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Local History in the Research Center : Tulsa Timeline

CHRONOLOGY OF TULSA EVENTS

1540 

De Soto reaches the thriving Creek Indian settlement Tallasi, on the Talapoosa River in what is now the state of Alabama. Tulsey or Tulsee (the original spelling of Tulsa) later becomes a shortened pronunciation of Tallasi 
(Debo 3-4). 

1796

 

Benjamin Hawkins, United States agent to the Creeks, mentions an independent daughter town of Tallasi, Lochapoka (Place of  Turtles). The Lochapoka will eventually settle in the area of present Tulsa (Debo 5). 

1812

 

Disturbed by the encroachment of the advancing white frontier, a number of the Upper Town Creeks join Tecumseh and the British and begin to wipe out the frontier garrisons and massacre the settlers. Andrew Jackson and other Indian fighters invade the country and crush this opposition (Debo 6). 

1824

 

Fort Gibson is established near the mouth of the Grand River (Debo 9). 

1828

The more subservient Lower Creeks decide to accept the overtures of the United States and estabish a new home beyond the Mississippi. The first party settles at the "Three Forks" of the Grand, Arkansas, and Verdigris rivers near the present Muskogee (Debo 6-7). 

1831

Lieutenant James L. Dawson with a detachment of eight mounted men explore the Arkansas valley from Fort Gibson to the mouth of the Red Fork (Cimarron). His official report of this expedition gives one of the first specific descriptions of the area around Tulsa (Debo 9).

1832

A group of United States rangers is sent up the Arkansas River from Fort Gibson through the Tulsa area to explore the region to the west. They are accompanied by Henry Ellsworth, who had been sent by the government to promote friendship between the different Indian tribes, and by the three travelers, Washington Irving, Charles Joseph Latrobe, and Count Albert de Pourtales. Irving in A Tour of the Praries and Latrobe in The Rambler in North America describe the expedition and give descriptions of the Tulsa area (Debo 10).

1833

At Fort Gibson, the Lower Creeks of the Three Forks settlement make a treaty with the recently arrived Cherokees fixing the boundary between the two tribes: the northern Creek line followed Edison Street and the eastern boundary lay thirty miles east of the city (Debo 9).

1834

To protect the immigrant Indians from the wild native tribes, Dawson, now Captain Dawson, routes a military road from Fort Gibson up the Arkansas to the mouth of the Cimarron, and then across the upland to the mouth of the Little River. Two outposts are established near these locations. The Cimarron post, named Camp Arbuckle, was almost immediately abandoned (Debo 13).

1836

Federal officials call the more conservative Upper Creeks to a council at Lochapoka and urge them to emigrate. They agree, but, before they can orderly evacuate, certain elements of remaining conservative Lower Creeks attack white land-grabbers in the  "Creek Uprising." A mob of frontiersman invade the Upper Creek country, advance to Locahapoka, drive the unresisting Indians into the swamp, and burn the town. The War Department orders General Thomas S. Jesup to enlist the aid of Opothle Yahola, a statesman of the Upper Creeks, and remove "the hostiles" by force. The Lochapoka gather ashes from their sacred fire and begin their journey westward to an unknown destination (Debo 7-8). 

The Lochapokas arrive in Tulsa (Debo 13).

1839

Lewis Perryman settles on the Verdigris River, eighteen miles east of the Lochapoka settlement, and he and his fellow townsmen establish Big Spring ceremonial grounds there (Debo 18).

1843

Robert M. Loughridge and his wife, young Presbyterian missionaries, open a day school and then a boarding school among the Cowetas, and missionaries from this station began preaching in the surrounding settlements (Debo 20).

1848

Lewis Perryman establishes a trading house, Tulsa's first store, at Lochapoka, most likely on the Arkansas near present Thirty-first Street (Debo 19). His home, an enormous story-and-a-half house of hewn logs surrounded by other log buildings used as slave quarters, corncribs, and storehouses, is built near Thirty-Third Street and South Rockford Avenue (Debo 19). Though not citizens of Lochapoka, mixed bloods like the Perrymans settled freely in any part of the Creek Nation. (Debo 20). 

In the late 1840s, the Baptists establish churches at Big Spring with James Perryman, brother of Lewis, as the minister and at Broken Arrow with another native pastor named Yartochee. At the same time, day schools were supported at Concharty, Choska, and Chiaha from the annuities paid by the United States (Debo 20).

1850

Achee Yahola, the chief who led the Lochapokas in the removal and guided them through the first hard years of pioneering, dies of smallpox. It is said that Achee Yahola built the first cabin for his family near the present intersection of First Street and Frisco Avenue. He later moved to a point south and west of the angle formed by the bend in Main Street and was buried near this dwelling (Debo 16-17). 

A full blood named Sapulpa from Osochee, a town on the Chattahoochee in Alabama, opens a store on his Rock Creek farm, about a mile southeast of the present city that bears his name (Debo 18). 

Under a tribal appropriation, the Presbyterians open a large boarding school, which they name Tullahassee, in the Three Forks neighborhood northwest of present Muskogee (Debo 20).

1856

Rev. J. Ross Ramsay of the Tullahasee station travels up the river to preach at "Tulsee-town," providing the first report of a preaching mission to reach the Lochapoka settlement. His artlcle mentions the fact that "Brother Templeton," probably William H. Templeton of the Coweta station, had occasionally preached there during the preceding months (Debo 21). 

The Creeks sign a treaty with the United States that provides $500,000 in cash to compensate them for losses growing out of land cessions and the removal. Federal officials manage to effect the distribution to the "heads" of families rather than to the officers of the town (Debo 23).

1857

A federal census, made after the Lochapokas had recovered somewhat from the hardships of their forced migration, showed that their population had dropped from 565 to 274, a loss of 48 percent (Debo 13). 

The first of two payments, established by the Creek Treaty of 1856, is made resulting in a distribution of $20.10 per capita (Debo 23).

1859

The second of two payments, established by the Creek Treaty of 1856, is made resulting in the distribution of $16.65 per captia (Debo 23).

1861

The United States abandons Indian Territory, and southern delegations work actively to win the Indians over to their side. Some Creeks, Cherokees, and other tribes enter into an alliance with the Confederacy and enlist in the army.  Others repudiate the alliance and begin sending appeals for help and expressions of loyalty to the United States Indian agents in Kansas (Debo 24-25). 

The Union Indians rally around Opothle Yahola, gather up their moveable possessions, round up their livestock, and assemble near the junction of the North Fork and the Deep Fork. They are joined by a number of Seminoles, and a few Union sympathizers from other tribes. Hearing that a force of Texas Cavalry and Confederate Indians under the command of Douglas H. Cooper are planning an attack there, the Indian party moves up the Deep Fork and are joined by the Euchees (Debo 25). 

On November 19th, a detachment of Texas cavalry attack near the present Keystone but are driven back. Opothle Yahola withdraws and retreats toward the east. War records designate this the Battle of Round Mountain (Debo 25). The Lochapoka gather their possessions and join the exodus (Debo 26). 

On December 9th, the battle of Chusto-Talash or Caving Banks is fought between the Union Creeks and Cooper's Confederate troops on Bird Creek, resulting in fifteen Confederate casualties, who were buried on the hillside near the creek bend, an appeal for help to Confederate Colonel James McIntosh, and the retreat of the Union Indians (Debo 27-28). 

On December 26th, McIntosh's troops engage the Union Indians on Hominy Creek, west of present Skiatook, in the Battle of Chustenahlah. McIntosh takes possession of the camp and supplies, and the Union Indians abandon their belongings and flee on foot through the night and all the next day to Kansas (Debo 29). In the following days, the refugees are pursued, and some are captured. The refugees that escape and survive collect on the Verdigris in southern Kansas and later move to a camp near LeRoy on the Neosho (Grand) River (Debo 31).

1863

Federal officials convince the Union Creeks in the refuge camps to cede a tract of land for the purpose of colonizing tribes from Kansas in the Indian Territory. The chiefs agree to surrender the land along the north and east side of the Arkansas, including the home of the Lochapokas (Debo 33).

1864

In the summer, the refugees are brought to the neighborhood of Fort Gibson, now held by Union forces (Debo 33). 

In September, Brigadier General Richard M. Gano with a Texas brigade, and Stand Watie with his Cherokees cross the Arkansas above present Muskogee, pass through the site of Pryor, and capture a Union supply train of more than 250 loaded wagons at the crossing of Cabin Creek. They burn part of the supply trains and retreat with the rest, passing through Tulsey town and crossing the Arkansas at a place known as "Gano's Crossing" (Debo 34).

1866

The Lochapoka return to their desolated settlement (Debo 34). 

The Unites States Congress makes provisions for the building of one north-south and one east-west road across the Indian Territory (Debo 50).

1867

A United States census shows that the Lochapoka has a population of 264 and that the Creek Nation as a whole has lost 24 percent of its population (Debo 36). 

The Creek Nation, under the influence of mission school graduates, adopts a written constitution modeled after that of the United States (Debo 42).

1872

The Osage reservation is settled (Debo 47).

1879

On March 25th, Tulsa's first post office is established at George B. Perryman's ranch house located north of present Forty-first Street between Peoria and Utica avenues. George's brother, Josiah C. Perryman, is made postmaster, and the office is designated as "Tulsa" (Debo 37).

1880

On April 8th, a second post office in the Tulsa region is established at Wealaka, close to the home of Pleasant Porter, on the south side of the Arkansas near present Leonard. Wealaka serves as a new school site after Tullahassee is destroyed by fire. Robert M. Loughridge is placed in charge of the school (Debo 46). 

White cattlemen begin to occupy the Creek country (Debo 65). W.E. Halsell, a young Texan married to a Texas girl of Cherokee descent, comes and establishes his right, as an intermarried Cherokee, to use the Cherokee range. He goes on to operate the largest ranch in the Tulsa area: his holdings extend from the Creek line north almost to Bartlesville, and from the Osage line almost to the Verdigris, and his Mashed O brand was known throughout the southwest (Debo 67).

1881

A neighborhood school, possibly at the Sand Springs, operates during the school year of 1881-1882 with a reported enrollment of thirty-six and an average attendance of fifteen, of which only one was able to speak English (Debo 45).

1882

In January, grading of the railroad [Atlantic and Pacific], from Vinita to the Verdigris River in Catoosa and then to Tulsa, begins (Debo 53). 

On May 1, Antoine Gillis moves to Tulsa with his family, and camps under a blackjack between Archer and Elwood, the first white residents of the city (Debo 53). 

In the summer, Harry C. Hall, a contractor for a railroad company, and his brother, James Monroe Hall, in charge of the company store that moved from terminal to terminal with the advance of the railroad, pitch a tent on the north side of railroad right of way, between Main Street and Boston Avenue (Debo 52-53). The grading is complete to a station located on the Cherokee side of the line at Lewis Avenue, but H.C. Hall and other white men persuade the railroad's chief construction engineer to move the terminal into Creek country, where the tribal laws were believed to be more liberal to non-citizen traders. The engineer complies and the terminal is placed at the present [1943] Union Station. A railroad engineer runs a line south-southeast at right angles to the track, along what is now Main Street. This furnishes the basis of the later townsite survey and explains the diagonal direction of Tulsa's business section (Debo 54). 

Chauncey Owen establishes a tent boardinghouse north of the terminal right of way, supplying the contractors with beef and other supplies from his farm (Debo 54). 

Dr. W.P. Booker, the city's first physician, occupies another tent as his office (Debo 54). 

The first passenger train reaches Tulsa the morning of August 21st (Debo 54). 

In the summer, Robert Childers, a Creek citizen who had served as judge of Coweta district, moves to Tulsa and puts up what is believed to be the first of the new houses on the present Cheyenne Avenue between Archer and Brady streets (Debo 55). 

During the winter, Owen's tent is replaced with a frame hotel, the "Tulsa House" (Debo 55). 

Thomas Jefferson (Jeff) Archer, a young mixed-blood Cherokee, erects the first store building, a box shack twelve by fourteen, of rough lumber, with a tent roof. 3 (Debo 55). 

Conservative Creeks, led by a full blood Isparhecher (pronounced Spi-hee-chee), rise in arms against the constitutional government in the insurrection known as the Green Peach War (Debo 56). 

A Sunday school is organized when Mrs. Slater, a Congregationalist and the wife of a carpenter working on the railroad station, invites Dr. Booker, a Baptist, and J.M. Hall, a Presbyterian, to the Slater tent on the south side of the right of way, west of the present Main Street (Debo 60).

1883

The Archer store opens for business. The Perryman brothers open a new store in the area, and the post office is moved here. H.C. Hall opens a store (Debo 55). 

J.M. Hall succeeds Perryman as postmaster, and the post office is moved to the Hall store. George Perryman opens a livery stable. The town now has two practicing physicans, a drugstore, a lumber yard, and a subscription school for children of the settlers (Debo 55).

Bill Sennett pitches a tent near the the Gillis Family, bringing race horses that ran from the present intersection of Elgin Avenue and the Frisco tracks. Later, Sennet moves east of town and builds a regular race track which extends north from the corner of Pine Street and Peoria Avenue (Debo 56). 

The Indian agent at Muskogee employs a force of "Indian police" to restrain the lawless and to spill the cargoes of forbidden firewater that are smuggled into Indian country. Noah Partridge, Daniel Drew, and J.B. Burgess are chosen to serve in this capacity at Tulsa (Debo 60). 

Robert M. Loughridge rides up from Wealaka and preaches what is probably the first sermon in new Tulsa on the front porch of the Hall store (Debo 61). 

Railway officials construct a temporary bridge across the Arkansas. The new terminal receives the name of Red Fork (Debo 65). 

Crane and Larimer, ranchmen from Kansas, come to Pawhuska and obtain a ten-year lease of eighty-five thousand acres from the Osage Council. The Cherokees lease all the unoccupied portion of the Outlet to the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association (Debo 68).

1884

The teacher of the subscription school turns out to be a professional gambler, parents withdraw their children, and the school dies. They appeal to Rev. W.P. Haworth, a Presbyterian missionary at Vinita, and his board sends him to take charge of the Tulsa work. The mission school building, a white, barn-like structure with a belfry is constructed at the southeast corner of present Fourth Street and Boston Avenue. Among its teachers is Lilah D. Lindsey, a highly educated descendant of the Perrymans who had formerly served on the Wealaka faculty (Debo 61).  

On January 3rd, a post office is established at Red Fork (Debo 65). The Muskogee newspaper characterizes Red Fork as probably the biggest shipping point in Indian Territory, listing numbers of cattle carloads handled at the terminal (Debo 66). 

Alvin T. Hodge, a Perryman descendant, comes to Tulsa from Broken Arrow and establishes a pasture between Elgin and Lewis avenues (Debo 70). The Creek ranchmen organize a livestock association, electing Pleasant Porter as president (Debo 71).

1885

On October 5th, Haworth organizes a Presbyterian church in the mission building (Debo 62).

1886

The Methodist Episcopal church is organized at the mission building, holding its services there until it is moved to is own building on North Main Street (Debo 62). 

George Perryman, now operating a large ranch with thousands of cattle (5 Brand), moves his family from the White House to a two-story house with a cupola, in the block that is later occupied by the Tulsa County Courthouse (Debo 70).

1889

L.C. Perryman, principal chief of the Creeks, persuades the council to encourage citizens to fence out all of the Texas cattle that drift or are driven into the Creek country. A law is passed permitting Creeks to enclose large tracts along the border, and when these pastures are built, they are leased to the Texas cattlemen (Debo 69). 

The first United States Court in Indian Territory is established at Muskogee (Debo 77).

1890

The first Roman Catholic services are held in a private home (Debo 62).

1893

The Southern Methodist church is organized at the mission building (Debo 62). 

The Cherokee Outlet opens, and the United States government appoints the Dawes Commission to close out the affairs of the Creeks, Cherokees, and other tribes who owned the eastern half of present-day Oklahoma (Debo 76-77).

1894

Jeff Archer is killed when a gun goes off in his store and strikes a keg of powder (Debo 73).

1895

A Federal judge rules that Indian Territory towns have the right to incorporate. 

The town at this time has thirty-eight business firms operating under traders' licenses, Indian businessmen, who pay no license, and "intruders," who dodge license obligations. Among the "trading houses" is a bank, organized this year by Jay Forsythe, two or more mills, and three weekly newspapers: the Indian Republican, predecessor of the World, the Tulsa Democrat, predecessor of the Tribune, and the Tulsa Review (Debo 78).

1897

The Baptists begin services in Tulsa (Debo 62).

1898

Tulsa is incorporated on January 18th, 1898. Edward Calkins becomes the first mayor, Wess Kennedy becomes the city marshal, C.B. Lynch becomes the city treasurer, and J.M. Hall becomes president of the school board (Debo 78).

The mission school holds its last session 1898-1899 (Debo 79). 

The Curtis Act is passed, providing for the platting and sale of Indian Territory townsites (Debo 79). Land allotment begins. Each Indian is allowed to select the tract on which his dwelling is located. Large landholders had to surrender all their holdings in excess of the alotted acreage unless their children were numerous enough to keep them under family control (Debo 84).

1899

Hall and three other Tulsans borrow $1,050 to purchase the mission school property in their own names until the city is able to repay them. The mission school building is raised two stories and opens as a public school in the fall (Debo 79).

1901

An agreement is drawn up with the Dawes Commission and ratified by the Creeks on May 25th. Under the terms of the agreement, a Federal townsite commission, of which one member was to be nominated by the Creek chief, was authorized to plat and appraise the townsites (Debo 79-80). 

On June 25th, oil is discovered, through the efforts of Dr. Fred Clinton, son of Charles Clinton, and Dr. J.C.W. Bland, an intermarried white man, in Red Fork. The discovery well was drilled on a farm held by Mrs. Bland under tribal tenure (Debo 80, 85). 

J. Gus Patton and his younger brother, Dan W. Patton, plat the townsite, using the Frisco track as the baseline and the old, informal designation of Main Street. The parallel streets are designated as avenues, naming them for American cities: western cities-Boulder, Cheyenne, Denver, and so on-lying alphabetically west of Main and eastern cities-Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit-lying in the same succession east. This townsite had a total are of 654.58 acres, and it was all in the Creek Nation. The townsite commission fixed the total valuation at $107,173.30. (Debo 81-82).

1902

The sale of the townsite lots takes place. The Creek Nation realizes $659 from the sale (Debo 82). 

The Commercial Club is organized with G.W. Mowbray as president (Debo 86).

1903

On July 10th, the Secretary of Interior issues regulations permittng leasing of allotted land, including land outside of the townsite that had previously been restrticted, under Department supervision (Debo 86). 

The Katy railroad is built through Tulsa (Debo 86). 

1904

Tulsa outgrows its townsite, and the Dawes Commission recommends removal of restrictions from the sale of tracts needed for townsite additions (Debo 84-85). 

The first wagon bridge over the Arkansas is completed on January 2nd. M. L. Baird, George T. Williamson, and J.D. Hagler constructed the toll bridge with their own capital. A sign at the entrance reads, "You said we couldn't do it, but we did" (Debo 87-88). 

Mrs. W.N. Robinson and several other women form a musical organization which they name the Hyechka Club from the Creek word for music. Mrs. Fred Clinton becomes its first president (Debo 110). 

1905

On November 22nd, Robert Galbreath and Frank Chesly are drilling a wildcat on the allotment of Ida E. Glen, about ten miles south of Red Fork, when it blows into production. The Glenn Pool quickly becomes the richest small fiedl in the world (Debo 88). 

The First National Bank building, a five-story "skyscraper" with an elevator is completed. A new Robinson hotel is completed at Third and Main and becomes a resort for rich oil men trading leases and swinging big deals (Debo 88). 

1906

A committee of the United States Senate meets with oil men and the Commercial Club at the Elks' Hall in the Seaman Building on West Third. The oil men are there to protest against governmental restrictions that hinder oil industry development. A number of full blood indians attend the meeting and choose Chitto Harjo (Crazy Snake) as their spokesman. David M. Hodge interprets for Harjo who asks the government officials to uphold the removal treaty with the Creeks, the treaty that promised the Creeks that their lands in the West should always remain under their own institutions (Debo 96). 

1907

The Commercial Club gives twenty acres to induce a refinery from Humboldt, Kansas to locate here. It opens on a small scale with only one still, but is significant because it is Tulsa's first refinery (Debo 90). 

Henry Kendall College, a Presbyterian institution established in Muskogee in 1894, is brought to Tulsa, and two red brick buildings are constructed on a hill two and a half miles miles east of the business district. The Kendall College bell rings out the news of statehood on November 16th (Debo 90). 

The city's population is 7,298, an increase of 425 percent in seven years (Debo 90). 

1908

Charles Page founds a home for orphans and a widow's colony on land acquired at the Sand Springs (Debo 102). 

1910

The city's population is 18,182 (Debo 97).

The Oil and Gas Journal, formerly Oil Investor's Journal, moves its main offices from Beaumont, Texas to Tulsa (Debo 97). 

The City's first park, Owen Park, officially opens on June 8th (TPC 7). 

1913

Joshua S. Cosden, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, who had been operating a small refinery in Osage County, comes to Tulsa and buys an eighty-acre tract in West Tulsa on the south side of the Arkansas. It opens with a daily capacity of five thousand barrels (Debo 99). 

1914

The Municipal Convention Hall is constructed at a cost of $125,000 (Debo 99). 

The Holy Family Church at Ninth and Boulder is completed and dedicated (Debo 99). 

1915

Waite Phillips makes his first big strike in Okmulgee County (Debo 104). 

1917

In the fall, a white-robed secret organization calling itself the "Knights of Liberty" takes a party of IWW members from the police to the edge of town, and there whips, tarrs, and feathers them, ordering them to leave the community (Debo 101). 

1921

Racial bitterness culminates in the Tulsa Race Riot. For two days the city is under martial law (Debo 101). 

The Presbyterians release control of Henry Kendall College, and it is chartered as the University of Tulsa (Debo 106). 

1922

In 1922 and 1923, Tulsans vote seven and a half million dollars in bonds for a new water system. A dam is built on Spavinaw Creek, forming a lake. A tunnel is blasted through the hills, and a concrete conduit is built to the city, carrying the water by gravity alone. The water is then impounded in Mohawk and Sequoyah lakes on the northeast of the city. From there, the water is pumped to a high pressure reservoir on summit of Reservoir Hill (Debo 107). 

1923

Tulsa establishes the International Petroleum Exposition, an oil show to be held every ten years in May (Debo 108).

1925

Mid-Continent Petroleum Corporation takes over the Cosden Refinery (Debo 99).

1927

It is estimated that more than a milion dollars month is spent on downtown building in Tulsa (Debo 105).

Red Fork is annexed into the city (Debo 108). 

The Tulsa Civic Symphony organizes, giving concerts in the Convention Hall (Debo 110). 

1928

The Tulsa Airport Corporation, a group of city leaders, purchases an airport site and makes improvements (Debo 109). 

W.G. Skelly, founder of Skelly Oil Company and president of the International Petroleum Exposition, organizes Spartan Aircraft Company (Debo 109). 

1929

The city acquires Tulsa Municipal Airport from the Tulsa Airport Corporation (Debo 109).

1930

Skelly Stadium, a gift of W.G. Skelly and other citizens, is built for the use of the University (Debo 108).

1938

Waite Philips and his wife turn their residence at 2727 Rockford Road over to the public (Debo 104). 

1939

The Philbrook Art Center and Indian Museum is opened (Debo 104). 

In July, the Spartan School of Aeronautics begins training flying cadets and mechanics for the United States Army Air Corps (Debo 114). 

1941

The United States government begins construction of a bomber assembly plant on land close to the municipal airport, to be operated by the Douglas Aircraft Company of Santa Monica California. (Debo 113). 

In June, the Spartan School of Aeronautics begins training cadets from the Royal Air Force (Debo 114). 

In September, the city is selected as headquarters for the technical training command of the United States Army Air Corps (Debo 113). 

1942

J. Paul Getty of Los Angeles succeeds Skelly as president of the Spartan Company (Debo 114). 

Sources

Tulsa: From Creek Town to Oil Capital (1943) by Angie Debo

A Neighborhood History of Tulsa's Owen Park (1998) from Tulsa Preservation Commission