Lost Ark


Little Ark once sat along Hickory Creek in Love County, Oklahoma (1902, USGS)


I decided to nose around my favorite maps and find places that make me exclaim, "I haven't heard of this place before!" and behold, I quickly found Ark in today's Love County, Oklahoma.


Ark is no longer on maps. It sat along Hickory Creek, which was inundated with the damming of Lake Texoma and Lake Murray. Its location is sandwiched between the lakes. Only its cemetery remains, which isn't easy to find.


Ark was a small African American settlement--- it may have been a freedman's colony. Freedmen colonies appeared after the end of the Civil War when newly freed people established their own communities centered around their churches. Often, these colonies consisted of scattered homesteads. In old Indian Territory, freed people of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations were tribal members and thus received allotted lands through the Dawes Act of 1887. Between 1895 and 1912, Ark had a post office.


Much of what I'm writing is conjecture because I haven't been able to find anything definitive about Ark, save for the graves that are listed in the Love County Genweb (https://www.okcemeteries.net/love/ark/ark.htm) and on FindaGrave (https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2175878/ark-cemetery) None of the graves were placed here past 1969, and the earliest grave dates to 1867. People born in the community tended to leave it and return only for burial: Mary J. Haraway (1881-1951), for example, was a graduate of Langston University and taught school for 40 years outside of Love County. Some of the people buried at Ark lived in the Ran (Rand) community, which either was nearby or which replaced the Ark community.


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