Fort Gibson, Oklahoma


In 1824, Colonel Matthew Arbuckle of the 7th Army Infantry moved some troops from Fort Smith, Arkansas to a site about 50 miles west and north, establishing Cantonment Gibson.  This was one of a long line of new outposts on the frontier, within lands acquired in 1803 through the Louisiana Purchase.  A stockade and barracks were constructed, along with some roads and a few outbuildings.

A reconstruction of the original stockade and barracks was built by the WPA in 1935.  The site is operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society and open for tours.

Fort Gibson Historic Site panorama
Fort Gibson Historic Site panorama

After the Indian Removal Act of 1830, native tribes were forcibly relocated to what would become known as Indian Territory.  The Cantonment became a Fort in 1832, with a primary mission of maintaining peace between the resettled tribes and those indigenous to the area, particularly the Osage Nation.  There were numerous expeditions to explore the southern plains, and to contact and make treaties with the Indians.  During this period, the Fort Gibson garrison was the largest in the United States.