Lone Star Adventure - Old Fort Parker - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Lone Star Adventure - Old Fort Parker

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Texas is rich in Old West history and historical landmarks.

But none quite match the story surrounding an old fort a of couple hours drive south of Dallas.

Once a month, weekend shooting competitions called Cowboy Action Shooting are held by the Old Fort Parker Patriots Shooting Club.

And doing so at a place steeped in history at the site of one of the old west's most compelling stories

"There were 31 people who lived here," said Sarah McReynolds.

It was may 1836, a bloody Indian raid.

"They came flying through the gate on their horses. And the only escape was the spring gate in the back and they ran as fast as they could to the spring gate."

Five settlers were killed and five women and children were captured, including Cynthia Ann Parker.

"This was supposedly Cynthia Ann's cabin that she grew up in from the time she was six-years-old until she was nine, when she was captured," said McReynolds, the tour guide who tells the story of the Comanche raid and the tragic events that followed.

Cynthia Ann, the blue-eyed Comanche, became wife of a chief and mother of the last of the comanche chiefs, the legendary Quanah Parker.

It was 25 years before Cynthia Ann was re-captured by Texas Rangers with her baby, Prairie Flower, who died within months. She was never able to re-adapt to the white man's society and lived only a few years herself.

"She really basically died of a broken heart, longing for the free life of the Comanche."

For decades, the old fort was part of the state's park system, but no longer. It's now owned by the cities of Groesbeck, Mexia and Limestone County.

Funding is a problem, but interestingly enough, in the 21st century a gun club is, literally, shooting to defend the fort.

"For every shooter that shoots during a match each day, the fort gets part of that money," said Forrest Person.

"That's why we are here, and everybody that comes here to shoot knows that. They know it's not only a fun place to shoot, but they know it's helping support a famous historical site - an important one in Texas history."

There are trail rides and re-enactments, and family reunions from both sides of the Parker clans - both Commanche and white.

But the shooting club is the one constant, on the third weekend of the month.

"It's nice because a lot of people come down to tour the fort and they'll come over and talk with us," said Jim Kirby (Goody).

"You can see a lot of people that are just traveling through that are interested in Texas history.

"We are shooting to defend the old fort, to keep it's doors open so everybody can enjoy it."

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