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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 49

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Early Tulsa Businesses (con't)

        Two years earlier Dr. Mudd of St. Louis, Dr. Booker of Tulsa, and the writer loaded a wagon with a tent and a cooking outfit and set off up the river. Where the Cimarron empties into the Arkansas the first night's camp was made. While the tent was being erected Dr. Mudd walked a short distance away. He had been gone but a few minutes when a shot was heard. He had brought down a fine deer.

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        J. H. McBirney arrived in Tulsa from Kansas in 1897 and became bookkeeper for the Tulsa Banking Co., the town's first bank. Soon afterward he was made assistant cashier and after the reorganization of the institution it was not long until he was made a vice president.
        When the bank changed hands Mr. McBirney organized the Bank of Commerce and served as president for many years, and is still president of the National Bank of Commerce, the new name for the institution. He has been very successful in business since the day of his arrival.
        Mr. McBirney had not been in Tulsa long before he became the town's most frequent traveler to Red Fork, then the home of the Clinton family. The night was never too dark nor too stormy for him to fill an appointment there. If he could not ford the river he would walk the railroad bridge. After a few years this persistency won the girl, a daughter of the Clinton family, promised to marry him. The writer and his wife attended the wedding. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Hugh McBirney, the young banker's father. The McBirneys have lived in Tulsa since then and have reared a family of children, all of whom are still at home. Mr. McBirney is now erecting a splendid new home on the southeast side. A new 10-story building at Third and Main streets is also owned by his business interests and carries the family name.

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        Tulsa had a slight gold flurry the year before, in 1883. Two men were making rails west of what is now the Tulsa Country club golf course. Going home one evening they saw a pot sticking out of the bank of a ravine. On examination it was found to be full of gold coins, supposedly buried years before by the Indians. They hid the money in another place and went into town. But one couldn't keep the secret, or didn't want to. He told a friend and the friend told two others. The four dug up the gold and carried it to Tulsa. The man who told originally disappeared. One of the four soon possessed a fine team of horses, a wagon and complete outfit. Another built a house. The third was known to have deposited $500 in gold in a merchant's safe. Two of the three met tragic deaths and the third died many years ago.

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        Tulsa's first lawyer, who was also the town's first mayor, came from Rochester, Ind. He was Col. Ed Calkins. He arrived in Tulsa in 1894 and practiced law until his death many years ago.
        Flowers Nelson also came to Tulsa in 1894 and practiced law until some years ago when he sold his holdings in the oil capital and moved to his native state of Mississippi.
        A. R. Querry was another of the early day attorneys. He did not live to see the town really begin to grow.
        L. M. Poe came to Tulsa in 1895 and was the town's first district judge. He has been active in the practice of law since retiring from the bench.
        Harry Campbell came in 1895, too, shortly before Judge Poe's arrival and he has been active in practice since that time.

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        Traveling men made regular trips into Indian Territory before Tulsa was a town. Naturally they included it in their itineraries after 1882.
        W. H. Tinker is supposed to be the oldest traveling man making visits to Oklahoma at the present time. He has been coming to this section for 55 years.

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