The Old Choctaw Capitol
Choctaw Nation, OK
June 27, 2008
Photographs after the text
Charles A. Steger wanted to go to Hugo, OK, to make some copies from the book "Who Was Who Among Southern Indians" by Don Martini at the library and he asked me to tag along. He also said we could visit the old Choctaw Capitol.
I met him at the Paris Regional Hospital in Paris, Texas, and he drove us up to Hugo.
We went to the Donald W. Reynolds Library (also known as the Choctaw County library). Hugo is the winter home for five circus companies. Funds from the local circuses like Carson and Barnes and the Kelly-Miller helped pay for the library. One section had a big top, a ring, an elephant bookshelf, statues of Carson and Barnes and the Miller Brothers circuses, and statues of two young girls reading a book.
D. R. Miller first looked at property in downtown Arlington, TX. but the cost of $50,000 was a bit much. They made Hugo their home instead after Jack Moore suggested Miller come to Hugo.
Afterwards, we drove by the old homestead of Choctaw Chief Robert M. Jones called the Rose Hill Plantation. He is buried with his wife and at least one son in an area covered with poison ivy. The home is no longer there but we found a brick. The historical marker on the main road outside his property is gone. But it read:
We drove 11 miles from Hugo to the Union Ft. Towson Military Park. Cherokee Confederate Brig. General Stand Watie surrendered in 1865 at Doaksville, next to Ft. Towson Military Park He was a freemason and signed his surrender papers to another freemason and then went over to the Union fort. He did not want to sign the papers at the fort because he was afraid of being killed. Inside the Ft. Towson museum is a picture of Stand Watie. Sam Houston also visited Doaksville looking for Choctaws to join his army. We bought Stand Watie t-shirts and a book.
There used to be a historical marker of Ft. Towson that mentioned Stand Watie between Ft. Towson Military Park and the town of Ft. Towson. It was on the north side of the main road next to a Cottonwood tree. The road has been expanded and the tree and marker are gone. There is a new marker for Ft. Towson on the south side of the main road but it does not mention Stand Watie. The old marker read:
We drove back to Hugo and ate lunch at Angie's Circus City Diner (580-326-2027). For $7.50, one gets a choice of one meat, three sides, bread, tea or coffee, and dessert (blackberry cobbler). We had the fried catfish. Angie actually went home to get me a purple Angie's Circus City Diner XL T-shirt.
After lunch, we went about 50 miles north of Hugo through Antlers to Tuskahoma, the location of the old Choctaw Capitol. I believe that is in Pushmataha County. Pushmataha was a Choctaw chief and he is buried in the Congressional Cemetery in DC, where one of my wife's relatives is buried.
We bought books and jewelry at the old Choctaw Capitol courthouse. The current Choctaw Capitol is Durant, OK.
On our drive back to Hugo, we saw a wild turkey near the road. When we turn around so I could take a picture of it, it ran away with the speed of a roadrunner.
We visited the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Hugo where an entire section is set aside for circus folks called "Showmens Rest." For more information on this cemetery, go to www.paulridenour.com/hugo.htm.
We had dinner at The Cedar Shed in Hugo. I had a rib-eye.
A side note:
The Ringling brothers are German and the original name was Rungeling. The five brothers were Alf T., Otto, John, AL, and Charles Ringling. They also had a sister named Ida North. She had two sons named John Ringling North and Henry Ringling North, who would end up owing the Ringling Circus. They sold the circus to Roy Hofheinz who built the Astrodome. Roy sold the circus to Montgomery Ward who then sold it to Irvin and Israel Feld, a Jewish family. Today, his son Kenneth Feld owns the original Ringling Brothers Circus. Charles said "The Ringling Brothers might roll over in their graves if they knew their circus was owned by a Jewish family."
Circus theme at the library in Hugo, OK
Road to Choctaw Chief Robert M. Jones homestead
Jones family cemetery
Choctaw Chief Robert Jones grave
Graves are in need of repair
Charles Steger at location of Jones' home
A Bois d'Arc tree (a horse apple tree)
Can you find the green spider?
Ft. Towson Military Park - barrack ruins
Ft. Towson historical maker - the new marker does not mention Stand Watie
Stand Watie photo at Ft. Towson museum
Rose Hill Plantation - photo at Ft. Towson (Robert M. Jones and wife in picture)
War memorial at the old Cherokee Capitol courthouse
On this memorial is listed Choctaw Joseph Oklahombi, the most decorated WWI veteran in Oklahoma, and a Walter Veach (my wife has a cousin who is a Veatch)
Some think we are not in a war against terrorism
Old Choctaw Capitol courthouse
Joseph Oklahombi, second from the right
Cat and Charles at the old Choctaw Capitol courthouse book and gift store
Cat and I got into a discussion about how old she was. I guessed 45. She replied" Ok, now I am unhappy. I am 41." I guess I should have said 38.
Scissor Tailed Fly Catcher - Oklahoma state bird
William Ansley (radio voice of Buster Brown) buried with his mother in Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Next to William Ansley's grave