PARKER, TEXAS (Johnson County). Parker is a farming community center on State Highway 171 fifteen miles southeast of Cleburne in southeastern Johnson County. Though a few families had settled in the area by the early 1850s, no established community developed until the 1880s. A post office called Nathan operated there from 1887 to 1906. The Philadelphia Church was built in the area during the 1870s and was moved to the community by 1900; it was originally nondenominational but later became Methodist. In 1904 the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway built through the area, connecting the community with Cleburne to the west and Hillsboro to the east. Reportedly, residents wanted to call their town Kennard, in honor of Mrs. A. D. Kennard, Jr., who had donated land at the site. Since, however, another Texas town was already called Kennard, they decided instead to name their community Parker, in honor of the president of the railroad.
The Parker post office replaced the Nathan general store post office. The New Hope School moved to Parker from a site two miles north; it had one teacher and an enrollment of fifty-one pupils in 1905 and was annexed to the Grandview Independent School District in 1963. The arrival of the railroad had increased the population of Parker to 100 by 1914, when the town had two general stores. That year a fire and cyclone did damage, and in 1927 the local cotton gin burned. Families began to abandon their farms and move east. The post office closed in 1927 and the Parker railroad station in 1932. In 1933 Parker reported a population of 110 and three businesses; the community had declined to thirty residents and two stores by 1943. The population was reported as twenty-one by the late 1960s. In 1985 Parker had two churches, a grade school, a nearby airfield, and a few scattered houses. The population was twenty-one in 2000.