieval. Many of the surviving
crew members believed it appropriate that the ship sank with dignity intact, rather than being dismembered
in a scrap yard. The U.S.S. Oklahoma sent to its watery grave this week in 1941.
This week also marks the anniversary of the death of Cynthia Ann Parker. Ms. Parker was buried on December
4th, 1910, and her life is one of the more interesting stories in the annals of Oklahoma history. In 1836
at the age of nine Cynthia Parker was taken from a Texas frontier town by a Comanche raiding party. The
young girl was raised as a full member of the Comanche tribe, married a chief and eventually had two sons
and a daughter. She was eventually recaptured by Texas Rangers and kept by force in a white settlement.
Her son Quanah grew to assume leadership of that particular band of the Comanche and out of respect for
his lost mother assumed her name Parker. Quanah Parker would be the last of the Comanche leaders to surrender
to the U.S., doing so in 1876. Chief Parker, after his surrender and relocation to an Oklahoma reservation,
searched for and found his mothers grave in Texas. Having received money and aid from the U.S. government
for the purpose, Chief Parker had his mother exhumed and brought to Oklahoma where she was re-buried in
the Comanche reservation cemetery, this week in 1910.
I'm Steven Kite.
The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a production of the OSU Library and Oklahoma's