The Indian Territory in the Civil War Message Board

Rock Mary-Oklahoma's First Marker to California

ROCK MARY

Rock Mary, in Caddo County, Oklahoma, is a prominent NRHP landmark on the old California Road. It was named in 1849 for Mary Conway, the then 17-year-old niece of James Sevier Conway, the Governor of Arkansas. Mary was the eldest daughter of Dr. John R. Conway, a prominent physician and surveyor, who emigrated to California with his wife and 10 children, then traveling in Marcy's caravan.

At the base of Rock Mary, a 60-ft tall natural rock mound in the middle of a prairie which Marcy (1849), Whipple (1853), and Beale (1858) passed nearby (on its north side) on their way West, is one of two plaques. The lower plaque has the following inscription:

ROCK MARY
May 23, 1849
This odd and unusual land feature was named on that date by Lieuts. J.E. Simpson and M.P. Harrison when they visited this site, planted a flag on the crest and named the rock for 17year belle, Mary Conway, a well-known Arkansas emigrant (traveling in their caravan).

A second plaque, located at the crest of Rock Mary, has the following inscription:

THE AMERICAN FLAG
ROCK MARY
From this point on May 23, 1849 the flag of the United States was unfurled by Lts. J.E. Simpson and M.P. Harrison who gave this rock its name. By this act they established this as a famous landmark relied on by countless thousands of western emigrants.

Rock Mary is located on private property 4 miles WSW of Hinton, Oklahoma at GPS: 35.460163, -98.425749

References and URLs:

Robert H. Dott, "Lieutenant Simpson's California Road Across Oklahoma," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 38 (Summer 1960).
"Rock Mary Report," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 38 (Summer 1960).
Whipple Collection, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Mary
https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=RO012

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