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Search for Concharty
A Lost Creek Indian Town Site
Saturday, Sept. 18, 2004
Saturday morning I started out to try and satisfy a curiosity I've had about a certain area southeast of Tulsa that remains a puzzle to me yet. I rolled out around 7:00am and called a rock-hounding buddy (Floyd Speck) to see if he wanted to go do some exploring in an area that showed some intriguing features in ten year old aerial photos, in the general vicinity of what an 1895 map of Creek Indian Territory indicated to be the location of a Creek Indian town dating back to it's origin sometime around 1830-1835.
I've been researching the area for some time, and have previously explored nearby Concharty mountain, where I discovered an Adena projectile point. My curiosity was now focused on trying to find the original town site of Concharty. There are conflicting references as to it's location, so I decided to start with the earliest know reference location on the bank of Cane Creek in present day Okmulgee County, near the Wagoner County line, south of the Arkansas river.
What started out as a whimsical notion to go find a ghost town, or some remnant of what used to be, turned out to be a rockhounding discovery that leaves unanswered questions about the geology of the area we found ourselves in.
Following is a brief historical overview that led us to this particular geographical location.
Bear with me, we'll get to the rockhounding part in just a moment...
Prior to statehood this geographic area, known as Concharty, was a part of the Creek Nation Recording District No.7, in Indian Territory. On Nov.29, 1909, the township sections (one mile by one mile square) located in Range 14, East & Township 17, North formerly a part of Wagoner Co., were transferred to Tulsa Co. This includes the area lying south of East 121st Street South, in Southeastern Tulsa Co.
Today this area comprises the Southern City of Broken Arrow & the town of Leonard, formerly a part of Wagoner Co. The County boundary between Wagoner & Tulsa Co., was relined in 1909, to place the perspective east-west county line along a straight line where Range 14, East & 15, East meet. This boundary coincides with south 193rd East Ave. known locally as county line road.
Concharty was an early trading post located at the confluence of the Concharty Creek into the Arkansas River. This site is north of Haskell, in Muskogee Co., but adjoining the Stone Bluff Township in Wagoner Co. The settlement was named for Concharty Micco, a Creek delegate to the Dawes Commission. A Post Office was established there Nov.6, 1894 and discontinued on Sept.9, 1897. Joshua H. Cudjo was appointed the Postmaster. Today the settlement of Concharty does not exist; however the name Concharty is used to designate a Creek and a Cemetery site located in Stone Bluff Township Wagoner Co. OK.
An 1891 Perryman Map of The Creek Nation shows Concharty as Town 5, on Cane Creek near present day Leonard. The Speck & Debo Map locate Concharty south of Haskell, where Concharty Creek flows into the Arkansas River.
Note the reference to Concharty being shown South of present day Haskell is in error, the confluence of Concharty Creek and the Arkansas River is North of Haskell...
1895 Map of Creek Nation shows Concharty on Cane Creek. This is where our search began for signs of the original village.
(You may need to cut and paste the above link to view the map reference)
5) Conchartey town unit
no. 5 is shown on Perryman's 1891 map as being on Cane Creek near the
present-day location of the town of Leonard. Speck and Debo locate Concharty as
Ok, on to the rockhounding part...
Needless to say, we could not discern from the lay of the land what the unusual features were that appeared in the aerial photos, however we were still intrigued by certain features in the area. No signs were found that a community ever existed on the section we explored, what's more, we didn't find signs of any dwellings in the nearly two square mile area. We decided to follow a shallow ravine toward Concharty Creek, approximately another one-half mile west. We examined the terrain closely, as well as noting any unusual features that may have had any historical value. To our disappointment, we did not find much to indicate prior habitation. Within a few hundred yards of the creek, we came upon an old barn and corral that may have dated to the 1940's or 50's, perched at the top of a steep grade. Following the cow trail downhill, we found ourselves below a small bluff that we decided needed to be explored.
We took a few minutes to explore this area, noting the local wildlife as well. The following picture shows a very active wasp colony, as well as a very large wolf spider lying in wait. Note the sentry wasp to the left with wings spread, he watched every move I made, turning to keep me in his watchful gaze every time I moved. I was very cautious not to do anything to alarm him. You'll note in the some of the other pictures the many spider lairs beneath the ledges. These wolf spiders are quite prolific in the area, and somewhat intimidating when you get up close and personal with one. However, we didn't have any problem with them at all, they minded their business, we minded ours, and didn't disturb any lairs. Floyd did accidentally step on one, and we both looked around apprehensively to see if we were going to be overrun... they seemed to be watching our every move.
We continued to follow the bluff line to Concharty Creek and found it continued for some distance, intersecting the creek, and becoming the defining factor of the creek bed. The area above is usually wet, having many beaver cuttings, indeed, there must be some very industrious beaver in the area, we noted the base of a cottonwood tree that measures nearly three feet in diameter, had been ringed by beaver cutting on it. I wonder if they can yell "TIMBER!" if they ever manage to cut through it. You can just see the base of the tree in the lower right of the above picture, and the lighter area at the base of it where they have been doing what beaver do.
We searched the creek bed for any artifactual evidence before turning our attention to the bluff and the geology it comprises. After a few minutes of searching, we could see fossil impressions and casts imbedded in some of the layers. They appear to be remnants of scale trees, stigmaria, lepidodendron, and calamites. these were approximately halfway up in the strata, and in close proximity to an unusual layer comprised of iron bearing concretions, red sediment layers, and carbon film (including thin coal seams to one-quarter inch thick).
After some investigation, we noted that all of the stratified layers were horizontal in nature, and of varying thickness, giving the initial indication that the area was primarily a swampy, muddy type terrain during the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian eras. It appeared to be situated on a bed of gray shale (typically this would indicate the Woodford shale group of northeastern Oklahoma), overlain by various siltstones, mudstone, and sandstone, interspersed with thin carbon layers, and redbed layers at a couple of intervals, indicating periods of dry conditions as well as periodic flooding. Not being a geologist, or having studied at length the intricate science of geology, my observations are purely speculative based on what I have read. I won't pretend to know why certain stratigraphic layers differ so greatly from the norm in such areas as this, but it does arouse my instinctive curiosity. I invite debate as to what catastrophic events occurred to so drastically change the composition of the sedimentary layers here. Especially in regards to the various iron bearing layers containing nodules, some obviously foreign objects, such as a single quartz nodule, or a single occurrence of calcite growth. These particular "redbeds" seem to be comprised of decayed and mineralized plant matter subjected to extreme pressures, layer upon layer of it compressed into a thin single layer of carbonized and mineralized fossil record comprised primarily of the remnants of Scale Trees. Also found among the strata at this level are what appear to be seeds, or "bean" type nodules.
The pictures above don't do justice to these particular specimens. The scale tree bark impression came from a different layer in the strata, some three feet above the redbed, and shows a branch ring in the center.
Further down in the strata, some three feet below the primary redbed, was a second redbed layer that was less defined, and didn't have the same carbonized plant material. Some two feet lower, we discovered several layers in the shale and mudstone strata that contained ferns, club leaved plants, and other "forest floor" type specimens. Below is the best example of fern that I recovered.
Below are a few more pictures of the area.
I haven't found very many places in this area that arouse my curiosity such as this one has. Wondering what climatic changes must have occurred over a few million years, the repeating nature of some, the evolution of the plant life that existed at various times during the record, and the seeming lack of evidence of insect, reptile, or mammalian life in this record. Unlike most areas such as this, where there is evidence of burrowing and other signs of higher life forms than just plants, I found no such evidence here. There is no indication that the area was subjected to coverage by anything other than fresh water during the period of stratification that is exposed here. I will definitely have to give the area further attention in the future.
©2004 Virgil G. Richards
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VIRGIL G. RICHARDS