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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 12, No. 4
December, 1934

Page 486

October 25, 1934

Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society was held in the Historical building, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 25, 1934, at 10:00 A. M., with Judge Thomas H. Doyle, vice president, presiding in the absence of the president.

The secretary called the roll which showed the following members present: Judge R. L. Williams, Dr. E. E. Dale, Dr. Grant Foreman, Gen. William S. Key, Judge Baxter Taylor, Judge Thomas A. Edwards, Judge William P. Thompson, Dr. Emma Estill-Harbour, Gen. Charles F. Barrett, Mr. Jasper Sipes, Mrs. Frank Korn, Dr. Joseph B. Thoburn, Mr. George H. Evans, Gen. R. A. Sneed, Judge Thomas H. Doyle, and Dan W. Peery, the secretary.

The secretary also reported that Mrs. Blanche Lucas and Mrs. Roberta Lawson had sent notices of their inability to attend this meeting, and it was also reported that Judge John B. Meserve was ill.

The secretary read the minutes of the Board meeting held July 26, 1934, which were approved as read.

The secretary read his report for the 3d quarter ending October 25, 1934, which was received and ordered filed.

The chairman of the committee on removal of Indian records from the various Indian Agencies to the Historical building requested Dr. Grant Foreman, a member of the committee, to make the report.

Dr. Foreman reported that an inventory of the records in the office of the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes at Muskogee had been completed by Mrs. Rella Watts, and the records could be moved to the Historical building as soon as arrangements were made for transportation, and a carbon copy of the inventory was delivered to the secretary.

* * *

Dr. Grant Foreman presented the following resolution:

Be it resolved by the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society that, for the preservation, arrangement and cataloging of the manuscript material now in the custody of the state or hereafter to be acquired, the same be committed to the care and supervision of Mrs. Rella Watts, and her successor, who shall be accountable to this Board for the same, and that inasmuch as the care and classification of this material will entail a great amount of labor that her time and labor shall be given to this work and she shall not be expected to attend to any other duties.

Be it further resolved that Mrs. Watts, and her successor, shall have the care of the bound typed copies of manuscripts and photostatic copies of manuscripts now in the vault of the historical building; that all of the typed, photostated and manuscript material of the society shall be available to students and all persons seriously engaged in the study of the same; provided, however, that they shall be available to such students in the room provided for the purpose and in the presence of Mrs. Watts, and her successor, who alone shall have authority to remove the same from their filing cases or other depository and deliver

Page 487

them to students for examination; and that when such examination is completed the person using same shall be required to return it to Mrs. Watts and her successor who shall personally return it to the files.

Be it further resolved that the large room on the second floor of the building of the historical society at the southeast corner and adjoining the Directors' room is hereby set apart for the housing of such manuscript material as now is or may hereafter be available for study and Mrs. Watts and her successor is hereby made personally responsible to the Board for the custody and safeguarding of said. files and in order to carry out the purpose of the Board she shall be furnished keys to the doors thereof and shall have the exclusive authority to have said keys.

And be it further resolved by the Board that the janitors are hereby ordered and directed to close and lock the doors of said room immediately on leaving the same after the performance of their duties; and that the door shall at no time be allowed to stand open and unlocked except when Mrs. Watts and her successor is present.

It is further resolved that Mrs. Watts be supplied with a lined blank book in which she shall require all persons examining the files in her custody to write their names with the date and address on every occasion when they shall receive and examine such files.

Dr. Foreman moved that this resolution be adopted, which motion was seconded.

Judge Williams moved to amend by adding that in addition to the southeast room, east of the Directors' room, that the west room of the museum on the fourth floor be also set aside in which to place the steel cases, and that cases be not placed against partition walls but against outside walls, and not be placed except on recommendation of the architect or engineer regarding the weight and safety. The amendment was accepted and the motion as amended was unanimously carried.

Doctor Grant Foreman read the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the State of Oklahoma and its inhabitants are concerned with the preservation of all existing historical records for the benefit of the present and future generations in the pursuit of the history of this commonwealth and its people,

AND WHEREAS, the Oklahoma Historical Society has been created by law as the agency for the study and preservation of our history for the benefit of the citizens of this State and their descendants,

AND WHEREAS, there is a peculiar obligation resting upon the present generation to preserve intact all records, monuments and indices of present and preceding history of our State,

AND WHEREAS, it has come to the attention of this Board that certain persons from this State and from outside the State are engaged in the destruction and mutilation of prehistoric mounds in the eastern part of the State, and the removal therefrom of artifacts and other evidences of a prior civilization and of human habitation and human life within the limits of this State, and said persons are not pursuing this course for any scientific or historical purpose but solely for the object of selling the same,

AND WHEREAS, the destruction of these mounds is resulting in irreparable loss to the present and future generation of this State for

Page 488

the reason that they are thereby destroying evidences of previous life and civilization that if preserved would be of inestimable value to our commonwealth in the pursuit and study of our history,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this Board of Directors deplores such actions and declares it to be the purpose of this society to stop the same if it can be done, and the Board earnestly requests all persons engaged in such activities to desist from the same and to permit these monuments of a departed race to remain intact so that when funds for the purpose are available the mounds and their contents may be studied in a systematic manner that will promote the study of the lives and history of those who lived here before us.

And the Board of Directors respectfully calls this matter to the attention of the governor and the next legislature with the hope that some means may be invoked by the constituted authorities of the State to prevent the further spoilation of these priceless relics.

Upon motion of Dr. E. E. Dale the resolution was unanimously adopted.

The question of having a caretaker at the old barracks building at Fort Gibson when the repairs are completed was discussed by Dr. Grant Foreman.

Judge R. L. Williams moved that Dr. Grant Foreman be authorized to take charge of the matter and arrange to have a custodian live in the barracks without expense to the Society. Motion was seconded and unanimously carried.

Judge R. L. Williams moved that the secretary request the Hon. W. W. Hastings to sit in the Watton Studio and have a picture made and properly framed with a marker and hung on the walls of the historical building, and that Hon: W. W. Hastings be given a life membership in the Society for his efforts in securing the passage of an Act by the Congress of the United States to authorize the secretary of the Interior to place with the Historical Society records of the Five Civilized Tribes and other Indian tribes in Oklahoma. Motion was seconded and unanimously carried.

Dr. Grant Foreman discussed the project for the restoration of the stockade at Fort Gibson, work to be done with the assistance of the director of the FERA.

Dr. Emma Estill-Harbour moved that this Society declare itself in favor of the project of restoring the old stockade and Fort Gibson and that Mr. Giles, director of the FERA, be asked to provide funds out of the Federal aid. Motion was seconded and carried.

Dr. J. B. Thoburn moved that Dr. Grant Foreman and Dr. E. E. Dale put the resolution in formal wording, and by consent Dr. J. B. Thoburn was asked to serve on this committee. Upon being seconded the motion was carried.

Dr. Grant Foreman presented to the Society an iron spoon, a relic from the old Cherokee Male Seminary, an ancient mule shoe and some iron spikes taken from the bed of Grand river, and a picture of the staff and line officers in the First Territorial regiment, U. S. V., taken at Camp Churchman, Georgia, in 1899, the latter being the gift of Mrs. Grant Foreman.

Page 489

Judge Thomas A. Edwards moved that these items be accepted and the donors thanked for their contribution. Motion was seconded and carried.

Judge Wm. P. Thompson moved that Judge R. L. Williams, Dr. Grant Foreman, Dr. E. E. Dale, Dr. J. B. Thoburn and Mr. George Evans be especially authorized to take up with Mr. Giles the work to be done at Fort Gibson. Motion was seconded and carried.

Referring to the bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln, presented to the Society by Mrs. Flora I. Malone, Dr. Emma Estill-Harbour moved that the Board extend a vote of thanks to Mrs. Malone in appreciation of her gift. Motion was seconded and carried.

Judge Thomas A. Edwards moved that Congressman James V. Me, Clintic be thanked fox his contribution of a complete list of all soldiers drawn by selective draft, in eleven western counties of Oklahoma; and that Mr. Walter Lewis, of Gate, Oklahoma, be thanked for a copy of the book entitled "Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1564 to 1851," being transmitted by Dr. J. B. Thoburn; and also Dr. C. P. Wickmiller of Kingfisher, Okla., for various contributions to the museum. Motion was seconded and carried.

Judge Thomas H. Doyle asked Dr. Emma Estill-Harbour, Junior vice president, to take the chair.

* * *

Dr. Grant Foreman told of his visits to several Indian agencies with a view to securing the records that were not in immediate use, such as the Osages, Wyandottes, etc.

Judge R. L. William moved that Doctor Foreman be authorized to negotiate with the Osages and other tribes. Motion was seconded and carried.

* * *

Judge R. L. Williams moved that the chair appoint a committee of three to take up with the incoming governor and the legislature to provide that the night watchman and the janitors of this building be put under the jurisdiction of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society and any other matters pertaining to the custody of this building. Motion was seconded and carried.

Dr. E. E. Dale read a letter from the Institute of Historical Research of the University of London, proposing an exchange of their bulletin for Chronicles of Oklahoma, and moved that the secretary be authorized to arrange for this exchange. Motion was seconded and carried.

* * *

Dr. E. E. Dale explained some work that he and a few others from the University of Oklahoma had done the past summer, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, visiting the old mission schools, Indian schools, early institutions of learning, homes of prominent members of the Five Civilized Tribes to find out how much historical material may be accessible.

Judge R. L. Williams moved that Dr. E. E. Dale be thanked for the information given by him for work done under the Rockefeller Foundation. Motion was seconded and carried.

The chair announced the following committee to confer with the incoming governor and legislature relative to night watchman and

Page 490

janitors, Judge R. L. Williams, Chairman, Judge Thomas A. Edwards and Judge Baxter Taylor.

Judge Thomas A. Edwards moved that Doctor Foreman and Doctor Dale be authorized to make arrangements to move the historical material from the Neosho Agency to the Historical Building. Motion was seconded and carried.

The secretary read the following list of applicants for annual membership in the Society:

Cyrus S. Avery, Tulsa; John T. Bailey, Albion; Mrs. Geo. M. Berry, Pawnee; M. A. Breckenridge, Tulsa; Mrs. Virgil Browne, Edmond; Glenn A. Campbell, Tulsa; N. M. Davidson, Oklahoma City; James W. Duncan, Tahlequah; H. K. Ellis, Chickasha; Robert F. Ferguson, Ada,; George M. Gilbert, Ashland, Ohio; Rollin Edington Gish, Tulsa; T. E. Gootee, Springfield, Missouri; Jack E. Graham, Tulsa; William Francis Graham, Tulsa; W. C. Grove, El Reno; Mrs. S. B. Henderson, Sterling; Mrs. Sam N. Johnson, Oklahoma City; Dr. Truman Arthur Penney, Tulsa; Everett Petry, Tulsa; Frazier Pierce, Foster; Katherine R. Rees, Tulsa; Helen Ruth, Geary; D. R. Shepherd, Carnegie; Paul 0. Simms, Vinita; F. Calvin Swindell, Tulsa; Paul E.. Taliaterro, Tulsa; H. L. Thompson, Anthony, Kansas; Mrs. Lawrence R. Ward, Muskogee; Hugh Witt, Vinita; David F. Wolfe, Oklahoma City; John Woolery, Oklahoma City; H. R. Young, Tulsa.

Dr. Grant Foreman moved that they be received into membership, which motion was seconded and unanimously carried.

Judge William P. Thompson, a member of the committee to locate the grave of Nathaniel Pryor, read the following, report:


We, your committee appointed to locate the grave of Nathaniel Pryor, left here on the tenth day of April, 1934, and proceeded to Mayes County, Oklahoma, to the home of Gideon Morgan on the banks of Grand River, where we spent the night. The next morning in company with Mr. George W. Mayes we proceeded to the old home site occupied by Nathaniel Pryor, at which place he died and was buried sometime about June, 1831.

The remains of the old log cabin once occupied by him can be identified. There was nothing to mark the grave, but it was in a cultivated field which had been plowed over. The next owner of the place after the death of Nathaniel Pryor was a man by the name of William Buster, then it passed through the hands of a man by the name of Burgess, who sold the place to Mr. G. W. Mayes, the father of George W. Mayes, who was with us. The place was occupied by him and his family until after the Civil War, at which time it passed into the hands of B. W. Alberty and his son-in-law, Cicero Cunningham, and was afterwards sold to Clem Van and it passed out of his hands by mortgage foreclosure and is now owned by a mortgage company.

Mr. George W. Mayes lived on the place with his father in his boyhood and knew the location of the grave. They protected it by building a pen around it which was there when they sold the place.

He located the spot for us and we put up a post and had some stones placed around it so as not to lose the location.

Page 491

This grave located on the old farm is about five miles southeast of the town of Pryor and near the bank of Pryor Creek, both named after Nathaniel Pryor.

We recommend that steps be taken at once to place a permanent marker so that its location will not again be lost.

Respectfully submitted:

J. B. THOBURN, Committee.

Judge Thomas A. Edwards moved that this report be accepted and that it be made a part of the minutes of the Society, and, that the committee be thanked for their services. Motion was seconded and carried.

Judge R. L. Williams moved that the secretary and Gen. R. A. Sneed make application to the War Department for a marker for the grave of Nathaniel Pryor, which motion was seconded and unanimously carried.

Dr. Grant Foreman moved that the room set aside for the records of the Indian agencies in the southeast corner of historical building be cleaned out and set aside for research workers and students. Motion was seconded and carried.

Upon motion of Judge Baxter Taylor the meeting stood adjourned.

JUDGE THOMAS H. DOYLE, Vice President,

DAN W. PEERY, Secretary.

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