Tulsa Times A Pictorial History:
The Early Years

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Photographs From the Beryl D. Ford Collection
Text by Susan Everly-Douze
Edited by Terrell Lester
(c) 1986 by: World Publishing company
318 S. Main Mall
P.O. Box 1770
Tulsa, Ok 74102

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Section 3

A Cow Town

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Description of the photos. My comments are between the [ ] Author's captions are in black.


Cattle crossing the Arkansas River at Tulsa about 1890


Cow Town [Short narrative]

..... "Natural fodder was in such abundance that soon great cattle ranches were established locally by Indians and white settlers. Cattle became king in the Creek Nation, and in 1882, the Frisco Railroad extended its line to meet the herds. Tulsa, the cow town, was put on the map." ..... Mrs. Misch [Tulsa historian] provides this vivid account of what it was like to live in Tulsa in its cow town days: "Train load after trail load of cattle were unloaded at the town stockyards within the townsite and the uproar to milling longhorns and yelling cowboys disturbed people for days as the cattle were spread out fanwise for the Osage Pasture or the Big Pasture southeast. Sunbonneted women waited in vain to cross the road to the general store at these times. In rainy weather, newspapers and pages from mail order catalogues were spread over the mire so their rubber boots were not pulled off. When ranch paydays arrived and the range riders galloped their ponies up Main Street shooting out lighted windows, the settlers quickly learned to close the stores, blow out the lamps and lie on the floor. Even the depot remained closed."


Texas Longhorns being herded across the Arkansas River before the turn of the century, taking advantage of a low-water ledge near today's River Parks' pedestrian bridge.


Tulsa businessman J.H. McBirney takes a herd of cattle out of the Arkansas River and into Tulsa. McBirney, born in Tipperary County, Ireland, came to Tulsa in 1897 as a bookkeeper for Tulsa's first bank, the Tulsa Banking co. In 1904, he organized he Bank of Commerce.

[Photo on the left shows a large herd of cattle coming out of the Arkansas River. The one on the right shows two cowboys on their horses in the River]


Tulsa's first railroad bridge, in the background, saved cattlemen a longer haul.

[Photo of a cowboy and some cows on the banks of the Arkansas River with the bridge in the background]


Early Tulsa literally was a cow town. Thousands of head of cattle routinely were driven through downtown, rutting streets and trampling gardens.

[Photo shows the houses of Tulsa with cowboys herding cattle through the houses yards]

80 & 81

It was Fall 1911, and local cowpunchers were overseeing the feeding of 3,100 head of cattle with the city limits.

[three photos of herds of cattle and cowboys]


(top) The Melville B. Baird ranch headquarters at what today is in the vicinity of 4000 North Memorial Drive.

[Lots of cowboys and horses in front of some buildings]

(bottom)The J.M. Daugherty cowboys near Broken Arrow, 1895. Daugherty started his ranch in the Tulsa area in 1885, leasing land from the Creeks. By 1896, he was handling 40,000 head of cattle on what would become one of the biggest ranches in the country.

[Several cowboys in the foreground and cattle spread out in the background]


(top) An Osage County camp.

[Wigwams, fenced in corral, horses and wagons]

(bottom) A typical Indian Territory chuck wagon with some city-slicker guests.


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