Fort Parker

By: Art Leatherwood

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: May 30, 2020

Fort Parker was a private fort built by Silas M. and James W. Parker near the headwaters of the Navasota River in Limestone County, between old Springfield and the present site of Groesbeck, in 1834 or 1835. It may have also been known as Fort Sterling. Cabins were built at the fort to be occupied by nearby families in case of Indian attack. The outer walls of the cabins were part of a surrounding stockade perforated with loopholes for defense. On May 19, 1836, the fort was attacked by 500 to 700 Caddo and Comanche Indians. Silas was killed, and his nine-year-old daughter, Cynthia Ann, and six-year-old son, John, Mrs. Rachel Plummer and her son James, and Mrs. Elizabeth Kellogg were captured by the Indians. A replica of the fort was erected in the 1930s and rebuilt in 1967. Originally operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as part of Fort Parker State Recreation Area (now Fort Parker State Park), in 1992 the City of Groesbeck assumed control and operation of the site with the formation of the Fort Parker Historical Society. Living history events take place at the site, located eight miles southwest of Mexia on State Highway 14. Nearby Fort Parker Cemetery contained the graves of the victims at Fort Parker and was still an active cemetery in the early 2000s. By that time the replica was operated under the joint efforts of the cities of Groesbeck and Mexia and Limestone County. See also PARKER, CYNTHIA ANN, and PARKER, JOHN.

James T. DeShields, Border Wars of Texas, ed. Matt Bradley (Tioga, Texas, 1912; rpt., Waco: Texian Press, 1976). Joseph Carroll McConnell, West Texas Frontier (Vol. 1, Jacksboro, Texas, 1933; Vol. 2, Palo Pinto, Texas, 1939). Ray Miller, Ray Miller's Texas Forts (Houston: Cordovan, 1985). Old Fort Parker (, accessed September 10, 2005.

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Art Leatherwood, “Fort Parker,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 27, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 30, 2020