Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lake Tenkiller - Oklahoma

Nestled in the hills of eastern Oklahoma, Lake Tenkiller is a stunning body of clear water that attracts visitors from around the nation.

This area of Oklahoma is as Southern as any in the nation. Part of the Cherokee Nation, this area was settled by members of that famed Indian nation who were forced west on the Trail of Tears during the 1830. They brought with them customs and names that also remain common in the lands they left behind in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

During the Civil War, control of this area was bitterly contested. As was the case in much of the South, the war in the Cherokee Nation was very much a "brother against brother" fight. Some of the Cherokee, led by Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, fought ferociously for the South, while others fought for the Union. Battles and skirmishes took place throughout the region and raiders destroyed homes, farms and settlements. Many innocents died.

In the bitter years following the war, outlaws from across the United States flooded into the hills of eastern Oklahoma, believing that the Indian Nations offered them sanctuary from the law. They preyed on Cherokee families and committed widespread acts of murder, robbery, theft, rape and vandalism. Judge Isaac Parker, the famed "Hanging Judge" of the Old West, was sent to Fort Smith to bring law and order to the region and his deputy marshals joined with Indian policemen in rounding up the outlaws and bringing them before the hanging judge in Fort Smith.

Lake Tenkiller today is a beautiful area that is popular for outdoor recreation, weekend getaways and vacations. To learn more, please visit

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