Mackey Salt Works Kettle -- Ft. Gibson OK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 35° 46.677 W 095° 20.132
15S E 288897 N 3961836
Quick Description: This marker explains the history of the Mackey Salt Works, its role in supporting the population of the area and its importance in the Civil War. It also shows the resourcefulness of the Cherokees, who repaired the kettles after the Civil War.
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Date Posted: 8/25/2012 11:48:43 AM
Waymark Code: WMF584
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 3

Long Description:
This marker is made of local stone blocks with a historic repaired salt kettle affixed on top. It can be found on the campus of Bacone Baptist College at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. The campus is open, so no permit or permission to enter onto the campus is needed. Come enjoy this beautiful school, and appreciate the importance of a simple mineral that we take for granted today.

The text of the marker is as follows:

This salt kettle was one of more than 100 forming part of the equipment of Mackey’s salt Works on the Illinois River, Indian Territory, an important station on the military road to Ft. Smith Arkansas for many years before the Civil War. Salt was made there for the Indian population, and until 1864 the Federal troops used the plant to supply salt to the Army and refugees . In that year and on the eve of capture by the Confederates, the Federal soldiers burned the establishment and destroyed the kettles. After the war impoverished Cherokees patched and again used the kettles for a few years.

Presented by Hon. Grant Foreman, Litt. D.

Here is an article from a local newspaper with even more info:, Muskogee, OK
May 10, 2008

Remnants of old salt works remain today
by Jonita Mullins

The abundance of salt springs found in the Three Forks region was one of the natural resources that drew both people and animals to northeastern Oklahoma.

Native Americans mined the salt from these springs and used it not only for preserving food but also as a trade commodity with other tribes, as well as with the French, Spanish and English.

Animals were also drawn to the salt springs because they need salt in their diet and their instinct would lead them to the springs. This abundance of game in the Three Rivers area was what made the fur trade so lucrative here. Even the Osage Trace, Oklahoma’s first road, developed because the Osage would travel into the Three Forks area for the salt found here as well as for the good hunting.

Salt mining could be considered one of Oklahoma’s first industries, developed long before Oklahoma or even Indian Territory were established. A salt mining business existed at a spring near Mazie before 1820. It was called the Neosho operation and was run by two partners, but little else is known about it. By the time the Union Mission was established near the Mazie spring in 1821, the Neosho operation was already out of business.

Two brothers named Richard and Mark Bean purchased the salt kettles from the Mazie spring and set up a salt works of their own on a spring near the Illinois River in 1820. Their tidy little farm, being one of only a few in this area at that time, was frequently visited by explorers to the region.

The Beans built a spring house and furnace near the salt spring. Using large iron kettles, they would boil the water from the spring until it had evaporated and the salt was left. The Beans could get a bushel of salt from 55 gallons of saltwater. They would sell the salt for $1 per bushel and the military post at Fort Smith was their primary customer.

The Beans were forced to give up their salt works in 1828 when the land they had settled on was given to the Cherokees by the federal government. Nearly everyone already settled in the area were required to leave and as compensation they were given land in Arkansas Territory. The Cherokee Nation then gave the Bean salt works to a tribal member named Walter Webber (for whom Webbers Falls is named).

Another large salt works on the Illinois River was operated by a man named Mackey. His operation was about seven or eight miles further upstream from the Beans (about 10 miles from present day Gore). Like the Beans’ operation, Mackey’s farm was also a major stopping point on the road between Fort Smith and Fort Gibson.

The Mackey salt works continued operation until 1864 when it was destroyed by federal troops to prevent its capture by Confederates. After the war, the kettles were patched and used by local Cherokees. One of the huge iron kettles from Mackey’s salt works can be viewed on the campus of Bacone College. Another salt works kettle is displayed at the Five Civilized Tribes Museum.
County: Muskogee

Record Address::
2299 Old Bacone Road
Fort Gibson, OK US

Web site if available: [Web Link]

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Date Erected: Unknown

Sponsor (Who put it there): Hon. Grant Foreman

Visit Instructions:
1 - Must visit the site in person.
2 - New Photo required.
3 - Give some new insight to the marker/site.
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Benchmark Blasterz visited Mackey Salt Works Kettle -- Ft. Gibson OK 8/2/2012 Benchmark Blasterz visited it