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Rogers County

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Rogers County, Oklahoma

The Will Rogers State Park Site, 34RO10

Fragments and metal points from the point manufacturing workshop at 34RO10
(photo courtesy Oklahoma Anthropological Society).

Archaeological investigations at 34RO10 were conducted in 1970 as wave action along the Oologah Lake shoreline exposed the remains of an historic Osage village dating to the first half of the 19th century. A part of the Osage moved into this area around 1802 when the Chouteau family lost its monopoly on the fur trade farther east, and Jean Pierre Chouteau persuaded about half the tribe to settle along the Verdigris and Neosho rivers in the west to pursue the fur trade there.

The materials recovered from the Will Rogers State Park site lead archeologists to conclude that this site, on the west bank of the Verdigris, was occupied many thousands of years. The investigation in 1970 concentrated on the historic occupation, and it was determined that the location was a small satellite village of the larger Osage village established by Clermont, a chief of the Osage, located near Claremore Mound, about five miles south and on the east bank of the Verdigris. Much of the site had been washed away before salvage work began. Many of the recovered artifacts relate to the Osage trading partnership with the French, including pieces of brass and copper kettles which had been re-worked into metal arrowpoints, gun flints, glass beads, mirror glass, scissors and gun parts. Four sandstone abraders were recovered which may have been used for sharpening metal knives or metal points. About 85 pieces of flattened metal found in a small 225 square foot area are believed to relate to a point manufacturing workshop where brass kettles and other French trade goods were re-worked into arrowpoints. The site is believed to have been occupied from around 1802 until nearly 1840.

Conflicts between the Osage and the Western Cherokee, who lived between the White and Arkansas rivers, escalated during the early 1800s, and these conflicts culminated in a Cherokee raid on Clermont's village at Claremore Mound. Although historical accounts of the battle are sketchy, a two or three day battle during the spring of 1817 or 1818 led to great loss of life among the Osage. Several smaller skirmishes followed, but eventually the lands of both the Osage and the Cherokee were further reduced by treaties with the US government.

Trade goods (gun barrels, axes, scissors, and knife blades) from 34RO10 (photo courtesy Oklahoma Anthropological Society).
 

References:
Bulletin of the Oklahoma Anthropological Society, "The Will Rogers State Park: 34-RO-10" by Gregory Perino with a contribution by Mary Elizabeth Goode, Vol.XX, 1971.
The Chronicles of Oklahoma which can be searched online here.

Number of Prehistoric Sites in Rogers 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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