If you are ever in far southeastern Oklahoma, say around Tom (you know where Tom, Oklahoma is at, right? No? Idabel? Go to Idabel and keep going) be sure and stop by and see the oldest known grave in Oklahoma at the Garland Cemetery. It is a rural, very remote cemetery that requires driving down a gravel driveway to find, but when you get there you can see the oldest known birthdate on a gravestone in Oklahoma. Below is the inscription from the Oklahoma Historical Society marker:
Small cemetery nearby contains graves of Choctaw chief Samuel Garland (1862 – 64) and family members including his mother-in-law, Sophie Pitchlynn. Peter Pitchlynn, son of Sophie and John Pitchlynn, was chief 1864 — 66. Garland migrated from Mississippi during Choctaw removal in 1830s, opened and operated large plantation in vicinity with black slave labor. Cemetery is the only remaining evidence of Garland occupation. Headstone of Sophie Pitchlynn bears birthdate of December 27, 1773, believed to be earliest in Oklahoma.
To get there you plug these GPS coordinates into your system or click the download link below the map:
GPS Coordinates for Garland Cemetery: 33.747340, -94.498117
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Sophie Pitchlynn lived to be nearly 98 years old and was born before the United States declared independence from Britain!
The graveyard is about 13/4 mile north of Highway 3 on N4815 graveled county road – one mile west of the OK/AR state line. You will see a long driveway going west back into the woods. Follow it about 200 yards and you will see the graveyard. Any bike can make the trip, even a heavily loaded street bike, as long as you don’t mind just a bit of hard packed gravel.