In 1824 Col. Matthew Arbuckle, commander of the Seventh Infantry, moved elements of his regiment from Fort Smith and established a military post on the east side of the Grand River, about a mile north of its confluence with the Arkansas River. The first U.S. military post in what would become the state of Oklahoma!
Located farther west than any other existing U.S. post, it was built to protect the nation's southwestern border and to maintain peace on the frontier, particularly between the feuding Cherokee and Osage!
After passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the facility, redesignated "Fort" Gibson in 1832, became increasingly involved in the removal of eastern tribes to Indian Territory. When immigrant Indians from the East complained about hostility from Plains Indian tribes and the Osages, federal officials created a commission chaired by Montfort Stokes, a former governor of North Carolina, to address the problems!
The Stokes Commission convened at Fort Gibson, and troops at the post were ordered to support the commission's work!
During the Civil War the Union briefly reoccupied the post in summer 1862 because of the invasion of Indian Territory, but the site was abandoned when Union forces withdrew to Kansas! In April 1863 Col. William A. Phillips, commander of the Union Indian Brigade, reoccupied the post, and it remained in Federal hands until the end of the war!
Fort Gibson remained a military post after the war, but in 1871 most troops were transferred, leaving only a detachment responsible for provisions in a quartermaster depot. Troops returned the next year, and the size of the garrison fluctuated in response to threats from outlaws, white encroachment, intratribal disputes, and other problems in the region! In summer 1890 the government again abandoned the facility, but troops would occasionally camp at the site when unrest required their presence in the expanse! 🏕