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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 10, No. 1
March, 1932
THE MUSKOGEE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Parthenia Gregory

Page 10

At a meeting of the Muskogee Historical Society February 29, plans were advanced for appropriate celebration of two important events in Oklahoma history having their location near Muskogee. A committee was appointed to devise plans for the proper observance of Washington Irving's visit to Fort Gibson and his departure upon the celebrated adventure that he preserved in his immortal "Commerce on the prairies." On October 8, 1832, Irving and his party reached the post where he became the guest in the log quarters of the commandant Gen. Matthew Arbuckle; two days later, escorted by Gov. Sam Houston and others he had met there, his party departed on their tour of the western country and returned a month later. It is planned by the society to stage a pageant next October that will depict the principal scenes and events connected with Irving's presence at the post and the expedition to the west so faithfully described by him. It is believed this celebration will be an event that will attract a large attendance from all over the eastern part of the state. It is planned also to secure the cooperation of the school superintendents and teachers in directing the attention of pupils to Washington Irving's visit and its significance, and the study of his book depicting the country and the people seen by him in this state one hundred years ago.

Another matter of historical importance that was discussed is that of acquiring the title to the site of old Fort Gibson and properly marking it. The city of Fort Gibson has agreed to convey the site of the original fort as it existed from 1824 for about twenty years, to the Muskogee Historical Society for historical purposes and proper commemoration. It is planned to surround the old site with a low wall to be constructed of stone from the old barracks buildings; a permanent flag staff is to be erected in the center where a hundred years ago a flag was run up every morning to catch the first rays of the rising sun. And with

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the assistance of Congressman Hastings it is hoped to secure from the Government a suitable marker on which will be noted some of the principal features that made this post the most important on the western frontier during the days of its great usefulness.

The Muskogee Historical Society is qualified to take title to real estate as it was duly incorporated under the laws of Oklahoma in September, 1920. The purpose of the society as stated in its charter are to "cooperate with the purposes of the Oklahoma Historical Society; to preserve and diffuse ethnological data and the materials of the archaeology and history of that part of Oklahoma formerly occupied and owned by the Creek and Cherokee Indians; the memorials of its pioneers, the evidences of its development in industry, arts, civics, and literature and all the elements of progressive civilization; to institute and encourage historical inquiry and to inculcate interest and pride in our history; to mark the passing of a race of people and the genesis and growth of a new civilization; to perpetuate American traditions and ideals and to teach rising generations our debt to those who have gone before and our responsibilities to the future."

This society was incorporated by Miss Alice Robertson, Laura E. Hardin, Grant Foreman, J. N. Wilkinson, Elma W. Wilmarth, C. J. Crabtree and J. L. Templeton. Early in its history in a very substantial manner it justified its existence. Mr. Foreman secured from Miss Alice Robertson her consent to deposit in its quarters in the Muskogee Public Library building her large collection of Indian relics. Securing a transfer wagon Mr. and Mrs. Foreman spent a hot summer day in carrying these objects out of Miss Robertson's home, Sawokla, loading them in the wagon and arranging them for proper display in the room assigned them. It was not long afterward that Sawokla burned and these priceless relics would have been consumed also if they had not been thus preserved. But they were saved for Miss Alice afterward to present them to the University of Tulsa where they are now well arranged for public inspection. In addition to the Robertson relics there is a very fine collection of beaded Indian Material

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donated to the Muskogee Historical Society by the will of the late Mr. Alex Sondheimer which are still on display in the public library building at Muskogee.

On the motion of Judge R. L. Williams, the society voted to direct the secretary to make this report of its activities and forward it to the secretary of the Oklahoma Historical Society to be included in the forthcoming issue of the Chronicles of Oklahoma in the hope that other communities and counties will become interested in organizing for the purposes in which the Muskogee society is engaged.

Parthenia Gregory, Secretary.

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