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Kay County

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427 reported archeological sites for Kay County to date

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The Deer Creek/Bryson Paddock Sites

Sometime in the mid-1700's Wichita villagers set up a cooperative agreement with French hunters from Louisiana at the Deer Creek site, northeast of Newkirk along the banks of the Arkansas River. Another Wichita site, now known as the Bryson-Paddock site, was occupied at the same time and is only 1 3/4 miles upstream. The French were interested in horses and hunting partners which the Wichita could supply. In exchange, the Wichita wanted European trade goods like guns and metal tools.


Flintlock gun parts from the Bryson-Paddock site.

Flintlock gun parts from the Bryson-Paddock site

Bands of Wichita Indians lived throughout southern Kansas and most of Oklahoma far back into prehistory. The first European contact with the Wichita came in the mid 1500's and early 1600's when the Spanish adventurers Coronado and Onate led expeditions from New Mexico up through Oklahoma to Kansas where they encountered the Wichita in a village known as Quivira. The Spanish recorded extensive villages of farming/hunting people who lived in circular, grass-thatch houses.

The French came much later in the early 1700's and they knew the Wichita as the Panipiquees (pricked Pawnee from the tattooing which was characteristic of the Wichita). Near mid-century, small groups of French voyageurs hunted and trapped all along the Arkansas River and apparently lived with and traded with the Wichita at the Deer Creek and Bryson-Paddock sites.

It is believed that the Deer Creek site consisted of a village of many houses and possibly a log stockade structure. This has not yet been tested in excavations but surface indications may show the outline of such a structure. A Spanish visitor to the site said that it was fortified with logs and earth. These fortified sites are well-known in Oklahoma and Texas (see the Duncan site in Washita County for another example). The fortification at Deer Creek may have been necessary to protect against enemies from the west (Apaches) and the east (Osage).

By 1758, the arrangement between the Wichita and French at Deer Creek/Bryson Paddock had ended. The Wichita migrated south to another fortified site along the Red River. Whether pressure from the Osage, a lack of trade goods from the French because of the French and Indian War, or other factors caused this migration is not yet known. Research on this period in Oklahoma history continues.

Visit the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes website.

For further reading, consult:
The Deer Creek Site, Oklahoma: A Wichita Village Sometimes Called Ferdinandina, An Ethnohistorian's View by Mildred Mott Wedel (Oklahoma Historical Society, Series in Anthropology, Number 5, 1981).
Archaeological Investigations at the Bryson-Paddock Site, An Early Contact Period Site on the Southern Plains by John D. Hartley and A.F. Miller (Oklahoma River Basin Survey, Archaeological Site Report No. 32, 1977).
"Ka-3, The Deer Creek Site - An Eighteenth Century French Contact Site in Kay County, Oklahoma" by Byron Sudbury (in Bulletin of the Oklahoma Anthropological Society, Volume XXIV, ed. Don G. Wyckoff, 1975).
Storms Brewed in Other Men's Worlds: The Confrontation of Indians, Spanish, and French in the Southwest, 1540-1795 by Elizabeth A. H. John (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1975).


Prehistoric Sites in Kay County Identified to Time Period

Chart of sites by 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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