Oklahoma-Indian Territory Tombstone Tourist Travel the Back Roads

Halloween in a Ghost Town and Graveyard

A few years ago my husband and I took a ghost town hunting trip to southeast Oklahoma. Perfect for a Halloween weekend.

This part of Oklahoma is unlike any other part of the state. Choctaw County and Pushmataha County include the Kiamichi Mountains. It’s a beautiful area in Oklahoma.  Popular with hunting and fishing enthusiasts, as well as ghost town hunters and tombstone tourists.

We visited the site of Doaksville, just outside Ft. Towson Cemetery near Ft. Towson, Oklahoma.  If you didn’t know to look for it you would never know it’s there. To reach Doaksville you have to go to the back section of the cemetery, climb a few stone steps and walk a wooded trail a short distance. 

The rise and fall of Doaksville.

Doaksville began as a trading post operated by Josiah Doak in the early 1820’s. The area began to thrive after the signing of the Dancing Rabbit Creek Treaty in 1830, which removed the Choctaw Indians to Indian Territory. This was the first treaty as a part of the Indian Removal Act.

As the displaced Choctaw Indians moved into the area, Doaksville began to grow. Coupled with the proximity of Ft. Towson and the commerce and security it provided, Doaksville began to thrive. Steamboats traveling the Red River allowed commerce in an out of Doaksville as well.

By 1850 Doaksville was the largest town in Indian Territory.

At one point more than 30 buildings made up the town including a school, jail, hotel, and two newspaper offices.1 The Choctaw Telegraph and the Choctaw Intelligencer 2

Doaksville, I.T. before it became a ghost town.
Doaksville, Indian Territory

In 1865, Stand Watie was the last Confederate general to surrender to Union forces near Doaksville. Following the war, Doaksville started to decline and the routing of the railroad a mile south of the town was its death knell.

Shadows

A shadow of its former self, Doaksville is now a ghost town and an archaeological site maintained by the Oklahoma Historical Society. 3

Archaeological digs in 1996-98 revealed some of the old foundations.

Ruins in a ghost town, Doaksville, Oklahoma.
Foundation stones of jailhouse in Doaksville
Fort Towson Cemetery
Fort Towson Cemetery
Ruins of a stone hearth and chimney in the ghost town of Doaksville, Oklahoma
Ruins of a stone hearth and chimney.
Ft. Towson Cemetery in Oklahoma
Beautiful carving J.P. Willis gravestone in Ft. Towson Cemetery.

On a genealogy note, I have a 1st cousin once removed buried in the Ft. Towson Cemetery; Harold Dale Langley 1930-1963.

Gravestone of Harold Langley 1930-1963
Harold Dale Langley

Here is a map of the Ft. Towson/Doaksville Cemetery and the entrance to Doaksville through the cemetery with coordinates.

Map to Ft. Towson/Doaksville Cemetery
Ft. Towson/Doaksville Cemetery with coordinates.

  1. http://www.okhistory.org/sites/ftdoaksville
  2. Jon D. May, “Doaksville,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed October 30, 2018).
  3. Jon D. May, “Doaksville,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed October 30, 2018).

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