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Camp-Fort Supply

Oklahoma, Woodward Co.


The photo shows Camp Supply more than a year after its establishment.

If you look at Camp Supply's history, it falls into four divisions -- Camp Supply, Fort Supply, abandonment, and the hospital. Because of encounters with the Plains Indians increasing in frequency and violence in 1868, there was a need for a supply depot to assist Major General Phillip H. Sheridan, commander of the Department of the Missouri, in his winter campaign along the Washita and further south.

General Alfred Sully led an impressive contingent of 110 men and 450 wagons across the prairie from Fort Hayes through Fort Dodge and continued south to establish Camp Supply, November 18, 1868. Colonel George Armstrong Custer accompanied Sully , but he left a few days later with eleven troops of the Seventh Cavalry for the Battle of the Washita.

General Sheridan arrived at Camp Supply three days after it was established and approved the site. It was located at the confluence of the Beaver River and Wolf Creek. It provided an abundance of game, enough cedar and cottonwood trees for building, adequate water, and it was situated about 100 miles from Fort Dodge to the north and Forts Reno and Cobb to the south.

Camp Supply was planned to be only a temporary installation, but the camp itself increased its importance until it was officially named Fort Supply in December, 1878. By that time the original picket buildings of sod roof and sand floors had been replaced by frame buildings.

At one time there were 92 buildings at the Fort with quarters for officers and men, bathhouses, a guardhouse, storehouses, shops, library, opera house, schoolhouse, hospital, firehouse and "powder monkey's" house. Steam was used for power for the water system and for sawing, and there was adequate sewerage disposal.

On November 11, 1894 the War Department turned Fort Supply over to the Department of Inerior, because land in Oklahoma Territory was opened for settlement and the importance of Fort Supply decreased.

There was no activity at Fort Supply for five years and many suggestions were made for its use, including a veterinary college, a normal school, a soldiers home, and an extension of Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. The government relinquished the buildings and land to Oklahoma Territory in 1899 to be used as an insane assylum. Patients were brought by train to Tangier and local residents with buggies and wagons transported them to the new institution now serving as Western State Hospital.

Nearby is the Fort Supply Reservoir on Wolf Creek. Under the U.S. Army Corps of engineers work on the dam was started in October 1938. The project was approved for full flood control in May 1942 and affords a recreational spot for the area.

There was an item in the July 9, 1897 issue of a Woodward paper that reads, "Old Camp Supply is becoming noted as a summer resort. Families from a distance come there to spend the heated term. It is a beautiful spot with pure water, plenty of shade and ample accomodations for bathing, fishing, and hunting."

  • Old Fort Supply - Chapter III - A Permanent Post - submitted by Wm Hankins Hughes, to Oklahoma A &M College in 1941 for a Master of Arts degree in History.
  • Old Fort Supply - Chaprter IV - The Later Years - submitted by Wm Hankins Hughes, to Oklahoma A &M College in 1941 for a Master of Arts degree in History.
  • Old Fort Supply - Chapter V - Life At A Frontier Fort - submitted by Wm Hankins Hughes, to Oklahoma A &M College in 1941 for a Master of Arts degree in History.

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