Map of the Comanche and Apache nation in Oklahoma Territory in 1889, noting the location of “Old Camp Augur” on the Red River. Camp Augur in today’s Tillman County, Oklahoma was founded in 1871 to protect the tribes impacted by the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867. The camp never became a permanent post. Its role was to ensure that the peaceful bands of the Comanches and Apaches stayed safe from hostile Texans, and that peaceful Texans were safe from hostile Comanche and Apache
Beautiful tombstone of Ella Colbert, Wife of Holmes Colbert (1869 to 1896), Willis Cemetery, Marshall County, Oklahoma. Due to the imagery, I wonder if she died in childbirth? The Willis Cemetery sits just off US 377 north of Lake Texoma in Marshall County, Oklahoma. This is the only remain of the former town of Willis. Willis is an old town; it was first settled by a Chickasaw family in the 1840s, where they operated a ferry crossing the Red River. By the 1920s, the town of
Lucinda Davis, a person enslaved by the Creeks and a resident of former Indian Territory, was interviewed and photographed by the Federal Writers Project in the late 1930s. Polly Colbert was 83 when the Federal Writers Project interviewed her. Her story and dozens of others have been compiled in several volumes of “Born in Slavery” (1936-1939) that can be found in the Library of Congress. While the Federal Writer’s Project was initially created to provide paid employment to t
Eagletown’s downtown, McCurtain County, Oklahoma. Eagletown may be the oldest town in the southeastern part of the state. It may not look like much, but around the 1820s, this town was the first place the Choctaws came to during the initial removals from Mississippi to Indian Territory. To them, Eagletown is known as Osi Tamaha. There was always a mystery to me surrounding a name of a street in town – Mad Man Road. Who was this person, I’d wonder. Well, RRH readers solved the
The well-built little school in Roosevelt, built by the Works Progress Administration, had two entrances – one for girls, and one for boys. In Roosevelt (Kiowa County, OK) sits this disused building that appears to have been erected by the WPA. Since the WPA lent labor to public works, and this place was last used as a pub (now closed), I asked Red River Historian readers on the Facebook page if anyone knew what the building’s original purpose was. Mijo Chard explained that i
There is nothing nicer than finding that a WPA built stadium is still in use, like the sturdy, stone arena in Hugo, Choctaw County, Oklahoma. And there is nothing more frustrating than finding its WPA plaque obscured by electrical boxes. The WPA is the Works Progress Administration, an agency founded and funded by the New Deal in 1935. The WPA provided work for thousands of Americans in disparate fields – construction of public buildings, interviewing people about their life
The Grand Central Hotel (first class, no less!) in Terral, Jefferson County, Oklahoma was an imposing building at the turn of the century – it sported three chimneys and a balcony. The Clark Fire Insurance Map of 1900 for Terral depicts two hotels, both along Apache Street at the intersection of Second Street. Their outlines are not the same as the hotel pictured, however, and one is labeled as the “Cottage Hotel.” (Clark Fire Maps, OHS). Both hotels are long gone. A Google m
The former elementary school in Humprheys, Jackson County, OK is a bit on the sunny side. Even though Jackson County (Oklahoma) is home to the air force base at Altus, it is full of ghost towns. Many of them lost population during the Great Depression, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century when the communities lost their schools (to me, the loss of a school is the hallmark of a ghost town). I visited Humphreys in southeastern Jackson County and took a pictur
Grant Foreman, one of Oklahoma’s first historians, appears in this photograph overlooking the ruins of Fort Towson in 1900. Although Fort Gibson in northeastern Oklahoma gets more publicity as “the first fort in Oklahoma,” its sister, Fort Towson in today’s Choctaw County, was established the same year – 1824. Located close to where the Kiamichi River meets the Red River, the fort served several purposes. One, it was meant to protect the incoming Choctaws, who had signed the
(Library of Congress) A geological map of coal claims around Coalgate, Coal County, Indian Territory (Oklahoma) from ca. 1900 shows that following companies contracted with the Choctaw Nation and the federal government for lease rights: Atoka Coal and Mining Company (16), Southwestern Coal & Improvement Company (22), and the McDougall Company (28). The Perry Brothers’ national lease (i.e., before leases with the Indian nations) is designated by the encircled C. From what I ga
The cobble stones, also called “cannonballs,” used in the structures (pictured below) constitute good examples of Indigenous architecture of the western Red River Valley. The stones were quarried from the rivers surrounding the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. Oklahomans began using the native round, granite rocks at the turn of the 20th century to adorn school houses, homes, hotels, and even Fort Sill. Some of the stones made their way to buildings in northwestern Texas, too.
This photograph is possibly the last image of Comanche women in a traditional camp on the open prairie. Comanche women and child at Mow-Wi camp at Palo Duro Canyon, possibly 1874. University of Texas at Arlington, Special Collections. Comanche women and child at Mow-Wi camp at Palo Duro Canyon, possibly 1874. University of Texas at Arlington, Special Collections. It is noted by archivists that it was most likely taken in 1874 after the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon (Randall Coun
Boggy Depot Plan numbers Depot Muriel Wright 1927
1. Gov. Allen Wright’s residence.
2. John. Kingsbury residence.
3. House built by Mr. Lore (cobbler).
4-5. Wood shop and residence of A. J. Martin.
6. Dr. T. J. Bond’s residence.
7. Store of Reuben Wright—later store of Edward Dwight.
8. Temporary schoolhouse (hewed logs)—later Aunt Lou’s bakery,
9. Apothecary shop.
10. Joseph J. Phillips’ store.
11. Mr. Maurer’s blacksmith shop.
12. Mr. Maurer’s residence.
13. Miss Mary Chiff