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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 Post Office (con't)
The contract was let to R. C. Kearns, of St. Louis, A post office on this line was established near what is now Catoosa and given the name of Fort Spunky. Another office was established in the home of George Perryman, three and one-half miles south of where the town of Tulsa was to be located some years later. This office was called Tulsa after an Indian town in Alabama and the founders of the town later found it convenient to continue the name.
The Perryman station was not kept busy. Some times months would elapse between letters. The writer remembers that soon after he arrived at the site of the new town he saddled a black mule and rode to Mr. Perryman's to ask for his mail, Bill Jones was at the barn on the farm, acting as postmaster there. He had two six-shooters in his belt and would have brooked no robbery of the United States mails.
As soon as the Reed and Perryman store was built in the town of Tulsa after the extension of the railroad in 1882, Mr. J. C. Perryman obtained permission to move the office to the store. One of the clerks acted as postmaster in his place. When he resigned the writer became the town's first postmaster, and moved the office into the Hall store.
It was not intended that this story should extend beyond the early years of Tulsa's growth but in order that new comers may know the names of those who have served as regular postmasters since the beginning of the town these are listed here in the proper order:
J. C. Perryman, J. M. Hall, Col. W. P. Moore, Billy McKim, John McAllister, John D. Seaman, W. I. Renneau, J. M. Crutchfield, Orner K. Benedict. with J. M. Adkison serving at present (1928).
During Mr. Crutchfield's tenure of office the federal building at Third Street and Boulder avenue was erected.
There has always been a squabble over who should be the postmaster of Tulsa. Though the author was and is a Democrat he knew William Melett, one of the early Republican national committeemen, so well that he could talk to him about the postmastership. Once when he made a trip to Muskogee to discuss this the patrons as well as the politicians were divided. Mr. Mellet said he was like the rain maker in Kansas. The farmers were sorely in need of rain, but they couldn't agree on the day the rain maker should deliver it. He left with the word that when they agreed he would return. Mr. Mellet said on that occasion that when the patrons of the post office in Tulsa could agree upon a man he would recommend him.
EARLY STREET AND TOWNSITE TROUBLE
It was 12 years after the town of Tulsa had been located in 1882 and a number of buildings erected on the north side of First street, both east and west of Main street, that Carl Schurs, secretary of the interior, requested the Creek Indian council to set aside a right-of-way for the Frisco railroad. He suggested that 50 feet on each side of the tracks be granted except at the station, where 400 feet would be the grant. The council complied with this request.
Soon after this the general solicitor of the Frisco had surveyors along the right-of-way, and they set up broken draw-heads along the line of the road that took in 300 feet south of the tracks and 100 feet north - leaving only 20 feet for all those who had built on Main street and north of First and those who had built on the north side of First street.
All the business men were notified by the solicitor to take leases from the railroad company or move off. The writer went to St. Louis to see the solicitor but that gentleman refused to consider any right the pioneers might have to 100 feet of the property he claimed. He said he could take 400 feet on one side of the tracks if he wished. The next morning a call was made on the general manager of the road. After the situation was explained to him he instructed the solicitor to take 200 feet south of the tracks and 100 feet on the north side. The general manager made it clear that he was interested in gaining friends and business for the road, rather than property.
Earlier than this there had been little trouble over the streets. Once half a dozen men sought to close First street. One Indian set posts across the street and others decided they would knock down the fences around the Archer and Hall stores. Mr. Archer came out with his Winchester at his shoulder and announced that the man to start that would be shot dead. No one made a false move and later the Creek Indian district judge was invited to Tulsa to settle the dispute. He held court in the rear of the Hall store. He examined a number of witnesses and satisfied himself that First street was traveled by the public and should not be closed.
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