Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wildman, An Oklahoma Ghost Town

The Ghost Town of Wildman, Oklahoma was located in Kiowa County about fifteen and one half miles south and seven miles east of present day Hobart. The town’s Post Office was only in business from May 1901 to November 1904.

The town got its name from the type of people that liked to come there. The town was described as “a wild west, hard shooting, tough mining town made up of grizzled miners and unscrupulous gamblers with a liberal seasoning of bandits”. Sounds like my kind of place, when I was twenty-five years old! It was said that the first “diggings developed in Wildman was the graveyard”.

Wildman was started when the federal government opened the Wichita Mountains area to miners in the fall of 1900. The town at one time had two grocery stores, two hotels, a general store, an assayer’s office, a restaurant, a drug store and a hardware store. Of course there were more saloons and places to gamble than anything else in the town. The town also had it’s own newspaper for a while. It was called the Otter Creek Miner.

Today, nothing is left of the old town except for possibly an old foundation or two and the cyanide ore mill. The buildings were all removed so that the land could be used for agriculture.

Since Wildman was a mining town there were several tunnels and mining shafts dug into the granite hills in the area, especially around Nest Egg Mountain. One of the more widely known mines was the Gold Bells Mine. I believe the location of this mine can still be seen today. The newspapers of the day reported that gold, silver, lead, copper and platinum had been found and some of what was found assayed in the thousands of dollars per ton. Even though there were some high assayer’s reports it doesn’t appear that there was that much gold taken out of the area. Even if there wasn’t that much found, at today’s prices any gold would be worth finding.

If you are in this area looking around you might want to look for what was said to be a very rich mine that was supposed to have been worked for years by the Spanish. That is until the Indians decided they had had enough of the Spaniards and let them know their feelings by attacking the miners. This mine is supposed to be located on the west side of Otter Creek less than half a mile from the south side of the mountains.

This mine was supposed to have been marked by a series of oak trees that had the limbs cut off of one side. The sides without the limbs are supposed to be in the direction the mine is located. By now, these trees may be long gone but it would be my opinion the Spanish would have also used some other types of markers in the area, markers made of stone that might still be around.

If you are a history enthusiast you could even try looking for some of the old miner claim markers from the 1900’s. Some of these can be pretty interesting since they might still have the handwritten claim in them.


Rick said...

Have anyone explored this town recently?

Doug said...

im from beckham co. i dont live there now. but this is interesting kiowa co. is close to beckham co.. I'm gonna have to invest in a metal detector .and visit kiowa co.

Rob From Amersfoort said...

Actually, Wildman was founded by Frank R. Wildman. Although I'm sure there were a lot of wild men in Wildman at the time!