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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.
Red Fork Trail by the late Dr. J. C. W. Bland (con't)
years ago. With his coming followed the shipment of cattle by his friends and associates from Okmulgee, Eufaula, Mill Creek, and many now far away points.
These opportunities remained for some time. The railroad extended to Sapulpa in 1885, but no enterprise except a blacksmith shop located there for the next five years, because of the advantageous situation of Red Fork. When the settlement from Oklahoma began to come east into Indian Territory, trade was attracted to Sapulpa. In time Red Fork lost its pioneer store. With a faith in fitness the town was kept on the map. A new railroad scheme was worked out and a commissary store was established in one of the pioneer store buildings. The enterprise was backed by capital from Joplin and Nevada, Missouri.
Again Red Fork became a busy mart, Tulsa's interest grew keener. Tulsa had the only bank available. Dr. J. C. W. Bland and Dr. F. S. Clinton, enthusiastic if not affluent, helped start the enterprise and backed it to the last. No mention is made of more active builders because the enterprise failed in the Battle Axe grade. The oncoming war with Spain spoiled the plan, after many miles had been built and paid for.
An effort to find oil three miles west of Nickle creek failed but showed the sand. Sapulpa had become an important town, and through Charles (Grist Mill) Jones succeeded in extending the Frisco railroad to Oklahoma City. That was when Sapulpa became the Frisco division. Now the remaining pioneer store moved away. The town was still kept on the map by having Dr. Bland appointed postmaster and establishing a small store, soon followed by a store of J B. Hall and Co.
Another proposition presented itself. There was a coal field three miles south, with drains of mineral oil, and hopes of oil arose. A carload of coal had been previously loaded, refused by buyers, and given away for its unloading.
J. S. Wicks, associated with the aforementioned dry well, insisted that oil would be found at Red Fork. He had all the support that could be given him by Dr. Bland and Dr. Clinton and due to this in June, 1901, oil was found, making this section of the country the center of oil excitement. This was really the beginning of the spirit that developed the Mid-Continent oil field. With low prices the industry dragged.
Another opportunity was offered to anyone for railroad building, when Red Fork was offered the chance to locate a route for the Frisco. The survey coming in from the west by Pawnee. An interested crowd from the small towns along the route depended on some one showing them a practical road from Red Fork (Cimarron) down the Arkansas river.
McWilley had charge of locating and piloting the route. Brown and Kelley secured the contract.
The success of this railroad building assured the union with Tulsa.
Shall the name of Red Fork be retained for all the section to the southwest of the river or shall it be called Tulsa Town?
Brief Histories of the Earliest Tulsans (con't)
John D. Seaman came to Tulsa in 1890 and was a contractor and builder, erecting a number of the town's best buildings. From the first he was interested in the opportunities Tulsa offered. He took a lively interest in politics, too, serving once as postmaster. (Deceased.)
Dave Shelton came to Tulsa from Alabama in 1887 and was a clerk in R. N. Bynum's store about 12 years. In more recent years he has been looking after his investments in real estate and business property, He married after coming to Tulsa and is the father of several children. The Shelton home is at Eighth street and Detroit avenue. Mr. Shelton was one of the members of the first park board.
Tom Shackle became a citizen of Tulsa in 1891. He was a native of Iowa and was graduated from the Kansas school of pharmacy in 1887. He was a prescription clerk in the J. M Morrow drug store until 1897 when he engaged in business for himself. His drug store is at Tenth and Main streets at the present time. He has been in the drug business longer than any other present day Tulsan. He married after coming to Tulsa and there is one son in the family.
John Smith was in the coal business here for a number of years, having arrived in Tulsa at an early date. He died a year or two ago but is fondly remembered by the pioneers.
Andy Stokes came to Tulsa in 1898. He clerked in a store for several years, then engaged in the grocery business for himself on West Second street. He was successful in this business. For many years he has been in the livestock business northeast of Tulsa. He and his wife and one son live at 1110 S. Elwood ave. He also has a son and daughter married.
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