Parker County Today October 2017 - Page 44

our history: PLACES OF PARKER COUNTY PAST A View of the Peak and the Bakers in Southern Parker County BY MEL W RHODES Comanche Peak F 42 rom Southern Parker County one can see Comanche Peak bask- ing on the far horizon, not much of a peak at all, really, rather a broad mesa disguising its true shape through distance. Settlers stopping in the southern section of what would become Parker County knew the Indians, particularly Penateke Comanches, navigated by the easily identifiable landmark and gathered there for ceremonial meetings, some- thing the daters among us say Native Americans did for thousands of years before white feet ever left a print in North Texas. Four miles south of present-day Granbury, Comanche Peak is the highest point in neighboring Hood County, rising 1,230 feet above sea level, and easily identifiable from many points in surrounding counties. South-sector settlers like Josiah Baker and his family doubtless were familiar with the landmark and the wild rovers for which it was named, as they often raided in the Baker area, one particularly memorable foray occurring in July 1863. The Bakers would often flee the dozen or so miles north to Weatherford when mounted marauders combed the area for livestock or mischief, and on occasion white children. Weatherford was a world apart then. Situated on the spine separating the Brazos and Trinity River valleys, for its first decade Weatherford was the principal frontier settlement in North Texas, the last outpost of “civiliza- tion.” Settlement there had thickened into a population center too large to be “easy pickin’s” for the feathered plunderers, and that was what they preferred, easy in-and-out, light- resistance raids. Though they didn’t always make it in time, for a quarter century Weatherford served as safe haven for Anglo farmers’ families who’d answered the siren call of outlying land and a new start. The 1863 incident referenced above involved the kidnapping of local youths Bill Wilson and Hannah Akers and caused some settlers to retreat farther than the county seat. According to a letter written after the scandalous events (published in “Parker County History”) — “Soon after the distressful experience, Hiram Wilson and Mr. Fulton, Hannah’s foster father, loaded their wagons and moved to Dallas County, where there were no Indians.” Bill and Hannah were recovered quickly enough, but such was not always FR66RFW6PG&VFVB6BFVgB66W36WFW0FR6FfW2W&6VBrFRG&ðFW"FW2FW( GW&VBV( @&V6RW7G&vVBg&FV"vFP&VF2FR&W7BbFV"WG&&FЦ&ǒ6vVBƗfW266RFRv62BgVF( 2b6WFW&&W"6VGBBVVvद6B76FW&P( ĶF^( &W"'&fVB7&r7&VV&W"&VSB&WB6V'0&Vf&RFR6fv"BGvFV6FW0&Vf&RFR7BbFRF&G2खFrvW&RFV"fW"6G&V6( 2&VG2BF^( 2FW"FR6VGFBw&WrW&V@FR&W"W7FVB6RF&Pv2&W"2&VVf7F'2FP&W'2s"FFVB&W'Gf 66v6'Bv26V@&W"66F7G&7B3c&W 66VGV6FVB6WF&W"6VGG2FFRS2vVFR6F7G&7Bv2'6&&VB'vVFW&f&@4B