Doaksville and Fort Towson

Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury, an early Presbyterian missionary to the Choctaws, was located at Doaksville near old Fort Towson. He secured the erection of an ample Church building and rendered many years of faithful service. He died and was buried in the cemetery at that place in 1870.

Doaksville, though no longer entitled to a place on the map, is the name of an important pioneer Indian village. Here the proud and powerful Choctaws established themselves during the later twenties, and were regarded as happy and prosperous before the Civil War.

Fort Towson was built by the government to protect them from incursions on the part of the wild Kiowa and Comanche, who still roamed over the plains of Texas. The name of Ulysses S. Grant was associated with it just before the Mexican war. The generous hospitality of Col. Garland, who died there after a long period of service, is still gratefully remembered.

During its most prosperous days, which were long before the Civil War, a considerable number of aristocratic Choctaws, claiming large plantations in the neighboring valleys, dwelt there near each other. Some were men of culture and university education, while others were ignorant and superstitious. Some had previously enjoyed the acquaintance and friendship of Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor, and greatly appreciated the privilege of manifesting their chivalrous spirit. Berthlett’s store, now used as a stable, was a noted trading establishment and place of social resort. Its owner was a native of Canada, who had come to live among the Choctaws.

While living in this beautiful country, where they were paternally protected from poverty at home and the encroachments of enemies abroad it has been said they were so addicted to private quarrels and fatal combats, that there was scarcely a Choctaw family that did not have its tragedy of blood. These fatal tribal feuds, however, seldom occurred except on gala days, and the preparations there for included a supply of “fire-water.”

The old Doaksville cemetery occupies the slope of a hillside near a little stream skirted with timber. Some of the leading pioneers of the Choctaw nation were buried here. The marble tablets that mark their graves were brought by steam boat from New Orleans, up the Mississippi and Red rivers to a landing four miles south. Some of the graves are walled and covered with a marble slab, while others are marked by the erection over them of oddly shaped little houses. In the early days, the full-bloods were in the habit of burying with the body some favorite trinket or article of personal adornment. Many of the grave stones attest the fact that the deceased while living enjoyed a good hope of a blessed immortality through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Flickinger, Robert Elliott. Choctaw Freedmen and Oak Hill Industrial Academy, Valliant, Oklahoma. Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. Pittsburgh. 1914

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