Fort Oakland

Fort Oakland, Okla. History


This information was gathered from various sites throughout the Internet. The numbers behind the sentences correspond to the web page I got the information from during my research. It is a conglomeration of information that has it's resources on the corresponding webpages. Please visit those web pages as the people there have done hard work in making history more available to all of us.

 Paul Reeves

At the bottom of the page are 'Places of Interest' where I have captured some of the history of the local area.

Fort Oakland is about 2 miles north of the confluence of the Chickaski and Salt Fork Rivers in Kay County. It is about 4 miles east of Tonkawa and about 7 miles west of Ponca City. Currently this is the reservation for the Tonkawa Tribe.

Fortoakland 001

However, before the Tonkawa Tribe gained Fort Oakland as their reservation, the Nez Perce were placed here and this monument telling about the Nez Perce Tribe is on US 60 (on the eastbound lane side) about 1 mile east of the overpass for US 177 that goes north into Blackwell.

The monument reads:

"Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce"

"Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired, my heart is sick and sad from where the sun now stands. I will fight no more forever"

"With these words, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce surrendered to Colonel Nelson A. Miles of the United States Army and thus began an eight - year exile of these people from their homeland in Idaho. Refusing to be herded into a reservation the Nez Perce described by Miles as 'a very bright and energetic body of indians, indeed the most intelligent that I had ever seen.' Fled eastward in 1877 to find refuge in Canada with only 250 warriors, Chief Joseph held the military at bay for 15 weeks during at least a dozen encounters and a 1700 mile chase before being forced to surrender at Bear Paw Mountain thirty miles from the Canadian border.

The Nez Perce were moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in November 1877 and the following year to the Quapaw Agency near Baxter Springs, Kansas. Finally in 1879 they were placed on the Oakland reservation west of the Chickaski River and north of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River in Indian Territory, present site of Tonkawa, Oklahoma. Here the Nez Perce made a substantial effort to become economically self - sufficient by leasing agreements with area ranchers. They also established a day school which attracted both adults and children. Nevertheless, the Nez Perce could not be acclimated. The death rate was abnormally high and they continued to seek a return to their homeland.

Finally in May of 1884, petitions presented in Congress demanding action upon the repatriation of the Nez Perce bore fruit and an indian appropriation bill became a law on July 4, whereupon Secretary of the Interior Henry M. Teller and Commissioner of Indian Affairs H. Price authorized the removal. Chief Joseph and his group were to be placed upon the Colville reservation in Northern Washington instead of their homeland near Lapwai, Idaho.

The plan was not pleasing to Chief Joseph or his followers who objected that they had been punished enough and would not voluntarily consent to further humiliation. The segregation, they said would brand them as 'wild'. 'If I could I would take my heart out and hold it in my hand and, let the great father and the white people see that there is nothing in it but kind feelings and love for him and them", said Joseph on May 22, 1885, before boarding the train at Arkansas City. Four Nez Perce chiefs signed a document relinquishing all claims to the Oakland reservation. During their sojourn in Indian Territory over 100 of the Nez Perce children had died, including Cheif Joseph's daughter. Thus before departing, Joseph had the burial ground enclosed by a log barrier in order that the graves might be preserved."

by the Tonkawa and Oklahoma Historical Societies

In preparation for opening the Cherokee Outlet to non-Indian settlers the Tonkawa received their land allotments in 1891.[1]

The Tonkawa belong to the Tonkawan linguistic family, that was once composed of a number of small sub-tribes that lived in a region that extended west from south central Texas and western Oklahoma to eastern New Mexico. The Tonkawa had a distinct language, and their name, as that of the leading tribe, was applied to their linguistic family. They were one of the most warlike tribes during nearly two centuries of conflict with their enemy tribes on the Western plains and with the Spanish and, later, American settlers in the Southwest. Their men were famous warriors, and their chiefs bore many scars of battle. The Tonkawa women were also strong physically and vindictive in disposition. [2]

The people of this tribe were nomadic in their habits in the early historic period,         moving their tipi villages according to the wishes of the chiefs of the different bands. They planted a few crops, but were well known as great hunters of buffalo and deer, using bows and arrows and spears for weapons, as well as some firearms secured from early Spanish traders. They became skilled riders and owned many good horses in the eighteenth century. From about 1800, the Tonkawa were allied with the Lipan Apache and were friendly to the Texans and other southern divisions. By 1837, they had for the most part drifted toward the southwestern frontier of Texas and were among the tribes identified in Mexican territory. [2]

The Tonkawa were removed from Fort Griffin, Texas in October 1884 . . . they were transported by railroad from a station in Cisco, Texas (A child born on the way was named "Railroad Cisco"), to a temporary stop at the Sac-Fox Agency near Stroud, Oklahoma. The entire Tribe wintered at the Sac-Fox Agency until spring, then traveled the last 100 miles by wagon fording many rain swelled rivers and axle deep mud caused by severe spring rains. They reached the Ponca Agency on June 29th, and then finally to "Oakland" on June 30th, 1885. This was the Tonkawa "Trail of Tears"... a time in our history that should always be commemorated lest we forget. [2]



Places of Interest:


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