Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August Cemetery post - part 2

After visiting the fort, we drove to the historic frontier burial ground that preserves the final resting places of men and women who played major roles in the development of the Western frontier.

One of the most famous gravestones belongs to the Cherokee wife of Sam Houston.

"General John Nicks, one of the most outstanding pioneers of Oklahoma was a soldier in two wars, a legislator, United States Prosecuting Attorney, and man of affairs while his wife Sarah was the first woman to hold an appointment from the United States government in the state of Oklahoma." 

"Daniel Dwight Hitchcock, M.D., son of Jacob and Nancy (Brown) Hitchcock, was born at Dwight Mission, Cherokee Nation, in 1823. Taught school at Park Hill mission station, and at Sweet Town, Cherokee Nation; studied medicine at New Haven, and at Bowdoin College [Brunswick, Maine]; M.D., Bowdoin, 1851; practiced among the Cherokee Nation, until the rebellion; was made prisoner by the rebels, but on the approach of the Union army, was left by them; served as Surgeon of the 1st Indian Regt. until end of war; returned to his old home among the Cherokees. Died from cholera, at Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation."

"One of the most interesting stories associated with Fort Gibson National Cemetery is the tale of Vivia Thomas. Legend has it this high-spirited daughter of a wealthy Boston family met and fell in love with a handsome young lieutenant at a ball following the Civil War. After several months of courtship, they announced their engagement, but shortly before the wedding he left, leaving only a note that he desired to go West in search of adventure. Broken-hearted and bitter over the abandonment, Thomas went in search of her lover. After learning that he was stationed at Fort Gibson, she set off on a journey of revenge. She cut her hair, dressed in men’s clothing and joined the Army. The disguise worked, as the former fiancĂ© did not recognize her. One night as he was returning from a visit with his Native American girlfriend, she ambushed and killed him. Despite an intense investigation, the murder went undiscovered. However, Thomas grew remorseful and began to visit his grave late at night. Eventually she contracted pneumonia from the continued exposure to the cold and collapsed near his grave, dying a few days later. Rather than condemning her actions, her army colleagues were so impressed with her courage in coming alone to the frontier and carrying out a successful disguise that they awarded her a place of honor for burial in the officer’s circle." 

Another grave is one of Billy Bow Legs.

A sutler is a civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp or in quarters. 

Disease was a major problem at the frontier fort and claimed many lives, including those of children.

 There are nearly 2000 unknown graves.

Such an interesting cemetery.  It remains active and contains the graves of more than 19,000 people, most of whom have served in the US military.

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