Fort Towson

  

   It was established in May 1824, under Col. Matthew Arbuckle, on the southern edge of Indian Territory to guard the Spanish border. It was named for Nathaniel Towson, Paymaster General of the Army. Originally called "Cantonment Towson," it was abandoned in 1829, but soon reestablished as "Camp Phoenix" to protect the Choctaw Nation and renamed Fort Towson in 1831. It lost importance as a military post after the construction of Fort Washita 70 miles (110 km) to the west in 1842. Fort Towson was garrisoned until 1854 when it was turned over to the use of the Choctaw Indian Agency.
   In response to a need to quell conflicts between lawless elements, Native American peoples, and settlers claiming the area as part of Arkansas Territory. The fort also served as an outpost on the border between the United States and Texas, which at that time was part of Mexico. Connected to the East by road, Fort Towson served as a gateway for settlers bound for Texas during the 1830s. Those passing through the area included Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and Stephen F. Austin. When the Choctaw and Chickasaw were displaced from their lands in the Southeastern United States, the fort served as a point of dispersal upon their arrival in the west. The fort was also an important staging area for U.S. forces during the Mexican War of 1846.
   Fort Towson was abandoned in 1856 when the frontier moved west. During the Civil War, however, it served for a time as headquarters for Confederate forces operating in Indian Territory. In 1865 General Stand Watie surrendered his command near the fort to become the last Confederate general to lay down arms.

  

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Copyright - Trails to the Past - Thursday, 28-Aug-2014 05:18:02 MDT