I took another visit to Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. This was a repeat visit, unlike most of my trip where I visited new places.
Fort Gibson was established in 1824 and was a frontier post used to facilitate the settlement of what we know as the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory. It is especially prominent in history for the Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee Tribes, which were settled nearby.
At the nearby military cemetery is the grave of Billy Bowlegs.
His relatives say that this is not Billy Bowlegs, but his brother. Billy himself may have died in 1859 soon after removal, and his brother took over the leadership of the tribe.
Now I have had Miccosukees tell me right here on the trail, that in their opinion, Billy Bowlegs sold out his people because of removal. This is a different point of view than what most people are aware of.
Sam Houston's wife is also buried here. As some of the people who died around Ft. Gibson in the 1820s and 30s. Maybe one of the oldest cemeteries here in Oklahoma. Here is also William Powell.
From what I am told, he was a sutler at the fort who had married a sister of Osceola. He is one of five different William Powell's who are tied into the Seminole War history who lived at the same time. That is why there is confusion about Osceola and his descendants.
There are two forts on the large military reservation. At the bottom of the hill is the reconstructed palisade fort from the 1820s to 1840s. This is a reconstruction built by the WPA / CCC.
They have recreated the life of the officers verses the enlisted. And you can see the stark contrast. They also have a nice library. How about this as one of the officer's rooms:
Outside the picket fort are these chimneys, all that remains of the fort's adjutant office. Jefferson Davis was an officer here with the First Dragoons in 1834. Her married Zachary Taylor's daughter. She sadly died and he eventually remarried.
Fort Gibson was known as the worst place to be stationed in the Army in the 1830s with harsh living conditions. Court marshals were common.
Up the hill is the later fort from the later half the 19th century. The museum is actually in one of these buildings. Most noticeable is barracks, which is not commonly open but you can walk around.
The Cherokee Freedmen were part of the troops who became Buffalo Soldiers here in this area of the fort.
Now there has been a lot of controversy over the Freedmen, and if they are still part of the tribe. It has been going on for the past 12 years. The Cherokees said that the Freedmen were not part of their tribe, and the federal government disagreed and said they were.
Whatever you believe, the Black Indians have been part of the tribes here in the east since the Spanish were here. Many of the Seminoles who came to Fort Gibson would not remove from Florida unless the Black Seminoles came with them. But this is a whole different topic for another time.
Fort Gibson is well worth the visit.