Monday, January 11, 2021

TEXAS: Not Your Usual History

 One Hundred Seventy-Five Years of Statehood

by Martha Rogers

I've always loved my state, having been born here 85 years ago in June, 2021. Because of that love, most of my novels and novella are set in the Lone Star State. In doing research, I've come across interesting people and events I didn't learn about in seventh grade Texas history classes. Some of the things I found have fascinated me, so I plan to share a few with you over the next few months.

Most people know about the Alamo, Battle at San Jacinto, Sam Houston, the six flags that flew over Texas, and Washington on the Brazos, but so many other people and events molded and shaped Texas into the state it is today.

Texas is full of myths and legends that have arisen from actual events, and that makes the stories even more interesting. One of those is the Parker family and all the folklore that surrounds that family.

The Parker clan, headed by John, built a fortified stockade out of cedar thinking it

would keep them safe from Indian raids. However, in May of 1836, a band of Comanches rode up to the fort and attacked. Both old and young people were
slaughtered, and they took captives. One of those was nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker, and her younger brother.  

Her capture and then "rescue" twenty-four years later, 160 years ago last month, became the stuff of stories and legends picked up by newspapers, books, and

magazine because of its tragic tale. The tale was even picked up by the movies, and the movie The Searchers starring John Wayne was born. 
So much is known about Cynthia Ann and her son, Quanah, but what happened to her six-year-old brother, John Richard Parker, who was captured with her? His story is almost as legendary as his sister's, but John managed to elude the spotlight, so his story is not as familiar.

John, as did his sister. grew to adulthood among the Indians. While on a raiding party with his tribe, John fell in love with a Mexican girl, Dona Juanita. She returned to Texas with him, but he fell ill with smallpox, and was abandoned by his tribe. She nursed him back to health, and they returned to Mexico. 

One account of his life describes John being found at age 14 by his uncle and returned to his mother, but later going back to the Comanches where he felt he belonged. After being abandoned and recovering from small pox, he began his life as a stockman and rancher,  a member of the Confederacy, and as a scout. These events have all made for more legends and stories. 

Years later, the story goes that Quanah Parker visited his uncle at the ranch where Quanah was gored by a bull. John treated his nephew with peyote, and historians say, without much question, that is how the use of peyote started among the Indians. John died in 1915 on his ranch.

Back in 1969, in an episode of Death Valley Days, William Smith plays John, and in the story line, Parker gets the small pox, is left dead by his fellow Comanche warriors, and is then rescued by his future wife who is named Yolanda in the story. So we have a little fiction based on fact to make a better story. 

John Richard Parker was an elusive man, but his story is one of which Texas legends are born.

The old family fort is now a State Park located near in Limestone County near Mexia and the county seat, Groesbeck, Texas.


Is there an interesting story or legend associated with your state? If you're from Texas, what's one of your favorite stories or legends about our state?

My latest release is a tale of a prodigal's return to his home in Texas with a twist.  After a life-threatening accident causes Joshua Thornton to rethink his life as a riverboat gambler, he has a chance encounter with the one man, a minister in is home town, whose unforgiving spirit chased Joshua away from his home after a foolish prank injured the minister and damaged the church. With the reverend is his daughter, Alicia, the one girl who captured Joshua’s heart years ago and has never left it.  When Joshua learns his father’s shipping company may be in financial trouble, he decides to return to Havens Port in hopes of helping his father save the business. Alicia, who has always loved Joshua, is forbidden to have anything to do with Joshua because of his sinful past life. When tragedy strikes the town, Joshua proves himself to be a hero, but is it enough to transform the heart of the man Joshua scarred for life and allow two young people to follow their hearts.                                                                      

Martha Rogers is a multi-published author who lives in Houston, Texas with her husband Rex. They have been married 61 years and have three sons who have given them nine grandchildren. Three of the grandchildren are married to provide Martha and Rex with six great-grandchildren. Her books are both historical and contemporary romances along with a cozy mystery series set in a senior living community. Martha is a member of ACFW and writes the Verse of the Week devotional for their loop. Visit Martha on Martha Rogers Author on Facebook, martharogers2 on Twitter, and on Instagram.


  1. I love the history you shared. Thank you!
    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  2. Texas is full of fascinating stories. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Oh but this is an interesting history lesson. Thanks for sharing. Abraham Lincoln was born in Illinois, so I have learned a lot about him since being married to a born Illinoian. We have traveled to where he was born, died etc. Your post makes we to want to go and see what else is of historical interest here. Congrats on your newest book. this looks intersting
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    1. I've been to Illinois and wanted to visit Lincoln's sites, but we were there for a family gathering and we never had the time. History is really full of fascinating tidbits. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Interesting, I thought I posted yesterday...oh well. I sure enjoy your posts. In my hometown, we have an historical marker of a prisoner of Indians traveling through our town giving birth on the trail. If I can find a link, I will post it.

  5. That does sound interesting. It always amazes me at what we can find when we dig into history, and the internet makes it so much easier today. Thanks for stopping by, Connie.