Keechi LbNA # 48256
|Placed Date||Jun 18 2009|
The Keechi were a small tribe of Native Americans who lived in Texas from the mid eighteenth century until 1858, when they were removed to a reservation in Oklahoma. They were of Caddoan stock and shared a language with the Pawnee. About 500 strong in 1700, when they lived in Oklahoma, they numbered about 300 by 1800, all of them in Texas. In 1840, they occupied a village about three miles north of present day Centerville, in Leon County. That same year, the families of John Byrns and Christopher C. Staley of Tennessee, established the first settlement north of the Old San Antonio Road and between the Navasota and Trinity Rivers. They were soon joined by John and James Erwin and their families from Mississippi, along with several other pioneer families. In February of 1840, C. C. Staley was killed by raiding Indians, causing the settlers to build a fort for protection. The Keechis, as well as the Kickapoos, who lived along the Trinity River, were prone to raid settlements for livestock. The palisade fort was built in the Erwin Settlement and, at first, bore the family name. Because of its proximity to Boggy Creek, it soon came to be called Fort Boggy. The fort was 75 yards square and enclosed two blockhouses and eleven dwellings that housed 75 people by the end of 1840. To protect the settlers, Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar authorized the formation of a military company for the fort, under the leadership of Captain Thomas Greer, First Lieutenant Tom Middleton, Second Lieutenant Elisha Whitten, and Ensign John Byrns. Indian attacks continued in the area as Captain Greer was killed in 1841 on an excursion to scout Keechi Creek. Due to increasing pressure from white settlers and the military pressure, the Keechi population dwindled to the point that, when they left the area in 1858 to join the Wichitas on their reservation in Oklahoma, only 10 remained. The 1847 acres that define Fort Boggy were graciously donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1985 by Eileen Crain Sullivan to be developed as a state park. She allowed the land to lie fallow for the past 60 years, in which time it reverted to its natural state. The park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and is open for day use only, but there is no fee for park use at this time.
Going south on I-45, take the Centerville and go east for .4 miles on Highway 7, then south on Highway 75 for 4.9 miles to the entrance to Fort Boggy State Park on the right. From Houston, take the Leona exit and go east on FM 977 to Highway 75, then north 2.9 miles to the park entrance on the left. The park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The park is day-use only and entrance (at this time) is free. Drive to the back of the park, staying right, and park at the “Nature Hike & Bike Trail” sign.
To the box:
Walk along the trail for about 100 yards to a T-junction and turn left. You’ll be on a dirt pipeline road/trail. Go another 100 yards or so and the trail will bear to the right. You should bear right with it. Watch for the metal posts with a small yellow diamond-shaped numbered sign on them. Keep going until you see the one with the number “25” on your left. From that sign, go left down toward the creek along a faint road for 50 steps to a mott of oak trees on the right. Pick out the large, 3-trunked one about 10 steps off the trail. The Keechi is nestled in the middle of the three trunks, covered with leaves and chunks of wood. Please replace it as you found it.