Parker, Silas M. (1802–1836)

By: Jack K. Selden, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Font size: A / A reset

Silas M. Parker, one of the founders of Fort Parker, son of John and Sarah (White) Parker, was born in the northeast corner of Georgia, probably in Franklin or Elbert County, around 1802. With his parents and siblings he moved to Dickson County, Tennessee, in the summer of 1803 and to Illinois Territory in 1815. There he married Lucinda Duty on August 31, 1824, in what was then Clark County. While in Illinois, he served in the Black Hawk War in 1832 under Capt. Thomas B. Ross. He moved to Texas in the fall of 1833 and registered his family at Tenoxtitlán on January 29, 1834, for admission to Robertson's colony. After a dispute as to authority for settlement, he registered again on May 22, 1834, for admission to the Austin and Williams colony. His league granted on April 1, 1835, lay three miles north of the site of present Groesbeck in Limestone County and was described as being on the Sterling Fork of the Navasota River. He and his brother James W. Parker built Fort Parker on this league in the spring of 1835. He was elected on May 17, 1835, as a member of the Committee of Safety and Correspondence for Viesca. On October 17, 1835, he was named by the General Council as superintendent of a group of twenty-five rangers directed to guard the frontiers between the Brazos and Trinity rivers. Parker was killed during the attack on Fort Parker on May 19, 1836. Two of his children, Cynthia Ann and John Parker, were kidnapped during the attack. His other two children, Orlena and Silas, Jr., survived the attack and lived to raise families in East Texas. Several survivors of the Fort Parker attack returned to the fort some days after the attack and buried Silas Parker and other inhabitants who had died during the attack.

Malcolm D. McLean, comp. and ed., Papers Concerning Robertson's Colony in Texas (19 vols., Arlington: University of Texas at Arlington Press, 1974–93). James W. Parker, Narrative of the Perilous Adventures, Miraculous Escapes, and Sufferings of Rev. James W. Parker (Louisville, Kentucky: Morning Courier Office, 1844.; rpt., Palestine, Texas, 1926).

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

Jack K. Selden, Jr., “Parker, Silas M.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 18, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995