J. Y. Bryce
There has been some question as to when the first post office was established in the Indian Territory; some of our most prominent citizens claim that prior to fifty years ago we had no post offices in this country, but I have gotten mail from more than one office prior to fifty years ago.
After some research as to the matter we at last can offer some authoritative data, giving definitely the place, date and name of the postmaster of the first fourteen post offices established in the Indian Territory.
For those who are interested to know I give the record as I received it from the First Assistant Postmaster General in Washington, D. C.: The first post office established in Arkansas (now Oklahoma) in land set aside by the Government for Indian occupation.
(1) Doaksville (Choctaw Nation) established as Fort Towson in Sevier County, Arkansas, September 7, 1832. George Gooding appointed
first postmaster. The name of this office was changed to Doaksville, November 11, 1847, at which time Joseph R. Barthelet
was appointed postmaster.
Gibson, September 14, 1842, at which time Marcellus Duvall was appointed postmaster.
The records do not show that “Skullyville” was ever a post office. In my correspondence with the Assistant Postmaster General the question was asked as to what year a post office was established at Skullyville; his answer above is correct, the place known as Skullyville, was first known as Choctaw Agency, and at that place the first post office was afterwards changed to Oak Lodge post office, and was known as such for several years.
With reference to John Stryker above referred to, it was suggested that he at one time was postmaster at Micco.
Cherokee, given as the seventh post office established in this country, as I understand it, is located on the banks of the Washita River, east of Pauls Valley a few miles. Whether I am, correct in this or not, I am not sure, but I have made enquiry of old settlers of what we call Cherokee Nation, and they lave no knowledge of a post office of that
name. We are of the opinion that Cherokee on the banks of the Washita is the place referred to in the above record as given by the First Assistant Postmaster General. At one time this old town was a kind of western metropolis of all the section of country adjacent; there was more than one store, a blacksmith shop, a kind of Inn for caring for passengers who passed through on the stage and otherwise, and at a later date there was a little building put up by the Presbyterians, used for school and church purposes. At this place during the Civil War, the Plains Indians assembled for the purpose of conferring with the Civilized Tribes as to their action with reference to joining the Federal or Confederate forces. There is quite a lot of interesting history in connection with this old town which we may give at some later date.
From the best information I am able to get, Washita River was bridged at this place, being the first bridge, no doubt, built across that stream. This bridge went down early in the seventies during the high water rampage that often occurred from melting snow in the Rocky Mountains, supplemented by incessant rains. Mrs. Aaron Harlan, whose husband was a merchant in Whitebead Hill, drove off the west end of the bridge just as the east butment[sic] went out. She looked back just in time to see the bridge collapse and go down stream with the drift that had accumulated. The bridge was never rebuilt. If any one knows of a bridge having been built across the Washita prior to this one, will you please give us the information, for use in Chronicles of Oklahoma.
J. Y. BRYCE.