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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.

 Page 15

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Other Churches Organized (con't) 

       One of the early day Methodist ministers met with a tragedy as had one of the early Presbyterian pastors. The Methodist was Rev. Sylvester Morris, who lived in Tulsa and preached here often, though his charges were generally the country churches where he had many, many friends. Late one Sunday night Mr. Morris was returning from a country pulpit. Two deputy United States marshals were on the road looking for whisky peddlers. As the minister drove past they called for him to halt. He was an elderly man and partially deaf and apparently did not hear their command for he kept his team of horses jogging along. The marshals opened fire and Mr. Morris slumped dead to the floor of his buggy. His faithful horses continued the journey to his home. where the gruesome discovery was made.
       After the church was built on the north side a school was opened there. Miss Anna Mowbray, now Mrs. Anna Archer, was one of the teachers. This school was continued for some time. Mrs. Archer is still living in Tulsa and is the daughter of George W. Mowbray, the pastor of the church in 1888, also wife of the late T. J. Archer.

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       The first Catholic church in Tulsa was organized in 1890. At first services were held in residences. Father Charles Van Hulse, and later Rev. John C. Heiring, who took charge in 1896, had charge of the church organization. Monsignor Heiring has been a resident here since 1896. From the small beginning the Catholic church has grown to have several houses of worship and schools with the Holy Family school, in splendid buildings at Boulder avenue and Ninth street. The large St. Johns hospital also attests to the growth of this church in Tulsa.
       One of early Tulsa's funerals saw the burial of Mrs. Green Yeargin, the daughter of Mrs. Jane Captain Appleby. The family belonged to the Catholic church and Bishop Meerchaert of the Oklahoma diocese came to conduct the services at the family burying ground on the farm near Skiatook. Mrs. Hall and the writer attended this funeral.

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       In 1893 the First Methodist Episcopal church, South, was organized in the old Mission school building, with Reverend Chenoweth as its pastor. This congregation later built an edifice on the north side of the railroad, fronting on Boulder avenue. Some years later this wooden building was abandoned for a brick building on East Second street and before long the congregation erected a large structure at Fifth Street and Boston avenue and took the name of Boston Avenue Methodist church, South. Work is now progressing on a new home for this congregation, which has grown greatly. One of the finest, if not the finest church building in the city is being erected at Thirteenth street and Boston avenue.
       Of course, there are other churches of this denomination in Tulsa now, as there are additional churches of virtually every denomination.

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       The first Baptist church was organized in 1897 and the congregation proceeded with the erection of a plain building between First and Second streets on Cincinnati avenue. Preaching services and Sunday school were held there for a number of years, until a brick church was completed at Fourth street and Cincinnati avenue. Church history repeated itself in this congregation, too, and a new church became necessary so a splendid structure was erected adjoining the old one and now both are in use.

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       It was not until just after the start of the new century, early in 1902, that the next church was organized in Tulsa. It was the First Christian and its first meeting place was at Fourth street and Boulder avenue. More recently a large church has been erected at Ninth street and Boulder avenue.
       Early Tulsa was not only favored with the preaching of its own ministers, but many elders and missionaries visited the village. Dr. W. R. King, now executive secretary of the Home Mission council of the Presbyterian church, and Dr. F. W. Hawley of the same denomination and now president of Park college, were among these visitors. Rev. James Murray, Rev. B. E. Swartz and Rev. J. T. Riley, presiding elders of the Methodist church, were others.

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       For the past 45 years fathers and mothers have discussed the question as to the identity of the first baby born in the village of Tulsa. Naturally no record exists to which the claimants may turn. Tulsa was then in Indian Territory and "without the law" that required birth registration. All any historian can do is to record the claims and let the reader judge for himself. The two definite bits of information available would seem to

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