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Fort Gibson


   Fort Gibson, now located in Oklahoma in what is called Fort Gibson Historical Site, was established April 20, 1824 in Indian Territory by Col. Matthew Arbuckle. It was named for Col. George Gibson, head of the Army Commissary Department. The fort was the westernmost in the north–south chain of forts intended to protect the frontier in the American West. Jefferson Davis, later president of the Confederacy was one of over one hundred West Point cadets stationed at the fort. Also stationed at the fort was Nathan Boone, son of the famous explorer Daniel Boone. Sam Houston owned a trading post in the area after leaving Tennessee and before moving to Texas. In 1832 Washington Irving launched his 'Tour of the Prairies' from the fort writing a book of the same name. In 1834 Gen. Henry Leavenworth led the dragoons on a peace mission to the west. Gen Leavenworth died during the march, and was replaced by Col Henry Dodge. Famous artist George Catlin also traveled with the dragoons. The army first abandoned the fort in 1857. During the Civil War, Union troops occupied the fort, which they called Fort Blunt.
   In 1872 the Tenth Cavalry reoccupied the fort to keep law and order in nearby railroad camps for workers engaged in building the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad from Baxter Springs, Kansas to the Red River crossing at Colbert's Ferry, a key crossing point from Indian Territory to Texas. When the Kansas and Arkansas Valley Railroad built through the area in 1888, a new town was constructed closer to the tracks. After the military permanently departed, the civilian community expanded into the fort. On May 20, 1898, the Articles of Incorporation for the town of Fort Gibson were established under the Arkansas Statutes, placing all of the occupied areas under one jurisdiction.
   Fort Gibson served as a starting point for several military expeditions that explored the west and sought peace between the tribes in the region. It was occupied through most of the Indian Removal period then abandoned in 1857. The post was reactivated during the Civil War. The army stayed through the Reconstruction and Indian Wars periods, combating the problem of outlaws and squatters. In 1890, the army abandoned Fort Gibson for the last time.
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