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The History
In 1832, Daniel Parker, a staunch theologian, had gained permission to settle in Texas. After organizing those who wanted to go, including joining into the Predestinarian Baptist Church, they left Illinois July of 1833 in ox drawn wagons. Daniel and the majority of his followers settled near the present city of Elkhart, where a replica of their Pilgrim Baptist Church still stands in their memory. Other members of the group preferred to settle farther west, near the Navasota River. Elder John Parker and three of his sons; Silas, James, and Benjamin, began in December of 1833 to clear land and to construct "Parker's Fort."

 
The large stockade was built of split cedars, buried in the ground three feet and extending up some twelve feet. Two story blockhouses were erected at opposite corners, and within the fort were two rows of log cabins. In March of 1834, the fort was complete and the families of the brothers, along with other members of the group, moved into the fort and began clearing land for fields. Life was hard and security was tight during those early days.

On the morning of May 19, 1836, while most of the men of the fort were working in the fields, a band of Indians came over the hill to the east of the fort. A lighter skinned man with the Indians displayed a white flag, and though warned not to do so, one of the few remaining men within the fort went out to try and prevent the impending disaster, After talking with several of the warriors, Benjamin Parker returned to the fort, saying the Indians wanted beef, a place to camp, and directions to water. According to Rachel Plummer's account, Benjamin returned to the fort, after his first talk with the war party, and told his brother and father that he believed they would all be killed, and that they should run swiftly to the woods. Silas again argued with him, telling him they should push the big gate shut, and man the walls. Ben pointed out, rightly, Rachel said, that there was no time, and their "course was decided." He told her, "run little Rachel, for your life and your unborn child, run now and fast!" She said he then straightened up and went back outside

Benjamin returned to the Indians with beef but was quickly surrounded and lanced. The Indians then charged the fort before the gate could be closed.
Five settlers were killed; Elder John Parker, Benjamin Parker, Silas Parker, Samual Frost & Robert Frost. And five were captured; Rachel Plummer, James Pratt Plummer, Cynthia Ann Parker, John Richard Parker & Elizabeth Duty Kellogg

The remaining twenty-one survivors were split into two groups. Both groups made their way toward Port Houston, near the present city of Palestine. The smaller group consisted of the men out working in the fields at the time of the attack. They returned to the fort after dark, took the remaining horses, and after finding "Granny" Parker, left for Fort Houston. The larger group took six nights to travel the sixty miles, with only two skunks and two sand turtles to eat.

Of the captives taken, the most well known was Cynthia Ann Parker. She was born in Illinois in 1827 and moved to Texas with her family at the age of six. Three short years later, at the age of nine, she saw her father killed, was caught and bound by rope, and taken miles away from the world she knew.

Cynthia Ann was adopted by a family belonging to the Pahuka band of Comanches. In time, Cynthia Ann, now Naduah changed her attitude toward her captors, adopting their language, customs, and manners. While in her teens, Naduah became the wife of Chief Peta Nacona and she gave birth to their 3 children. One of those being Quanah, the last great Warrior Chief of the Comanches

In the winter of 1860, Captain Sul Ross and a group of Texas Rangers attacked the Nawkohnees camp along the Pease River. While trying to escape, Naduah and her infant daughter were captured by Ranger Tom Kelliher.

Sul Ross noticed Naduah's blue eyes and knew she was not an Indian. After learning her identity, he returned her to relatives in east Texas; however, she could not readjust to Anglo society (as also her brother, whom once returned escaped back to the Comanche life) and died after her daughter Prairie Flower caught influenza and died of pneumonia in 1864. Though she is said in some sources to have died in 1864, the 1870 census enrolled her and gave her age as forty-five.

No matter the year, most all said she died of a broken heart, longing to return to her husband, her sons and her life with the Comanche.

Paradoxically, with Cynthia's passing from this world harboring the desire to return to the Comanche life, it was her son, Quanah, realizing the futility of further resistance, that helped lead the Comanches to adapt more to the Anglo culture.

The abduction of Cynthia Parker and her brother John, Rachel Plummer and her son James and Elizabeth Kellogg are just some of similar incidents. Rachel's story is most compelling, but Cynthia's story captured the popular imagination and found a place in Texas folklore because of her unwillingness to return to the ways of her childhood. Plus her giving birth to a man who helped to change the course of U.S. history is a story that still lives on each day.
 
Parkers Fort was lost to time but in 1936 during the construction of Fort Parker State Park and in celebration of the Texas Centennial, the Fort was recreated in its original location and came to be known as "Old Fort Parker".



Cynthia Ann Parker (she has cut her hair to show mourning after being returned to her anglo family)



Cynthia Ann Parker near the end of her life



Silas Mercer Parker, father of Cynthia Ann



Luther Thomas Martin Plummer, husband of Rachel Parker Plummer and father of James Plummer, around the 1890's
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