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Frontier Forts Reporting As Ordered

October 3, 2001

Historian's Notes

As I have mentioned previously, the Debo collection is a great source if I am out of ideas for Almanac subjects. I originally thought that this topic might be a little boring but I worked with the text quite a bit and I think that the finished product was much better than anticipated.


The Angie Debo Papers are held at OSU's Special Collections & University Archives.

Almanac Transcript

Frontier forts reporting as ordered this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, Im Steven Kite.

For many reasons the frontier that was western Oklahoma in the mid-eighteen hundreds was a violent place. For Native Americans indigenous to the area intruding whites caused mayhem and unrest. For those Native Americans forced to relocate to the area, both whites and Indians proved dangerous. It was then in far western Oklahoma in the 1850s a three way struggle between whites invading the region, Indians whos claim to the area reached back hundreds of years and those Native-Americans who were caught in the middle, forced by whites onto land claimed by other tribes. It was because of this frontier turmoil that the United States Army constructed Fort Cobb.

It was in this week of 1859 that Fort Cobb officially opened for business. A simple structure of pickets and adobe the fort, never-the-less, was the region's only hope for peace. Situated about fifteen miles west of present day Anadarko in southwest Oklahoma, Fort Cobb was the western most of the U.S. forts in Indian Territory and the most isolated. After the official opening the Wichita Agency and Tribe settled near the fort as did the Tonkawas. The Fort served its purpose and kept peace in the area until 1861. With the coming of the U.S. Civil War, the United States Army abandoned all posts in Indian Territory and Fort Cobb was left deserted. For the next several years Fort Cobb was occupied by Confederate forces both white and Native American. Almost from the time of its construction army officials complained that the fort was too exposed and vulnerable to attack. Events soon proved these concerns to valid.

In October of 1862 Union Indians, those Native Americans that supported to the North, attacked Fort Cobb and the various agency buildings surrounding it. Buildings were burned and Fort Cobb was over run. The pro-southern Tonkawas were hit heavily in the attack, and it was at this point that almost the entire tribe was wiped out. Fire and pillaging took their toll on the Fort and little was left standing after the fight. Federal troops reoccupied the area for short periods after the civil war, but on March 12, 1869 the fort after ten years of noble service was officially abandoned. All that remains now of Fort Cobb is the town that bears its name and scattered reports in history books.

Fort Cobb serving proudly this week on the Almanac.

I'm Steven Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is production of the OSU Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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