McCurtain is a small town in southeast Oklahoma that has an interesting history. Throughout the years, several historic events have taken place near the town that have significantly impacted the region. Here are seven notable historical events that have occurred in or around McCurtain, OK.
1. Trail of Tears - The Trail of Tears was a forced relocation of Native American tribes from their ancestral lands in the southeastern United States to Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma. In 1838, a large group of Cherokee Indians passed through what is now McCurtain on their way to Indian Territory. They were forced to make the long and arduous journey on foot, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives.
2. Civil War Battle of Honey Springs - The Battle of Honey Springs was fought on July 17, 1863, near Honey Springs, just a few miles north of McCurtain. This was the largest Civil War battle fought in Oklahoma and was a Union victory, resulting in the capture of a significant amount of Confederate supplies and equipment.
3. The Choctaw Nation - The Choctaw Nation was one of the five tribes that were relocated to Indian Territory during the Trail of Tears. The Choctaw Nation was established in 1830 and became one of the largest Native American tribes in the United States. McCurtain was originally a part of the Choctaw Nation and remains an important cultural center for the tribe today.
4. The Choctaw Manual Labor Academy - The Choctaw Manual Labor Academy was a school established by the Choctaw Nation in 1844. The school was established to provide education for children in the Choctaw Nation and was located near what is now McCurtain. Today, the academy is recognized as one of the first Native American schools in Oklahoma.
5. The McCurtain County Courthouse Riot - In 1935, a riot broke out at the McCurtain County Courthouse in Idabel. The riot was sparked by the arrest of a white man for the murder of a Choctaw Indian. Shots were fired, and several people were injured, including a sheriff's deputy. Three men were convicted of inciting the riot and were sentenced to prison.
6. The McGee Creek Dam - The McGee Creek Dam was constructed in the 1930s by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The dam was built to provide irrigation water for farmers in the region and to help control flooding. McGee Creek Reservoir is now a popular recreational area and is located just a few miles east of McCurtain.
7. The McCurtain County Seat War - The McCurtain County Seat War was a conflict that took place in southeastern Oklahoma from 1907 to 1910. The county seat was originally located in Eagletown, but a group of citizens wanted it moved to Idabel, where the railroad ran through. The conflict resulted in several incidents of violence, and the matter was eventually resolved in favor of Idabel.
In conclusion, McCurtain, OK, and the surrounding area have seen their fair share of significant historical events. From the Trail of Tears to the McGee Creek Dam, the region has played an important role in the history of Oklahoma and the United States. Today, the town of McCurtain serves as a reminder of the past and is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of its people.
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