Leading up to 1834 to 1895

Contributed by Bob Cooper

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The story begins with some records held at Fort Gibson .. which show where a young man by the name of Jessie B. Turley obtained his trapper/trader license in 1830. History tells us that by 1834, the fur-bearing animals in the 'Three Forks' area were quite depleted and that all serious trapper/ traders had to go westward to ply their trade. With that in mind, the following map of that area for that period of time shows something very significant... that is ... the two roads, (or trails) known as 'Osage Road'. (As you can see on the map below), one of the roads comes up out of Texas, across the Arkansas River into northeastern Oklahoma. The other 'Osage Road' came down from out of Colorado, somewhat following the Arkansas river ending at Fort Gibson.

What should be so noticeable is that where the two roads cross is where the town of Turley exists.

1835 Map

We know from talking to old timers in the Turley Area ... that a Trading Post did exist. And one can not deny that where the two roads cross would be a perfect place for a Trading Post. There is nothing to show that Jessie B. Turley actually owned or operated the Trading Post himself ... or even if he was aware of it's existence. We are simply supposing that the area became known as "Turley", as a result of his showing up in the area for trade quite often. History bears out that he was quite well known by the Indians in Oklahoma.

As we move on up to 1838, we can see that history bears out the Cherokees were forced over into Oklahoma from Georgia. Turley is in the southwest corner of the Cherokee Nation and has quite a Cherokee heritage of which the residents are very proud. In fact, the school eventually was named "Cherokee".

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Linda Haas Davenport