Fort Towson, Indian Territory (Oklahoma)

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
DSC05351.JPG


Fort Towson, Indian Territory, (now modern-day Oklahoma) was another of the U. S. Military posts established by the Federal Government during the time of Indian Removal. In this particular case, it was built in 1831 in what became the Choctaw Nation to provide protection to the members of that tribe near the Red River, then the border of Indian Territory with Mexico and then the Republic of Texas. Today it is an Oklahoma State Historic Site and park interpreting and preserving the grounds of the fort that once stood here.

DSC05353.JPG


Unfortunately, all remaining from the era of the fort in the 1830's and 1840's are stone foundations like those of the barracks pictured here; the buildings were built log cabin-style upon stone basements that served as mess halls and storage spaces with large open kitchen fireplaces and their chimneys built in each end. Over the log framework was placed siding of planed lumber painted a shade of blue and topped by shingled roofs.

DSC05354.JPG


There were two of these long one-story rectangular structures, built side-by-side, with three smaller but similar officer's quarters built at right angles forming the base of an elongated rectangle, in the center of which was the parade ground and flag pole.

DSC05355.JPG


Across the parade ground from the barracks stood an ordnance storeroom above, and the powder magazine below. The latter had brick steps leading up to the all-stone-construction magazine, built to protect gunpowder stored here and hopefully contain any accidental explosions!

DSC05356.JPG


A hospital building was on the east side, about 250 feet from the last barracks building. Stables, shops and gardens were outside the rectangle on the east. Nothing remains of any of these buildings, save a few more foundation stones scattered about.

DSC05357.JPG


At a little distance from the rectangle and nearer Gates Creek stood what was called "soapsuds row", the homes of post laundresses who were usually the wives of non-commissioned officers who also lived here.

DSC05358.JPG


The post Sutler's Store underwent a thorough archeological excavation a number of years ago and has been reconstructed for use as a visitor center until being replaced by the much larger and more modern one that can be seen in the background below.

DSC05360.JPG


Although Fort Towson was abandoned by the United States Army in 1854, it continued to be an important spot along the Texas-I.T. border and was occupied by Confederate forces upon the secession of Texas; it and neighboring Doaksville became supply depots for Texas and Indian units stationed here and the vicinity and was used for a time as the headquarters of Texas General Samuel B. Maxey, then commanding the I. T. for the Confederacy.

DSC05361.JPG


The last remaining troops here were commanded by the Cherokee Indian General Stand Watie, principal chief of his nation until the end of the war. He surrendered to Union forces at nearby Doaksville on June 23, 1865. Nothing remains of the latter place but headstones in what eventually became the cemetery of the town of Fort Towson, Oklahoma, like these of notable Choctaws who died in the antebellum period. A trail leading from the cemetery traverses much of what had been the town of Doaksville but is now woodland.

DSC05362.JPG
 
Last edited:

mofederal

Captain
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
Thank you James for the great photo tour. I really enjoyed this one. If I remember right I had seen a program on it on YouTube. It was a haunting investigation done by a guy who is well known for his investigations. I will have to look t up, but I believe it is the Fort, I know it wasn't Fort Gibson. It was in ruins in the video. I will look it up. Thanks for posting this.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
Thank you James for the great photo tour. I really enjoyed this one. If I remember right I had seen a program on it on YouTube. It was a haunting investigation done by a guy who is well known for his investigations. I will have to look t up, but I believe it is the Fort, I know it wasn't Fort Gibson. It was in ruins in the video. I will look it up. Thanks for posting this.
You're most welcome! I'll bet it was Fort Washita which definitely has the reputation of being haunted. It's a little farther west and similarly located near the Red River (now the north shore of Lake Texhoma) and another historic site, formerly a part of the Oklahoma State Park system but now maintained by the Choctaw Nation. Fort Gibson is farther north of these on the way to Tulsa and is actually the most rewarding of these Indian Removal sites to visit, since it was an active-duty post until around the turn-of-the-century and has a lot of surviving buildings as well as a National Cemetery.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
Brewer-George-W.-Cherokee-31502.jpg


From another thread I thought I'd also post here portraits of Cherokee Brig. Gen. Stand Waite at left in an undated but likely wartime or immediately pre-war photo, and two of his subordinate officers, said to have been photographed in or near Doaksville in spring, 1865 soon after Waite's surrender and disbandment of his force. In the center is Irish-Cherokee Chilly McIntosh and at right George W. Brewer, also of mixed-ancestry.
 

colt45texan

Private
Joined
Aug 27, 2015
Thanks for posting the pictures. I've wanted to drive up there and see the place some time but never have. My ancestor, Capt. Henry Stout of the Texas Rangers, had to have visited the hospital there in 1844. He was jumped by a Comanche warrior and took an arrow in his thigh as he un-horsed to fight back. He rode 180 miles on horseback with the arrow in his leg (the shaft whittled down) by himself and at the time there were no settlements between where he was shot and the fort. An Army surgeon cut the arrow out.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Phiip McBride

Corporal
Joined
Jan 17, 2014
Location
Lockhart, Texas
Six of us in the Alamo Rifles did a weekend campaign reenactment in the Fort Towson area back in 2000. It rained and we marched wet and slept wet and fought wet. Great weekend though. Weren't we spiffy in those western theater Columbus Depot uniforms
6 Co K Ft Towson OK 2000 001.jpg
We camped one night before the rain next to a cemetery surrounded by a rock wall.
 
Last edited:

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Six of us in the Alamo Rifles did a weekend campaign reenactment in the Fort Towson area back in 2000. It rained and we marched wet and slept wet and fought wet. Great weekend though. Weren't we spiffy in those western theater Columbus Depot uniformsView attachment 166814 We camped one night before the rain next to a cemetery surrounded by a rock wall.
Looking good, Phiip McBride, looking real good!

Always a pleasure to view folks trying to get it right.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
...We camped one night before the rain next to a cemetery surrounded by a rock wall.
Phiip, that rock wall divides the modern Fort Towson Cemetery (including the 1850's graves I pictured above, plus a few others) from the site of Doaksville. on the back or east side of the wall are concrete steps that cross it to the trail through the townsite which has several historical markers along its length.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
d8420b23e4833e562a19a102f9fc76d3--indian-territory-cherokee-nation.jpg


Here are two more photos of Cherokee leaders I forgot when posting the others above - at left is later Chief Clement Neely Vann, another who may have been photographed around the same time as the other two at or around Doaksville; the other is William Penn Adair, seen here in an 1866 photo, who according to Wikipedia, "served in the Confederate States Army, first in the First Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Volunteers, under General Stand Watie. The Confederacy had promised the nations in Indian territory that it would support an Indian-controlled state if it won the war. Adair rose to the rank of colonel and organized the Second Cherokee Mounted Volunteers." Humorist Will Rogers was one of many Cherokee boys named in his honor after his death in 1880.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
Image (18).jpg


Photos of an earlier visit to Fort Towson State Park, ca. 1978. Above is a postcard showing some of the stabilized ruins of the barracks.

Image (14).jpg


Above and below, more stabilized ruins.
Image (16).jpg


Image (15).jpg


I was with my reenacting friends Ed Owens and @1863surgeon Doug Garnett, seen in these photos among the ruins and below, beside the fort's reproduction Napoleon.

Image (13).jpg


Image (17).jpg
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top