1867 Greek Revival, Fort Gibson, OK – $97,000

SOLD / Archived Post From 2012
Added to OHD on 3/8/12 - Last OHD Update: 6/7/15
  • Beds: 4
  • Baths: 2
  • Sqft: 6500
  • Acres: 0.67
504 E Coppinger Ave, Fort Gibson, OK 74434
  • Become part of this historical home. Beautiful wood work and formal staircase. Located adjacent to historical Fort Gibson Stockade. Partially updated.
Historical Information
National Register of Historic Places
OHD is not a real estate agency and does not represent this home.
Property must be independently verified for the current status and price.

Built by U.S. Captain A.S. Kimball and used as Commanding Officer’s Quarters. The black and white photos are from the Library of Congress.

A brief excerpt from the historical and descriptive data from the Library of Congress:

“The cornerstone of this building bears the following inscription: “Erected A.D. 1867 A. S. Kimbell Capt. A.Q.M. U.S.A.” Maj. John Joseph Coppinger, commander of the garrison at Fort Gibson immediately after the close of the Civil War, was the first to occupy the new headquarters building with this family…This was a social center of considerable importance during the years the Fort was occupied…This house originally had walnut paneling in the rooms of the first story. Over the fireplace in the east room was carved this inscription: “Wilst I sat musing the fire burned”. (Statement by Louise Berry Walker who at one time lived in a house in officer’s row, Fort Gibson.)”

90 Comments on 1867 Greek Revival, Fort Gibson, OK – $97,000

  1. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 7:38 am //

    The cautions are easily set out. This appears to be high enough up in elevation not to be afflicted with the mosquitoes, etc., that caused the town of Fort Gibson to be moved, as set out in the Wiki article. I am amazed that the town has more than doubled — has almost tripled — in population since 1970 but that the house remains this low in price , which makes an outsider wonder about the house’s situation and the present economic situation of the town itself. Finally, the fact that this sold for $106,000 in 2009, as set out in Zillow, following being on the market for about this price for a long time, makes one wonder if it is overpriced for the area. And the turning of a back parlor into a kitchen is something that, while it looks well done indeed, may not suit every purchaser. The 6,500 square foot figure seems considerably larger than the house, although photographs can be very misleading.

    With all that said, this is a remarkable house indeed. One set of my grandparents lived, worked, met and married at an Indian trading post before any of the Oklahoma Runs. This fort was of course a much grander affair than a mere trading post, and just for that reason, one suspects, the interaction of Indians and troops and non-Indian civilians would have been more limited. Still, this house and this fort would have been the site of history making and mutual tolerance creation of a kind that still is on-going. What a wonderful, wonderful selection, Kelly.

  2. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 7:59 am //

    BTW, I meant no criticism about the kitchen and appreciate that the owners may have had little choice. There may not have been any original kitchen. I know that at some Indian schools built out of stone (now demolished), the superintendent’s house had no real kitchen — the meals were intended to be brought over from the school’s kitchens and if necessary re-heated on a small stove. The same might have been true for a military commandant’s house. such as this.

  3. Robt. W. Robt. W. (829 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 8:15 am //

    Officers’ quarters on early military installations are often very interesting architecture, and this is no exception. It’s a handsome exterior — even with the remodeled front portico, which I’d want to restore as-built.

    • Kenny (123 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 8:23 am //

      I agree Robert. I hope whoever ends up with this house will restore both front and back porch to the original design. The interior woodwork is very beautiful and warm.

  4. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 9:03 am //

    Coppinger was a son-in-law of James G. Blaine, the White Plumed Knight from the State of Maine who was defeated for the presidency. http://localhistory.morrisville.edu/sites/unitinfo/coppinger-15cav.html and digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v021/v021p124.pdf Alice Blaine Coppinger died young, as noted in her obituary: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60817F93F5F10738DDDAA0894DA405B8085F0D3

    Grant Foreman, who did the leg-work in the 1930s about getting this house and the fort on the Register, wrote a history of the Fort. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~texlance/misc/fortgibson.htm In it he recounts that Washington Irving came there and, also, Zachry Taylor. See also http://www.oklahomagenealogy.com/fort_gibson.htm

  5. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 9:07 am //

    Dr. Grant Foreman also found and published the memoirs of a General Hitchcock, who came to Fort Gibson. Hitchcock found the “Creek Nation” Pocohantas, as she was termed, who had saved a US military man from death in the early part of the 19th century.

    Some local color about this Fort can be found at http://www.okgenweb.org/~okmuskog/peopleplaces/ftgibsongateway12.html

  6. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 9:22 am //

    Following Coppinger’s leaving Fort Gibson, the next commander was apparently General Hazen. As Foreman wrote in the Register material Kelly referenced and linked:
    “Gen, William Babcook Hazen and his family lived in this
    building after the Coppinger1s vacated the quarters.
    This was a social center of considerable importance during
    the years the fort was occupied.
    General Hazen died in Washington January 16, 1887 and his
    widow later married the Spanish American War naval hero, Admiral
    George Dewey.”

    Dewey — “the Fire When Ready Gridley” hero of Manila fame in the Spanish-American war needs no introduction and is really not connected to the Fort.

    Hazen was an amazing man: he testified in a way against Belknap and Stanley, figures in the Grant Administration scandals; offended W. T. Sherman; criticized General Custer, etc. Ambrose Bierce called Hazen the “best hated man I ever knew”. Given Hazen’s proclivity for argument and controversy, I suspect that Foreman’s remark about the house becoming a social center while the Hazens lived there may be an example of dry humor; however, no doubt such a senior officer and his readiness to criticize others was an attractive figure to some subordinates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Babcock_Hazen

    Mrs. Hazen was a daughter of the McLean who owned the Washington Post and, no doubt, had an acute understanding of politics and what was politic conduct. Of course, Dewey himself was pushed forward later as a possible presidential candidate but without success.

    Thus, a cursory glance shows that the Fort and this house are tied in some sense to two would-be presidents of the 19th Century, that the Fort was tied to a visit by one person actually elected President (Taylor) and to a major historian of the US, Irving. Not bad for an army post!

  7. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 1:36 pm //

    Within the last several hours, Realtor.com has begun to show this at $139,000.

  8. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 1:52 pm //

    The detailed listing facts to be found at Zillow and Realtor.com leave some things obscure. Whereas in the Library of Congress photos and building plans, there is a radiator shown in one room and a furnace room in the ground/basement floor, the listing description refers to a wood stove and space heater as the heat. On the other hand, the same listing refers to “cooling” as the refrigerator. The square footage per floor is said to be 6500 on one fact-sheet! This is not criticism of the home, but merely a cue to ask careful questions of the realtor listing the property.

  9. Dick Kennedy (38 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 2:04 pm //

    I’m curious as to the lack of windows in either ‘side’ of the house.

  10. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 2:59 pm //

    Kimball’s genealogy, original document citations, etc., is set out in a family genealogy at http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=jacquelinesr&id=I09842

    Elsewhere, Kimball in the Chronicles of Oklahoma is described as “Amos Samuel Kimball was born in New York, and on November 27, 1861, became first lieutenant in the Ninety-eighth N. Y. Infantry, where he served until May of 1864, when he became captain and acting quartermaster of volunteers from April 7, 1864, to December 6, 1866. He served as captain and acting quartermaster in the U. S. Army from November 19, 1866, and was later promoted to major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel. On October 2, 1902, he was retired as brigadier-general. He was brevetted major of volunteers February 1, 1866, for faithful and meritorious service in the quartermaster’s department.” Chronicles of Oklahoma http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v013/v013p146.html
    That article sets out a young officer’s reminisces of the Indian Territory and Fort Gibson. Alvord, the young officer, served under a commander, Col. Floyd Jones, not mentioned so far in these post-notes or Foreman’s history.
    De Lancey Floyd-Jones was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West point from New York, where he attended from July 1, 1841, to July 1, 1846, when he was graduated, and promoted in the army to brevet second lieutenant of the Seventh Infantry. He served in the War with Mexico from 1846 to 1848, and took part in a number of important engagements. He became second lieutenant of the Fourth Infantry November 27, 1846, and first lieutenant January 1, 1848, having been in the meantime brevetted first lieutenant for gallant and meritorious conduct. He was promoted captain July 31, 1854, and served at a number of army posts in California and other posts of the West. He was promoted to major of the Eleventh Infantry May 14, 1861; lieutenant-colonel July 4, 1862, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. On July 2, 1863, he was brevetted colonel for gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Gettysburg. On August 1, 1863, he was made lieutenant-colonel of the Nineteenth Infantry, and after the Civil War was in command of posts in Kentucky, at Little Rock, Arkansas, and in Fort Smith and Fort Gibson. He died January 19, 1902.

  11. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 3:04 pm //

    I make no comment about Kimball, who eventually became Quarter Master General. However, a local history from his birthplace noted the following after his death:

    Amos S. Kimball entered the United States volunteer army as quartermaster of the 98th regiment at Malone in 1862, served throughout the war, and then was continued in the regular army – eventually becoming quartermaster general. The final years of his service were spent in New York city. He died in Washington, D. C., in 1909. He is said to have been worth a million dollars.


    Being: History of Fort Covington, New York (Part 2)

  12. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 3:29 pm //

    The house was purchased in 1924 by Claude W Garrett, an attorney of Muskogee, Oklahoma, who later became a judge. Judge Garrett died in 1979. Following his death, the home was operated as a house museum. As I am afraid that the website about the house museum might soon be disabled, I put the information on it here:

    This historic home was built in 1867 as the commanding officers residence, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The three story home was part of the Fort Gibson Fort established in Indian Territory in 1824. The privately owned home has been in the Judge Claude Garrett family since 1924. That year young lawyer, Garrett, and his bride, the former Katherine Oldham, ignored the advice of elders and bought a ramshackle stone home looking across the weed-infested parade ground of the decayed fort.

    Wooden porches were replaced with ornamental iron columns. The front entrance as well as the tall French windows are original. In the typical style of the 19th century, ceilings on the second floor are 12 feet high allowing plenty of room for tall posts of a fine four-poster bed. The woodwork is hand-finished walnut and oak, all from trees cut in the river bottoms of the area. For 23 years, it sheltered Colonels, Captains, and Majors who commanded in the last years of Fort Gibson.

    The house is rich in history that began with the fort and into the Judge Claude Garrett family. Once used as the family’s residence, this restored mansion is open by appointment and for tours.

    Admission: Adults, $3; senior citizens, $2; students ages 6 to 18, $1; and children under 6 are admitted free with adult. Group discount rates are available.
    Hours: Appointment hours: 10am to 4pm Friday and Saturdays in April, May, and June, and September through December.
    Address: 504 E. Coppinger Ave., Highway 80A to the Ft. Gibson Dam
    Phone: 918-478-3747


  13. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 3:31 pm //

    Following Garrett’s death in 1979, his widow moved into her family home in Muskogee, http://www.genealogy.com/users/t/h/o/Harrison-L-Thomas/PHOTO/0007photo.html

    More information about Garrett, including that he described himsefl in 1930 as an oil man and had served as a pilot in WWI, can be found at http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=kingharry&id=I04047

  14. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 3:35 pm //

    The Garrett family law firm proudly recounts Claude Garrett’s personal history. http://www.glopc.com/garrett-law-office-150-years-in-the-making/

  15. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 3:52 pm //

    Prior to Garrett, this property was owned by a Dr. Otto Rogers. Rogers is mentioned extensively in one local history (but unfortunately I cannot summon that up): http://www.okgenweb.org/~okmuskog/peopleplaces/ftgibsongateway5.html

    Otto Rogers was ◦John Otto Rogers graduated from the Cherokee National Male Seminary, 1887, and from the Louisville Medical College, Louisville, Kentucky on March 3, 1892.
    ◦[Res. unk. in 1900.] John Otto and Cora Rogers resided at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma in 1907. [Res. unk. in 1910 and 1920.]

    According to Foreman’s 1934 field notes about the house, Rogers moved to Eagle Lake, Texas. I have found his 1944 obituary there, which — for someone part Indian in those days — is amazingly full of praise, which tokens that he was a good man indeed. I note that Dr. Rogers was a cousin of Will Rogers. The notice of death and obituary are both published in a local church history, at pp. 269-72, http://books.google.com/books?id=xHKbTJp4QM0C&pg=PA269&dq=Dr.+Otto+Rogers,+EAgle+Lake+Texas&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YxtZT4zdN4L2gAfa1tWhCw&ved=0CEcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

    100 Years of the First Presbyterian Church, Eagle Lake, Texas:
    Sidney Elmer Struss – 2009 – Religion – 412 pages
    Eagle Lake Headlight, July 24, 1975 Memorial to a Beloved Member – Dr. Otto Rogers Whereas it has pleased Almighty God, the Dispenser of all events, to call …

  16. Ryan (913 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 5:17 pm //

    I’d love to see the original piazza replaced as well. I’m sure its absence does bring more light intro the lower level, but to me that porch is kind of an important part of the overall design.

  17. John Shiflet John Shiflet (4848 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 5:37 pm //

    Excellent historical research, John C.! At the time this house was built, Oklahoma was officially Indian Terrritory and white settlers were being discouraged from settling there. It was also the peak of the post Civil War Indian Wars and Oklahoma was the designated resettlement area for tribes that had or were being rounded up. As part of the Indian “containment” strategy, a string of U.S. forts-Fort Gibson, Fort Sill, Fort McAlester, and others existed to keep the tribes in check.

    Despite governmental assurances to various tribes about full tribal sovereignty over their lands in the territory, within a few years even those areas were being overrun with white settlers and railroad interests. At the time this house was built Fort Gibson was an outpost on the raw frontier. Heaven only knows how the interior finish materials were brought to the site-(as railroads had yet to arrive, to the best of my knowledge-the MKT arrived in the early 1870’s starting north in Vinita, OK to Muskogee, then Durant, and then finally down to Denison, TX (1873) across the Red River) Maybe the interior millwork was made on-site. In my estimation, this house fully qualifies as “historic” in every sense of that term.

    • John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 6:13 pm //

      John, when this operated as a house museum (which it did until recently, apparently), the information stated that the woodwork was “hand-finished” from walnut and oak, “all from trees cut in the river bottoms of the area.” (Whether the government contracted for local wood is something to wonder about, along with the absence of “side” upper story windows.)

      BTW, the street view if followed along takes one to the old barracks and other buildings.

      I agree with you about the historic nature of the house and the place. This one has it all, for a house in the west not in a major city: references from Ross of the Cherokees down to Will Rogers’ kin, for the Indian side, and from Zachary Taylor and Washington Irving visiting the early Fort down through the Washington Post McLeans and James G. Blaine for the white side. And it is not all that far from Muskogee (which has an amazing park system for summer picnics, BTW) and Tulsa. And don’t forget, the man who built it ended up rich on government pay: maybe there is magic still in the place!

    • John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 6:20 pm //

      And, by the way, it is easy to research when Kelly puts the Library of Congress file in front of one! Thanks to me are really thanks to Kelly and properly so. This was an amazing find and amazingly fun to follow up!

  18. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 8:12 pm //

    A relative has pointed out that in concentrating on the individuals, I have ignored the important points about Fort Gibson. It served as the western-most fort to regulate Indians, it was a terminal point on the Trail of Tears and was a supply and transportation point for the Mexican-American war. During the Civil War, the Confederates occupied the Fort. The Union forces retook it (the Confederates evacuating), renamed it Fort Blunt and created earthworks to protect it.

    There is an excellent “online tour” of Fort Gibson at http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/okfortgibson2.html . There is an equally good brief history of hte Fort at http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/okfortgibson.html

    If the reference to the Confederacy startles, consider that the Confederacy and the Union managed to divide the Cherokees, among other tribes, into warring factions by the promise of support and some gold. The last Confederate commander to surrender in the Civil War was Stand Waitie , and Ross and the majority of hte Cherokees were driven from Oklahoma for a time due to being loyal Union supporters. The consequent impact of the war followed by a forced peace upon the Cherokee Nation, which had as one of the Civilized Nations established in Oklahoma their own printing presses and banks, among other things, was a catastrophe. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Territory_in_the_American_Civil_War and digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/C/CI011.html

  19. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 8:25 pm //

    After an earlier summary of the first years of the Fort, the excerpt fwhich follows sets out how in the 1850s the Fort was turned over to the Cherokees due to their complaints about the immorality associated with the post. In addition, the account summarizes, at the end, some of the prominent Americans who at the least “came through” the Fort. The whole account is worth reading and a useful bibliography is attached :

    After the immigrant Indians settled their new nations, the need for military protection declined. In the 1850s the Cherokee complained about the liquor and brothels at Fort Gibson and urged Congress to remove the post. Heeding the tribe’s request, in June 1857 the War Department abandoned the post and deeded the property and improvements to the Cherokee, who established the village of Kee-too-wah on the site.

    During the Civil War the Union briefly reoccupied the post because of the invasion of Indian Territory in the summer of 1862 but abandoned it when federal forces withdrew to Kansas. In April 1863 Col. William A. Phillips, commander of the Union Indian Brigade, reoccupied the post, and it remained in Union hands until the end of the war. Briefly renamed Fort Blunt, in honor of Gen. James G. Blunt, commanding general of the District of Kansas, the post dominated the vital junction of the Texas (Military) Road and the Arkansas River. Although the Union fort was never attacked by the Confederates, its troops played a key role in most of the military action in the final years of the conflict. Troops from Fort Gibson marched south in July 1863 to win the engagement at of Honey Springs, the largest and most important battle of the war in Indian Territory.

    Fort Gibson remained a military post after the war, but in 1871 most troops were transferred, leaving only a detachment responsible for provisions in a quartermaster depot. Troops returned the next year, and the size of the garrison fluctuated in response to threats from outlaws, white encroachment, intratribal disputes, and other problems in the region. In the summer of 1890 the government again abandoned the facility, but troops would occasionally camp at the site when unrest required their presence in the area.

    Because no battles or massacres occurred at or near the post, Fort Gibson never earned the reputation some frontier forts achieved, but for over half a century it accomplished its mission of maintaining the peace. At the height of Indian removal, it had the largest garrison in the nation, and many notable Americans served there or passed through, including Stephen Watts Kearny, Robert E. Lee, Henry Leavenworth, Jefferson Davis, and Zachary Taylor. Fort Gibson Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR 66000631) and has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.


  20. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 9:04 pm //

    Some Flickr links:
    Fort Gibson and Jefferson Davis “stone” http://www.flickr.com/photos/spudshot/4423459933/in/photostream/
    and stone where his building was: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spudshot/4424225372/in/photostream/

    Other pics of house here posted:



    smoke house for commandant’s house (not mentioned in listing):

    house with dinner bell in back:

    Fort Gibson monument to soldiers of War of 1812 who served at the Fort

    There are a host of photographs of the barracks, other buildings, the town of Fort Gibson etc, I have not tried to set up for links. Please enjoy as I have.

  21. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 9:18 pm //

    Virtual tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ADR7tiFmDY

    This video gives a rapid fire feel for the area and the Lake. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlxoJMz3iVU&feature=fvst

  22. John C (589 comments) - 03/08/2012 at 9:23 pm //

    For those who like jazz, Lee Wiley was originally from Fort Gibson:
    LEE WILEY (1908–1975) was an American jazz singer popular in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Although today less well-known, Wiley is still appreciated by jazz aficionados. Although she had only a small voice, she possessed an attractive, slightly husky tone and delivered lyrics with warmth and intimacy.
    Born in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, Wiley left home early to begin a career singing with the Leo Reisman band. Her career was temporarily interrupted by a fall while horse-riding and she suffered temporary blindness, but she recovered and at the age of 19 was back with Reisman again. She also sang with Paul Whiteman and later, the Casa Loma Orchestra. A collaboration with composer Victor Young resulted in several songs for which Wiley wrote the lyrics, including “Got The South In My Soul” and “Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere”.
    In 1939, Wiley made a 78 album set of eight Gershwin songs with a small group for Liberty Music Shops. The set sold well and was followed by 78 album sets dedicated to Cole Porter (1940) and Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart (1940 and 1954), Harold Arlen (1943), and Vincent Youmans and Irving Berlin (1951). The players on these recordings included such musicians as Bud Freeman, Max Kaminsky, Fats Waller, Billy Butterfield, Bobby Hackett, Eddie Condon, and the bandleader Jess Stacy, the latter to whom Wiley was married for a number of years. These influential albums launched the concept of a “songbook” (often featuring lesser-known songs), which was later widely imitated by other singers.
    Wiley went into retirement in the 1960s. Her last public appearance was a concert in Carnegie Hall in 1972 as part of the New York Jazz Festival, where she was enthusiastically received.

    more listening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwm5C4oJr4s&feature=fvwrel



    Fortunately youtube and other places have preserved this lovely talent!

  23. John C (589 comments) - 03/09/2012 at 9:55 pm //

    Sheet 6 of the Historic survey notes that the rear stairway (seen in photograph in 1934) was not original.

  24. John C (589 comments) - 03/09/2012 at 10:15 pm //

    Both in the field notes and in the description given in the family museum text, it would be made to appear that all woodwork was walnut and oak. Part of this is confusion about “first story”: it would appear that in the field notes by the good Dr.Foreman, the “First Story” is the 12 foot high story entirely above ground whereas the 1st story of the architectural renderings is the partially below-grade bottom or basement story. Another part is about what woodwork is intended.

    The architectural drawing notations state that all the original woodwork in the 1st/partially below grade story is painted white pine. The orginal floor on the second, first full story above grade, also appears to have been pine, with a then recently installed (circa 1934) oak floor; additionally, the windows, at least, were of white pine.

    Reference is made in the field notes to a statement carved in a mantle, as Kelly has reproduced in the listing: ” Over the fireplace in the east room was carved this inscription: “Wilst I sat musing the fire burned”. (Statement by Louise Berry Walker who at one time lived in a house in officer’s row, Fort Gibson.)”

    If Ms. Walker’s memory about the carving is correct, or mainly correct, this is surely a bit of an in-joke by or about Hazen. The “saying” is from Proverbs and is not in the Bible set out to depict someone sleeply musing while the fire burned. Instead, it is about anger within causing a sharp tongue to lash out (however rightously). There is no translation that includes the sitting part, and I think that probably Louise interpellated that “sat” as a decent sentiment. If not, someone obscured the Biblical reference to slightly disguise the description of Hazen. Here are various translations of the passage in Proverbs: ‘

    New International Version (©1984)
    My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
    New Living Translation (©2007)
    The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words:

    English Standard Version (©2001)
    My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:

    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue:

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
    My heart is hot within me and fire is renewed in my body; I meditated with my tongue.

    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
    My heart burned like a fire flaring up within me. Then I spoke with my tongue:

    King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    My heart was hot within me, while I was meditating the fire burned: then spoke I with my tongue,

    American King James Version
    My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spoke I with my tongue,

    American Standard Version
    My heart was hot within me; While I was musing the fire burned: Then’spake I with my tongue:

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    My heart grew hot within me : and in my meditation a fire shall flame out.

    Darby Bible Translation
    My heart burned within me; the fire was kindled in my musing: I spoke with my tongue,

    English Revised Version
    My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire kindled: then spake I with my tongue:

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then I spoke with my tongue.

    World English Bible
    My heart was hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned: I spoke with my tongue:

    Young’s Literal Translation
    Hot is my heart within me, In my meditating doth the fire burn, I have spoken with my tongue.

    Of course, most of these translations were not available in the 19th century, but I merely list them to show that under no way could someone have carved those words as a “translation” to have included a reference of sitting quietly before a fire.

  25. John C (589 comments) - 03/09/2012 at 10:35 pm //

    Reference was also made in the field notes to a Mrs. C. B. Kagy. Mrs. Kagy’s mother had been a “civilian Indian” allowed to live in or around Fort Gibson in the civil war, during the time Union troops regained possession of the fort. Her mother and other civilians subsisted on bread and wild onions in tallow to eat, when supply lines were cut by the Confederate forces. http://books.google.com/books?id=rc1-sESwq-8C&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=C.B.+Kagy&source=bl&ots=hQcbXTwpHo&sig=sRRXlu8vpjQi5nlqOaZRKt3TAgs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JMhaT6LKOaWg2AW5gcnUDg&sqi=2&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=C.B.%20Kagy&f=false

    Mrs. Kagy’s first name was “Allie,” according to an obituary of her daughter. http://newsok.com/article/1894414

    Obituaries/Death Notices

    PETERING Mrs. Louise Petering , 92, formerly of 2609 NW 42nd Circle, Oklahoma City passed away on February 23, 2004 in Johnson City , TN where she had moved from Oklahoma City in July 2002. She was the daughter of the late C.B. and Allie Kagy of Ft. Gibson, OK.

    Read more: http://newsok.com/article/1894414#ixzz1ogI3mQtP

    Allie’s mother’s maiden name was Tookah Thompson, as follows: W S Nash, a brother of Florian H Nash, was an early merchant in Old Town. He was married to Tookah Thompson, who died in 1908. They had two daughters, Allie, who married Clyde Kagy, and Bertha, who married John Black. He was born September 10, 1846 and died February 9, 1908. Pg 175


    CB Kagy was a bank cashier and a responsible (and often noted in the local newspaper) businessman.

  26. John C (589 comments) - 03/09/2012 at 10:40 pm //
  27. Commander (13 comments) - 03/10/2012 at 2:35 pm //

    Hello All. Great research work. I am the current owner of the property and will answer and address various questions you all have asked about the house. I have uncovered interesting details/artifacts from my own research as well as from residing in the house and maintaining the property. As far as square footage, it is approximate. There are three floors, and I believe the footprint of the house is roughly 45′ x 45′. I have copies of the original blueprints. You correct about the kitchen, there was none except for remnants of a 1940’s-50’s basic kitchen in the basement that was done by the Garrett family. We were careful in placing a kitchen in the back room and no modifications were made other than removing the original floor molding on one side which is still in the basement. I kept everything that was removed just in case somebody wanted to return it to a parlor. I have pictures of very interesting artifacts. The grounds are a treasure trove of history with much to be uncovered. I will be glad to answer questions and will post more info and pictures later. It is a great piece of property, staying where famous men and their wives (i will post more info about this) lived. Thx.

    • John C (589 comments) - 03/10/2012 at 2:50 pm //

      It is easy and pleasurable to do research on a house where so much of interest has happened. Thank you — and thanks to Kelly, the host/owner/chief researcher/sole owner/czar of this website! I hope this house gets the national attention it deserves.

  28. John C (589 comments) - 03/10/2012 at 3:09 pm //

    And to all readers: Fort Gibson’s anniversary is coming up and should be a fun visit: The Fort also observes its anniversary April 27-28 during its Spring Encampment. On March 31, there is a Spring Bake Day, during which you can make bread at the Fort’s oven.

  29. Commander (13 comments) - 03/11/2012 at 1:29 am //

    Just a few more things about the house. The stone walls are approximately two feet thick on the lower level, and around a foot and a half on the upper two levels – a fortress. If you notice the bunker in the front lower level, the ground level is about chest high. This was for defense – soldiers able to stand up with rifles propped on the ledge. There has been speculation about the house being built by free masons (also while gardening we have found an old free mason medal, bullets, “US” buckle, buttons, etc.). The stone work is very precise and the magnetic orientation of the house I believe was purposeful as well. I have not found a free mason stone marker though. There is a “cookhouse” out back as well as a very tall antique old flag pole. If I can find a way to post pictures I will post some very interesting stuff about the property.

    When we purchased it, it was covered with deteriorating carpet – everywhere – even on the stairs. After removing the carpet the main floor and stairs were covered in carpet glue and staples with original hardwood floors underneath. The removal of the glue and staples was a large effort, then sanding and re-staining the original floors. It is not all done but the bulk of it has been completed. The stairs were re-stained as well. New plumbing supply and drains were installed, electrical repairs, etc.

    Here is a more recent picture link, summer 2011. Although a very strong house, cosmetics were suffering from neglect. Shutters, ironwork, landscaping, etc. were restored to a more presentable attire. The exterior was pressure washed, etc. It is a very special home we care about.


    • John C (589 comments) - 03/11/2012 at 8:05 am //

      Great photo, by the way. It is evident that you indeed care about the house and that you are very special people as well as owners of a very special home.

      You know, you may want to post on this page and perhaps on one or two others something as simple as: “Do any readers out there have ideas about how I should market this property? If so, please leave suggestions.” Most of us are looking for possible places and/or taking points about possible places in the future or that we have now. However, almost all followers here have sold or will be selling property. They may have very practical ideas — more practical than my suggestion that you spend the Spring days and nights combing compatible would-be sites to mention the house.

    • Kenny (123 comments) - 03/11/2012 at 9:42 am //

      Whereas freemasons frequently traveled from town to town, it is somewhat unlikely that they would have had a hand in the construction since they almost always left some type of marker or inscription to help identify their work. Without some physical evidence of this, interior or exterior, it is doubtful that they built the house.

      • John C (589 comments) - 03/11/2012 at 1:14 pm //

        I am unexpectedly back early, and so have a moment before I have to leave again. I guess I had not thought about the masons actually having a recognized role in the building of the house. However, they — the Masons — may well have used it. One ambiguity is whether this was originally and always intended to be the “Commanding Officer’s Quarters” or the “Officers’ Quarters”. Foreman, I notice, and the Historic Survey bear indications that they were not quite sure either, what with the emendation of “Commanding” in the papers.

        Be that as it may, there are several problems in trying to determine even the extent of the Free Mason organization at Fort Gibson. First, just as with the Order of Cincinattus, there was some feeling against such organizations on the part of the military. Second, the Cherokees, etc., soon formed their own lodges. That means there is confusion between a military base lodge and the Indian lodges, at least in my mind. Third, the Civil War brought about disruption of the Free Masons at Fort Gibson and elsewhere, both from the seizure and abandonment of the Fort and from teh fact that the Cherokees were lead in respective Confederate and Union armies by rival groups of Masonic leaders. Fourth, the Arkansas organization then revoked the charters and/or refused to recognize the charters of the pre-Civil War military and civilian (mainly Indian) Masons, which resulted in new charters and new names of lodges and a loss of much history. Some references which someone might peruse again, more profitably, in the future:
        The following is from
        As the population moved west, individuals established organizations that they had joined in their former places of residence. Following removal from the southeastern part of the United States to Indian Territory (I.T.), members of the Five Civilized Tribes formed Masonic lodges. Many prominent American Indian leaders in I.T. were Masons. Among them were Peter Pitchlynn, John Jumper, John and William P. Ross, and Opothleyaholo. Before the Civil War five lodges existed in I.T. On November 7, 1848, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas granted a charter to the Cherokee Lodge Number 21 (the first lodge in I.T.) at Tahlequah, the Cherokee Nation capital. Between 1850 and 1855 units formed at Fort Gibson, Doaksville, Flint (present Stilwell), and at the Creek Agency (northwest of Muskogee). During the Civil War these disbanded, and the charters were revoked. Thus, Freemasonry ceased to exist in I.T. until 1868.
        In 1868 Rev. Joseph S. Murrow, known as “the Father of Masonry” in Oklahoma, was instrumental in organizing Oklahoma Lodge Number One at Boggy Depot, Choctaw Nation (Choctaw Gov. Allen Wright suggested the lodge name). Other lodges were chartered at Doaksville, Caddo, Flint, Fort Gibson, and the Creek Agency. In October 1874 the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory was established, and Indian Territory lodges no longer fell under the jurisdiction of Arkansas. Granville McPherson was elected first grand master. Women had an auxiliary, known as the Order of the Eastern Star, which organized in the United States in 1876. On February 25, 1879, Murrow formed the O-Ho-Yo-Hom-Ma Chapter, the first Eastern Star chapter at Atoka, I.T. He helped set up eight others and the Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star of the Indian Territory in 1889.


        This explains to some degree the charter squabble following the Civil War;

        Part of the problem was that Cherokee Free Masons had divided during the Civil War, with the opposing Cherokee armies lead by rival groups of Masonic leadership. Two Confederate regiments were raised by the Cherokee Nation. Brigadier General Ben McCulloch of the Confederate Army described them: “Colonel Drew’s Regiment will be mostly full-bloods, whilst those with Col. Stand Watie will be half-breeds, and good soldiers anywhere, in or out of the Nation.” [65] The membership in the two units fell directly upon party lines and membership in the corresponding secret societies. The largest part of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles were members of the Keetoowah Society and supporters of John Ross; most of the 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles were members of the Knights of the Golden Circle and followers of Colonel Stand Watie. [66] The leadership of both parties was composed of former Freemasons from Cherokee Lodge #21, Fort Gibson Lodge #35, and Flint Lodge #74. [6 Source: http://www.us-data.org/us/minges/keetoo1.html
        General Arbuckle, who established Fort Gibson, was a Mason.
        Matthew Arbuckle (1774-1851) Brigadier General in Mexican War. b. Greenbrier, Va. in 1774, he entered the U.S. Army as an ensign in 1800. Was sent to the Oklahoma territory to supervise the newly removed Indian tribes in 1821, establishing Fort Gibson and Fort Towson near the Kiamichi for this purpose. Fort Arbuckle was named for him. d. June 11, 1851 at Fort Smith and buried with military and Masonic honors. The remains were afterwards reinterred at his birthplace.

    • LEM (4 comments) - 09/28/2012 at 9:54 pm //

      Commander, I had the pleasure of viewing your home. Could you please email me your number so that I may make an offer to you on it? lemmar.martin114@gmail.com or you can call me or text me at 918-289-7978. Thanks,


  30. John C (589 comments) - 03/11/2012 at 7:32 am //

    I have to leave very early this morning, but before I forgot, I wanted to say that Fort Gibson had a lodge as early as 1868, at least. There is an account somewhere on-line of the history of the masons in the Indian Territory and/or Oklahoma in that part of the world. If you can’t find it, leave a note here and I will see if I can tonight or tomorrow.

    There is a Facebook side of this blog, where, I think, it is easier for you to post pictures, etc. Kelly, if you read this, you might tell the Commander if that is so.

    Sorry — have to run, as I say. I am sure that with your knowledge of the structure you have done everything to bring it the attention it deserves, but there must be thousands of sites where you could note the sale of the place: Indian tribes, some of those military/civil war/Indian War sites, Jefferson David and Robert E Lee related sites, etc. I hope that sort of thing is being attempted and going well. I say that for your sake in selling and the house’s sake in terms of future care and protection.

    This is really the equivilant of another state’s territorial governor’s house — except that it was used far longer than such a residence in most states, comes with many of the surrounding structures being protected as a site, etc.

  31. John C (589 comments) - 03/11/2012 at 3:23 pm //

    Just a couple of things for people that might be interested. To reinforce that the situation is a bit like having the Colonial Governor’s mansion free and clear in the middle of Colonial Williamsburg, I thought I would set out the link to the nicest (and best captioned) photographs of the site itself: http://www.civilwaralbum.com/indian/fortgibson1.htm There are three pages of photographs.

    To explain a bit more the background of the Civil War in the Indian Territory: http://www.civilwarvirtualmuseum.org/1861-1862/native-americans-in-the-war/continue-reading.php

    This version of Grant Foreman’s pamphlet emphasizes the situation regarding the site before Oklahoma purchased it and in passing comments upon the commander’s house. As I have mentioned Grant Foreman several times, I should disclose that he was, if I remember correctly, the faculty advisor to an uncle of mine who, partly at Foreman’s insistence, wrote a brief article in the Chronicles of Oklahoma in 1947 about the Indian tribes and Pea Ridge, an article later made into a pamphlet distributed for years at or around that battle field. Foreman was a well-known historian in Oklahoma, based at Norman (the University of Oklahoma). I believe his wife, or perhaps his daughter, was also an historian. This lead to articles in the Chronicles in which she cited documents in Grant Foreman’s possession. In the 1930s Foreman was a one-man band, seemingly, of Oklahoma history. http://www.genealogy4all.org/FtGibsonOK.html

  32. John C (589 comments) - 03/11/2012 at 8:58 pm //

    B TW, Fort Gibson is where “Pistol Pete” outshot the cavalry and acquired his nickname. http://www.library.okstate.edu/scua/collect/eaton/index.htm You never know whether something like that might attract a buyer who went to Stillwater, New Mexico State or Wyoming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistol_Pete_(mascot)

  33. John C (589 comments) - 03/21/2012 at 10:13 am //

    Kelly, as always your attention to detail is amazing. I see that Zillow finally showed the reduced price, you caught it and then posted it. If you ever tire of this blog, can your followers nominate you for public office?

    • Kelly, Old House Dreams (419 comments) - 03/21/2012 at 10:46 am //

      Most of the houses posted I’ve got saved on Zillow or Realtor so when the price changes I get a notification of it (for the most part, sometimes I don’t.) So I’m able to change the price almost as soon as I get the email about it.

      I’m afraid with my background running for office would be as much of a joke as the politicians that get elected. 🙂

      • John C (589 comments) - 03/21/2012 at 11:36 am //

        All of which means you are eminently suited for leadership — except that you have a genuine sense of humor.

  34. Commander (13 comments) - 03/21/2012 at 5:13 pm //

    The property of the Commander’s House is so exciting and rich with history – literally. While gardening, planting trees, etc. we uncovered exciting artifacts relating to the history of the House – it is so exciting when I think of what else might be on the grounds. There are quite a few intriguing legends. One day I found this thing that had what looked like a Federal Eagle on it. After researching it turned out to be a 1800’s military “matchcase” with bottom cross-hatched striker. Here is a picture of it http://www.musclecaralley.com/ch2.jpg Another unbelievable find near our planted fruit trees with just a turn of a spade was an ammo pouch buckle. Here is a picture: http://www.musclecaralley.com/ch3.jpg Don’t know if this tops that but in the front yard was found a piece of what was later identified by an expert as “..definitely some lost components of a Patriotic Fashion belt for ladies. Such belts, stamped by using the dies for making US Military buttons, first appeared in the 1870s, and continue to about 1900. They were particularly popular with the wives of Union veterans of the civil war..”. Wow! At that point I wondered whose Commander’s wife wore this button belt. Here is a pic of it (with a restored example shown below it): http://www.musclecaralley.com/ch1.jpg

    I did more research and discovered that Commander Hazen’s wife, who occupied the house in 1871, (who would later become a widow and marry Naval War Hero Admiral Dewey) was a popular woman around the Fort area. I think Grant Foreman wrote that “..General Hazen married Miss Mildred McLean 15 Feb 1871, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Washington McLean of Cincinnati who was the owner of The Washington Post, and sister of John R. McLean, editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Miss McLean had been educated by governesses and at the Ursulin Convent; she was very accomplished, speaking French, German and Italian. The Hazens occupied the large stone headquarters Commanders house at Fort Gibson, and the arrival of the bride caused quite a sensation in the frontier village. Accounts of persons living there at the time say Mrs. Hazen was accompanied by a French maid to care for her and her ten trunks of finery. She is said to have been the most stylish woman who ever lived at that post. She mingled freely with the women of Fort Gibson and was popular. She was a fine horse woman and frequently went on hunts for deer and turkey; at times she even hunted bear and buffalo..”

    I also found this info about Ms. Hazen and Admiral Dewey. On 9 November 1899 widow Mrs. Mildred M. Hazen was married for the second time to Naval War Hero Admiral Dewey (who also ran for the Presidency).

    Dewey angered some Protestants by marrying Catholic Mildred McLean Hazen and giving her the house that the nation had given him following the war.

    Publication of the day, “Harpers Weekly” April 28, 1900, p. 379 stated:

    “..Dewey’s candidacy captured much attention in the press… He had already angered some Americans, particularly Protestants, by marrying a wealthy, Catholic widow in late 1899 and giving her the house that grateful citizens had donated to him…”

    Here is a painting of Ms. Hazen – Dewey circa 1900 http://www.musclecaralley.com/ch4.jpg

    George Dewey (December 26, 1837 – January 16, 1917) was an admiral of the United States Navy. He is best known for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. He was also the only person in the history of the United States to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy, the most senior rank in the United States Navy.

    Well that is a glimpse of the first installment of a brochure I was making about the Commander’s House. I will try to find time to post more later.

    As far as the artifacts, I haven’t decided yet. If the house sells they may stay archived with the house or I might donate them to the Fort museum around the corner.

  35. John C (589 comments) - 03/21/2012 at 6:18 pm //

    You and your family have certainly had an interesting experience with this house, Commander! I can’t seem to follow the links, but my computer and internet access seem a bit wonky today.

    As you probably know, Mrs. Hazen left a memoir in 1896 partially completed (144 pages) of her life to that point, primarily about her marriage with Hazen, etc. For reasons unknown to me, it ended up in the Rutherford B Hayes papers: http://www.rbhayes.org/hayes/mssfind/487/mildredmcleanhazendewey.htm You may want to refer people to that resource for more detail.

    Please understand that this is not a criticism or a put down, but that, among others, a sister of mine has wondered what the heating and cooling expenses are like in an all-stone home. No need to answer that here, but I’d suggest you have the bills at the ready for people to examine. Since a sister,an uncle and several others have mentioned that, I thought I would tell you that people wonder.

  36. Commander (13 comments) - 03/21/2012 at 11:18 pm //

    No offense at all. The woodstove was a great decision and is absolutely remarkable with a draw that is amazing (probably due to the very tall smokestack going two and a half stories). It will heat the whole half of the house on the side it is located (and will provide life-saving heat in extended power down situations). Supplemental heating is from electric room heaters and a favorite thick warm blanket on the bed while protected by two foot thick walls when the blizzards rage outside. It is a neat cozy feeling in the dark of winter storm nights as the wind whistles by and the snow swirls outside the window. In summer we use four room air conditioners – the largest a 2-1/2 ton unit that will cool the whole main floor level. Our maximum bills topped at approximately $250.00 for the hottest month and the coldest month. (The utility company provides a bar graph of past year usage history on every bill).

    To achieve this we did not bother to heat or cool the basement level. In summer it stays remarkably cool and below the sweat level – probably due to being mostly under ground level. In winter the basement is cold and the temp will stay around the low 50’s during the coldest months. I went to great lengths in sealing any drafts and weatherstripping of every window and door after our first winter.

    As far as the insulating capabilities of stone, I had read up to some extent on this and as far as the Commander’s House with its very thick stone walls could mark an exception to the conventional rule of the insulation properties of rock. This is what I have experienced. If left alone for say a week or so or more with no air conditioning or heating modifications of the interior, it takes about three days before the house reaches an optimum threshold of a given comfort zone. After that the thick stone walls are a remarkably efficient insulator that maintains an acceptable interior temp with a normal heat/cool cycle that rivals any new home – and our energy bills reflect that. I think the key is the extra thickness of the stone walls – built to withstand cannon fire. The stonework is truly remarkable. It really is a fortress that gives the feeling of security while inside. They were thinking when designing the house. For example the upstairs windows were set low so a soldier or person can be standing up to the side of it with a rifle pointed downward and get shots off very close to the house walls below. Many interesting features of this unique home.

  37. John C (589 comments) - 03/22/2012 at 12:09 am //

    Unlike my usual pattern, I woke up just now in the middle of the night and found your comment through Kelly’s notification system. Sensible, systemic and persuasive. Sir, if you had been at the Fort during its various active years, you could have pacified the Indians by about 1840 by your discourse — but then we would have not had the fort or the Commander’s House. Anyway, good letter and I will send on to others.

  38. Patrick Cherry (1 comments) - 06/05/2012 at 5:39 pm //

    I realize I am coming late to this party, but I grew up in Muskogee and I well remember driving by Judge Garrett’s house during the holidays to see the lighting and decorations. When we first moved to Muskogee the stockade was preserved but unused and there was no effort to educate concerning the history of the site. Several of the older buildings which are now occupied were then derelict. Judge Garrett would occasionally open his house for the public although I never got a chance to visit it. It was said that he never stopped campaigning because wherever he happened to be, he went out of his way to engage people. I hope whoever buys this house has the means and the inclination to restore it as closely to its original configuration as possible. It sounds like Commander has done a commendable job in maintaining it as a viable residence.
    Best wishes,
    Patrick Cherry

  39. Kelly, OHD admin Kelly, Old House Dreams (7695 comments) - 06/24/2012 at 2:33 am //

    Reduced to a jaw-dropping $99,000!

    • John Shiflet John C. Shiflet (4848 comments) - 06/24/2012 at 12:54 pm //

      Wow! The use of the term “historic home” has been frequently and casually used but few homes featured on this site have had so much true Frontier history attached to them- a steward/caretaker type owner is needed who will honor the history embodied in this landmark home. At this price, I’d almost wish for an institution like the Smithsonian or the State to come in an preserve it but most institutions are cash-strapped right now and can barely hold onto and minimally maintain what they already have. As John C. says, this is a unique opportunity to own a true piece of American history.

  40. john c (589 comments) - 06/24/2012 at 5:55 am //

    That is jaw-dropping. Folks, for any one who likes Western history, this represents a real opportunity.

    • Commander (13 comments) - 11/13/2012 at 2:38 pm //

      John, thanks for the comments. Yes, we think it is a bargain – priced below current market and marks the bottom of the barrel price for us. Unfortunately, at the end of the year we will have to increase the price due to new tax laws that will take effect. The gubbermint will start adding sales taxes to real estate sold. This will of course further exacerbate the economy, which will further reduce standards of living. The continuance of current national economic policies are extremely unfortunate and a purposeful destructive mechanism for the whole Country.

  41. John C (589 comments) - 09/10/2012 at 11:47 am //

    Fort Gibson was also the fort near which Sam Houston settled for a time, finally leaving his land (and his Cherokee wife) to go to Texas. She is buried at the cemetery there. See http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/ftgibson.asp

  42. john c (589 comments) - 10/27/2012 at 6:33 pm //

    Fort Gibson’s various ties to United States history continue to astonish me. This site http://www.arkansasties.com/WhatsNew/2012/07/coppinger-house-fort-gibson/ has a number of links, but one interesting point a few slide-show-pictures later in particular was that a Revolutionary War soldier served here later who was also a governor of North Carolina.

    On a much sadder note, Parley Pratt, the evangelist of the Mormon Church often titled the “Archer of Paradise,” was arrested near Fort Gibson, held over night there, and then taken to Van Buren in Arkansas, where ultimately charges were dropped against him involving his relations to and with an Elenore McLean. Subsequently, however, Elenore’s husband killed Pratt in cold blood. This notorious series of events was one of the contributing factors to the state of nerves in Utah among the Mormons which resulted in the Mountain Meadows Massacre of the Fancher wagon train attempting to go West through Utah. All of the 140 people on the wagon train were killed with the exception of some of the very youngest children and infants. See The Jungles of Arkansas, Bob Lancaster, University of Arkansas Press (1989) pp. 52-65.
    This wonderful home, by the way, is now listed for $1000 less than the median price for a home in Fort Gibson last year.http://www.coldwellbanker.com/real_estate/home_search/ok/Fort%20Gibson Anyone with a yen for American history should carefully consider this house in this town.

    • Eddie White (1 comments) - 11/12/2012 at 10:07 pm //

      I live in Fort Gibson and I’d bet the people working over at the State Historic Site next door could probably answer any questions anoyone has about its history or the condition of the house itself. One has to think, if the museum won’t buy something with such a strong relation, what in the world is wrong with it? I just looked it up and the number to the museum is (918) 478-4088.

      • Commander (13 comments) - 11/13/2012 at 2:28 pm //

        Quite a few interests have wondered this. The reason has to do with (surprise!) politics and State funds.

  43. Jay (2 comments) - 12/27/2012 at 11:44 pm //

    We saw this house on Realtors.com and we went to look at it today. Wonderful history with the house, but there are too many problems and lots and lots of work will need to be done.. We thought the house had an amazing past and history and it’s beautiful. Termites have gotten to the house and there are structural problems. It’s sad the house was not kept up with. If it had the proper work done to it it would be worth the listing price, but the work that’s required for the house could possible collapse it and cost as much as the house is selling for if not more. It would be something else to live in a house like this! Best of luck to the person who buys it. It would be amazing to see the house brought back with original structures.

    • Commander (13 comments) - 12/29/2012 at 11:32 am //

      Jay, thank you for looking at my house, (we left early after spending our Christmas there so you could view it), and yes it actually has more history than you are aware of. As far as your critique on structural issues, what are your credentials? We have had it professionally inspected with estimates to install a proper foundation and elevation of the floors. The house is not in danger of collapsing, an opinion that reveals your lack of understanding of structural engineering. The exterior walls are two feet thick. The floors are supported by not only vertical risers, but cables running across anchored into the exterior stone walls. If you looked close enough you would see the exterior cable plates on the outer walls. This house was built by experts to survive the elements and attacks – and is why it is still standing today.

      If the work was done the house would be worth the listing price!!?? I have seen trailer home property at this listing price! I am dumbfounded by that comment – the listing price is less than 100K for a 6000 sq. ft. home with a history unparalleled by most any historic military home in the Country – you can’t touch one for less than half a million to a million plus. The house is priced extremely low to allow for repairs. The estimate for a new foundation and lifting was around 14K. Someone can dump as much as another 100K into repairs and still not be in the red on value.

      Thanks for your critique it has been very helpful; we now know the type of clientele our realtor has been dealing with. The door is closing on this price. After a year we have grown tired of people traipsing through our house and wanting something for nothing.

      • Commander (13 comments) - 12/30/2012 at 4:19 pm //

        BWhite, the estimates I refer to were supplied by Vance Knight Jr. of whom you speak highly of. Your chimney estimate is more than he provided but still within range. I do take umberance with your purported “State” estimate on the floor issue. Again, with a estimate that was provided by Vance Knight Jr. and through analysis of a copy of the original architectural blueprints in my possession. Apparently you added a “zero” to the end of the estimate – again provided by Vanc Knight Jr. of whom you refer to – in order to supplicate your brother’s quickie estimate.

        First – there is no “center” support beam. The floors are supported front to back with the two main hallway walls that form the center breezeway. Two cross beams – one on each side of the breezeway support each sides’ floor. It is each of these beams that are recommended to be replaced with an “I” beam. The main breezeway Hallway piers are the ones to be raised. The foundation was of course originally wood – one half has already been replaced with a cement foundation – the other half still needs to be replaced with cement. Once that is laid, the floors are lifted and the beams are installed. All of this is easily accessible as the basement is full house sized. So let’s do the math on this – or go to your nearest neighborhood home builder and ask him how much it costs to lay a foundation and put up the intitial framing of a new home he is building – is that $15,000 or $150,000?

        I believe you are confusing a foundation estimate with a “full house” renovation estimate – which is what I stated – that you could throw in another 100,000 to 150,000 or so for a full blown total renovation.

        I let all interested parties know the condition of the home and have provided Vance Knight Jr.’s estimates to the realtor and any interested party.

        By the way – sorry Oklahoma – I have claimed the house and grounds as the property of the Republic of Texas – the Commanders House, Building #1 Fort Gibson, stands under the Texas flag. No bank, mortgage or credit union owns it – a Texan does. (Being a former Texas State Senatorial Delegate, I am looking into making it formal. If the house is not sold and should Texas secede – I will immediately donate it to the Republic of Texas; maybe they will use it as an embassy to the rest of y’all in the former U.S.).

  44. Jay (2 comments) - 12/30/2012 at 8:49 pm //

    I did not mean to offend you. The Realtor told me no one had been in the house for months. She gave a false impression of the house before I even got there, so when I arrived I was expecting it to be in fairly good condition. She answered most of our questions with “I don’t know.” She also told me the house had not been inspected, but she said it would cost 16,000 just for piers. She would not allow me to look in the attic to see the roof. She also said the owner wanted proof of money before looking at the house, but did not ask to see it once I got there. The bank won’t allow a loan to be taken out for the house; that should tell a person a lot.. You’re saying you now see what the Realtor deals with, I’m now seeing what the people who are actually interested in the house are dealing with. The Realtor should have put in the description the house needs work and should have stated the truth on the phone when asked. Oh, and also the she was done showing us the house because she was cold. I was mislead before coming to look at the house and then treated as if I was just there to waste her time even though I drove over an hour to look at a house everyone in my family was truly interested in because of size, location, age, and history.

    Yes, it was an amazing house. Once work is done to it, it will be absolutely beautiful. Hopefully someone wants to put the money into fixing up this house because it’s a unique house.

    • Commander (13 comments) - 12/31/2012 at 12:39 am //

      Well darn it – I really appreciate your honesty – and I will have a talk with my realtor. This is the first critical “feedback” I have had from a “viewers” perspective on the representation of the house. Misrepresentation is unacceptable to me; it damages even the remote chance of a sale happening with any given party and causes negative opinion overall among discussion of the property from a viewer’s perspective. Personally I take the selling perspective of offering the shortcomings first – which for the most part after viewing leaves most clients with a more positive opinion as it promotes looking for the assets of the property instead of noting the deficits. I will have to make some changes. As far as the short term I had made a brochure about the house and had sent it to the realtor. I will see about getting a flyer box outside to put them in. This is something I can do to try to resolve this unfortunate issue. I will also see if I can make arrangements to have the brochure posted on the web and have the realtor tell prospective clients the web address so there are no surprises. Everybody in town knows this house fairly well. I don’t understand why vague answers were given to your questions. It is an unfortunate disappointment for both of us.

      • Kelly, OHD admin Kelly, Old House Dreams (7695 comments) - 01/02/2013 at 3:00 pm //

        Is your flyer in PDF format or a Word document? Whichever format it is in, you can email it to me at kelly@oldhousedreams.com and I’ll put a download link to it in the post information.

  45. Kelly, OHD admin Kelly, Old House Dreams (7695 comments) - 02/08/2013 at 9:31 am //

    The house is showing off market, I wonder if someone bought it?

  46. Irene Dunnigan (3 comments) - 03/07/2013 at 9:11 pm //

    My husband fell in love with this house due to the history and we are driving out to look at it this weekend. I hope it looks as good as it does in the picture and the yard isn’t too small. If it does we’ll go inside and look at it. Spending $250,000 for the house and restoration isn’t going to deter us from seriously considering the property after we do the necessary research.

    • CT (2 comments) - 03/07/2013 at 11:42 pm //

      Good luck to you. We are pulling for someone with a good head on their shoulders. It needs someone with an eye for history and a love of historic preservation. Hopefully someone will pick it up and preserve and restore rather than renovate.

  47. Irene Dunnigan (3 comments) - 03/11/2013 at 2:00 pm //

    Does anyone know where the property lines lie? Does the backyard go all the way to the fence? Is the cement pad included with the house? If anyone can answer those questions I would deeply appreciate it.

  48. Ally (4 comments) - 03/23/2013 at 11:58 am //

    Hi all! I have really enjoyed reading through this entire post! We have just purchased this house and are about to start a complete renovation on the house. This will include putting the original front porch back on, hvac, all new electrical, etc. It will take 6-9 months(but hopefully less!!) to complete and we are looking forward to living in it when it is complete! I am going to be documenting the process on a blog at http://www.commandantstocarlsons.blogspot.com/ Please follow, post, and join us in this restoration.

    • Commander (13 comments) - 03/25/2013 at 1:06 am //

      Ally, I have done a fair amount of research during my years there. From interesting folklore from the oldtimers to other details, such as the list below of the Commanders who were stationed there.

      First I must mention safety – the cistern should be approached with care – no children should be allowed on it or near it – ever! Adults should be careful – even on the square cistern “cap” – not just the millstone cover. One adult at a time on it – condition should be approached with caution. I never got around to investigate the bottom of the cistern. There could be some interesting historical items down there. Only a professional should attempt it. Pumped out, disinfected, and an external air supply with safety harnesses and support personnel.

      At one time there was a rainwater catchment system. Below the rear iron staircase base you will see a square brick enclosure with a hole in the top – this is the sand filter where roof water runoff was funneled down to. From there it flows in a pipe into the cistern. The square cement cap can be removed to inspect inside the sand filter enclosure.

      In the 1934 picture you will see the front balcony posts were supported by six standing vertical stone columns – these original stone columns are still on the property. They are now the “steps” on the west side of the house leading down to the back patio. I believe they were just stacked and not cemented, so they may can be re-used.

      I will post more later about the house, the legends around it and of the people who have occupied it.

      Commanding Officers at Fort Gibson 1824-1901

      ARBUCKLE, Matthew – Col., 7th U.S. Infantry, Apr 1824 to Feb 6, 1839
      CUMMINGS, Alex – Maj., 7th U.S. Infantry, Apr 24, 1825 to Aug 1825, Jan 1840 to Aug 1841
      MANY, James B. – Lt. Col., 7th U.S. Infantry, Aug 1825 to Sep 6, 1825, Feb 1, 1832 to Jul 7, 1832, May 15, 1834 to Sep 30, 1834
      PHILBRICK, John – Capt., 7th U.S. Infantry, Sep 1825 to Oct 1825
      BONNEVILLE, Benjamin L. E. – Capt., 7th U.S. Infantry, Apr 1828 to May 1828, Feb 26, 1848 to Nov 4, 1848
      WILKINSON, N. G. – Capt., 7th U.S. Infantry, Feb 6, 1829 to Apr 20, 1829, Mar 26, 1830 to Apr 23, 1830, Oct 14, 1830 to Nov 1830
      BURBANK, Sullivan – Maj., 7th U.S. Infantry, Oct 1, 1834 to Nov 4, 1834
      WHISTLER, William – Lt. Col., 7th U.S. Infantry, Aug 6, 1835 to Sep 10, 1835, Apr 20, 1836 to May 5, 1836, May 11, 1837 to Sep 13, 1837, Jan 29, 1839 to Feb 6, 1839
      WHARTON, C. – Maj., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Sep 14, 1837 to Oct 23, 1837, Feb 25, 1840 to Mar 3, 1840
      MCINTOSH, J. S. – Maj., 7th U.S. Infantry, Jun 15, 1838 to Aug 1838, Sep 1838 to Jan 28, 1839
      HAWKINS, E. S. – Capt., 7th U.S. Infantry, (1820), Aug 1838 to Sep 1838
      RILEY, Bennett – Maj., 4th U.S. Infantry, Feb 7, 1839 to Apr 1839 , Jun 21, 1839 to Jan 17, 1840
      CUTLER, Enos – Col., 4th U.S. Infantry, Apr 1839 – Jan 1840
      ARBUCKLE, M. – Col. & Brevet Brig. Gen., 7th U.S. Infantry, Jan 18, 1840 to Feb 4, 1840, Apr 10, 1841 to May 27, 1841
      WHARTON, Clifton – Maj., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Feb 6, 1840 to Feb 16, 1840, Jan 17, 1843 to Jan 31, 1843
      RILEY – Lt. Col., 2nd U.S. Infantry, Feb 17, 1840 to Feb 24, 1840
      GARLAND, J. – Lt. Col., 4th U.S. Infantry, May 27, 1841 to Jun 19, 1841
      MASON, R. B. – Lt. Col., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Jun 20, 1841 to Aug 1841, Aug 1841 to Apr 28, 1842, Jul 4, 1842 to Oct 7, 1842, Sep 18, 1843 to Dec 17, 1843, Jun 20, 1844 to Feb 27, 1846
      KEARNEY, S. W. – Col., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Apr 29, 1842 to Jul 3, 1842
      BROWN, Jacob – Capt., 6th U.S. Infantry, Oct 8, 1842 to Jan 16, 1843
      DAVENPORT, William – Col., 6th U.S. Infantry, Feb 1, 1843 to Sep 17, 1843
      KETCHUM, William S. – Capt., 6th U.S. Infantry, Sep 20, 1843 to Sep 26, 1843, Jul 26, 1848 to Nov 4, 1848
      BOONE, Nathan – Capt., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Sep 27, 1843 to Dec 17, 1843, May 30, 1845 to Aug 13, 1845
      LOOMIS, Gustavus – Lt. Col., 6th U.S. Infantry, (1811), Dec 18, 1843 to Jun 19, 1844, Mar 28, 1846 to Feb 24, 1848
      CADY, Arlbermarle – Capt., 6th U.S. Infantry, (1829), Feb 26, 1846 to Mar 27, 1846, Apr 30, 1846 to May 26, 1846
      STEEN, E. – Capt., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Jun 16, 1848 to Jul 25, 1848
      MILES, Dixson S. – Maj., 5th U.S. Infantry, (1824), Nov 5, 1848 to Dec 18, 1848
      STEVENSON, C. L. – Capt., 5th U.S. Infantry, (1838), Dec 1, 1848 to Dec 18, 1848
      BELNAP, William G. – Lt. Col. & Brevet Brig. Gen., 5th U.S. Infantry, Dec 19, 1848 to May 14, 1851
      LYNDE, Isaac – Capt., 5th U.S. Infantry, (1827), Dec 8, 1849 to Jan 6, 1850, Feb 22, 1850 to Mar 17, 1850 , May 12, 1850 to Jun 8, 1850
      CHAPMAN, William – Capt., 5th U.S. Infantry, (1831), Jun 9, 1850 to Jul 16, 1850
      BAINBRIDGE, Henry – Maj., 7th U.S. Infantry, (1821), May 15, 1851 to Jul 26, 1851
      LITTLE, Henry – Capt., 7th U.S. Infantry, Jul 5, 1851 to Jul 26, 1851, Oct 6, 1852 to Oct 30, 1853, Feb 16, 1856 to Apr 2, 1856, May 21, 1857 to Jun 22, 1857
      ANDREWS, George – Maj., 7th U.S. Infantry, Jul 27, 1851 to Oct 5, 1852
      HUMBER, Charles H. – Capt., 7th U.S. Infantry, (1840), Jan 15, 1853 to Jul 27, 1853
      BRAGG, Braxton – Capt., 3rd U.S Artillery, (1837), Oct 31, 1853 to Dec 1, 1853
      MORRISON, Pitcairn – Lt. Col., 7th U.S. Infantry, Dec 2, 1853 to May 7, 1855, Apr 3, 1856 to Jun 21, 1856
      WILSON, Henry – Col., 7th U.S. Infantry, May 8, 1855 to Jun 22, 1857
      CABELL, W. L. – Lt., 7th U.S. Infantry, A.Q.M., (1850), Jun 23, 1857 to Sep 1857
      PHILLIPS, William A. – Col., [[3rd Indian Home Guards, Apr 14, 1863 to Jun 1863, Nov 1863 to Jul 1864, Dec 1864 to Mar 1865
      BLUNT, James G. – Maj. Gen., Volunteers, Jul 1863, May 1865, May 11, 1865 to Jun 15, 1865
      WATTLES, Stephen H. – Col., Hq. Indian Brigade, Aug 1864, Sep 1864 to Nov 1864
      WILLIAMS, James M. – Col., Frontier Div. (Hq 2d Brig.) 7th Army Corps, Sep 1864
      RITCHIE, John – Brevet Brig. Gen., [[3rd Indian Home Guards, May 1865
      GARRETT, John A. – Col., 40th Iowa Volunteers, Jun 15, 1865 to Aug 3, 1865
      TRUE, Lewis C. – Lt. Col., 62nd Illinois Volunteers, Aug 4, 1865 to Nov 1865, Jan 1866 to Feb 17, 1866
      JORDAN, E. M. – Capt., 62nd Illinois Volunteers, Nov 1865 to Dec 1865
      MULLIGAN, James B. – Capt., 18th U.S. Infantry, Feb 18, 1866 to Mar 1, 1866
      LUGENBEEL, Pinckney – Maj., 18th U.S. Infantry, (1840), Mar 1, 1866 to May 1867

      Fort Gibson Commanders since the 1867 construction of the Commanders’ Quarters.

      AYRES, Robert – Capt., 19th U.S. Infantry, May 1867 to Jun 19, 1867
      BRYANT, M. – Capt., 6th U.S. Infantry, Jun 20, 1867 to Nov 3, 1867, Jan 20, 1868 to May 1, 1868, May 1868 to Feb 26, 1869
      FLOYD-JONES, Del – Col., 6th U.S. Infantry, (1846), Nov 4, 1867 to May 1868, Feb 27, 1869 to Apr 1869
      HUSTON, Daniel, Jr. – Lt. Col., 6th U.S. Infantry, (1848), Apr 24, 1869 to Jan 29, 1871
      SCHINDEL, Jeremiah P. – Capt., 6th U.S. Infantry, Aug 8, 1869 to Sep 25, 1869, Oct 27, 1869 to Nov 20, 1869, Jul 26, 1871 to Aug 29, 1871
      MUNSON, Jacob F. – Lt., 6th U.S. Infantry, Aug 22, 1870 to Sep 4, 1870
      HAZEN, William B. – Col., 6th U.S. Infantry, (1855), Jan 30, 1871 to Sep 30, 1871
      SANDERS, William W. – Capt., 6th U.S. Infantry, Aug 30, 1871 to Sep 3, 1871

      Post re-established G.O. 1, Headquarters, Fort Gibson, July 31, 1872

      GRIERSON, Benjamin H. – Col., 10th U.S. Cavalry, Jul 31, 1872 to Jan 5, 1873
      LAWSON, Gaines – Capt., 25th U.S. Infantry, Oct 29, 1872 to Nov 11, 1872, Jan 5, 1873 to Feb 23, 1873
      DAVIDSON, J. W. – Lt. Col., 10th U.S. Cavalry, (1845), Feb 24, 1873 to Apr 20, 1873
      UPHAM, John J. – Capt., 6th Cavalry, (1859), Apr 21, 1873 to Sep 6, 1873, Sep 8, 1875 to Jun 6, 1876
      BENNETT, Andrew S. – Capt., 5th U.S. Infantry, Jun 30, 1873 to Jul 5, 1873
      NEILL, Thomas H. – Lt. Col., 6th U.S. Cavalry, (1847), Sep 7, 1873 to Aug 6, 1874
      WOODRUFF, Thomas M. – Lt., 5th U.S. Infantry, 1871, Aug 7, 1874 to Sep 7, 1875
      RANDALL, Edward L. – Lt., 5th U.S. Infantry, Jun 7, 1876 to Jul 14, 1876
      BUTLER, Edmond – Capt., 5th U.S. Infantry, Jul 15, 1876 to Aug 6, 1876
      MCDERMOTT, George – Lt., 5th U.S. Infantry, Aug 7, 1876 to Oct 18, 1876
      SMITH, Lewis – Lt., [[3rd Artillery, Oct 19, 1876 to Dec 26, 1876
      ESKRIDGE, R. I. – Capt., 23rd U.S. Infantry, Dec 27, 1876 to Jun 14, 1877
      LAYTON, Caleb Rodney – Capt., 16th U.S. Infantry, Jun 15, 1877 to May 18, 1879
      HOUGH, A. L. – Maj., 22nd U.S. Infantry, May 19, 1879 to Oct 3, 1879
      DICKEY, C. J. – Capt., 22nd U.S. Infantry, Jul 29, 1879 to Aug 5, 1879
      BALANCE, John G. – Second Lt., 22nd U.S. Infantry, (1875), Oct 4, 1879 to Jan 31, 1880
      NEWTON, John – Second Lt., 16th U.S. Infantry, Feb 1, 1880 to Mar 5, 1880
      THEAKER, Hugh A. – Capt., 16th U.S. Infantry, Mar 6, 1880 to Mar 28, 1880
      NICHOLS, W. A. – Second Lt., 23rd U.S. Infantry, Oct 1880 to Nov 13, 1880
      OFFLEY, R. H. – Maj., 19th U.S. Infantry, Nov 14, 1880 to Nov 1, 1881
      WINIE, Thomas M. – Lt., 19th U.S. Infantry, Apr 25, 1881 to May 10, 1881
      LEETE, John G. – Lt., 19th U.S. Infantry, Sep 26, 1881 to Oct 16, 1881
      TAYLOR, A. H. M. – Lt., 19th U.S. Infantry, Nov 2, 1881 to Nov 12, 1881
      BATES, J. C. – Capt., 20th U.S. Infantry, Nov 13, 1881 to May 14, 1885
      HARBACH, A. A. – Capt., 20th U.S. Infantry, Jul 9, 1882 to Oct 31, 1882, Mar 22, 1884 to Apr 14, 1884 , Aug 5, 1884 to Oct 5, 1884, Jan 31, 1885 to Mar 2, 1885 , Apr 30, 1885 to May 8, 1885
      IVANS, J. A. – Second Lt., 20th U.S. Infantry, Mar 21, 1883 to May 11, 1883
      CUSACK, Patrick – Capt., 9th Cavalry, Sep 29, 1883 to Oct 19, 1883
      MCCASKEY, William S. – Capt., 20th U.S. Infantry, Jul 26, 1884 to Aug 4, 1884
      JAMES, W. H. W. – Lt., 24th U.S. Infantry, (1872), May 14, 1885 to Jun 13, 1885
      KEELER, Birney B. – Capt., 18th U.S. Infantry, Jun 14, 1885 to Sep 15, 1885
      POTTER, Carroll H. – Capt., 18th U.S. Infantry, (1857), Sep 16, 1885 to Oct 1, 1886, Dec 10, 1888 to Sep 5, 1889
      COPPINGER, John J. – Lt. Col., 18th U.S. Infantry, Oct 2, 1886 to Jul 17, 1888
      ADAMS, Henry H. – Capt., 18th U.S. Infantry, Jun 8, 1888 to Jul 17, 1888 , Jul 17, 1888 to Dec 9, 1888
      SCHINDEL, Jeremiah P. – Capt., 6th U.S. Infantry, Oct 2, 1889 to Sept 22, 1890
      Post finally abandoned Sept 22, 1890

      • Ally (4 comments) - 03/25/2013 at 8:44 am //

        thank you so much for this information!!! I’m not much of a history buff and have been doing a lot of research and my head is spinning! ha. Also, thank you for the information on the cistern. We have been very cautious around it due to our uncertainty of it. We are planning to get it looked at by a professional and will document all, if any, items found in it. I also really appreciate the information about the stones for the columns. We are building a detached garage(that will look similar to the house and completed covered with local rock like the house) on that side of the house and was planning to have to relocate those stones anyway, so now we can reuse them in their proper place!

        Do you know any information about the smoke house(open garage on the back east side of the property)? I have been looking for a time frame on when it was built but have come up empty handed so far. It is in bad shape but if it has some history in it and we can save without too much money in it, then we would like to consider that.

        Thanks and please keep the information coming! We are so excited about this and want to know as much as possible when making our choices on restorations.

        • Commander (13 comments) - 03/30/2013 at 2:59 am //

          I see on your blog you are starting renovation. At this point in time it is time to address a few things of history and legend. You must approach the renovation with an archaeological mindset – you are about to uncover things that have not seen the light of day for 146 years. I cannot stress this enough. It is an opportunity to uncover history and possible (valuable) artifacts of the history of the house. You are about to begin the most interesting historical journey that is important, especially to the house, grounds, and town of Fort Gibson. Let’s start with the basement. Purchase a quality metal detector or I can recommend an operator with one in Fort Gibson. You must have a sentry to watch the contractors closely.
          1. Facing the “pantry”, inside to left wall at the floor you will find a “panel” in the floor – this is a “money hole”, or “safe.” This is where they possibly hid their valuables and coins back in the day. (You must understand the lifestyle of the time). It is very likely at least one “trinket”, coin, or item will be down there somewhere. (Depending on the coin, som from the era could be very valuable and potentially pay for the whole restoration – or more). Any find must be carefully handled, don’t clean it with anything to make it “shiny”, it will hurt the value substantially. (Soap and water and a cotton cloth is ok).
          2. Potential “money hole” number 2: As you descend the stairs to the basement, at the very bottom you will find another “money hole”, or “safe”, neatly cut out but nailed shut now. Detect this area as well.
          3. Potential “money hole” number 3: This is a big one – in the “living room” you will notice a section in the southwest (front) corner, a section cut out and nailed back down, about ten foot by four foot section. Could be a repair, could be something bigger. Any floor you remove and expose the virgin ground underneath needs to be metal detected before being covered up again.

          Fireplaces: Fireplaces are interesting, back then people used them to hide valuables also – be present when the excavation begins in restoring one back in order. The covered fireplaces are almost irresistible to uncover just to investigate.

          Legend#1: The house was built by freemasons. I have some possible evidence that lends towards that end. Conventional knowledge is that the first stone of the house laid on the northeast corner of the house will have the freemason logo. This stone is covered by four foot of soil. (You will find the Garretts carved in names from the 1920’s in the wall on this corner though. Other names are carved in the front bunker cap stones too – history – who are they??). Another note about the front bunker, the steps were added later. The height was breast high – so the soldiers could stand and prop their rifles on the wall in defense. (The windows upstairs are low to the floor – so soldiers could stand to the side and shoot downward very close to the house for defensive purposes).

          Legend #1: Well known by most. A “tunnel” was made for escape and hideout purposes for the Commanders and Officers that lead all the way to the Neosho river. Rumors say it was within the confines of the house, others say it was outside of the house. While inside the basement when the floor is uncovered, look for clues, such as a filled in shallow depression in the ground. If you actually find an opening, consult professionals. Rumor is they also stored caches of weaponry in the tunnel – good and rich as a gold mine if found. Outside, on the other side of the tennis court was a building identical to the Officer’s Quarters next door. (It burned down early in the 20th Century). If you look out back, between the Commander’s House and the east property line down the slope you will see a slight depression in the ground about six feet or so in diameter – this could be a caved in or filled in tunnel entrance..

          Notice in another 1934 picture from the backyard and you will see a circular feature – a burn pit or something else?? I was not able to find out where the outhouse was kept – interesting metal detecting hunting ground – (things falling out of pockets with the pants down).

          Another oldtimer legend that was told to me said the basement, or one side of it, was a stable for the Commander’s horses. Maybe early on?

          I haven’t even scratched the surface.. much more about the house, legends, people who resided there (men and wives and families), the grounds, the cooking shack (if you look down to the ground at the entrance you will see the date “1924” (I think) in the cement. The shack is shaky, unsafe, another no children allowed area.

          I have a copy of the original Department of Interior National Parks Service National Register of Historic Places application for the Commanders House. If you would like it, I could email it.

          Above all remember – historical dig, a detector and a designated sentry or family member present at all times with workers (if you don’t want historical artifacts to disappear). I can recommend a fellow neighbor near the Commanders House who has a penchant for history and would be glad to be a volunteer sentry.

          Seriously, you are about to uncover history – don’t miss this once and lifetime opportunity.. it is virgin ground not touched for 146 years.. and soldiers and Indians walked this ground even before the Commander’s House was built..

        • Commander (13 comments) - 04/10/2013 at 2:04 am //

          I visited your blog – y’all are remodeling fast. I don’t think y’all have grasped what is under your feet. No offense – but it appears y’all are using a “hobby” metal detector – it is insufficient at best. Only obvious shallow depth large metal returns will show (for a quality mid-range example consider a Whites MXT or Spectra series. A “double-box” detector would be even better). Y’all have covered some potential history with a foot of cement without proper inspection. Not finding at least one coin in the cistern is against the odds. It should have been disassembled properly. At least the hand hewned stone opening surrounds should have been saved. (It took men lots of skilled work to do it by hand. Their handiwork should have been honored).

          The front yard of the house was once the head area of the parade ground. About 15″ below the present level of much of the front yard you will run into a layer of remnant orange bricks – the courtyard. There is so much history spread out in the soil. [You must understand that objects move up and down through the soil from swelling and contraction of the soil due to weather conditions. What is not there today could be there next month so to speak]. I was told there once was a barn in the back and one of the Garretts bulldozed it over. There’s lots of stuff down under there.

          I would advise to keep or get a woodstove – don’t be so dependent on the grid. Help won’t be coming fast when the snow is two feet deep and the lines are on the ground.

          If the winter is long and snowy – caution once February comes, animals come down from the distant hills in search for food. One winter a cougar was sighted in town multiple times and an official alert was issued. If so, don’t just look around – look up and check the trees while venturing out – cougar sweet spots. Oh, if you have a garden, watch out for Barney the Badger. At least I think he was a badger – I thought it was some coon or something and one evening I saw something, grabbed a stick and went over there and found out I needed a bigger stick. Big as a Bassett Hound with lots of growling pointy teeth. Needless to say Barney got my melons. Don’t know where Barney lives..

          If you are brave, go outside in the front toward the old grounds during the wee hours after midnight. Sit quietly and listen, and “they” will eventually “find” you. The Fort grounds are, well, interesting? The old barracks area across the street – can be unnerving ones from over there late at night. Go out and you will find out. The McBride House – I won’t even look at it when driving by. Ask anybody, they say sleep in there one night and you will become a believer. Notice the remodel is unfinished – they can’t find contractors who will stay there long enough to finish it. The hospital and museum are said to have “occupants” too.

          I will post more history soon.
          (Oh – and like you said on your blog, “it’s just a legend..”)

    • Kelly, OHD admin Kelly, Old House Dreams (7695 comments) - 03/25/2013 at 7:56 am //

      Congrat’s Ally! I’ll add the blog to my blog list and look forward to reading it! 🙂

      • Ally (4 comments) - 03/25/2013 at 8:46 am //

        Thank you! May I list your site as source for some of my information. Nothing formal but I like to give credit where due! 🙂

  49. CT (2 comments) - 03/27/2013 at 3:03 pm //

    Welcome to the neighborhood! If you ever need any info, don’t be afraid to come over to the museum. We have quite a bit on the house and its history. Feel free to email me with questions at ctwilley@okhistory.org.

  50. Ally (4 comments) - 04/05/2013 at 9:30 pm //

    Thank you so much CT! We will definitely be coming over for a visit and would love to learn more about the house!

  51. Irene Dunnigan (3 comments) - 04/10/2013 at 11:19 am //

    No offense Commander but I think the new occupants of the house are doing a great job. They want to make the house their home and I am sure they have done enough research to know what has to be done-and they aren’t moving too fast. If you were so concerned about all of the “treasures” in the basement and on the grounds you should have explored the house more when you owned it, but I’ve been told you didn’t care much for Oklahoma once you got here. Ally-keep up the good work I hope you will consider having an open house when you are finished with the renovating.

    • Commander (13 comments) - 04/11/2013 at 1:40 am //

      (Irene, I made no comment on their renovation. My comment was reserved for the grounds.
      For the new owners – we planned the same layout upstairs for the master and master bath. It is important for them to know that I had an optional 4″ toilet sewer port put in for a future master bath expansion that extends into the “red room” when new plumbing and drains were put in. It is below the floor on the opposite side of the existing toilet upstairs. If you stand in the southeast corner of the room it is below your feet. There is a 4″ screw in plug in it. Easy continuance by removing the plug and using a 4″ male screw in nipple to continue the sewer to their toilet location).

      I have explored the grounds, and is the reason I encourage proper excavations. Properly done, future finds retain the history of the property, tells a story and can even add value to the property. For example, I found a spot where possibly evenings were spent with poker playing in the back yard. One particular area revealed a high concentration of “poker chips.” These were made by the soldiers, they would mash their lead bullet heads into roundish flat pieces. One can imagine officers sitting under the trees at a rustic table in the backyard playing poker on warm summer nights.

      Further in the backyard are pilings. I believe this once was the Garretts’ “garage” and carriage area. There I found a round radiator temperature ornament for a 1920’s Chrysler. From close inspection it revealed the vehicle that it came from was purchased from a Chrysler dealer in Shawnee, Ok. I then estimated what would be the walking path up to the house and searched this area. Along the way I found two women’s compacts, one or both probably Ms. Garrett’s. One appears much older. Older items are mixed in the area. I found the officer’s match case down there as well – a remarkable and rare thing due to the image on the case.

      You can see these an other images at the temporary link below. I hope it encourages the new owners to realize what special and valuable history lay beneath their feet. Markers from another time, markers of people’s lives. Each item tells a story, once held by a human hand from long ago. I have also included more history and a few more pictures of the house. I will continue to add pictures at this link of the house as I find them, as well as a copy of the National Historic Registry Application if I can find a way to attach it.

  52. Kelly, OHD admin Kelly, Old House Dreams (7695 comments) - 04/10/2013 at 11:21 am //

    Please, keep the subject on the house or history or comments will be closed.

  53. Richard (1 comments) - 05/21/2013 at 12:59 am //

    Ally, I just stumbled across this site and have also read your renovation blog and enjoyed the pictures. Congratulations on your purchase of this great, historic home. It is such a delight to see the wonderful things you are doing. Kate and Claude Garrett were my great aunt and uncle and my family visited and stayed in their home when I was a boy. It was a thrill to go to the “lookout” post on the roof and look around. It is great to see the home being renovated and brought back to life. I may have a few pictures of the old house in our family album.

  54. john c (43 comments) - 12/18/2013 at 6:24 pm //

    The New York Times mentioned Fort Gibson as the temporary place of interment of a prominent Kansas abolitionist, during the Civil War. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/doctor-teacher-soldier-spy/#more-151078

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