“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Talihina in Le Flore County, Oklahoma — The American South (West South Central)

Horsethief Spring

What's in a Name?

Horsethief Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Armstrong, October 26, 2021
1. Horsethief Spring Marker

The history of Oklahoma is filled with stories of horse thieves and cattle rustlers. The tales surrounding Horsethief Spring may not be far from the truth. During the early 1800s, Cherokee and Osage Indians stole horses from each other, and from emigrants passing through. Between 1839 and 1848, Tom Starr's gang ran rustled horses from Texas, bringing them into Cherokee Country (just 30 miles north of here).

During the 1850s, cattle theft became a desperate problem. Rustling escalated when Texas ranchers began driving large herds up the Texas Trail (crossing Winding Stair Mountain 15 miles west of here) to markets in Kansas and Missouri.

Rustling continued after the Civil War until the early 1900s. The organization of anti-horse thief associations in Oklahoma and Arkansas brought an end to the thieving.

Caption: Sam and Belle Starr, son and daughter-in-law of Tom Starr. Many believe these infamous outlaws used this spring to water rustled horses in the 1870s. Photo courtesy Fort Smith National Historic Site.
Erected by US Forest Service.
Topics. This historical
Horsethief Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Armstrong, October 26, 2021
2. Horsethief Spring Marker
A short trail from the upper parking area leads down to the spring.
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marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsNative AmericansParks & Recreational AreasRoads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1839.
Location. 34° 44.238′ N, 94° 43.63′ W. Marker is near Talihina, Oklahoma, in Le Flore County. Marker is on Talimena Scenic Drive (Scenic Highway 1) 11 miles east of U.S. 271, on the left when traveling east. This marker is located about 11 miles from the entrance of the Talimena Scenic Drive at the Horsethief Springs Picnic Ground Recreation Area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Talihina OK 74571, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Where There is Water There Will Be People (here, next to this marker); Outside the Law In Indian Territory (here, next to this marker); Life at Stapp (within shouting distance of this marker); Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) (within shouting distance of this marker); Don L. Hoyt Pavilion (approx. 3 miles away); Emerald Vista (approx. 3.4 miles away); Cut Out and Get Out! (approx. 3.4 miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps Co. 810 (approx. 3.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Talihina.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 11, 2022, by Jason Armstrong of Talihina, Oklahoma. This page has been viewed 96 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 11, 2022, by Jason Armstrong of Talihina, Oklahoma. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 29, 2023