Reading about a little frontier settlement in Texas called Fort Parker has been fascinating. There’s a connection with my Parker branch. The proper word may be connections.
The other day while browsing through the books at a sale for my littlest nephew’s school, I discovered a paperback copy of Empire of the Summer Moon. A name in the subtitle, Quanah Parker, piqued my interest. I had read about the connection before, but had not really probed much deeper.
My Parker tree traces back to John Green Parker, a Civil War vet. He served in the 123rd Illinois Infantry with John T. Wilder. His father was Jephthah, or Jeptha, Parker, his mother, Sarah Jane Green. Jephthah was born in 1823 near Palestine in Crawford County, Illinois.
Crawford County, Illinois is the key. What happened years later in Texas is legendary. Some of the Parkers decided to relocate from Illinois, choosing central Texas to build what became known as Fort Parker. In 1836, the settlement was attacked by Native Americans, killing most and taking five captive.
One of those taken, a young girl, was a daughter of Silas Mercer Parker and Lucinda (Lucy) Duty.1 Her Comanche name was Naduah. She was born Cynthia Ann Parker in Crawford County a year or two after Jephthah. She is famous for refusing to return to her Anglo family the Parkers and for having a son named Quanah. Quanah became chief of his tribe. He later added his mother’s name to his, becoming Quanah Parker.
James W. Parker, brother of Silas, was the first of the Parker family to go to Texas. James W. is a name that has been passed down for generations among the forefathers of John Green Parker.
Silas and James were the sons of John Parker and Sarah White. John is also known as Elder John Parker. Both John and Silas were killed during the attack on Fort Parker.
Many researchers list Baltimore, Maryland as John’s birth place. He was born on September 5, 1758. His first wife Sarah (Sally) White died in Crawford County, Illinois on July 28, 1821. He remarried. On March 21, 1825 in Crawford County, Illinois, he wed Sarah (Sally) Duty.2 She, too, died during the massacre at Fort Parker.
I haven’t definitively connected the Parker family of Texas with my Parker branch. But I am convinced that there is one.
1. Some record Lucinda Duty as Doty, another connected family with ties to Crawford County, Illinois.
2. I wonder if Sarah Duty could actually be Sarah Doty.