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Fort Smith-Ft. Towson Military Road -- Talimena Scenic Byway, Leflore Co. OK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 34° 47.803 W 094° 56.684
15S E 322089 N 3852223
Quick Description: The 1832 Fort Smith-Ft. Towson Military Road, the first road in the area, now a part of the history of the Talimena Scenic Byway, Leflore Co. OK
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Date Posted: 12/6/2017 6:14:38 PM
Waymark Code: WMX77G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cosninocanines
Views: 1

Long Description:
Visitors who want to walk on the Old Military Road between Fort Towson OK and Fort Smith AR can do so by taking a short trail to the old road just a few yards from the parking lot at the Old Military Road Picnic Area along the Talimena Scenic Byway.

A plate-style state historic marker at the site reads as follows:

"Ft. Smith - Ft. Towson Military Road

This road extended through the Choctaw Nation over 130 miles of rugged terrain and raging streams. It was blazed by Col. Robert Bean and constructed by Captain John Stuart and used to carry supplies and move troops and emigrants through the region. The route crossed the Winding Stair Mtn. at this point.

Eastern Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma Historical Society and State Highway Commission 1975."

Beneath this marker, a smaller monument with a plaque reads:

To Fort Towson near Red River

Old campground was here near spring

This road was constructed in 1832, by Captain John Stuart, 7th US Inf. It had been marked from Fort Smith to Red River, over this ground by woodsman, Robert Bean and Jesse Chisholm.

Oklahoma Historical Society, 1959"

From the National Park Service: (visit link)

"Talimena National Scenic Byway
Travel a short drive to the Talimena National Scenic Byway. Explore the golden valleys of a majestic byway and discover historic towns along the way. The Talimena Scenic Drive offers you more than 50 miles of the most breathtaking vistas our states have to offer. Plus, surrounding the Talimena Scenic Drive, you will find historic gateway towns with open arms and outstanding events to fill your days."

From the Explore Southern History blog: (visit link)

"An Oklahoma Historic Road

Near the western end of the beautiful Talimena Drive National Scenic Byway, a park and interpretive signs mark the point where the historic Fort Smith to Fort Towson Military Road crossed Winding Stair Mountain.

The old road, faint traces of which can be seen in the park, was built by the U.S. Army in 1832. Connecting the frontier outposts of Fort Smith, Arkansas and Fort Towson, Oklahoma, the road was constructed by soldiers who labored in muddy conditions using hand tools and mule-drawn equipment.

For their labors, they received about 15 cents a day and the equivalent of half a cup of whiskey.

The military road was used to move supplies and men back and forth between the two important forts. It also became a vital route on the Trail of Tears when the Choctaw Nation was moved to this area of Oklahoma.

During the Civil War, Confederate troops regularly used the road during their movements in Indian Territory. Fort Towson was held by the South and troops from that point and other nearby camps followed the military road north through the Choctaw Nation during various raids and expeditions.

One of the most significant of these was the march north following the Red River Campaign that resulted in the Confederate victory at the Battle of Massard Prairie, Arkansas on July 27, 1864.

The road was also used by evacuees fleeing south from the intense and brutal fighting that raged across much of what is now Oklahoma.

Many Native American families were forced to flee their homes followed the road to safety.

The historic Fort Smith to Fort Towson Military Road remained in use by civilians after the forts were abandoned following the Civil War. Some portions are still in use today, but much of the route has been bypassed by modern highways.

The park is located on the Oklahoma section of the Talimena Scenic Drive. Visitors can see the trace of the old road and read the historic marker and several interpretive panels. There are also picnic tables and other facilities at the site."
Road of Trail Name: Fort Smith-Ft. Towson Military Road

State: OK

County: Leflore County

Historical Significance:
Used to connect two frontier forts, one in the US and the other in Indian Territory. Also used to remove the Choctaws from their homelands in Mississippi and Alabama on the Trail of Tears

Years in use: 70+ years

How you discovered it:
Learned about at at the historic marker

Book on Wagon Road or Trial:
none on this road in specific

Website Explination:

Commerce, protection of trade and settlers along the frontier, removal of Choctaw Indians along the Trail of Tears, easier route over Winding Stair Mountain

Winding Stair National Recreation Area Old Military Road Picnic Area Talimena Scenic Drive Leflore Co. OK

Visit Instructions:
To post a log for this Waymark the poster must have a picture of either themselves, GPSr, or mascot. People in the picture with information about the waymark are preferred. If the waymarker can not be in the picture a picture of their GPSr or mascot will qualify. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Pictures must be of high quality (no cell phone pics)
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Benchmark Blasterz visited Fort Smith-Ft. Towson Military Road -- Talimena Scenic Byway, Leflore Co. OK 11/11/2017 Benchmark Blasterz visited it