Cave Springs, located in the Ozark Mountains of northeastern Oklahoma, is an area rich in history. From Native American settlements to Civil War battles, here are seven historical events that have taken place near Cave Springs.
1. Osage Nation Settlements: Prior to the arrival of European settlers, the Osage Nation inhabited much of what is now Oklahoma, including the Cave Springs area. The Osage built permanent settlements and traded with other tribes throughout the region.
2. Trail of Tears: In 1838, the U.S. government forced thousands of Cherokee Indians to leave their homes in Georgia and travel to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) on foot. One of the routes of the Trail of Tears passed near Cave Springs, and many Cherokee died from disease, exposure, and hunger along the way.
3. Civil War Skirmishes: During the Civil War, northeastern Oklahoma was the site of several battles and skirmishes between Union and Confederate forces. The Battle of Honey Springs, fought in nearby Muskogee County in 1863, was a significant Union victory and helped secure federal control of Indian Territory.
4. Cherokee Nation Capital: In the years after the Civil War, the Cherokee Nation established its capital in nearby Tahlequah. The Cherokee National Female Seminary, one of the earliest institutions of higher education for women west of the Mississippi River, was also located in Tahlequah.
5. Tornado Outbreak: The tornado outbreak of April 24, 1920, caused widespread damage and destruction throughout northeast Oklahoma, including in the Cave Springs area. More than 120 tornadoes were reported across the region, killing more than 200 people and injuring hundreds more.
6. Lake Tenkiller: In the 1940s, the Illinois River was dammed to create Lake Tenkiller, a popular recreational destination that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The lake covers more than 12,000 acres and has more than 130 miles of shoreline.
7. Civil Rights Movement: In the 1960s, northeast Oklahoma was the site of several important civil rights struggles. In 1969, a group of African American students at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah staged a sit-in to protest the lack of diversity and discrimination on campus. The protest led to the creation of the NSU Black Student Association and other initiatives to promote inclusion and equity.
These seven historical events represent just a small part of the rich history of the Cave Springs area. From ancient Native American cultures to modern-day struggles for justice and equality, the region has played an important role in shaping the history and culture of Oklahoma and the United States as a whole.
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