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Texas Brazos Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Groesbeck: Old Fort Parker


PARKER REDOUBT

The Parker family, members of a group of pioneers settling the Brazos Trail Region in the early 1800s, arrived near the future site of Groesbeck in 1833. Determined to make a go of it despite the longstanding presence of Native American populations throughout the surrounding countryside, the Parkers proceeded to clear brush, plant crops, and build a stockade known as “Parker’s Fort.” The fort was constructed of split cedars, anchored in the ground and rising approximately twelve feet. Blockhouses were built in opposing corners, providing a view of the landscape (and as aides in defense). Within the stockade walls the family and fellow colonists built two rows of log cabins as living quarters, completing the project by March of 1834. Despite the stockade’s heavy construction and defensive features, the colony came under a successful attack by a band of local Native Americans and, once it was over, all members of this small pioneering community were either dispersed, kidnapped, or dead. Nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker would be one of the kidnapped victims, launching a legacy of assimilation and tragedy that tops the state’s list of historic frontier legends. Fort Parker, abandoned after the attack, disintegrated with age. In 1930 the first replica of the fort appeared on the site, followed by a rebuild in 1967. Today, Old Fort Parker provides a living history interpretation of early life in the region courtesy of the Fort Parker Historical Society and the city of Groesbeck. A full, year-round event schedule includes trail rides, festivals, and celebrations. Rental facilities are also available for family reunions, weddings, and private parties.


Location

  • 866 Park Road 35
  • Groesbeck, Texas
  • 76642

Contact

Hours & Fees

  • Wednesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • Adults: $2, Children (Ages 6-11): $1, Ages 5 and under: Free


Map & Directions

Take Highway 14 between Groesbeck and Mexia, turn West on Park Road 35 (just South of Fort Parker State Park) and drive one mile.


Texas in Review - Fort Parker (1958)
Donor: Texas Historical Commission
Sound | 1958
Film courtesy Texas Archive of the Moving Image

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 poineers 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 State Historical Association logo
Read more about Old Fort Parker State Historic Site in the Handbook of Texas Online.