Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: November 5, 1937
Name: Sam Manning of Higgins Texas
Name: Joe Ratliff of Shattuck, Oklahoma
Name: Austin ??leston of Shattuck, Oklahoma
Name: Dick Walton of Shattuck, Oklahoma
Interviewed by: Linnaeus B. Ranek (?)
Sam Manning of Higgins, Texas and Joe RATLIFF , Austin ??leston and Dick Walton, all of Shattuck, Oklahoma are old timers in Western Oklahoma. They gave this information.
Buzzard Roost deserves being regarded as an outstanding landmark in the early history of this section of the southwest as well of Oklahoma. It was one of the civilization's first outpost in these parts.
Sam Manning of Higgins, Texas, who was over this quarter of the country as early as 1874 says it was established in the late 1870's or about 1880.
In the heavy timber about a mile east of where Buzzard Creek converges with Wolf Creek and in the bottoms on the south side of the Wolf Creek approximately three miles down stream from the present town of Gage, this historic old stage line and "bull-train" station was established. More in the sheltered dense timber multiplied thousands of Buzzards used to roost, so these old timers say. And so when the stage and "bull-train" station was established there, it was named Buzzards roost.
A picket-style log house and barn were built there; a picket corral for the stage team; also a dugout or two providing shelter for a few extra people who might sojourn for a day or two or over-night. A "Mess" house was built there too, it being of logs set picket-style.
Buzzard Roost was built there to accommodate traffic on the old stage line coming out of Camp or Fort Supply following a southwestern course over the wild, open country to Fort Elliott, Mobeetie, Texas. At Buzzard Roost the stages changed teams going and returning from Fort Elliott. These stages carried mail as well as passengers; therefore anyone who wished could have their mail directed to Buzzard Roost if its final destination and receive it there. The "bull-team" freighters between Forts Supply and Elliott traveled this trail by Buzzard Roost. The Military line from Fort Supply to Fort Elliott passed right by Buzzard Roost.
The overland stage and Freight trail between Fort Supply and Fort Elliott came in from the Northeast and crossed Wolf Creek at Buzzard roost. Thence on for several miles it followed the low-lands along Wolf Creek. About halfway between the towns of Gage and Shattuck it took a generally Southwestern course and at Rock Creek Springs, about 7 miles south of the present site of Shattuck was another station on the trail. The distance between these two stations Buzzard Roost and Rock Creek Springs was about fifteen miles. It is the contention, therefore, of the old timers that the stages during those days between the Forts Supply and Elliott actually traveled at a very spirited rate of speed. The toughest and most hardy, wiry horses and Spanish mules drew these stages and, of course for ten, fifteen or even twenty miles they had sufficient stamina and endurance to cover the distance at "break-neck" speed most of the way.
Intersecting the Fort Supply-Fort Elliott Military telegraph line and over land stage and freight trail at Buzzard Roost another overland freight trail came in from the northwest and followed a southeastern course on the old ???onment and Darlington in the Cheyenne-Arapaho country.
Hoover and Johnson, early-day merchants of Kiowa, Kansas, operated "Bull-Team" freight wagons over a well-beaten trail from Kiowa down through the Cherokee Strip, right by Buzzard Roost and on up Wolf Creek to their trading post in the Texas Panhandle. Buzzard Roost in the early days could have been likened to a rail road terminal of modern times. And Sam Manning of Higgins, Texas claims that he nailed hundreds of sheep and oxen that plodded trails by Buzzard Roost when it was a famous out post of western civilization two generations ago. Beyond a doubt many famous men stopped at Buzzard Roost during the years it was maintained in this section.
Just north across Wolf Creek in the bottoms was the old K.H. Ranch headquarters of the New York Cattle Company, one of the big cow outfits established in the Cherokee Strip when it was leased in 1883 by the Cherokee Strip livestock Association. Though separated by Wolf Creek, The K.H. headquarters and Buzzard Roost stage line station made a little community there on the creek as early as 1883.
About 1890 Buzzard Roost was abandoned as a stage station. The buildings, such as they were, stood on for a number of years. Where it once stood now lives an old ex-cowpuncher of the vast H. Steeple Ranch, famous in this country during the early or middle 1890's.
Submitters notes: transcribed from a poor quality copy, corrections appreciated.
Transcribed for OKGenWeb by Joseph's grand-daughter, Kelly Haight Sullivan <firstname.lastname@example.org>, November 2001.