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 History of the Opening of Oklahoma


The Indian Tribes Settlement of Oklahoma

Many people have family stories about an Indian Ancestor. When most people think of Indians they think of Cherokees. However, there were/are many different Indian Tribes in Oklahoma. Look at the history of the settlement of Oklahoma and note the Indian tribes that inhabited a given county, it may give you a clue as to which tribal rolls to check.

Address delivered by the Hon. Edger S. Vaught. Nov 14, 1945. before the Daughters or the American revolution, in Oklahoma City, Ok. Reprinted in The Chronicles of Oklahoma Pg 386-393. 1945

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      "I was once told, 'The trouble with you people in Oklahoma is that you have no history. You are too new to have a history.' Because of that statement I began to devote more time to the study of Oklahoma History. Imagine my astonishment when the history or Oklahoma was fully reveled."
      154O-1542. Coronado came through Okla from Mexico. Note the Spanish origin or some Okla names, Santa Fe, Cimarron, Canadian (from Rio Canada). Rio Mora (for Mulberry) and once, Rio Nutria (for Heaver Creek). At about the same time as Coronado was wandering through Okla. the French (who were great hunters and fishermen) were coming up the Mississippi River to the Arkansas and then by the Ark to the present Sites of Ft. Gibson and Muskogee. French names are scattered throughout Okla; Fourche,Maline, Sallisaw. Dardenne, Poteau and Sans Bois. The Spanish and the French both claimed what is now Oklahoma. In 1763, by the Treaty of Paris, France ceded all of the Louisiana territory to Spain, until 1800 when Spain ceded the Louisiana territory back to France, on the condition that if it was ever again ceded away from France, it should revert to Spain. In1803 however Napoleon ceded what was known as the Louisiana Purchase, which included all of the French territory west of the Mississippi, north of the Spanish possessions, to the US.
      From 1803 until 1819 the US and Spain differed over the boundary line between their respective possessions. Spain claimed possession of all that section north and northwest or Mexico, including what is now Texas, New Mexico. Oklahoma and a portion of what is now, Colorado, Arizona and California. In a treaty signed in 1819 the US end Spain agreed that the Red River would constitute the boundary between their respective possessions. In that same year Congress created Arkansas Territory which included the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma.
      Up until 1820 when Congress proceeded to make some provisions for the segregation of the various Indian Tribes in order that there might be less conflict between the Indians and the whites, Oklahoma was a hunters paradise. The French hunters and tradesmen, among who were the Chouteaus. collected vast stores of hides and skins and carried then down the Arkansas River to New Orleans for sale. In 1824 there were more than two thousand hunters in this territory.
      In 1832 Congress appointed the Stokes Commission to deal with the Indians in this new territory and to negotiate treaties with them. The tribes represented in Oklahoma at the time were; Senecas, Choctaws, Cherokees, Creeks, Osages, Wichitas, Wacoes, Comanches, Kiowas, Delawares, Quapaws, Seminoles, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Sac and Foxes, Pawnees. Iowas, Kickapoos, Shawnees, Potawatomis, Poncas, Sioux, Otoes and Missouris. Besides which, Oklahoma, being a hunters paradise. was traveled through and hunted in by most of the southern Indian tribes also. Most of Oklahoma's native tribes (wild Indians) previously had most of their contact with Mexico and many spoke Spanish.
      Just prior to the appointment of the Stokes Commission. President Jackson had made treaty with the Indians east of the Mississippi to be moved to Indian Territory. (The Cherokees, Choctsws, Chickasaws Creeks and Seminoles). All of these tribes were to be moved to Arkansas Territory. However, Arkansas was admitted as a state in 1836 and what is now Oklahoma became Indian Territory. Set aside strictly for the Indians and forbidden to whites.
     This is the period called the "Trail of Tears" when the Five Civilized Tribes were forced to leave their homes, the burial grounds or their ancestors and all of those things so traditionally dear to them, in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida and establish new homes in Indian Territory. Many Cherokees escaped and returned to the Great Smokey Mountains and now there is a reservation set-aside for them in North Carolina.
      Many of the Indian tribes had Negro slaves, so in the Civil War they took the side of the Confederacy against the Union.
     In 1866, Congress again disturbed the relations existing in Indian Territory. Many thousands of acres of land in the central portion of Indian Territory was unoccupied and the demand for additional land for white settlement was great. So in 1889 Congress opened a section of Okla for settlement under the "Land Run". Logan. Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian. Kingfisher and Payne counties were established in 1889 in the area opened for settlement.
      In May 1890 the Territory was organized as a government. A governor and other territorial officers were appointed. a legislature was elected and a form of government was in force in the Territory.
      In September 1891, the US Government made a treaty with the Sac and Fox Indians and opened the land for settlements. Known as Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties.
      In April 1892, treaties were made with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe for sections of their land. Blaine, Dewey, Day, Roger Mills, Custer and Washita were made counties.
      In 1893 by treaty with the Cherokees, the government came into possession of what is known as "the Cherokee Strip", extending from the Osage country to the Texas border, a territory larger than the state or Massachusetts. This section was opened in 1893. Under a second "Land Run". Kay, Grent, Garfield. Pawnee, Woods. Woodward and Noble counties were formed.
      In 1901 the government purchased the area of current day Kiowa, Comanche and Caddo counties from the Iowa and Comanches.
      Greer County in Okls was claimed by Texas and Okla Territories from 1845 to 1896, when congress gave Greer Co to Oklahoma. The most famous lawsuit in Oklahoma's judicial history is the lawsuit fought between Texas and Oklahoma over Greer County.
      In June 1906 Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were admitted to the Union as one state called "Oklahoma". By November 16, 1907. Oklahoma had a written constitution and it formally began its career as the 46th state to be admitted to the Union.

To learn more about Oklahoma visit their web page at:

If you want to know more about Native Americans and/or search on-line records for a possible ancestor. Visit my Native American Links page

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