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Chouteau Jail

Location Class:
Built: ~1910 | Abandoned: N/A
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Emily Cowan

According to fire insurance maps the Choteau jail was built sometime around the time of 1910. It is a concrete jail with two cells and a unique curved top.

L.P. Goforth Under $6,000 Bond Charged With Assault Following Search of Premises for Liquor- Claims Search Warrant Illegal

L.P Goforth of Choteau is held in the county jail under $6,000 bond, charged on three seperate counts with assault with intent to kill. The assaults are alleged to have taken place at Goforth’s home in Choteau last Thursday afternoon after three peace officers, Sheriff Jess Layton, Field Deputy Paul Wilson, and Special Deputy Dewey Moore had gone to Goforth’s home and had searched it for liquor.

According to the testimony of the officers they went to the Goforth home produced a search warrant and were told by Mrs. Goforth to proceed with the search. At the time only Jess Layton and Moore were present. Wilson was in another part of the town. After the officers had entered the house, Goforth came up and being informed what the officers were there for is alleged to have remarked “Go ahead, help yourself.” The officers state he seemed in a good humor at the time.

After Layton and Moore had searched the house Wilson came up. He states that he was in the bedroom “looking around” when Goforth came in. Goforth fumbling with the front of his shirt Wilson says. “Hey there, what have you got? Let me look you over.” Wilson exclaimed. Goforth then drew his revolver and pointed it directed at Wilson who being close to the outer door stumbled backwards out of it. Moore and Mrs. Goforth were also in the room and it is said Goforth then turned his gun on Moore who also moved toward the door. Mrs. Goforth screamed and deflected the gun toward the ceiling and while wrestling with her husband over the gun Moore escaped.

Sheriff Layton was outside the house during this time. Later Goforth came out of the house and attempted to shoot the Sheriff according to his testimony, the gun failing to discharge for some reason or other. Goforth then raced east up Main St. about a block and turned down an alley pursued by the officers. He was arrested near the south edge of town and taken to the Choteau jail. “If you guys put me in jail you’ve dug your graves,” Goforth is alleged to have remarked before he was put in the jail. About  half an hour later he was taken from the Choteau jail and brought to Pryor.





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Emily Cowan

Emily was brought into the Abandoned OK Team in December of 2019. “I’m not gonna lie I fangirled a bit. My first published post I was ecstatic, I felt like I finally had the right audience for my work. The opportunities that came with it made me love the website even more. I remember my first interview with a couple at Waukomis Christian Church. They had bought and restored the 1897 church and insisted on keeping the original sanctuary despite being advised on moving it. We talked with them for at least a good 40 minutes about the church, the abandoned Waukomis Middle School beside it, and the towns other disappearing buildings. They even rang the bell for us that has sat in the bell-tower for the last 120 something years ago. We could tell they were just as passionate about preserving Oklahoma’s dwindling history as we were. When interviewing people and hearing the first-hand stories and recollections of a place and seeing how a person connects to a building, it forms a connection between not only you and that person but yourself and that building.”

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