Silas Mercer Parker, Sr.

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Silas Mercer Parker, Sr.

Birthdate: (32)
Birthplace: Bedford, Bedford County, Tennessee, United States
Death: Died in Limestone Co., Texas, USA
Cause of death: Killed by Comanches in the Fort Parker massacre
Place of Burial: Groesbeck, Limestone, Texas, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Elder John Parker and Sarah Duty
Husband of Lucinda Mercer Roberts
Father of Cynthia Ann Parker (the "White Squaw"); John Henry Parker; John Richard Parker; Silas Mercer Parker, Jr. and Orlena O'Quinn
Brother of Elder Daniel Parker; John R. Parker; Abigail Dixon; Mary Jane Kendrick; Benjamin F.W. Parker and 8 others
Half brother of William C Parker; Amy Anne Stokes; Elizabeth Kellogg; Martha Parker; Lucinda Mercer Roberts and 10 others

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About Silas Mercer Parker, Sr.

On May 19, 1836, a large party of Native Americans, including Comanches, Kiowas, Caddos, and Wichitas, attacked the inhabitants of Fort Parker. In her memoir, Rachel Plummer wrote that "one minute the fields (in front of the fort) were clear, and the next moment, more indians than I dreamed possible were in front of the fort."

One of the Indians approached the fort with a white flag. No one believed the flag was genuine. Silas Parker wanted the five men present to man the walls and fight as best they could. Benjamin Parker felt that by going out he could buy time for the majority of the women and children to flee out the back (small) gate. He felt that there was simply no way that five men would be able to hold the Indians out more than a second or two, as they could use ropes to scale the walls. He felt that the war party would then kill everyone in the fort, and the unsuspecting men in the fields. He argued with Silas that they had to barter their lives for time for everyone else. Their father agreed with Benjamin.

Benjamin knew he was going to be killed. According to Rachel Plummer's account, Benjamin returned to the fort, after his first talk with the war party, and told his brother and father that he believed they would all be killed, and that they should run swiftly to the woods. Silas again argued with him, telling him they should push the big gate shut, and man the walls. Ben pointed out, rightly, Rachel said, that there was no time, and their "course was decided." He told her, "run little Rachel, for your life and your unborn child, run now and fast!" She said he then straightened up and went back outside. She recounted how Silas told her to watch the front gate, after Benjamin had gone out to talk to the Indians the second time, when she herself wanted to flee, while he ran for his musket and powder pouch. “They will kill Benjamin,” she reported her Uncle Silas saying, “and then me, but I will do for at least one of them, by God.” At that moment, she said she heard whooping outside the fort, and then Indians were inside.

The 3–5 minutes bought enough time that the majority of the women and children did get away. Rachel Plummer, who was pregnant, was afraid she would not be able to keep up while carrying her two year old son, and so she stayed in the fort. She began running after seeing the Indians come into the fort, holding her little boy's hand, while behind her she said she saw Indians stabbing Benjamin with their lances, and then she heard “Uncle Silas shout defiance as though he had a thousand men with him. Alas, he was alone, and soon dead.” Lucy Parker, who also had a small child, stopped to argue with her husband Silas, begging him to come with her. Elizabeth Duty Kellogg stopped to gather up their savings, $100 in coins, before she attempted to escape.

Benjamin Parker was killed, and before the fort's gates could be closed, the raiders rushed inside. Silas Parker, who was outside with his brother, was killed before he was able to get back inside the gate. Samuel Frost and his son Robert were killed inside the gate, as they attempted to flee. John Parker's genitals were cut off and he was then scalped. His wife came out of the woods when she saw his torture and was captured. Lucy Parker and her youngest two children were captured but were rescued by Luther Plummer as he ran up to the fort from the fields. But his wife, his son, and their cousins were all lost.

In all, five men were killed, some were left for dead, two women and three children were captured, and the rest escaped into the wilderness.

Although Silas was killed, his wife and two youngest children, Silas Jr. and Orlena, were saved. His two oldest children, Cynthia Ann and John were taken captive by the Indians.


Birth: May 5, 1804 Bedford County Tennessee, USA Death: May 19, 1836 Limestone County Texas, USA

Founder of Fort Parker. Served as a Sgt. during the Black Hawk War under Capt. Thomas B. Ross. After his release, he moved his family to TX, where they lived in several colonies before finally settling on a league of land that was granted to him in April 1835. This land was situated about 3 miles north of the site where the present town of Groesbeck is located in Limestone County. During the spring of 1835, he and his brother, James, built a fort on this land, which later became known as Fort Parker. On January 1, 1836, a daughter was born to Silas and Lucinda, who they named Orlena, and she was born at the Fort. In early May of 1836, General Sam Houston ordered the evacuation of Fort Parker, but Silas, believing the fort to be safe, refused to leave. About the 17th of May, scouts learned from friendly indians that an attack on the fort was scheduled for dawn on May 19th. This information was passed on to the settlers at the Fort but Silas stood firm. His family was not going to run. There were bitter arguments that threatened to erupt into violence and most of the settlers decided to leave. They left but Parker and his kinsmen remained. Early on the morning of May 19, 1836, the Fort was indeed attacked and Silas was killed. His wife and two youngest children, Silas, Jr. and Orlena were saved, but the two oldest children, Cynthia Ann and John were taken captive by the indians. (bio by: Helen L. Smith Hoke)

Family links:

 Elder John Parker (1758 - 1836)
 Sarah White Parker (1759 - 1824)

 Lucinda Duty Parker-Usry-Roberts (1811 - 1852)

 Cynthia Ann Parker (1827 - 1870)*
 Orlena Parker O'Quinn (1836 - 1887)*

 Daniel Parker (1781 - 1844)*
 John Parker (1782 - 1831)*
 Mary Jane Parker Kendrick (1785 - 1846)*
 Benjamin F.W. Parker (1788 - 1836)*
 Isaac Parker (1793 - 1883)*
 Phoebe Parker Anglin (1796 - 1863)*
 James William Parker (1797 - 1864)*
 Nathaniel Parker (1799 - 1855)*
 Silas Mercer Parker (1804 - 1836)
 Susannah Parker Starr (1807 - 1875)*
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Burial: Fort Parker Memorial Park Groesbeck Limestone County Texas, USA

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Maintained by: Find A Grave Originally Created by: Helen L. Smith Hoke Record added: May 12, 2003 Find A Grave Memorial# 7433552

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Silas Mercer Parker, Sr.'s Timeline

May 5, 1804
Bedford, Bedford County, Tennessee, United States
October 28, 1827
Age 23
Crawford County, Illinois, United States
Age 25
Age 25
Age 28
May 19, 1836
Age 32
Limestone Co., Texas, USA
Age 31
Groesbeck, Limestone, Texas, United States