The Indian Territory in the Civil War Message Board

A Tribute to John Russell Young

John Russell Young=The Wanderer

Oklahoma is indebted to the youthful John Russell Young, writing in 1859 as the “Wanderer,” a special newspaper correspondent for Philadelphia’s “The Press,” for most of our knowledge about the six iron bridges built in Indian Territory during the Fall and Winter of 1859 for the Beale Wagon Road. Read about John Russell Young at:

https://www.loc.gov/item/n83202815/john-russell-young-1840-1899/

“Wanderer” traveled from Fort Smith, Arkansas west along the Beale Wagon Road, then under construction, nearly 200 miles across the northern Choctaw Nation, southern Creek Nation and into the Seminole Nation (about to Konawa, OK) before returning back east to Fort Smith. Going west, he visited all of the iron bridge sites under construction, and he visited at least two of them on his southern ride back to Fort Smith. He crossed the (South) Canadian at North Fork Town (Eufaula, OK) going west, and crossed it again at the mouth of Little River (just north of Allen, OK) on his return. In only two of his eleven letters published in The Press did the Wanderer (John Russell Young) write about the iron bridges:

October 5, 1859 Sam’s Hill Shawnee Village, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (near Allen, OK)

1. Six bridges are being constructed upon the eastern end of Lt. Edward F. Beale’s far-famed route to the Pacific Ocean. The bridges are of Iron. They were manufactured in Philadelphia upon Murphy’s improved Whipple Plan by the A. & P. Roberts & Co. of Philadelphia.

2. The iron bridges were fabricated by the Pencoyd Iron Works and are being constructed under the supervision of Henry B. Edwards, Lt. E. F. Beale’s brother-in-law. The bridges are being put up by J. R. Nevins, assisted by Messrs. Van Anden and Everett, also of Philadelphia.

3. The six bridges are located westward from Fort Smith at:
a. Poteau River near Fort Smith (first five bridges are in the Choctaw Nation),
b. Redbank Creek, near Skullyville,
c. Little Sans Bois,
d. Big Sans Bois,
e. Emachaya Creek, and
f. Little River, near its mouth with the Canadian in the Creek Nation.

4. The design features and construction of Little River’s Whipple iron bridge with masonry stone abutments are given in graphic detail with a literary flair, as the Wanderer visited the site twice.

October 15, 1859 Gum Springs, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (near Pocola, OK)

The Wanderer provides a few updates to the overall progress on and proposed new work for the Beale Wagon Road in Eastern Indian Territory. In addition, he describes the progress Henry B. Edwards and his men are making on building the stone piers for the delayed Poteau River bridge, the largest and most complex one being built for the Beale Wagon Road. He writes: “It will be completed ere long.” (The two-span iron bridge across the Poteau was completed early in 1860.) The Wanderer notes:

1. The Choctaws have commenced to improve the wagon road over Winchester Mountain.

2. A project is a-foot to turnpike the road from the Poteau River bridge through the fearful boggy bottom of the Poteau and Arkansas to the village of Skullyville. (Choctaws pass an authorization act and start building the turnpike in late 1860.)

3. Thus, there will be a good wagon road, or a road from any kind of travel, from the East to California. (And it was completed by the time Abraham Lincoln was elected President.)

Summary

The Wanderer’s eleven letters may be found in two parts: Trip from Philadelphia to Fort Smith and Observation Circuit, at:
http://www.history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/itcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=7904
http://www.history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/itcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=7898

Location and Design Details on the Six Whipple Bowstring Arch Bridges for Beale Wagon Road are given at:
http://www.history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/itcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=7952

Legacy References on the Beale Wagon Road are given at:
http://www.history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/itcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=7883
https://bealewagonroad.com/

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"
Stephen, Looking Back
Re: Stephen, Looking Back
Whipple's Iron Bridges?
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
Beale Wagon Road’s Six Iron Bridges in IT
Re: Beale Wagon Road’s Six Iron Bridges in IT
More on Location of Poteau River Bridge
More on Site of Poteau River Iron Bridge
BWR Route Thru Winchester Mt.
Support for BWR Route Thru Winchester Mt.
Re: BWR Route Thru Winchester Mt.
Re: BWR Route Thru Winchester Mt.
Re: BWR Route Thru Winchester Mt.
What a night on Winchester Mt.
Fort Smith-Ft. Laramie-Ft. Worth Bowstring Bridges
Re: Fort Smith-Ft. Laramie-Ft. Worth Bowstring Bri
Historic Ft. Laramie Bridge Picture
Fort Scott Bowstring Arch Bridge
Six Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridges in IT
The Beale - Edwards Connection
The Wanderer's Letters on the Beale Bridges
Re: The Wanderer's Letters on the Beale Bridges
Re: The Wanderer's Letters on the Beale Bridges
Wanderer's Eighth Letter Found
Re: Wanderer's Eighth Letter Found
Beale Wagon Road??
Wanderer's Nov. 3 Letter on the Beale Bridges
Re: Wanderer's Nov. 3 Letter on the Beale Bridges
Wanderer's Nov. 16 Letter on the Poteau Bridge
Who was the Wanderer?
More info on the Wanderer
Re: More info on the Wanderer
John Russell Young's biography
Re: John Russell Young's biography
Re: John Russell Young's biography
"Mr. President, Is That All?"
Wanderer's "North Fork Town" Letter
Re: The Wanderer's Letters on the Beale Bridges
Who was the Wanderer? Grant's Biographer??
Re: Who was the Wanderer? Grant's Biographer??
More on Wanderer=Young
Re: More on Wanderer=Young
Re: More on Wanderer=Young
Philadelphia Connection to Beale's Iron Bridges
Edwards Goes To Washington
Signs for BWR in Pottawatomie County
Update for Six Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridges in IT
Info on Iron Bridge Across Sans Bois Creek
Greig & Graham--The Arkansas Stone Masons
Beale Wagon Road in Indian Territory
Kerlin's Well Serving Beale Wagon Road
Primary References for Beale Wagon Road
Historical Sites for Western Beale Wagon Road
Updates on Western Beale Wagon Road
Update for Historical Sites for Western BWR
Re: Update for Historical Sites for Western BWR
Re: Update for Historical Sites for Western BWR
Re: Update for Historical Sites for Western BWR
Location of Hardyville on Rumsey Map
Trouble Crossing the Colorado
Re: Trouble Crossing the Colorado
Re: Trouble Crossing the Colorado
Re: Trouble Crossing the Colorado
U.S. Cavalry - Regular Army
Re: U.S. Cavalry - Regular Army
Re: Update for Historical Sites for Western BWR
Correction for Overview
Websites for Wanderer's Eight Letters
Wanderer's Western Trip to Fort Smith
URL's to Wanderer's A,B,C Letters
Re: Five Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridges in IT
Re: Five Beale Wagon Road Iron Bridges in IT
BEALE BRIDGE SITE FOUND
Re: BEALE BRIDGE SITE FOUND
Kyle Burch's Pictures at Redbank Creek
Jack Beale Smith's Example Picture
Re: Jack Beale Smith's Example Picture
The Holy Grail Discovery for Beale Wagon Road
A Tribute to John Russell Young