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Coal County

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Coal County, Oklahoma

Log Cabin Sites, 34CO131, 132

Log Cabin in Coal County, Oklahoma

Remains of ca. 1860-1889 log cabin in Coal County (photograph by TRC Environmental)

The locations and information about archaeological sites in Oklahoma are kept on file at the offices of the Oklahoma Archeological Survey at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Of the some 19,000 recorded sites in the state, many have been added to the inventory through the Section 106 review process which resulted from the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. This act ensures that projects which are federally-funded, take place on publicly-owned lands, or require a federal permit will be evaluated for their potential impact on the cultural resources of the nation. In Oklahoma, when such projects are undertaken, the planners consult the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Oklahoma Archeological Survey.

In 2004, when a natural gas pipeline was proposed through parts of Coal, Pittsburg and Atoka counties, the pipeline company engaged an archaeological consulting firm to consult with SHPO and the Survey to fulfill their responsibilities under Section 106. The state archaeologist advised that a pedestrian survey of the proposed pipeline route would be required to check for cultural resources that would be impacted by the pipeline's route. This survey revealed six historic sites which were recorded and information for them is now on file at the Archeological Survey. None of the six sites will be directly affected by the pipeline.

34CO131 and 34CO132 (the 131st and 132nd sites recorded for Coal County) are both decaying log cabin sites. There were two structures at 34CO131 and one structure at 34CO132. The single structure had sandstone slabs at the base of the walls, perhaps foundation stones. Based on construction techniques, both are believed to have been occupied for a short time in the 1800s.

The identities of the people who built and lived in these log cabins are lost; however, we can make some guesses based on the known history of Coal County in the 1800s. The Choctaws were removed from their homelands in Mississippi to the Indian Territories from 1831-1833. In 1831 alone, one-third of the Choctaws in the removal died from disease and starvation before they reached their new homes. A large part of modern-day Coal County was part of the Choctaw's territory in Oklahoma.

In the second half of the 19th century, coal mining came to southeastern Oklahoma. Most of the coal mining operations were run by the big railroad companies and labor for the mines came from miners from the northeastern coal mines. Later, the mining companies began bringing people directly from Europe to man the mines. These miners worked in extremely hazardous conditions for very little pay. Mines in southeastern Oklahoma had a reputation for being among the most dangerous in the nation.

Recording the locations of sites such as the log cabin sites from Coal County may allow archaeologists and historians of the future to more fully write the story of Oklahoma in the years leading up to statehood.

For more information on Coal County history, search the Chronicles of Oklahoma online.

Number of Prehistoric Sites in Coal County Identified to Time Period


Paleo = ?-8,000 BP / Archaic = 8,000-2,000 BP / Woodland = 2,000-1,000 BP / Village 1000-500 BP
BP (before present)


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