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Texas in Review - Fort Parker (1958)

Texas Historical Commission

Sound | 1958

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TAMI Tags
  •  Fort Parker, between Mexia and Groesbeck 
  •  Spring 1834, John Parker  
  •  Several one-room cabins and their descriptions 
  •  May 19, 1836, Comanche attack 
  •  Cynthia Ann Parker 
  •  Peta Nocona 
 
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Transcript
  •  Texas has many restored forts, or presidios as they were called.  
  •  True some of these were in ruins when restoration began, but the finished work on most of them is remarkable.  
  •  One such structure is Fort Parker, which stands on Highway 14 between Mexia and Groesbeck.  
  •  A large sign directs the motorist a short way from the highway to a nearly perfect restoration of the early Fort Parker. 
  •  In the spring of 1834, a little band of pioneers led by John Parker built this stronghold, and it became the home of 31 people. 
  •  The fort is an excellent example of how our forefathers met the threat of Comanche and Kiowa Indian raids of that period. 
  •  A large blockhouse rises above the living quarters. 
  •  There are several one room cabins on the grounds.  
  •  These were built with large chimneys which served fireplaces that warmed the cabins and where the simple fare of the settlers was cooked.  
  •  In each of the cabins there are mute relics of the period. 
  •  Reminders of a crude way of life that was necessary to win the battle of the frontier.  
  •  Tables, cooking utensils and parts of an old musket provoke questions from visitors to the fort.  
  •  Could it have been this musket that was placed at this gun hole the day Fort Parker fell?  
  •  On May 19, 1836, 300 Comanche and Kiowa braves attacked the poorly defended structure. 
  •  Moments later most of the settlers lay dead.   
  •  A member of the Parker family is buried in the center of the Fort's enclosure. 
  •  Though these Parkers died defending the fort, Texas history remembers best, little 9 year old, Cynthia Ann Parker who was captured by the Indians. 
  •  Cynthia Ann never returned to the fort. 
  •   She grew up with the Indians and became the wife of Peta Nocona, a great chief in the Comanche Nation. 
  •  However, Fort Parker is not a monument to any one person.  
  •  It was restored and it attracts thousands of Texans each year for another reason. 
  •  Its blockhouse, its cabins, its walls, tell better than words, the faith our forefathers had in the future of the frontier.  
 
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This clip, originally shown as part of the January 20, 1958 "Texas in Review" episode, gives a tour of Fort Parker as it recounts some of the landmark's grim history. A compound that at one time housed 31 members of the Parker family, the fort is an example of the type of structures built by pioneers to withstand the dangers of the Texas frontier. These hardships included raids by the Comanches and Kiowas, and along with a view of the period artifacts the film gives a brief telling of the massacre that took place and the story of Cynthia Ann Parker.

"Texas in Review" was a television series sponsored by the Humble Oil & Refining Company.  Originally produced in a news-like format by Fort Worth's Channel 5, the series was later given to the Jamieson Film Company, who developed its newsreel and TV-magazine style. For five years, Jamieson produced the program in its entirety (writing, filming, editing), until recession-induced budget cuts caused Humble Oil to cancel it in 1958. While on air in Dallas, it enjoyed the prime time spot between the popular "Burns & Allen" and "I Love Lucy."