Doaksville Ruins

Location: Fort Towson, Oklahoma

Website: Oklahoma Historic Site

General Description: Doaksville was founded between 1824 and 1831 by members of the Choctaw Indian tribe to provide needed services for the Choctaw Indians that were forcibly displaced from the southeastern US.  The town flourished during the period that Fort Towson was an active post and even after the fort was closed in 1854.  In 1837, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nation signed the Treaty of Doaksville which allowed the Chickasaw Indians to lease the western part of the Choctaw lands for settlement.  By 1840 Doaksville had several stores, a grist mill, blacksmith, and hotel and by 1847 it had a Post Office.  By 1850 it was the largest town in Indian Territory with more than 30 buildings.  In 1855 the Choctaw and Chickasaw formally separated and Doaksville became the Choctaw capital from 1860 until 1863.  In 1860 it was the site of the drafting and ratification of the Doaksville Constitution that guided the Choctaw Nation until 1906.  Most of the commerce continued to be dependent upon steamboat traffic on the nearby Red River.  Doaksville starter to decline after Fort Towson was closed in 1854 followed by the economic disaster of the Civil War.  When the railroads bypassed the struggling town in 1870, the town was finished with the remaining residents moving to the nearby town of Fort Towson on the railroad.  The Oklahoma Historical Society acquired the land in 1960s and sponsored archeological digs in the 1990s.  It remains an archeological preservation site.  In 2001, a walkway and informational signs were erected to give visitors a sense of the town during its heyday.

Impressions:

1) The ruins of Doaksville can be difficult to find as there are no signs on the highway about it.  We obtained directions from the volunteer at Fort Towson State Historical Site.  Since it is immediately behind the Fort Towson Cemetery outside of town, it is not difficult to locate once you know it is there.  You access the ruins by crossing the fence at the back of the cemetery.  From there it is an easy walk through the woods to the ruins.  There are interpretive signs along the way and at most of the found buildings.  They tell an interesting history of a very important town in the mid-1800s that is today a ghost town.