Fort Brown, Texas - by Deborah L. Daws
FORT BROWN, TEXAS
By Deborah L. Daws
Fort Brown was built around 1834 in northeastern Houston County by Reuben Brown for his wife Sharah (Parker) Brown and family. The Parker family group around 1833 had started their journey from Illinois to Texas with the intention of organizing a Pilgrim Church. They settled for a short time at the Reuben Brown Fort. Then they moved on to Houston County, (Elkhart), part of the family stayed in Houston County and established the community of Refuge. The cemetery is still there and Reuben and wife and other settlers of Fort Brown are buried there. Other members of the group preferred to settle farther west, near the Navasota River. Elder John Parker and three of his sons (Silas, James, and Benjamin) began in December 1833 to clear land and to construct "Parker's Fort."
On May 19, 1836, Comanche Indians attacked the fort; 5 were killed, 5 were captured, and the 21 survivors made their way to where Palestine is today. The most famous of the captives was Cynthia Ann Parker. She adapted to Indian ways and later married Chief Peta Nocona. Quanah Parker, the last great Comanche chief, who was involved in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, was the most famous of their three children.
A small settlement had formed by 1836, when Texas declared her independence from Mexico, but the region was still only sparsely settled when United States troops under General Zachary Taylor arrived in early 1846. After taking up a position across from Matamoros, Taylor's forces began the construction of a defensive position near the settlement. Their temporary fort was originally called Fort Texas, but was renamed Fort Brown a short time later, in honor of Major Jacob Brown, who died during a Mexican attack on the stronghold.
On April 25 about 1.600 Mexican soldiers, who had crossed the river, surrounded an American detachment and killed or captured its members. This was the unofficial start of the Mexican War. Taylor set out for Point Isabel to secure his base and, after several days devoted to strengthening its defenses, began a return march to relieve Fort Texas, which had come under Mexican bombardment. Taylor won the wars with Mexico and became a national hero while stationed at Fort Brown.
Zachery Taylor became a legend while occupying Fort Texas, (Fort Brown). He became know as "Old Rough and Ready". There is a lot more about this fort but these are it's main reasons for being in existence. It just seems to of been forgotten in a lot of circles.