Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 13, No. 4
December, 1935

D. W. P.

Page 472

Men in all ages have left some trace of their history. Archeologists have learned something of the antediluvians, or those people who inhabited the earth in what is usually termed the prehistoric ages. They have left their imprint in characters that have never yet been fully interpreted, although learned men have spent their lives trying to unravel the mystery story told in these strange figures engraven on stone. Histories that were written in cuneiform characters, and hieroglyphic symbols, have been translated through the aid of the Rosetta stone until the land of the Nile has given up its secrets. The annals of ancient Mesopotamia were written on clay and then baked and filed away, so even now, the research scholar can read the historical records of Babylon and Nineveh as if they were written yesterday. Cadmus, the Phoenician, invented the alphabet, or, as Carlisle has said; "The man who first invented books," and through books the history of the whole civilized world has been preserved.

Now comes an Oklahoma woman and with needle and thread has recorded the history of a great state on a quilt. It is well named the "Oklahoma History Quilt." It combines the knowledge of the historian with the genius of the artist. It portrays the history of the state vividly by artistic embroidery.

The artist and author of this historical quilt is Camille Nixdorf Phelan of Oklahoma City. On her part it has been a labor of love to produce this wonderful piece of work, with no thought whatever of financial award. The quilt is now the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and will be placed in a substantial glass cabinet in the museum of the Society so that students of history will have the opportunity of reading the history of the state by pictographs embroidered on the quilt.

But let Mrs. Phelan tell her own story:

"Embroidering has always been my hobby. Copying pictures is another of my hobbies and I delight in reproducing on cloth with silk thread, the pictures that most appeal to me. When mak-

Oklahoma History Quilt

Page 473

ing quilts became a popular fad, I turned to that pastime. But—as I preferred embroidering to the seemingly foolish custom of cutting cloth up only to sew it together again, I decided that I would make an embroidered record of the persons responsible for Oklahoma's history. Then the thought came—'Why not add the incidents making up that history?' I began to assemble all the information I could find concerning this great state's early formation, beginning with white man's first appearance. Two years were spent delving into old records, writing letters to historians and in consulting the persons who actually made Oklahoma. For lack of space, I was forced to leave off many interesting incidents and to omit pictures of people who were intimately identified with early Indian Territory and Oklahoma formation

"My main object in making this pictured history and in presenting it to the Oklahoma Historical Society is the fact that in most of the published records of this formative period, the sordid and rough element has been exploited to the exclusion of the cultural and artistic. I want to counteract this influence by depicting the better element and to leave to posterity a record that will show the spirit of patriotism that motivated the great characters who made up the unique commonwealth Oklahoma. And I want to express my own appreciaton of the 'Land of the Mistletoe,' one time domain of the proud Red Man and the inspiration of those sturdy pioneers, the 89ers, many of whom have already crossed the border in their last great run.

"In actual making, I first selected the pictures I wanted to reproduce, then I carefully sketched a replica on the cloth, reducing or enlarging it as was required to fit the space assigned it, then it was first roughly outlined with black silk thread in order to give it an outstanding effect. With needle and thread I then carefully worked in the expression—and let me tell you, this was no easy task for if a feature was out of proportion, as we will say, a nose too long for the rest of the face, the entire work had to be done over. The work was protected by a cellophane covering until the retouching of high lights was finished. This was done with soft-tinted thread as an artist uses his retouching brush on canvas. After all the figures were finished, the quilting was done. Twenty 100-yard spools of thread were used.

Page 474

"Every stitch of the embroidering is my own work and I spent all my spare time for four years in actual construction. Two years were spent in research work before I began the quilt."

The presentation of this priceless gift to the Historical Society was made an historic event. A splendid banquet was given on the night of November 30, 1935, at the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City. Guests were present from many parts of the state. Some of them were men and women who had been identified with Oklahoma history for many years, while others were descendants of those sturdy pioneers who contributed to the founding of our state.

Aletha Caldwell Connor, writer and historian, served as master of ceremonies. Upon presentation of the historic quilt, Gov. E. W. Marland delivered a most gracious and appropriate address accepting the gift, not only on behalf of the Historical Society, but as spokesman for the whole people of Oklahoma.

The following is a brief description of the blocks composing the Oklahoma History Quilt:


Block 1.

Coronado's Expedition, 1541.
Napoleon signing the Louisiana Purchase, 1803.
First Catholic Church, 1629 (Father de Sales).
Trading Post near Muskogee, 1817.
LeHarpe coming up the Kiamichi River, 1719.
The George Washington Medal, given the Sac & Fox Indians 1789.

Block 2.

Maj. S. H. Long consulting with the Indians, 1820.
Thomas Janes, 1820.
Rev. E. Chapman, Union Mission, 1821.
Thomas Nuttall, 1819.
Arrival of the Creeks, 1827.

Block 3.

Andrew Jackson addressing the Choctaws, 1832.

Page 475

Pushmataha, Choctaw, 1820.
Cherokee's Arrival, 1829.
Steamboat FIDELITY, 1828.

Block 4.

SEQUOYAH, Cherokee and his alphabet.
Cherokee Phoenix, 1828.
Stand Watie, Elias Boudinot and Chief John Ross.

Block 5.

Post Hospital, 1854.
First Permanent Highways.
Santa Fe Trail (covered wagon) 1822.
Ft. Smith, 1718.

Block 6.

Seminole arrival, 1842.
Choctaw Academy, 1832.
Frank Rush's Covenant with the Indians.
Arrival of the Chickasaws, 1832.
Stand Watie and John Ross shaking hands.
Osage and Kiowas Skirmish, 1833.

Block 7.

Clouds of Civil War.
Overland Mail, 1858.
Ft. Washita, 1843.
Rev. S. A. Worcester, 1836.
First Printing Press, Cherokee Advocate, 1844.
All Trails of the State. Santa Fe, Coronado's Expedition. Chisholm; Texas Cattle; and Washington Irving's Tour of the Prairies.

Block 8.

Constitution Convention Hall (Now City Hall at Guthrie). All Territorial Governors grouped beneath it. Senators, Owens and Gore on each side, with Bird McGuire, Callahan, Dennis Flynn; Judge Ledbetter, and Harvey above.

Block 9.

Rev. Allen Wright (Who named Oklahoma).
Osceola, of the Seminoles.

Page 476

Tecumseh of the Shawnees.
Alexander McGilvrey, and Opothleyahola of the Creeks.
Piomingo of the Chickasaws.

Block 10.

First Oil Well at Bartlesville.
Messrs. Robert Galbreath; Sinclair; Marland, Wilcox; Everest; Ames; Cromwell; Skelly; Garland; Brown; Franklin; Hurley; Buttram ; Ramsey; Hayes; Chapman, and Mrs. Murray.

Block 11.

Princess Pakuli, Chickasaw Nightingale, broadcasting over KVOO, Tulsa.
Ataloa, Mrs. Roberta C. Lawson,
Te-Ata, and Mrs. M. O. T. Benzansen.

Block 12.

Dr. E. N. Wright, Chief McCurtain, Choctaws; Pleasant Porter and Alexander Posey, Creeks; Huntinghorse and family, Kiowas. Gov. Douglass Johnston, Chickasaw, and the Murray Agricultural School, Tishomingo.

Block 13.

Chief Alice Brown Davis, of the Seminoles, Wewoka.
Miss Francis Deal, and Peter Hudson, Choctaws. W. H. Drew, Cowboy.

Block 14.

Run of the 89ers, and some who made it.
Pawnee Bill; Gen'l Roy Hoffman; Wm. and Mrs. Pettee; W. L. Alexander; Dr. Blesh; Prof. A. C. Scott; Anton Classen; Mrs. J. B. Harrell; Mrs. Murray; Mr. Willour; Mr. Carrico, and Mrs. Church.

Block 15.

Group of Osages. Frank Phillips, Eagle Chief; Chiefs Lookout and Baconrind; Pawnee Indian Hospital; Sen. Amos Ewing; Ponca City Auditorium; Carnegie Gin; C. M. Sarchet, and Mrs. Lucas.

Block 16.

Jim Thorpe, Famous Indian Athlete; D. Bawden, Cowboy; Range Cattle. Pawnee Bill's Circus 1900; Church at Beaver, 1886, and still in use. Charlie Carter, Ardmore.

Page 477

Block 17.

Rev. J. A. Overstreet. Indians of Governor Murray's Inaugural, Col. Victor Locke; Judge Beckett; Quannah Parker, and Traders; Platte National Park, Sulphur. Airplane Formation at Ft. Sill; Artesian Well, Sulphur.

Block 18.

Graham Homestead in Indian Territory; Charles Page Monument, Sand Springs., Editors' Club; Ft. Sill, and Pioneers.

Block 19.

Betsy's Buttercup, Gaylord's Prize Guernsey Cow, and Barn. Hon. John Fields; McFarland's Memorial Church, Norman; Chickasaw Hummingbird.

Block 20.

Cotton, Tillman Co. Peanuts, Durant; Pecans, Bryan Co. Irish Potatoes, Garvin Co., Watermelons, Rush Springs, Freight train hauling.

Block 21.

Col. Z. Miller, last of the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch; Bonnie Gray; Hale V. Hyatt; Rose Smith; Buck Stewart; Dave McClure; Buck Lucas, and Campfire, in the evening.

Block 22.

White House, 101 Ranch.

Block 23.

Capt. David L. Payne. W. A. Durant; Laura Clubb; Mrs. C. Guy Cutlip. Lew Wentz; Crippled Children's Home; Lew Wentz Swimming Pool, Ponca City.

Block 24.

The Pioneer Woman, Gov. E. W. Marland; Lucille Mulhall, on Eddie C. looking at the Pioneer Woman; Tom Mix. Pawnee Bill, Pink of Perfection (fish) out of Lake Lawtonka; Mrs. Gordon Lillie.

Block 25.

Pawnee Bill's Old Town and Indian Trading Post. Out Where the West Remains.

Page 478

Block 26.

Z. Mulhall, Frisco R. R. Larkland; E. Turk. Rev. Groll. Cash Cade; Kerr Dry Goods Co. Mrs. Meister.

Block 27.

Radium Water, and Will Rogers Hotel, Claremore; Turner Falls; Courthouse Newkirk; Scottish Rite Temple, Guthrie; Coleman Theatre, Miami; Aldridge Hotel, Shawnee.

Block 28

W. A. Vandever; Messrs. Benedict, Howard and Mayo, Tulsa. and the three million dollar church, (Boston Avenue M. E. South). Judge J. R. Keaton, Oklahoma City.

Block 29.

Petroleum Bldg., Chickasha Nat'l Bank, Enid Grain & Elev. Co., Enid. J. M. Owen, KOMA, W. A. Campbell, Sen. Looney, Una Lee Roberts, Asst. Secy. of State.

Block 30.

Philtower, and Waite Phillips, Tulsa. First National 33 story bank and the Johnson Bros., Oklahoma City.

Block 31.

Biltmore Hotel, Ramsey Tower, Dan Hogan, O. G. & E. Co., Am. Exch. Bank, Tulsa. H. H. Rogers, Tulsa. Bell Tel. Co., Dr. G. A. Nichols; Ed Overholser; Hall-Brisco, Oil Well.

Block 32.

Colleges: Tahlequah; Stillwater; Edmond; Alva and Durant.

Block 33.

Sen. Harreld. Bishop Casady, Council House; Bishop Kelly; Scott Ferris. Council House, Okmulgee. Dr. Blatt; Generals, Canton, Key, Barrett, and Constitution of Oklahoma. Wm. H. Murray, President; Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, who proclaimed statehood for us in 1907.

Block 34.

State Capitol with all our nine state governors.

Block 35.

Historical Society Bldg.; Jasper Sipes; Dan W. Peery; W. P. Campbell; Mrs. C. C. Conlan; Reo Auto.

Page 479

Block 36.

The Mansion; Mrs. Murray, Gov. Wm. H. Murray, Mrs. Korn; Frisco-Rock Island Station; Mrs. Juanita Johnston Smith.

Block 37.

Phillips Pet. Gasoline Plant. John Kroutil. Mrs. McDougal, Sapulpa.

Block 38.

Scottish Rite Temple, McAlester. J. J. McAlister. Gen. Hailey, Choctaw Council House Tuskahoma. H. B. Houghton.

Block 39.

Cushing Refinery. Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Bellis. Rock Island Train. Mayo Hotel and Mr. Mayo. M. K. & T. Ry. First Oil Well at Bristow.

Block 40.

F. C. Hall. His Trophy. The Winnie-Mae, and Post-Gatty. Administration Bldg., Norman, and Dr. Boyd.

Block 41.

WILL ROGERS (Oklahoma's Own). Mrs. J. B. Harrell, and Miss M. Wright.

Block 42.

The KILTIE BAND, and Mrs. Elam, Wewoka.

Block 43.

Frank Phillips and his country estate; Mrs. J. Hale Edwards.

Block 44.

"Wild Mary Zudic, " I. T. I. O. and other wells.

Block 45.

Mrs. V. Browne; Mrs. John Shartel; Mrs. Frazier; Mrs. Sutton; Dr. Winnie Sanger; Mrs. Crumm; Mrs. Miller, and Mrs. Mabel Bassett.

Block 46.

Miss Edith Johnson; Mrs. J. H. Oliver; Miss Alice Robertson; and Paul Kroeger.

Page 480

Block 47.

Sen. Pine; Dr. Border, and the Border Hospital at Mangum. Dr. Bilby. Dr. Barker and the first Postoffice at Oklahoma City, 1889. Mr. John Easley and the Memorial at Ardmore. Frank Rush, Craterville Park.

Block 48.

CHARLES COLCORD (Oklahoma's Outstanding Son) and the Colcord Bldg.

Block 49.

OKLAHOMA'S BLACK GOLD. Eugene Lorton, pitching hay and threshing at Lortondale.

Block 50.

Presentation of OKLAHOMA'S FLAG, at Washington, D. C. 1924, by Mrs. Little, and Jones, of Cushing, Okla. Gen. Sneed. OKLAHOMA'S GRAND OLD MAN. Dr. Jos. Thoburn. Mrs. Jessie Moore.

Block 51.

Mrs. T. B. Ferguson, Watonga. Kate Bernard, First Comm. of Charities. Mrs. Athenius Folsum Colbert. Mrs. Fluke, and Sen. Thomas. Dr. Clinton, Tulsa. Blks 52-3-4 Oil Wells of the State, and Carl McGee.

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