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TREATY OF CAMP HOLMES (1835)

The Treaty of Camp Holmes was the first peace agreement negotiated between the United States and Plains Indian tribes. In March 1835 Fort Gibson commander Gen. Matthew Arbuckle, former North Carolina governor Montfort Stokes, and Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Western Territory Maj. Francis W. Armstrong, were appointed to treat with the Plains tribes. Their objective was to secure a peace between the prairie Indians and those being removed to eastern Indian Territory. Armstrong died prior to the council and was not replaced.

In May 1835 dragoons under Maj. Richard B. Mason marched westward from Fort Gibson to contact the Plains tribes and propose talks. The troops encamped along Chouteau Creek near present Lexington in Cleveland County. The site was designated Camp Holmes and should not be confused with "Old" Camp Holmes, established south of present Holdenville in 1834.

The Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita refused to visit Fort Gibson, so a brush arbor and split-log seats were crafted at Camp Holmes. Commissioners Arbuckle and Stokes, accompanied by a military escort and Creek, Seneca, Osage, and Quapaw delegates, arrived there on August 19. Cherokee representatives soon followed. The Kiowa, however, had departed.

After two days of negotiations the Treaty of Camp Holmes was signed on August 24, 1835. It consisted of ten articles calling for the Comanche and the Wichita to live in peace with the United States and with the tribes that were relocating to Indian Territory. A similar agreement was reached with the Kiowa, Plains Apache, and Tawakoni at Fort Gibson in 1837.

SEE ALSO: MILITARY–NINETEENTH CENTURY, WESTWARD EXPANSION.

OTHER RESOURCES: Text of the Treaty of Camp Holmes from Charles Kappler, ed., Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties (Washington : Government Printing Office, 1904).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Brad Agnew, Fort Gibson: Terminal on the Trail of Tears (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980). Grant Foreman, Pioneer Days in the Early Southwest (Cleveland, Ohio: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1926). Grant Foreman, ed., "The Journal of the Proceedings at Our First Treaty with the Wild Indians," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 14 (December 1936). Stan Hoig, Beyond the Frontier: Exploring the Indian Country (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998).

Jon D. May

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