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Council Oak Tree, 1921
The story of the founding of Tulsa isn't complete without a mention of the Council Oak Tree and the story of the Council Oak as related by Chief Perryman.
"When the Upper Creeks started on their long trail from Alabama to the new Indian Territory, a pot of ashes and a burning brand were taken from the council fires at Tulwa. Each day along the trail, a brand would be taken from the previous night's fire to light the fire at the close of a day's march. In this manner, from day to day throughout the entire trip, the camp fires were lighted along the route from the embers of the last camping place. Upon their arrival in the Creek Nation, they selected a site on the crest of a hill overlooking the Arkansas River on which grew a mighty oak tree. The site was high enough that they could view the plains to the south and east. With much ceremony they scattered the ashes over the ground surrounding the tree. This meant to them that their western council fire was actually burning from the flames of their Alabama homeland". (Tulsa's Magic Roots by Nina Lane Dunn (c) 1979; pg 58)
Today the Council Oak Tree and its site is a designated National Historical Site. The tree was large in 1836 when the Creek Indians arrived in what is now Tulsa and the old tree receives the best of care, but as with all things, sooner or later, the tree will die. To preserve this part of Tulsa's history cuttings have been taken from the old tree and are being grow so that when the old tree finally dies its replacement will be a part of the original tree and the Council Oak will live on.
(left to right: J M Hall, C B Peters, Col. Clarence B Douglas)
Contact: Linda Haas Davenport