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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.
be located at that time. In a few days he moved his boarding tent and located on the east side of Main street, north of the right of way of the railroad near where the Gibson (the old Terminal) hotel now stands,
When the contractors had finished their work of building the railroad to the river they had 130 mules and a few head of horses on their hands. They built a wire corral running along Main Street north past Archer Street and then east to Boston avenue, taking in the site of the present six-story Tulsa Tribune building, and south to the tracks. A man was employed to feed the mules and when they were fat they were shipped to St. Louis and sold on the market. The cars of mules were almost the first of a great procession of trains of animals, principally cattle, shipped over this railroad in the intervening years.
When the grading was completed to the river the railroad carpenters' were on hand and began the erection of the depot that was built on the north side of the track, west of what is now North Boston avenue.
THE FIRST TRAIN
A two-stall roundhouse was built on the right of way fronting east on what is now Boulder avenue. A section house was erected on the north side of the principal track near Boulder avenue. The stockyards were constructed on the south side of the railroad, between where Cincinnati and Detroit avenues run.
A mixed train began to make regular runs about October 1 between Tulsa and Vinita, making one round trip per day. The fare was five cents per mile. The train had a regular schedule for starting from Tulsa but was not in any hurry to get to Vinita. It had only to make connection with the passenger train from Vinita to St. Louis and there was plenty of time to stop and let the passengers and crew shoot prairie chickens along the way.
Mr. C. A. Owen reminds the writer that Bob Childers built the first residence in Tulsa proper, between Archer and Brady streets on Cheyenne avenue and later he built another residence on a block of ground across the street from the site of the present post office at Third Street and Boulder avenue.
Childers was a mixed-blood and a noted character. He had a large family and before coming to Tulsa had been a Creek judge in the neighborhood of Coweta. Once a negro was brought before him and accused of stealing a horse. A Jury was empaneled and the witness examined. The jury retired and then came back with a verdict of "not guilty"
The penalty for stealing, under the Creek law, was so many lashes on the bare back for the first offense, so many more for the second and death by shooting for the third.
Judge Childers scrutenized the negro closely after the jury returned its verdict, Then he set the verdict aside. "If that negro didn't steal that horse I know one he did steal and we will whip him any way," he declared.
Childers was a great poker player. In a game one time he said he would bet $100 he had the biggest hand around the table. The money was put up-and then he called on the players to put their real hands on the table. He had hands twice as large as those of the ordinary man. His tongue was large, too, and most of the time hung from his mouth.
Some of his sons became as widely known as their father. Will Childers, his youngest boy, had his allotment adjoining Tulsa on the south and there had been a long lawsuit over it. The allottee was killed here by a showman during a circus,
THE FIRST ORGANIZATION
It speaks volumes for Tulsa to say that the first organization of any kind in this community in 1883 was a Union Sunday school. The Bible literally came with the Frisco railroad in the person of Mrs. Slater, wife of one of the carpenters employed to construct the railroad's buildings in the new town.
Mr. and Mrs. Slater lived in a tent on the railroad's property between the present Main street and Boulder avenue. One Sunday afternoon she invited Dr. W. P. Booker and the writer to her tent home. She said she wanted to organize a Sunday school. She was a Congregationalist, Doctor Booker was a Baptist and the author a Presbyterian, so a Union Sunday school was formed. There were only four or five children present at the first session, but it was a start.
Mrs. Slater was elected superintendent and she served well until her husband was through with the railroad work, when they were compelled to leave. The two remaining organizers carried on, The meetings were generally held in residences until the Presbyterian home mission school building was erected in the year 1884. In 1885 the name of the Sunday school was changed to that of the First Presbyterian Sunday school.
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