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Ft. Gibson Post

Vol III No 17

February 17, 1898 (Part 1)

Special 16 page "Boom" Edition - Pages 1 -4

Abstracted / Transcribed by Linda Haas Davenport

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The Greatest Natural Location For A Thriving Metropolis
Many Good Reasons to Expect Fort
Gibson to Rapidly Grow Into
A City of Vast Population
In a Few Years.

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     In presenting to the world the unparalleled natural advantages of Fort Gibson for the location of the leading city of the Indian Territory, The Post does not desire to detract a syllable from the ambitious prairie towns of Muskogee and Wagoner and the coal mining camp of South McAlester, all three of which have hopes that when the rush of people, the investment of capital and the building of cities begins in this country they will be selected without regard to advantages offered. In this vain hope they are to be disappointed.
     Fort Gibson is certainly the destined capital of the proposed new Indian state and the coming metropolis of the Central Southwest. She has untold advantages over all rival towns. She is favored with a magnificent river of the purest of American water, and situated in the very heart of the richest portion of the Indian Territory. Near by is in abundance for fuel and building and manufacturing purposes, and coal crops out at the grass roots and may be had for the digging. Lead, zinc and other valuable minerals are plentiful and only lack developing to enrich the community. Building stone of the finest quality, "flaging" for pavements, walnut, oak, ash, water, natural drainage and the most salubrious climate, are but a few of the advantages that makes Fort Gibson's future bright and her prospects the best of all Territory towns.
     At this stage of Western progress it does not take a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, to correctly predict the future of so great a natural loca-
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tion for a city as Fort Gibson. One only needs to visit the town once to convince himself that all our claims, and even more, is apparent. There is nothing lacking except a chance to safely invest money, and that chance is just presenting itself. With the passage of a townsite law, (which is included in the Curtis bill) Fort Gibson's boom will begin. Already
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thousands of dollars of outside capital has been secretly invested in lots in the town by shrewd financiers who are only waiting for the opportunity to spend other thousands in the erection of brick and stone buildings. Not only are well known Kansas City and Eastern bankers interested in Fort Gibson real estate but wealthy railroad corporations are quietly at work in their endeavor to secure interest by the acquirement of lots and terminal grounds in the town. It is not generally known, but it is a fact, nevertheless, that the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf people are negotiating for a landed interest here, for which they will offer to pay
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$15,000. If they can close a deal of this sort they propose to run a branch of their road from Stillwell or Siloam Springs to this place, making this a junction. This is not mere speculation, but facts which are known to only a few who are "on the inside."
     A hint to the wise is said to be sufficient. Fort Gibson, in less than a decade, will be larger than any other two towns in Indian Territory. This assertion is not made at random, but from convincing and undisputable information that we are not at liberty just now to divulge.
     During the present Congress no less than three new railroad right-of-way bills have been introduced, each for a new line for Fort Gibson. The first was a bill providing for the Muskogee Coal & Railway company to construct and operate a line, beginning at Fort Gibson and ending at or near Vernon, Texas. Another bill asked for a right-of-way through
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the Indian Territory for the Nebraska, Kansas & Gulf railway, mentioning Fort Gibson as one of he important points it was to pass through. The latest and most important bill of railroad news received in connection with the development and progress of Fort Gibson reached us this week through the dispatches from Washington. The bill granting the right-of-way to the M.O. & W. railroad, running from Enid, Okla., through Fort Gibson to Tahlequah was passed by Congress and sent to the President for his approval. A dispatch just received from Washington says the President will sign it and that the road is certain to be built. The survey starts at Enid, Okla., and the line is projected to include Muskogee, Tahlequah and Fort Gibson with several branches which need not be mentioned here. Last summer Major O B Gunn, representing Eastern capitalists, made a survey of the country through which the proposed lines pass and he submitted a very favorable report of this project.
     Col P.J. Byrnes, of Muskogee is one of the enthusiastic promoters of the scheme, and with other local capitalists who are interested in up-building of the country will do all he can to make it go through.
     "The prospects for the completion of the road are very bright," said Col. Byrnes, in talking with a representative of the press.
     "What is the latest about it?"
     "Well, we have submitted to Congress an amendment to our charter which provides that we can build our road in sections of 25 miles. If this amendment passes, which we have every reason to believe it will, we are privileged to start at once upon the building of the first 25 miles, which will be from Muskogee to Fort Gibson. By bonding each section as it is built, it becomes a much easier matter to build the line. Of course, a bridge will have to be built between Muskogee and Fort Gibson, over the Arkansas river and this will cost about $75,000".
     The laying out of the "Hart Addition" to Fort Gibson, which is to be done immediately, is an encouraging local indication. Not only are Eastern capitalists and railroad promoters interested, but our own enterprising citizens are alive to the importance of the situation and are making preparations to meet the coming rush with open arms and a cordial welcome. Mr. S J Hart, who owns the large tract of land just
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west of the railroad track, opposite "New Town," informed The Post man this week that he would immediately plat his premises into lots, streets and alleys as an addition to the growing town, and intended to sell the lots at reasonable prices, for awhile, at least. Fronting the railroad he will reserve 150 feet for a broad business street, making the other streets and alleys correspond with Ross addition, adjoining. This is well suited for business purposes, and it is expected that several brick and stone blocks will be erected thereon during 1898. Mr. Hart will reserve a block immediately surrounding his present residence, and dispose of the balance at reasonable figures.
     One of the principal items to be considered in the location of great cities is a plentiful water supply. Fort Gibson is not only blessed with an abundance of water, but with a river of the clearest, purest and best water that can be found on the American continent. Grand river, whose crystal waters flow placidly past the western boundary of the town, can be truthfully classed among the purest
<spanning columns 4 & 5 - hand drawn picture of wooded area with a small water fall. Caption reads: "One Of Many Pleasant Rural Scenes Near Fort Gibson.">
and most beautiful of American rivers. It flows for 120 miles through rugged cliffs of peculiar beauty and banks of graceful willows; its attractiveness very materially added to by
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     A River of Pure Water, A Pleasant
     Heathful Climate, Abundance
     Of Woods, Coal and Build-
     ing Material

 the bursting into of many streams of cold pellucid waters, notably among which is the Cowskin creek. One point where the Cowskin sends its waters eddying into the current of the larger river it presents a picture of natural beauty which cannot be equaled by any other point along the entire course. It may well be said that "God created it with a smile," and while its effect still lingers in the rocks the estuated waters and waving boscage crystalized it into ever enduring beauty. But not alone for its scenery is the Grand worthy of note, for its water affords a delight to him who, like Isaac Walton, loves to pursue the finny tribe. In their cool sequestered nooks lures the gamey bass, the sluggish buffalo, and the no less sluggish drum, the delicious salmon and numerous species of the catfish. It is uncommon for rock sturgeon to dwell so far south, but they have been seen in the Grand river. This, although not a game fish, possesses an attraction to the student on account of its antediluvian origin. The woods that skirt the river abound with game of all descriptions, and visitors carry back with them to their prairie homes memories of many delightful hours that they have spent in these retreats.
     The sage old saying that "there is a tide in the affairs of man that leads to fortune" applies with equal force to towns, and that tide in the affairs of Fort Gibson is now near at hand. If the opportunity is seized it will undoubtedly lead to a glorious future for what is now generally conceded to be greatest natural site for a large city in Indian Territory. A fine farming country extending up and down three rivers - the Arkansas, the Grand and the Verdegris - miles of the most nutri- (Continued on page 12)

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     Celebrities who Have Resided at Fort Gibson
           Jefferson Davis, Sam Houston, Henry M Stanley and
           Zachary Taylor Were Among Them
From a historical standpoint Fort Gibson is far ahead of any town in the Indian Territory. Associated with her early history are the names of many of the most noted men of America. Jefferson Davis, General Sam Houston, General Zachrary Taylor, Henry M Stanley, James G Blaine and other well know characters of national and inter-national reputations have been classed among her residents and distinguished visitors.
     It was way back in the 30's soon after Fort Gibson was established, that Henry M Stanley, afterwards the celebrated African explorer, taught school under the protection of the soldiers' guns. Stanley was then a young man of small means and little idea of the fame that awaited him. There are still living hereabouts old people who knew him, but none of them have any recollection of his personal appearance or the exact locality of where his school was conducted.
     When Sam Houston resigned the governorship of Tennessee and mysteriously disappeared from a discontented bride wife, he was next heard of in the Cherokee nation. After arriving among his old-time Cherokee friends Houston stopped for some time down on the Arkansas river near Webbers Falls. Here he resided with old Chief John Jolly, who he knew in Tennessee before the Cherokees removed west. On the north bank of the Arkansas, at the mouth of the Illinois river, was a stage stand and here Houston and Jolly conducted a store for a year in co-partnership. Although Houston's methods of business were rather loose he was nevertheless business manager of the concern and the firm "went broke" at the end of the first year. They did a good deal of credit business, but it is said no books were kept. When a customer ordered a bill of goods Houston simply charged the amount of the purchase on the wall with a piece of charcoal and when the same was paid (if paid at all) the charcoal entry was erased by the use of a wet rag. It is said by persons yet living and who knew the facts, that Houston drank like a fish when he lived in this country and that one of his principal articles of merchandise at the old stage stand was Fort Smith whisky, amunition and firearms. While carrying on his mercantile business at this place Houston met one of his boyhood sweethearts, a half-breed Cherokee girl who he knew in Tennessee before the tribe came west. The meeting resulted in an engagement and after Houston had secured a divorce from his Tennessee wife he and Miss Rogers were married. They happily together for about a year, when she died. This marriage to a Cherokee girl while in this country, strange to say, has been successfully kept out of the biography of the afterwards great Houston, and his descendants ever to this day deny the truth of it. It is a fact, however, well known to some of our oldest citizens, who know even many of the details of the romantic episode. Houston, it is said, was very devoted to his Cherokee bride, and after her death he
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erected a stone at the head of her grave bearing an endearing inscription. Just why the ancestors of Houston should object so strenuously to the publicity of the incident is a mystery, because there was certainly no disgrace in his marrying for true love's sake so beautiful and tender a Cherokee maiden as Talihina Rogers is reputed to have been. Nothing less than false Caucasion pride could warrant the aversion.
     After the death of his half-breed Cherokee wife Houston came to Fort Gibson , where he remained until his departure for Texas. His added trouble and bereavment was probably responsable for his continued dissipation, as it is said he drank heavily while living in this place. How long he remained here before going to Texas is not definitely known; but the oldest inhabitants inform us that his place of abode was a little log house that stood on the hill near where the Presbyterian church now stands. He spent much of his time with the officers of the fort and with the soldiers at the suttler's store, spinning yarns and whittling rapaciously with a keen-bladed jack-knife. He carried soft pine timber in his pockets for the purpose and seldom left a place without leaving the signs of his whittling habit. Sam Houston went from Fort Gibson to Texas where that unborned republic was in the throes of a revolution, fought the decisive battle of San Jacinto, made Texas free and himself famous.
     Perhaps the most distinguished personage who ever resided at Fort Gibson in her early days was Jefferson Davis, who afterwards became president of the Confederacy and leader of the lost cause. It was along in the 30's when Davis came to Fort Gibson, a young man just graduated from West Point. At the time Zachrary Taylor was a commanding officer at this place and Davis was sent out here to act as one of his lieutenants. How long Lieutenant Davis remained at Fort Gibson cannot be definitely ascertained without consulting the old military records at Washington, but it is known that he was here a year or more. It is learned from a semi-authentic source that when Davis came to Fort Gibson for the first time the daughter of Gen Taylor, who he afterwards married after a romantic and exciting courtship, all of which was against the wishes of gruff old Zachrary. As a result Lieutenant Davis' attention to Miss Taylor while at Fort Gibson caused trouble between General Taylor and Davis, and it is said the two did not speak to each either until they chanced to meet several years afterwards at the close of the bloody battle of Buena Vista.
     The house which is generally known to have been the one in which Jefferson Davis resided while here stood near Judge George O Sanders' present residence at the base of Garrison hill. A confused pile of stone and mortar is now about all the evidence left of the existence and location. Since the historic old structure tumbled down a year or two ago and was removed piece by piece for firewood and other purposes, the last splinter and every nail or scrap of the building has been gathered up by visitors recently and carried away with them, to be kept as relics of the Fort Gibson home of Jefferson Davis.
     For several years before this old building was removed it attracted much attention, and were it standing intact today it would
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doubtless be preserved by our citizens for perhaps another generation or more. After the railroad was built through Fort Gibson the "Old Davis House' was an object of great interest to travelers passing through town. It could plainly be seen from the car windows and was pointed out to thousands, while many people have stopped off with no other object in view than a closer inspection of the house, and to take away with them a bit of wood, a nail or something else as a relic. The building was constructed of large hewn logs, with two stories and a basement. At each end of the log structure was a huge stone chimney and large open fire places. It was built many, many years ago when Fort Gibson was the extreme western outpost of the army - when great herds of wild horses and buffalo dotted the prairies hereabouts, and when the hostile Osages roamed with unbridled freedom over what is now the Beautiful Indian Territory.
     It has been customary from time immemorial for Indian tribes to meet together around the council fire, smoke the pipe, join the hands of friendship, discourse upon and devise measures conceived to the ends of peace or war, as circumstances might direct. The first large gathering of the kind of which we are cognizant was the council called together at Tahlequah in 1843. The Indian Territory, proper, has been organized only a few years, while the country north of it to the Missouri river was Indian country. That council was the largest and in some respects the most important council ever gathered on the western frontier. The great body of Cherokees had only been in the country four or five years and everything was new to them, while their isolated position east of the Mississippi made them strangers to nearly all the tribes located in the west. An unsettled condition of affairs existed among portions of some of the tribes; distrust mingled with ignorance of the temper and spirit of others. The whites on the border were also ignorant and suspicious of the sentiments of those who had been so rudely thrust from their native homes, as had the Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws, and were frequently, from speculative and other motives, calling on the government for increased protection. Troops were kept in force at Fort Smith, Fort Gibson, Fort Scott and Fort Leavenworth. There was a restless, uneasy feeling existing. In order to meet these conditions and to establish proper relations along the frontier, between the whites and the Indians and the Indians themselves, the council referred to was called. The Cherokees who rank as the oldest brother among the tribes, took the initiative steps, sent out runners to the different tribes located from the Missouri river south into the state of Texas, with messages and sticks, indicating that the pathways were unobstructed and the number of days at the end of which the great council fire would be kindled at the beloved town of Tahlequah. The time fixed was in the month of June, 1843. And, so 55 years ago the meeting took place. Thirty-three tribes and parts of tribes responded to the call. They came on horses and mules and with such conveniences for camping as could be easily brought along on pack animals from day to day relying chiefly on hunting to supply meat. The Delawares, Shawnees, Wyandottes, Osages and southern tribes were there. General Zachary Taylor, commanding the troops at the western posts with headquarters at Fort Gibson, and other officers of the (Continued on page Nine)

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