Durant Weekly News
February 2, 1934
Early History of Bryan County
Nails Crossing by Eugene Wade, student of history at Southeastern Teachers College
Nails Crossing is located on Blue River in Choctaw Nation, which is about two and one half miles southwest of Kenefic, Bryan County, Oklahoma.
The earliest date that I have been able to secure concerning this crossing was in 1858. At this time the Steizer family, of which Mrs. John Davis, now a resident of Kenefic, Oklahoma, was a daughter, was moving to Indian Territory and crossed this crossing coming from Doaksville, a trading post on Red River, a boundary line of Bryan County, Oklahoma. During this era a family by the name of Fisher were living in a large log dwelling on this crossing.
Later years, Mr. Jonathan Nail settled with his beautiful bride, Catherine Perry, on Blue River at this very crossing, which now bears his name. Mr. Nail was an excellent manager. He established two of the largest and most popular ranches in Indian Territory, the “Diamond F” and the “Seven J. N.”. The old ranch house still stands. It is the typical long ranch house with a fireplace at each end. Many interesting stories of ranch life at these ranches have been handed down.
Mr. Nail and Mr. Robert Davis established here one of the very first mills for grinding corn in Indian Territory. Mr. Davis was formerly at Boggy Depot where he operated the salt beds located there. The dam still stands and is in fairly good condition considering the number of years it has been standing without care and repair.
All the mail received in the early days came from Fort Smith and was passed from post to post unit it reached Nails Crossing. The people who carried the mail from place to place were never knowingly harmed by the Indians.
During the Civil War Mr. Nail was made major and a fort was established west just opposite the crossing. This fort was named McCulloch for Gen. Ben McCulloch, commander of southern troops in Indian Territory. None of the actual fighting took place here and only the breast works of the fort was established. It was used as a post for the soldiers and is still today as it was then with the exception that trees and other vegetation are growing in the trenches.
During later years a little town was established at this crossing and was called “Nail”. There was one store owned by Mr. Bud Colbert, a post office, blacksmith shop, and a cotton gin which was very popular as there were fewer gins at that time than now.
Nails Crossing was one of the stopping places for the stage coaches which was on the Dallas to Boggy Depot route. Many celebrated people are said to have spent the night here, also a number of notorious outlaws who many believe have buried treasure near this place. It has been told that one outlaw took up the bricks form the fireplace hearth of a house at the crossing and buried his gold there, then replaced the brick as was done by Silas Marner. Others say that certain signs, which are really to be found on trees growing along Blue, indicate where gold and other treasures are buried.
Nails Crossing became one of the popular places of Indian Territory, especially for picnics, which was a good advertiser for the spot. Nails Crossing lost its real popularity with coming of the M. K. T. Railroad. The post office, store, and blacksmith shop were moved to Kenefic, the town site on the railroad, and the gin burned down. (It was the M.O. & G. that created Kenefic. In 1910 the P.O. designation was changed from Nail to Kenefick.)
Nails Crossing still belongs to the Jonathan Nail heirs. The Nails were descendants of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. Mr. Nail’s son, Joel Nail, was at one time the wealthiest man of the Choctaw Nation.