Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ft Parker State Park and Old Ft. Parker Restoration

On our days off Fred and I are hitting the road around the area to see what we can find.  One of the reasons we chose this lifestyle was to get out and see things.  Fred was wanting to learn more about the state the was born and raised in so we are now off on our adventures:

Ft. Parker State Park:
What a great place.  It sits around Lake Parker and offers great fishing and canoeing.  In fact you can put your canoe in at the Confederate Reunion Ground and canoe down the Navasota River to the lake into the park.  The park was developed between 1935 and 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as sits on the old town site of Springfield, Texas.  Springfield was once the county seat for Limestone County but the railroad came through and the court house buried down so the town was moved to Grosbeck, closer to the railroad and a new courthouse was built. There are great wooded camping areas and a large picnic are with swimming.  This is certainly a place to keep on your list to visit.

Old Ft. Parker Restoration:
Now you really talk about some history this place has it.  It is just up the road from the state park and is restoration of an old fort that is full of history. 

In 1833 Daniel Parker got permission to come settle in Texas and stare the Predestinarian Baptist Church and with a group of followers and his family he started out in July 1833.  One group of the followers settled in what is not Elkhart, Texas and a replica of their Pilgrim Baptist Church still stands.  The rest continued with the Elder John Parker farther west closer to the Navasota River.  Elder Parker with three sons, Silas, James and Benjamin began to clear land and established "Parker's Fort" in December 1833.  The fort was completed in 1834 and was for the protection of the settlement as they were in in the middle of Indian Country.

On May 19, 1936 while most of the men were out in the fields working, a band of Comanches Indian came to the fort under a white flag stating they were looking for food and water and to trade.  Benjamin Parker had talked to them and when he returned from the fort with the beef they requested they charged the gate of the fort before it could be closed.  There five of the settlers killed and five were captured.  The remain survivors headed for Fort Houston. 

The most famous of the captives was Cynthia Ann Parker who was 9 years old at the time.  She grew up as a Comanche and married Chief Peta Nocona and lived as his wife  and gave birth to 3 children.  She along with her infant daughter was recaptured in the winter of 1860 by Ranger Tom Kelliner when he lead an attack against the camp she was in along the Pease River.  She was returned to her kin in east Texas but never accept that way of life again.  She tried to run away a number of times to return to her husband but was forced to return back to her kin each time.  Cynthia never readjusted back to her old way of life and she and her daughter passed away in 1864.  Legend has it her Indian chief husband passed away shortly there after and that they both died of a lonely heart. 
One of her sons, Quanah Parker,  became one of the last great Comanche chiefs.  He realized the futility of further resistance and helped the Comanche to adapt to the American culture and way of life. 
The fort is very interesting and has lots of pioneer memorabilia.  There are event that are going on every weekend, so there is lots to see and do.