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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.
St. Louis, Mo., March 16, 1898.
J. M. Hall, Esq.,
Tulsa, I. T.
"Dear Sir: --
"I am in receipt of your letter of the 14th.
"I have talked the matter over with Mr. Bisbee and the water supply at Tulsa is at present too uncertain for us to make any proposition or give any encouragement. We are not therefore in a position to consider the matter any further. We have not yet definitely determined upon any place. This for your personal information.
"B. F. YOAKUM,
"Vice-President & Gen. Mgr."
"You understand water supply is an essential feature."
Until the extension to Sapulpa the railroad company was very friendly to Tulsa. After that the officials threw their favor to Sapulpa. They made it appear on the railroad maps that Tulsa was but a way station. But the Tulsa commercial club was in the field and it fought the Frisco every inch of the way to make Tulsa grow. Readers of this history know the result; know that within the past year or so big shops have been moved from Sapulpa to Tulsa and the yards created here.
The Frisco took over the Fort Scott & Gulf railroad from Kansas City to Baxter Springs and extended it to Afton, thereby giving Tulsa a direct line to Kansas City, another step in the development of the town that was destined to be a big city.
Despite all the early fights the Frisco could be called John the Baptist, or a missionary preparing the way for settlement and development of this Indian country. When it began to construct its line into the territory, there wasn't a town, a church nor a school near the line the engineers had market out between Vinita and Tulsa.
M. K. & T. RAILROAD
In 1902 surveyors of the M. K. & T. railroad began at Parsons, Kansas, to run a line to Oklahoma City; Another corps of engineers started on a line from Wybark, on the main line north of Muskogee. They intended to connect with the main line from Parsons to Oklahoma City near Pawhuska.
The Frisco at that time was the only railroad Tulsa had for 20 years. Passenger fares were high on its line - five cents per mile in Indian Territory. And Tulsa appeared on the maps only as a flag station.
The Katy engineers from Wybark crossed the Frisco about seven miles east of Tulsa. To build their line on this survey meant death for the struggling town - and the citizens weren't ready to pass out or give up. A committee consisting of Dr. S. G. Kennedy, W. F. Jones, M. J. Romine and T. E. Smiley was appointed to locate the engineers and to have them change their line through Tulsa.
The committee invited the locating engineers to visit Tulsa. A fine supper was prepared at W. F. Jones' home near where Denver avenue now crosses West Archer Street. There was considerable speech making, with Tulsa citizens doing nearly all of it. Members of the committee agreed to help locate a feasible line that would touch Tulsa and the engineer agreed to accept their services. He made good and Doctor Kennedy and Mr. Jones were with him most of the time he was on the job. However, he had acted without permission of the higher-ups in the railroad organization and was discharged. But the survey had been finished!
J. GUS PATTON
J. Gus Patton came to Tulsa about 1900. By an act of congress approved June 28, 1898, provisions were made for the surveying and platting of townsites in the Creek and Cherokee Nations, and
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