The Indian Territory in the Civil War Message Board

Sans Bois Creek

The main span of the Beale Wagon Road iron bridge across San Bois Creek must have been at least 100 feet long, as Beale's log states that the creek's bed was 80 yards wide where he proposed to bridge it.

Today, the Sans Bois Creek bridge site is located 0.56 miles NW of Iron Bridge Cemetery, which lies on the north side of County Road 1225 in rural Haskell County. On the south side of the cemetery road is the Iron Bridge Free Will Baptist Church. The Beale Wagon Road passed (NW-SE) thru this historic hamlet, along with other minor trails.

To visit the hamlet of Iron Bridge, travel 1.5 miles west of Keota along OK 9 and turn south on OK 26, that goes to McCurtain. Travel 1.32 miles south on OK 26 to a small hill where CR 1225 connects and runs west. Two large roadside signs on the west side of the intersection will announce the presence of the nearby Iron Bridge cemetery and church. Looking closely as you turn west toward Iron Bridge immediately ahead, you will notice unexpected historical signage proclamations--that you are very near to the "Historical Location of the Beale Wagon Road 1858-1898" and the "Historical Location of Beale Iron Bridge over Sans Bois Creek" with an attached artistic Whipple Arch Bridge logo. A brief story about Iron Bridge is included in the Chronicles of Oklahoma reference on Beale Wagon Road. In addition, a story about the bridge's burning during the Civil War is also documented. The burning of the Sans Bois Bridge may have occurred on August 27, 1863 as Confederate General William L. Cabell retreated eastward toward Fort Smith in front of General James G. Blunt's Federal invasion. Fort Smith fell to Blunt's forces on September 1, 1863.

The Beale Wagon Road (a.k.a. Military Road from Fort Smith to Fort Reno) crossed OK 26 about 130 yards south of the Iron Bridge (CR 1225) intersection running from East to West around the small ridge (rocky outcropping) and then turning northwest into Iron Bridge. The federal road ran along the north side highlands of some undoubtedly important Choctaw's treasured undisturbed prairie farmland. Main roads varying off a logical course, while going to and around Indian Nations' working farm land, was a common practice in Indian Territory. Few rural roads went straight for very long. Roads often went only to a chief's (plantation) house and around all working fields. Trying to build a main road (even a rail road) along the shortest distance between external "big towns" was never approved, until after the Civil War in Indian Territory, and then only rarely and with grace.

Note that the Sans Bois Creek Bridge is located 14.3 miles due West of Redbank Creek Bridge along the Beale Wagon Road. The lost bridge site is now inundated in the backwaters of Robert S. Kerr Lake. The historic bridge site across meandering Sans Bois Creek lies east of the modern north-south channel built by the Corps of Engineers to promote boating and navigation.

Messages In This Thread

Five Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridges in IT
Redbank Creek
Sans Bois Creek
Re: Sans Bois Creek
Re: Five Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridges in IT
Re: Five Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridges in IT
Longtown Creek
Poteau River
Poteau River Beale Iron Bridge Location
Re: Poteau River Beale Iron Bridge Location
Re: Poteau River Beale Iron Bridge Location
Beale Bridge Location Not "E Street"
Re: Beale Bridge Location Not "E Street"
Re: Beale Bridge Location Not "E Street"
Beale Wagon Road's Carnall St. Bridge in Ft. Smith
Re: Poteau River Beale Iron Bridge Location
Re: Poteau River Beale Iron Bridge Location
Carnall Ave. Crossing of Poteau--It's a FERRY
Summary: Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridges in IT
Emachaya Creek was a Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridge
Otter Creek was Little Sans Bois