KEOKUK FALLS 
"Ghost" town of
Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma

Location:  7 miles southeast of Prague, Lincoln County, OK 
Existed:   January 13, 1892 - February 15, 1918
Named for:  Sac & Fox Chief, moses Keokuk
 
 


Click on photo to enlarge
The Falls at Keokuk, Oklahoma


 


Keokuk Falls was named for Moses Keokuk, Chief of the Sac & Fox.  The little town was branded as one of the most infamous, sensational saloon towns that mushroomed along the Oklahoma territory border after the second "run" for homesteads on September 22, 1891.  Wild happenings centered around the "7 Deadly Saloons" of Keokuk Falls made the town one of the wildest, most turbulent, and dangerous in the entire old west, where many of the toughest, most nefarious outlaw robbers and killers hung out during the pre statehood days.  It was here that early day desperadoes rode pell-mell through the streets with their six-shooters spouting hot lead, and attracted the derelicts and the refuse of humanity.

Moses Keokuk, the namesake of the town, had migrated with his tribe from Kansas, arriving on December 14, 1869.
 
 


Click photo to enlarge
Photo taken at Levi Rocks
Keokuk, Oklahoma

D.N. Beaty, who had been "proving up" a homestead claim in Oklahoma county, and had opened a saloon in Choctaw City, opened the first saloon in Keokuk Falls in 1891.  It was called the "Black Dog Saloon."  Lewis Irick and Allie Irick, along with several brothers, were credited with founding the Nazarene church in Oklahoma.  John M. White and Tom Homan farmed near town.  Robert Pachacek lived three miles west of town after arriving in 1898.  The Benes and the Kluts families lived northeast of town.  Mr. Bourley had a store until 1910.  Claude Giles worked in the J.H. Patterson store.  John Turner was at one time the town Marshall, and Gene Lomax was a Deputy Sheriff.  Cal Washburn owned the drug store.

A.D. Hammer owned a flour mill and sawmill in town about 1900.  Jim Coleman was a blacksmith until 1899.  J.E. Delaney was superintendent of Keokuk School in 1898 and later went to Ada to establish East Central College.  Dr. D.M. Holloman was the first doctor in the area in 1891.  Dr. William Abraham L. Cossey was also an early day doctor before 1900 and was affectionately know as "Dr. Will."  Dr. Cossey who married Narcissa Johnson, daughter of William Perry Johnson, had three Children:  Clyde, Angus and Mabel.  Later another daughter, Maud Johnson, married Lewis Joseph Brant, son of William Henry Brant, formerly of near Neal, who moved to Keokuk Falls in 1907.  Lewis Joseph Brant's daughter, Margaret, later worked for 35 years for the Indian Agency in Shawnee.  Mrs. Maud Brant ran the store and was postmaster and later ran the local telephone exchange.


Click on Photo to enlarge
A street in Keokuk Falls 

From 1895 to 1905, in addition to various kinds of stores, cotton gins, and sawmills, the town had three hotels, two distilleries, ten doctors, seven saloons, and one coffin factory.  There was one justice of the peace and  four to six preachers, but never a church.

(Reprinted from "Pottawatomie County Oklahoma History" complied and edited by Pottawatomie County History Book Committee, published by Country Lane Press, Claremore, Oklahoma, 1987, pp.39-40)
 
 
 

Do you have photos of early day Keokuk Falls  that you would be willing to share so we can post them here?
Please email the Pott County Genealogy Club at 
pottcounty@gmail.com
We would love to have pictures of each post office; schools; churches, people/families.

 


 
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