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Skullyville, Oklahoma
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Coordinates: 35°15′15″N 94°35′35″W / 35.25417°N 94.59306°W / 35.25417; -94.59306Coordinates: 35°15′15″N 94°35′35″W / 35.25417°N 94.59306°W / 35.25417; -94.59306
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Le Flore
Established 1832
Disestablished 1917
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)

Skullyville (also spelled Scullyville) is an unincorporated rural community in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is approximately one mile east of Spiro and 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was capital of the Choctaw Nation, capital of the Moshulatubbee District of the Choctaw Nation, and in the late 1850s a stop for the Butterfield Stage. It developed as a political and business center of the nation before the Civil War. Skullyville was the site of the Choctaw Agency from 1832 until 1839.

During the Civil War, after the Choctaw allied with the Confederacy, the town suffered serious damage in warfare. Afterward, the town was bypassed by construction of a new railroad in the area, and it was abandoned by businessmen who moved to the nearest railroad station. In 1917, closure of the post office marked the final decline of the community. It is now considered a ghost town, and little more than the cemetery remains.

The name is derived from iskulli or iskuli, the Choctaw word for money, because originally this was the place where members collected their annuity payments at the Choctaw Agency.

History

The Choctaw Indian agency was built on this site in 1832, and a community developed around it. Until 1859, the community was officially called Choctaw Agency. Major F. W. Armstrong served as the first agent until he died in 1835. He was succeeded by his brother, William Armstrong. Reportedly, both were very well liked by the Choctaws. Skullyville, then known as Oak Lodge, was the former capital of the Choctaw Nation, the capital of the Mushulatubbee District of the Choctaw Nation, and a stop on the California Road. Walker's Station, a stage stand on the Butterfield Overland Mail route, was located in Skullyville.

Fort Coffee was built at Swallow Rock, about 4 miles (6.4 km) from the Choctaw Agency in 1834. The army only maintained it for four years before removing the garrison. The Methodists took over the facility and converted it to a boys' school, Fort Coffee Academy. The buildings were burned down during the Civil War and the school was never reopened.

The Methodist Church established New Hope Seminary in Skullyville during the mid 1840s. This was a girls' school that attracted students from all over the Choctaw Nation. It reopened after the Civil War, and continued to operate until the building burned down in 1896.

Skullyville became a political, educational and social center for the Choctaws during the 1840s. Then, the national capital moved to Doaksville in 1850. The move created more tribal political strife. It resulted in the adoption of the Skullyville Constitution at a convention in Skullyville in 1858.

Tandy Walker, one of the most prominent residents, took over the former Choctaw Agency building when he became in charge of the Butterfield Stage stop in 1858. The building became both Walker's residence and the Butterfield Stage office. Walker retained it as his home until he died in 1877. According to Morrison, the old agency building still stood in the 1930s. The structure is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR 72001074).

Skullyville began to decline after the Civil War, when many of the buildings were burned. The Kansas City Southern Railway bypassed it in 1895, and the town's businessmen moved to Spiro, the closest railroad station. The post office closed in 1917, essentially signifying the death of the town. Skullyville is now a ghost town, with only a cemetery remaining.

The community is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Notable people

  • Frank Crawford Armstrong, general in the Confederate Army, born in Skullyville
  • Douglas H. Johnston, Chickasaw Nation governor (1898-1902), and (1904-1939)
  • Edmund McCurtain, Choctaw principal chief (1884-1886)
  • Green McCurtain, Choctaw principal chief (1896-1900, 1902-1910)
  • Tandy Walker, governor (1858-1859) and colonel in the Confederate Army
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