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The Beginning of Tulsa
By J. M. Hall (1927)
(c) Karolyn Kay Garland (1997)
Nothing here is free for the taking. This book is reproduced here with the permission of the copyright holder - see copyright statement.
The Beginning of Tulsa
Robert Fry, a citizen of the Creek Nation and known for his honesty and integrity, says he was 20 years old when the townsite of Tulsa was located, which was before the grading for the Frisco railroad from Vinita to the Arkansas river was finished. "I knew every one on the North side of the Arkansas river in the Creek Nation from the Cimaron river to Waggoner. Only a few white families living between Tulsa and Waggoner. The land where Tulsa is located was owned by the Creek tribe of Indians. Noah Partridge, a Creek Indian, was the only one living here when the town was located about August 1, 1882. I clerked in Hall's store in 1883."
C. A. Owens came to Tulsa before the town was located in 1882, made a statement on May 20, 1927, that no house could be seen here until about August 1, 1882.
Reubin Partridge, a citizen of the Creek Nation, makes this statement: "Noah Partridge was my uncle. He lived in the timber about where 10th and Main street is now. I came with my mother from Coweta to visit my uncle in 1881. The Creek war was just beginning. My uncle had joined the army and was not at home. We visited several days with his family. At the time of our visit there were no houses near where Tulsa is now located except my uncle's house. There were some Indians living South, across the creek from the old stomp grounds, North of where Tulsa is now located, there was a settlement of Cherokee Indians living on Bird Creek. There were a few families of Creek Indians on the Arkansas river near where the Frisco bridge now crosses the river. No houses near where Tulsa is now located, except those I have mentioned."
In July, 1882, Charley West, a bookkeeper and the Author started from our tent near Catoosa to pay off the subcontractors grading the railroad West of Catoosa. The last camp we paid was located near where Madison street crosses the Frisco railroad. Although the grade stakes were set from about Madison street to the Arkansas river, no grading had been done. After paying these men we drove along the Frisco line, going through where Tulsa is now located and on through the brush and timber and ate our dinner at Chauncy Owens' boarding tent on the hill about where the Frisco railroad bridge crosses the Arkansas river. At this time no house could be seen where Tulsa is now located.
Only a few small box resident houses were built in 1882. Some of those who came with the railroad had tents and remained here. Others lived in tents during the winter of 1882 and some of them used their tents longer, by boxing them inside with 1x12 inch lumber. They were very warm.
The United States government removed the Indians from their southern homes to what was known then as the Indian territory. The Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws arrived in the territory about the year 1833. The Seminoles came about 1845. Altogether they were known as the Five Civilized Tribes.
They had their own separate tribal governments until the allotment of their land, when congress passed an act conferring the rights of citizenship on the tribesmen. Before the allotment of their lands, each tribe had held its lands in common.
The author remembers reading a speech delivered in Washington in 1874 by Col. Cornelius Boudinot, a noted Cherokee attorney. Colonel Boudinot advocated the allotment of the lands to the Indians and the award to them of the rights of citizenship. He said that "the United States has broken the shackles from thousands of slaves and made them citizens of our country, I beg of you to do as much for the Indians."
Colonel Boudinot had many enemies among the full-bloods in the Cherokee nation on account of his progressive ideas. He did not live to see the allotment of the Indian lands and his people made citizens of the United States.
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