Parker County Today October 2017 - Page 48

Continued from page 43 46 terrorized almost with impunity while they’d been away. Josiah Baker, and others like him, gathered up the pieces and set about cobbling together a new life. Reconstruction would be a spur at the throat of the South for some years and the Indians would continue to raid into the mid-1870s, but the men and women of outlying communities like Baker pioneered on. One local contemporary source, Henry Smythe, listed Josiah Baker among men known for their success with horses. “Parker County turns out several of these spans, and among those we have observed belong to Clinton B. Rider, William R. Turner, R.J. Price, Benjamin Irby, James Pitillo, Sheriff Charles Lindsey, Nathan Watson, William Rider, David V. Kirby, W.F. Carter, Josiah Baker [empha- sis mine], Walter Woodhouse and Clark & Tallant.” And as if to thumb the nose at Kentucky and its thor- oughbreds, Smith added: “As the Bluegrass region of Kentucky affords such delightful food for horses, a more extensive and great crop of mesquit [sic] grass, peculiar to Texas only, furnishes to the stock-raiser a far better article of food, and almost without limit. Everywhere west of the Trinity it is abundant, and east of that stream it is found in many localities.” Bigger. Better. Texas. Josiah finally quit Baker after his wife died in 1895; he died in 1907 in Crystal Falls (pop. 175) out in Northwest Stephens County, further west. Situated on the Clear Fork of the Brazos, in the 1870s the town became a popular stop for the buffalo wagons and the site of a brief oil boom between 1918 and 1921 when the population of Crystal Falls swelled to 1,200. By the 2000 Census just 10 people called the “wide spot