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Boggy Depot: Chickasaw Ghost Town


A wattle-daub structure from the early days hides in plain sight near Boggy Depot.

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Boggy Depot

Carpenters Bluff

In relation to most Oklahoma towns, which were either founded upon the Sooner land rush or along rail road stations, Boggy Depot got its start very early. By the late 1830s, Boggy Depot centered the Choctaw/ Chickasaw Nation, served as a stop along the military road from Fort Washita to Fort Smith, and for a while become the seat of the autonomous Chickasaw Nation in 1855.

Early Beginnings
Boggy Depot grew in importance as cowboys along the Shawnee cattle trail, and travelers on the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach route, passed through the town. Some enterprising men erected a toll bridge across Boggy Creek, supplanting the ferry crossing. Boggy Depotians (if that's what they called themselves) built Oklahoma's first Masonic Lodge above a church, and a large school house accommodated the area's families. After 1855, Boggy Depot served as the seat of the Chickasaw Nation when the Chickasaws bought the western portion of the Choctaw Nation for their own separate nation. However, the new survey between the nations found Boggy Depot to lie in Choctaw territory. Thus, the seat of Chickasaw government moved to Tishomingo. Still, Boggy Depot continued to thrive.

By the eve of the Civil War, Boggy Depot held all the trappings of a good sized town. An apothecary, mortuary, blacksmith shop, bakery, hotel, and dry goods store ensured that the town dominated as a trading center. One could also find a flour mill, cotton gin, bois d'arc seed mill (which sold seeds to  farmers who made bois d'arc fences), and a salt works. A Confederate camp comprised of mostly Chickasaw and Choctaw soldiers was established just west of the town, and a Union ambush resulted in several deaths.

Lost Town
After the war, the KATY railroad cut a swath about 12 miles east of Boggy Depot along the Shawnee cattle trail, and Atoka gained prominence along the tracks. This led to the population and commercial decline of Boggy Depot. The Boggy Depot post office stopped accepting mail in 1883.

Today, Boggy Depot consists merely of a few open fields in a small state park. A museum commemorates the town. All of the old buildings are gone, although markers indicate what used to be where. The cemetery is the only visible remnant of this busy and interesting Chickasaw town.

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