|Know Your History!
The main reason why none of these
towns exist as such today is that the
railroads bypassed them.
Here's how to get to these sites and what you'll see. Some of the
ghost towns still have residents; others only exist through the text
of historical markers.
Doaksville - From US 70 in Fort Towson, take the north road to the
cemetery (signs posted). Drive to the back of the cemetery (which
is worth a visit in its own right, with WPA built stone walls and hand
carved tombstones) and you'll find a set of stairs. After traversing
them, you'll enter a trail leading to the old Doaksville settlement. An
archaeological survey done by the Oklahoma Historical Association
uncovered several stone foundations. Along the trail, signs explain
what the remnants once contained. This is a fun but eerie walk
through a deserted town in the middle of a forest. I heard footsteps
walking behind me when I was there, yet I came alone...
Jonesboro - Jonesboro (or Jonesborough) is located on a tight
bend of FM 410 where the settlement of Davenport now lies (FM
410 is a looping road that connects on both ends to FM 195 in north
western Red River County). You'll find a roadside park with a few
historical markers and an old tombstone which was discovered by a
farmer plowing his field. After the flood of 1846, Jonesboro was
carried off brick by brick by other settlers. Even the graveyard was
dismantled. Martha Sue Stroud, resident Red River County
historian, details the sad demise in her outstanding book, "Gateway
to Texas: The History of Red River County." Further down the road
is the site of a Caddo archaeological excavation.
Spanish Fort - This ghost town has still quite a few residents, but
can be considered a ghost nonetheless for the history that used to
be here. Situated on FM 103 (north of US 82 in Nocona on FM 103-
follow the signs), it sits close to the river. You'll find an old store,
abandoned school, and a few historical markers. Don't miss Old
Spanish Fort Cemetery, where gunfights ended many of the lives
buried there. The remains of the fort are on private land.
Fleetwood - Take US 81 to Terral, then turn east down Main Street
(follow the historical marker sign). The old store catches you by
surprise. Northeast behind the store are the remains of the school
house. Further east down the road is a group of markers
recounting the history of Fleetwood.. The sweeping views alone
are worth the trip.
|At this cistern in Doaksville, the last
Confederate General, Stand Watie,
|Jail ruins in Doaksville, which is now a
protected archaeological site.
|Looking inside the abandoned store in Fleetwood, Oklahoma. See any
ghosts? I don't, but I do see some bullet holes...
|The grave of Jane Chandler Gill at
Jonesboro is said to be the oldest Anglo
grave in Texas, or at least the Red River
Valley. While the historical marker claims
she died in 1816, Skipper Steeley, a
historian from Paris, Texas, found
evidence that she actually died in 1846.
|This unmarked cement grave at the Old Spanish Fort cemetery looks a little
like a shroud.
|Four Red River Ghost Towns
|Store at Spanish Fort along the Chisholm Trail