Oklahoma's National Register of Historic Places

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ID Number 13000702
Historic Name BALLARD CREEK ROADBED
Description of Significance THE BALLARD CREEK ROADBED IS THE REMNANT OF A NINETEENTH CENTURY WAGON ROAD ALONG BALLARD CREEK IN FAR EASTERN ADAIR COUNTY, OKLAHOMA. IT IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ARRIVAL AND RESETTLEMENT OF THE CHEROKEES IN TODAY’S OKLAHOMA AT THE END OF THEIR TRAIL OF TEARS. IT LINKED AN IMPORTANT LOCATION IN THE NEW CHEROKEE NATION WITH SUPPLY SOURCES AND SERVICES IN NORTHWESTERN ARKANSAS. IN EARLY 1839 SOME CHEROKEE IMMIGRATING PARTIES COMPLETING THE TRAIL OF TEARS DISBANDED NEAR TODAY’S WESTVILLE, OKLAHOMA ABOUT TWO MILES FROM THE ROADBED. FOOD STORES INTENDED TO SUSTAIN THEM THEIR FIRST YEAR IN THE INDIAN TERRITORY WERE DELIVERED TO A SUPPLY DEPOT THERE THEY CALLED “BREADTOWN.” BAPTIST MISSION WAS SOON FOUNDED NEARBY, AND BEGINNING IN 1841 MISSIONARY EVAN JONES AND CHEROKEE MINISTER JESSE BUSHYHEAD MADE IT A CENTER FOR CHEROKEE CHRISTIAN EVANGELISM, CHURCH ORGANIZATION, EDUCATION, AND PUBLISHING. THE WAGON ROAD ALONG BALLARDCREEK CONNECTED THE BAPTIST MISSION SETTLEMENT TO SUPPLY SOURCES IN SILVIA (CINCINNATI), ARKANSAS AND BEYOND. HOWEVER, THE BAPTIST MISSION SETTLEMENT WAS DESTROYED IN 1862 DURING THECIVIL WAR. IT WAS NOT REBUILT, AND THE NEED FOR THE WAGON ROAD ALONG BALLARD CREEK DIMINISHED AS THE MISSION MOVED TO ANOTHER LOCATION. CONSEQUENTLY, THE PERIOD OF SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE BALLARD CREEK ROADBED IS 1839 TO 1862. IT IS SIGNIFICANT AT THE STATE LEVEL UNDER CRITERION A BECAUSE IT IS ASSOCIATED WITH EVENTS THAT HAVE MADE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE BROAD PATTERNS OF OUR HISTORY. THE AREAS OF SIGNIFICANCE UNDER CRITERION A ARE TRANSPORTATION AND ETHNIC HERITAGE, SPECIFICALLY NATIVE AMERICAN, IN THIS CASE, CHEROKEE. THE BALLARD CREEK ROADBED IS SIGNIFICANT AT THE STATE LEVEL UNDER CRITERION D FOR ARCHEOLOGY IN THE HISTORIC ABORIGINAL SUBCATEGORY. IT HAS THE POTENTIAL, GIVEN ITS LOCATION NEAR THE DISBANDMENT SITE OF CHEROKEE DETACHMENTS, THE “BREADTOWN” DEPOT, AND BAPTIST MISSION, TO YIELD INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRAIL OF TEARS AND ITS AFTERMATH FOR THE CHEROKEE PEOPLE WHO USED IT AS THEY SETTLED, TRADED, WORSHIPED, AND EDUCATED THEIR CHILDREN NEARBY.
Current Name SAME
Address RESTRICTED
City WESTVILLE
County ADAIR
Lot
Block
Current Section
Township
Range
Type SITE
Historic Function TRANSPORTATION
Current Function VACANT/NOT IN USE
Area Signficance 1 TRANSPORTATION
Area Significance 2 ETHNIC HERITAGE: NATIVE AMERICAN
Date Prepared 2013
Year Built
Original Site
Architect/Builder
Architectural Style
Roof Material
Wall Material
Window Material
Door Material
Decorative Details
Condition GOOD
Comments
Restricted Y