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Graphics by Rhio

 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 36

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       Old-timers in Indian Territory will always remember the winter of 1884 and 1885 because of its severity. The cold spell began with a snow storm that was followed by cold rains and sleet. The water froze on the ground and on the trees. Wire fences looked like fences made of cakes of ice. The storm continued for several days and the thousands of head of cattle in the immense pastures of the territory could not get a bite to eat. In vacant log cabins in the pastures as many as a dozen head in each were found afterward.
       Crain and Latimer, of Independence, Kan., had obtained permission from the Osage Indian tribesmen to fence a pastureage beginning at the corner of the Creek-Cherokee-Osage line, part of which is now in the city of Tulsa, then running 12 miles north along the Cherokee and Osage line, thence west to the Arkansas river, thence along the river to the Creek-Osage line and thence east along that line to the place of beginning. This firm of cattlemen bought 5,500 head of steers in Texas and shipped them here to be pastured during the winter. They made no provision for feeding them during the winter because cattle owned by the Indians had in previous years wintered well on the young undergrowth of grass. But the storms caught this herd and when the spring round-up came only 700 head remained alive out of the 5,500.
       Most of the cattlemen of the Territory went broke that winter. Only those using entirely their own money pulled through.
       In those days there was a deep cut east of town through which the Frisco tracks had been laid. This was filled with drifting snow and trains were blocked. It took an entire day to clear the cut. There was a deep ravine where the Brady hotel now stands and it was filled with snow. Some stray horses stepped off in this ravine and sank out of sight. But once they struck bottom they longed ahead and broke their way out at the lower end of the cut.
       The early stores did a rushing business that winter in heavy overshoes and rubber boots. And the weather of that winter has since formed an important contribution to the query as to whether or not our winters are as severe as in the old days.

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Photo W E Halsell

        It was largely W. E. Halsell, a cattleman living at Vinita in the early days, who gave to the Indian Territory its claim to being a great cattle country. Mr. Halsell's large cattle ranch lay north of Bird creek, near Tulsa, and covered all of the land around Owasso and Collinsville, reaching nearly to Bartlesville on the north. It ran many miles eastward. Of course Owasso, Collinsville and Bartlesville did not exist in those days.
       Mr. Halsell had many thousand head of cattle grazing on the ranch. He shipped them in from Texas and then on to market. He employed many cowboys to ride the range and keep the cattle from drifting away.
       In the spring of each year it was necessary to have round-ups on the different ranches so that each cattleman could cut his own steers out of the herds. The writer attended one round-up on the Halsell ranch. Just before noon Jim Crutchfield, the ranch foreman, suggested going to the ranch house for dinner before the cowboys rode in. He led the way at a gallop and the writer's appetite increased at every leap of the horse. Once at the table the cowboy cook brought in a large hog jowl, with teeth shining but without a strip of lean meat in sight. The bread had been made by the cowboy

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