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Fort Towson (1824-1829, 1830-1854, 1863-1865) - A U.S.Army post established as Cantonment Towson in 1824 by Major Alexander Cummings, 7th U.S. Infantry in Choctaw County, Oklahoma. Named for General Nathan Towson, a hero of the War of 1812 and then army paymaster general. Abandoned in 1829. Reestablished in 1830 as Camp Phoenix but later renamed Fort Towson in 1831. Abandoned again in 1854 but reestablished in 1863 during the U.S. Civil War, abandoned at the end of the war in 1865.
Fort Towson History
The original location of this post was on the east bank of Gates Creek about six miles above the Red River. In 1824 the Red river was the Mexican border. The post was abandoned in June 1829 and the buildings were burned down after the troops left.
The post was reestablished by Major Stephen Watts Kearny, 3rd U.S. Infantry on 26 Apr 1831. The new location was two miles northeast of the present day town of Fort Towson and was originally known as Camp Phoenix. The name was changed on 8 Feb 1832 to Fort Towson. The post was again abandoned 8 Jun 1854 and turned over to the Choctaw Nation to serve as their capitol.
During the U.S. Civil War Confederate forces occupied the post as the headquarters of their Indian Territory Department. Confederate Cherokee General Stand Watie surrendered at Fort Towson on 23 Jun 1865, the last Confederate General to surrender. The fort was finally abandoned in 1865.
Stone ruins on a State Historic Site, Choctaw County, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Historical Society acquired the property in 1967 and operates a Visitor Center and sutler's store on site.
USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry:
- Name: Old Fort Towson Historic Site Type: Historical Class: Locale ID: 1096237
- Location: Choctaw County, Oklahoma, US, FIPS Code: 40023
- Latitude: 34.0278836, Longitude: -95.2563440, Elevation: 499 Map: Fort Towson
- As Of: 18 Dec 1979
- Source: U.S. Board on Geographic Names
Location: State Historic Site, Choctaw County, Oklahoma.
Maps & Images Lat: 34.0278836 Long: -95.2563440
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 658
- Hart, Herbert M., Tour Guide to Old Western Forts, Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder CO, 1980, ISBN 0-87108-568-2,page 127
- North American Forts - Fort Towson
- Wikipedia - Fort Towson
- Oklahoma State Digital Library - Fort Towson
Fort Towson Picture Gallery
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