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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 First Organization (con't)
The early Sunday school had much to do with counteracting the evil influence among the young people of the small community. There was very little sentiment then in favor of improving the moral or religious life of the village.
It is interesting to note, perhaps, that the First Presbyterian Sunday school has had but two superintendents to the present date (1928) . The writer was the superintendent for 33 years. He resigned in 1918 and John S. Davenport was elected. It was the first superintendent's great pleasure to place Mr. Davenport in nomination. Mr. Davenport is elder of the church and clerk of the Session. He has made good.
In the 48 years since the First Presbyterian Sunday school was organized with its handful of children, it has grown to embrace approximately 2,500.
A kind word must be spoken for the splendid Mission school teachers who also taught in the Sunday school. Their fine influence went far in laying the foundation for the good citizenship to be found in Tulsa today.
DR. R. M. LOUGHRIDGE
Who preached the first sermon ever heard in Tulsa. He spoke from the front porch of the Hall store in 1883.
THE FIRST SERMON AND THE FIRST CHURCH
It will be nothing new if the city's pastor, of 1928 lead their flocks out of doors on hot summer Sunday mornings to listen to the Word. The first sermon preached in the village of Tulsa was out of doors, in the balmy spring air of 1883.
In preparation for the event the churchmen of that early day carried boards from the town's lumber yard and made seats on the front porch of the Hall store.
Rev. R. M. Loughridge preached that first sermon. He came from the Wealaka Mission school about 20 miles south of Tulsa on the south side of the Arkansas river.
As the minister stood on the porch of the store exhorting the little company that had gathered to worship, many of the professional gamblers who had followed the building of the Frisco railroad into Tulsa the year before, together with outlaws who had committed crimes in the states and fled into Indian Territory to lose themselves, were in nearby tents gambling and jeering the service when they paid any attention to it. At times the pastor had to raise his voice to be heard above the noise they made.
Although Reverend Loughridge was about 75 years old at that time he rode horseback to fill his Tulsa appointments. He had come as a missionary to the Creek tribe of Indians before the Civil war and he ministered to the tribesmen for 50 years. He made two trips on horseback between this Indian country and the old home of the tribe in Alabama.
The writer well remembers a trip made to attend Presbytery at the Nuyaka mission located near Deep Fork. Reverend Loughridge and others were in the party. Arriving at Deep Fork creek the water was high and the wagons could not cross. The drive had been 35 miles and the aged minister was tired. As the wagon turned back he began to sing that old song, "I am only waiting to hear the summons, Child come home."
A large book could be written about this man's life and influence in this Indian country. He died in the home of a son in Waco, Texas, 30 years ago.
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