Our pioneering ancestors paid a heavy price settling the wild Texas frontier. The brave souls buried near Fort Parker paid the highest price in the May 19th, 1836 Comanche raid on the fort located two miles northwest of the current town of Groesbeck, Texas. The brutal attack took the lives of five men and the Comanche carried off two women and three children as captives. The remaining survivors successfully made their way sixty miles through the wilderness to civilization after six harrowing days of travel. All of the captives were eventually ransomed or freed, but most suffered life-altering perceptions because of their ordeal.
The most well known of the captives is Cynthia Ann Parker. She was captured when she was nine years old and adopted by the Comanche where she successfully adapted to their culture. So much so that she took a Comanche husband and gave birth to three children, with her son Quanah Parker becoming a legendary chief. He was one of the last Comanche warriors to surrender to the reservation life. Despite his fierce refusal to give up, he became a well respected and successful citizen once he adapted to conducting his affairs in his new life.
Cynthia Ann was rescued (if you can call it that) from the Comanche in the winter of 1860 when Captain Sul Ross and his Texas Rangers attacked the Indian encampment she called home. She was returned to her relatives against her will, and could never adjust to the long forgotten ways of a civilized society. The years of roaming the plains had transformed her perception of life in powerful ways she could not ignore. It is commonly reported that she passed away from a broken spirit at the age of forty-three after her daughter, Prairie Flower died from pneumonia.
Old Fort Parker is a fascinating site to explore. The fort has been accurately reconstructed and is now operated as a state historical site. Walking the grounds gives you an authentic feel of what our ancestors experienced in their attempt to carve a life out of the howling wilderness. The monument and cemetery where the victims of the Comanche raid are buried is located several miles south from the actual site of the fort.