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Old Fort Parker State Historic Site
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Old Fort Parker (Former State Historic Site) Information:
Old Fort Park is the former Old Fort Parker State Historic Site. In 1832, theologian Daniel Parker received permission to settle in Texas. He organized his followers into the Predestination Baptist Church. They left Illinois in July of 1833, and eventually settled near the present city of Elkhart, where a replica of their Pilgrim Baptist Church still stands in their memory. In December 1833, Elder John Parker and three of his sons began construction of Parker's Fort.On May 19, 1836, Noconi Comanche Indians attacked the fort. Five settlers were killed and 5 were captured. The surviving 21 settlers moved to the Palestine area. One of those captured was a young child named Cynthia Ann Parker. She grew up among the Comanche, married Comanche Chief Peta Nocona, and had three children by him. In 1860, a party of Texas Rangers (including Charles Goodnight) rescued her and her infant daughter, Prairie Flower. Cynthia begged to be returned to her husband, but her request was refused. She died within a short period of time after her rescue. Her son Quanah Parker became the last Great War Chief of the Comanche. This 37.5 acre park on Fort Parker Lake was deeded to TPWD by private owners in 1936, and opened to the public as a state park. It is no longer under TPWD management. The reconstruction of the original fort, the construction of park buildings, and the building of the dam on the Navasota River to create Fort Parker Lake was completed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in 1936. The fort was reconstructed again in 1967. The Fort Parker Cemetery is located 2 miles from the fort. The cemetery contains the graves of the people killed in the 1836 Comanche Raid, and is still used for burials. This historic site is available for event rentals. (254) 729-5253. 866 Park Road 35, Groesbeck, Texas 76642.  Old Fort Parker (Former State Historic Site) Facilities & Trails Map
 
Cynthia Ann Parker:
A name repeatedly mentioned in the history of West Texas, is Cynthia Ann Parker, a young child captured by the Noconi Comanche during a raid on Fort Parker. She grew up among the Comanche, married Comanche Chief Peta Nocona, and had three children, Pecos, Quanah and Prairie Flower. In 1860, a party of Texas Rangers led by Lawrence S. Ross, a future Governor of Texas, rescued her and her infant daughter Prairie Flower; Charles Goodnight participated in this raid. Cynthia begged to be returned to her husband, but her request was refused; she died within a short period of time after her rescue. He son Quanah Parker became the last Great War Chief of the Comanche.
 
Quanah Parker, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Comanche chief Quanah Parker was a son of two cultures. He was born about 1845 along Elk Creek, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). His Anglo mother was Cynthia Ann Parker, taken captive in a May 1836 raid and adopted by Qua-Ha-Di (Antelope) Comanches, and his father was Comanche chief Peta Nocona. Texas Rangers reclaimed Cynthia Ann in an 1860 fight at the Pease River. Nocona died soon after, and Cynthia Ann lived with relatives near Birdville in Tarrant County before dying with no further contact with her Comanche family. Becoming chief upon his father's death, Quanah refused to sign the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty that sent many Plains Indians to reservations. Instead, he led raids in Texas and Mexico for another seven years, likely including the last foray into Tarrant County in June 1871. That winter, Quanah's band eluded Col. Ronald Mackenzie's Fourth U.S. Cavalry across the Texas panhandle. Comanche losses during the 1874 Panhandle Battle of Adobe Walls, in which Quanah was wounded, followed by a harsh winter, finally brought him and fewer than 100 remaining Qua-Ha-Di to the reservation at Fort Sill, Indian Territory in May 1875. Quanah served as liaison between his people and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He proved to be a pragmatic leader, encouraging the Comanches to take up ranching and farming, and to educate their children in government schools. Quanah prospered through his investments and built his spacious "Star House" near Cache, OK. He traveled widely, giving speeches and interviews and participating in wild west shows, the Texas State Fair, Texas Cattle Raisers Association gathering and the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show. Quanah visited Fort Worth and the Stockyards on many occasions. He died in 1911 and is buried at Fort Sill.” 131 E. Exchange at the Fort Worth Stockyards.
 
Navasota River:
This 125 mile long river rises northeast of Mount Calm in southeastern Hill County and flows southeast, crossing Limestone County and serving as the county line between Leon and Robertson, Madison and Brazos, and Brazos and Grimes Counties before reaching its mouth on the Brazos River, six miles southwest of Navasota in southwestern Grimes County. The river is dammed at various points to form Lake Mexia, Springfield Lake (Fort Parker State Park), Joe Echols Lake, Lake Groesbeck, Lake Limestone and Martin Lake. River tributaries include Big, Little Cedar, Sand, Bowman, Panther, and Holland Creeks. Navasota, Texas is located on a bend in the river in Grimes County. Numerous archeological sites have been found along the river, which served early settlers as an access route into the area.  Fish Records for Navasota River
 
Old Fort Parker Facilities & Amenities Overview: 
Park amenities include a replica of the stockade fort, Wi-Fi at the park headquarters, restrooms with showers located at both ends of the park, 35 RV sites with full hookups and fire rings, RV sites without hookups, campsites with fire rings, teepee camping rentals, a restored 2 bedroom house(sleeps several), a restored WWII prison barracks with beautifully restored individual rooms and bathrooms, a group dining facility with a kitchen, dining and meeting space, a shooting range, a dance ring and a visitor center. Old Fort Parker is available for event rentals.  Old Fort Parker (Former State Historic Site) Facilities & Trails Map
 
Fort Parker Flying Field:
The Fort Parker Flying Field is located adjacent to the park. It has a 2000' x 74' grass strip dedicated to antique, and vintage & classic flying machines. It is open to the public with prior permission. The airfield hosts fly-ins. (254) 747-0592.
 
Old Fort Parker Directions:  
From Groesbeck, take SH 14 north for 4 miles to Park Road 35; drive to the park headquarters.