Author Archives: Jack Smith

In this recent photo from Kyle Burch it shows both abutments the one on the southeast side and the other on the northwest side of Red Bank Creek. The one on the northwest bank has been nearly covered with soil and vines. Strangely enough this abutment is undisturbed while the one on the side of Red Bank Creek has been mostly destroyed. This has become a somewhat of a mystery as to what happened to the bridge that was built there in 1859. One thing for sure it was not destroyed during the Civil War, 1861-1865 , of the one undisturbed abutment. It appears that it was dismantled very carefully and removed from the site at some point in time.

The above photo shows a notch in the rocks of the northwest abutment where the main beam of the bottom of the bridge was inserted. Note that it has been undisturbed since it was first constructed in 1859.
The third photo shows the damage that was done to the southeast abutment at the time the bridge was removed. The last photo shows Kyle Burch standing one of the blocks that was shoved in the creek to give scale to the height of the abutment on the southeast side of Red Bank Creek.
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Beale Iron Bridges in Oklahoma 1859

This view is looking south up the creek. The metal pieces can be seen at the bottom center of the photo along the west bank of the Creek.
To the right center on the west bank there are, what looks like pieces of old metal piled up. This looks like bridge parts and may be the remains of the old Beale Iron Bridge at Red Bank Creek . Some pieces are bent some are curved one piece is shaped like the bow part of the bridge. To the left center of the photo there appears to be an abutment on the west bank of the creek. There is a pole sticking out of the water in front of the abutment which would have been used to run a cable from one side of the creek to the other. Also not pictured here, but will be posted soon is the evidence of a large construction camp that housed workers and others serving as storage sites. This site is located on the southeast bank of the river. Comments are welcome concerning this find. Jack Beale Smith
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Beale Iron Bridges in Oklahoma 1859-60

Sorry for the fact that I did not mention that Kyle Burch took the photos of the Bridge sign and of the abutments at Red Bank Creek.

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Beale Iron Bridges in Oklahoma 1859

In response to Kyle Burch of Spiro Oklahoma on my Beale Wagon Road Facebook site of January,27, 2020 where he mentioned finding a sign plate that read Beale, J. W. Murphy’s Pt. 59 Whipple Bridge. This absolutely the best evidence found to verify that six iron bridges were built in Indian Territory, Oklahoma during the years 1859-60. You could call this the holy grail of Historic Archaeology. Bridge signs identify the builder of the bridge, and the biggest surprise to me Jack Beale Smith is the fact that Lt. Beale’s name is on the sign. This tells the reader or viewer that Lt. Edward F. Beale was responsible for the building of the iron bridges that were built on the Beale Wagon Road that went from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Los Angeles, California. It was the first federally funded interstate east-west highway built in the American Southwest. Photo by Kyle Burch Also the Red Bank Creek Abutment photo was taken by Mr. Burch.
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Beale Bridges in Oklahoma 1859

Six iron bridges were built in Indian Territory during the years 1859-60. Cut stone abutments were constructed on each side of the stream beds for the bridge frames to be placed on. The bridge types were the Square Whipple bowstring bridge. The design for this bridge was acquired by J. W. Murphey, civil engineer for the Pencoyd Iron Works in Pencoyd, Pa. The owners were two brothers A.&P. Roberts. Most of the bridges were destroyed during the Civil War by Confederate Troops, to slow down the movement of Union Troops. A diligent search for the remains of these abutments by myself and others. A few years ago we located the Beale Abutments for the Little River Bridge located south of Holdenville. The photos below shows what the abutments look like.

A 1909 bridge sitting on 1859 Beale abutments on an old channel of Little River
In recent moths discovery of one of the Beale abutments was discovered on Red Bank Creek located five miles west of Spiro, Oklahoma by Kyle Kurth of that community. Part of the abutment has fallen in the creek as a result of a tree growing in the middle of the abutments. Also part of the abutment is covered by roots and brush on the creek bank. Note how the cut stone matches the Little River Beale abutments of 1859. The bridge over Red Bank Creek was the first completed of the six bridges.
Above is what the Whipple Bowstring iron bridge looked like that were placed in Oklahoma in 1859. More posts to come.
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Canyon Diablo Train Robbery

Here is another article written on the Canyon Diablo Train Robbery. This one was written by Maurice Kildare whos real name is Gladwell Richardson. During the 1920s and 1930s he gathered information from several individuals who had first hand knowledge concerning the train robbery. The article was published in the True West Magazine.

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Canyon Diablo Train Robbery

Here is another article written on the Canyon Diablo Train Robbery by A. J. Patane

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Pithouse Village Sanders, Az.

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Pictured above are two types of baskets that were produced during the basketmaker time period: 2500 B.C to 500 A.D. Baskets shown above were probably discovered at the site at Emigrant Springs south of Sanders, Az. This site appears to have been excavated by a pot hunter and not a professional Archaeologist. So it most likely is a great loss to the history of this region. Researching the work of many archaeologist who have studied the area around Northeast Arizona I have not uncovered any work done at this site.

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Canyon Diablo train Robbery

Canyon Diablo Train Station where the station operator saw the robbery unfold.
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Beale Wagon Road

The two paintings above were done by Natasha Graf, which she painted on her grandma’s suitcase to make it easy to identify while traveling. Natasha is a student at University of Central Oklahoma. Her field is elementary education. I will be using these drawings as logos for the Beale Wagon Road Publishing Co. books.

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