St. Agnes Mission School

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St. Agnes Mission School
Established 1897
Demolished 1945
Current Status Demolished
Location near Antlers, Choctaw Nation, OK
Peak Patient Population * St. Agnes Catholic School


Originally in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, in 1897 Rev. William Henry Ketcham founded the St. Agnes Academy in Antlers. The Catholic Mission school was meant to provide English and Catholic education for Choctaw children. Of the many missionarys of different faith's that had inhabited the Choctaw Nation since their move to Indian Territory, Rev. Ketcham is said to be the only one to master the Choctaw language.

April 12, 1945, a tornado destroyed the St. Agnes Mission School, which was never rebuilt. The Mission was leveled except for the hallway of the school building. Here, huddled under collapsed walls were 60 young students with their teachers, miraculously saved from the storm. Hundreds of homes and other buildings were also damaged or destroyed, and 69 people died, 350 injured. News of this event was overshadowed by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt's death on the same day. At the turn of the twenty-first century this tornado was considered the third deadliest in Oklahoma history.