Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 8, No. 2
June, 1930

Page 145

That the old forts of Oklahoma should be perpetuated in name is very desirable; around them cluster some very interesting history, history that tingles with romance, chivalry and heroic deeds. The further one gets away from these old historic places the more interesting they become. Take Fort Coffee as a sample; here the steam boats, the soldiers, the emigrant Choctaw Indians, a siege of cholera, the early pioneer Methodist Missionary with the school and farm, all center around old Fort Coffee, located on the south side of the Arkansas River on a promontory overlooking large sections of the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations. Here can be seen yet ruins of the old buildings, stone chimneys, an old well and a cellar and a few graves. There should be a granite marker, reciting all the interesting facts, and the grounds kept beautiful, with a graded road running by, so tourists could visit with ease as well as delight. What a splendid thing it would have been if these old Forts had been honored by having towns named for them; instead of Spiro, what if it had been Fort Coffee? Or Davis, Fort Arbuckle? How interesting it would be to have Fort Washita in name, for the town Aylesworth on the Frisco railroad west of Durant, in Bryan County. Leavenworth, or Camp Leavenworth, near the mouth of the Washita River, located on the bank of the Red, in Marshall County, would have been very appropriate in naming the present town of Woodville. On this old camp site, General Leavenworth died, and Catlin drew some of his most noted Indian pictures. One branch of the old California road, starting at St. Louis, Missouri, and Memphis, Tenn., converging at Little Rock, Arkansas, entered the Indian Territory at Fort Smith, Arkansas, traversing the Choctaw and Chickasaw countries crossed into Texas at this place, Preston Bend. A granite marker, at least, should be set up at all these points, telling the story of long ago in a few short sentences. How it would thrill to-day! and how much more so in the days to come.

J. Y. B.

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