This lonely headstone represents almost all that is left of the soldiers who died and were buried here. Those who died before the War Between the States were removed to the National Cemetery at Fort Gibson in 1870.
This was built in 1856 of limestone quarried locally. The ground floor held the kitchens, mess rooms and storage areas for the meat, vegetables and other perishables. The upper floors contained orderly rooms and company rooms for the sergeants.
This was such a tiny little building. It was originally constructed near Durant by Edward Bohanan soon after the War Between the States and was moved to the fort in the 1990's. Bohanan was a Teamster employed at the fort and later became a member of the Confederate Indian Brigade.
For ninety years the buildings and grounds of Fort Washita collapsed in disrepair. Then, in 1962, Ward S. Merrick, Sr, contributed money to the Oklahoma Historical Society for the fort's purchase. Five years later the state legislature approved money for the restoration which still continues to this day under the guidance of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Forts were established on a grid system with a central parade ground and walks and roads. Cobbled walkways and roads were common. This particular road has a sign which states that it was the original wagon train road to the Californian gold fields 1949-1950.
This was the source of water for the men and animals and was dug by soldiers who then lined the walls with rock and stones. Other sources of water came from rain water caught in barrels and nearby streams or rivers.
On the Upper floor were the sleeping areas with sturdy wooden bunks and what looked like lumpy mattresses. Ceilings were 14 feet and their were orderly rooms at either end of this floor. The company and mess rooms were on the ground floor and at each end of the building were rooms for food storage.
D.H. Cooper Cabin
This two room hewn log cabin was the home of Douglas H. Cooper who was a Chickasaw/Choctaw Indian Agent in the 1850's but because of his friendship with Jefferson Davis was soon appointed Brigadier General in the Confederate States Army.
Fort Washita - was established in 1842 and it was, at that time, the most southern post of the U.S. It was established to protect the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians from the Plains Indians who had used this area for centuries for hunting and were not too keen on sharing. Throughout the 1840's and 1850's the post provided quarters for the U.S. Indian Agency to the Chickasaw and Choctaw governments. Admission is free, and you can wander and take photos of whatever you like. Open : Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. -5 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
From Barracks to a Home
After the civil War, the fort was abandoned and the Colbert family used the barracks as a home until in 1917, it burned down.
You Wouldn't Want to be Large
The front entrance off the porch was so small that for a large person it would have been uncomfortable. The cabin is now used for military re-enactments and living history demonstrations.
Officers Quarters - The Senior officers with families had private quarters with servants which also had to be provided with living quarters.
In its day... This was the area for the Fort's latrine. Thankfully there are more modern facilities scattered around the Park now.
The Wooden Veranda
A wooden veranda which circles the entire first level of the Southern Barracks.... wonderful for hot summer nights.
This building was built in 1849. The entire building was 120 feet long and 30 feet wide. Wood for the building came from an area 75 miles away while the stone was quarried locally.