Not Panama, but Interesting Enough

I like to read in bed before going to sleep. History books, mainly biographies, are my main interest. I like the big, thick books that treat the subject thoroughly, but reduced in physical size so they can be read on a Kindle.

Having recently finished Truman’s biography by David McCullough (my favorite author) I was perusing the book store on Amazon. Somehow, some way, I came across a title “The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier” by Scott Zesch. Maybe it was just the title alone, maybe it was because it was Texas, or the fact that my daughter as a child was regaled by her great grandmother with tales of being kidnapped by Indians when she herself was a child (stories that I considered entertaining but not much more) but something made me pause and read the synopsis. It was not my usual read, but I thought I’d take a chance.

I was hooked from the beginning. The setting was hill country Texas with towns whose names are very familiar to me, like Fredericksburg, Lano, Mason, Lampasas. I somehow never gave any real thought to what it was that might have been in this area. I had a vague understanding that there were a lot of German settlers trying to push the frontier ever westward, with an even vaguer understanding of the hardships they endured. I had a vaguer yet understanding of the Indians, mostly Comanche, that too often terrorized the mostly German settlers.. What an eye-opener this book is!

The book all starts with the author’s research into a distant ancestor that was kidnapped by Apaches. He spent nearly 3 years with the Indians and even though he was ultimately returned to his own kind, he would forever remain an Indian. The book deals with a number of white families and the unspeakable atrocities committed against both adults and children by the Indians to the north. Fiction could hardly be more dramatic. And all of this happened in Texas, just a few miles from where my daughter now lives!

It seemed like something she would like to read. I called her on the phone and started to tell her about this great book I thought she might like to read. It’s about Indians kidnapping and murdering white children and adults in the last half of the 1800’s. She said, “Wait a minute. I’m reading a book now about white kids being kidnapped by Indians. She went for her book and started reading the title “The Captured …” I interrupted with “by Scott Zesch?” “Yes!”, she screamed. She was reading the same book I was! Now what are the odds? It’s not like this is a current best seller. Rather, it is, let’s face it, a rather obscure book on Texas history. This ranks high on the really strange coincidences I’ve experienced in my lifetime.

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