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The Fort Cobb Trail – A Road Between Two Worlds

As Major Emory and his troops prepared to open the new frontier outpost of Fort Cobb, they had to forge a way to move troops and supplies to and from Arbuckle to Cobb through a prairie wilderness marked then only by trails worn by wildlife and native peoples. In 1859, troops under Emory’s command, likely those serving in the First US Cavalry (formerly the First US Dragoons) and the First US Infantry,[1] blazed a 100-mile trail between Fort Arbuckle and the planned site of Fort Cobb. This military road became known as the Fort Cobb Trail.

Figure 1 (rotated for fullest view) is an enlargement of an 1860 map drawn by JE Weyss showing the earliest known depiction of the trail between the two military outposts.[2] This map was produced only a few months before the start of the Civil War and the year after Fort Cobb was officially established on October 1, 1859. The locations of Fort Arbuckle and Fort Cobb are noted on the map. The marked line south of the Washita River between these two areas is the route of the Fort Cobb Trail, which passed through areas later known as Garvin, Grady and Caddo counties in central Oklahoma. On October 3, 1859, almost a half-century before Oklahoma statehood, Major Emory reported to the US War Department that the road from Arbuckle to Cobb was “excellent in the dry seasons.”[3]

In the area, only the two trails blazed by Randolph Marcy through central and southwestern Indian Territory in 1849 and 1852 were older than the Fort Cobb Trail. Despite this, the road to Cobb has been mostly forgotten by history even though its general route is still in use today. From replicas rolex deepsea its inception, three-quarters of the trail’s 100-mile route ran through the Chickasaw Nation with only around 25 miles of road continuing northwest past the 98th meridian to Fort Cobb.

[1] Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1937), p. 28, EBSCOhost eBook Collection, accessed 12 March 2016.

[2] J. E. Weyss, “Map of the United States and Texas boundary line and adjacent territory determined & surveyed in 1857-8-9-60,” from a survey done by the US Geological Survey, published as Serial Set 4369 57th Congress, 1st session House valentino aaa quality sunglasses 783362 Document 635, 1860, p. 10, accessed 12 March 2016,, crediting McCasland Map Collection, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK. Used with permission.

[3] Brad Andrews, “Military Roads in Indian Territory,” Red River Valley Historical Review, Vol 1, No. 3 (Summer 1981), p. 44.