Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 19, No. 3
September, 1941

Edited by James W. Moffitt

Page 284

A number of the leading historians of the United States conceived the idea of organizing for the purpose of extending a general interest in history. The plans were formulated by the incorporation of The Society of American Historians, under the laws of the State of New York, in 1939.

The membership roll of this society includes writers throughout the country who have become distinguished in the field of history, such as James Truslow Adams, Nicholas Murray Butler, Frederick Palmer, Walter Lipmann in the east; and Prof. Herbert E. Bolton and William Allen White from the western part of the United States. The president is Douglas Southall Freeman, and the counsellors who direct the policy of the society include Marquis James, Allen Nevins, Carl Van Doren and other nationally known historians.

The policy of the society, to promote a wider knowledge and keener appreciation of American and world history, is to be effectuated through the publication of a scholarly magazine, but so planned as to make a popular appeal to all literate Americans.

The magazine is pledged to be neither pedantic nor dull, for its field will be the whole horizon of history; a horizon with stretches so vast that it has never been seen. Hence the name, Horizons.

The first, or sample, issue of the magazine has just been delivered to the charter members of the society. It is printed and published by the Conde Nast Press in Greenwich, Connecticut, and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful magazines ever published in this country. The content is most interesting and well written.

The sample issue contains the names of the two hundred and fifty fellows of the society—the charter members—including two from Oklahoma, Stanley Vestal and Grant Foreman.

The organization of this society and the advent of Horizons constitute an event of first importance in the field of American history and letters that should have wide influence, not only on the student of history, but on the behaviorism of the American people.

The past several years have witnessed the origin of new state historical societies in the South, the revival of old ones, and the publication of historical periodicals. In January, 1939, appeared the first issue of The Journal of Mississippi History, published quarterly by the Mississippi Historical Society. In October of the same year, the first number of West Virginia History came from the press, sponsored by the State Department of Archives and History. The Alabama Historical Quarterly, published by the State Department of Archives and History, was revived in the spring of 1940, after lying dormant for a decade. On February 22, 1941, a group

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of about a hundred gathered at Little Rock, Arkansas, organized the Arkansas Historical Association and made plans for the publication of a quarterly journal. Officers were elected as follows: President, John H. Reynolds, President of Hendrix College; Vice-Presidents, Dallas T. Herndon, Arkansas History Commission; Thomas S. Staples, Hendrix College; J. S. Utley, Little Rock; Mrs. J. F. Weinmann, Little Rock; Secretary-Treasurer, Fred H. Harrington, University of Arkansas. The Association's journal will be edited by David Y. Thomas, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Arkansas, assisted by an editorial board consisting of D. D. McBrien, Arkansas State Teachers College, Granville Davis, Little Rock Junior College, Richard E. Yates, Hendrix College, and Clara B. Eno, Van Buren. There is a director of the Association from each congressional district. This promising new Association plans to stimulate an interest in the collection and preservation of historical material.

It is planned to prepare a full history of the College of William and Mary, and it is with the hope of uncovering new information about this historic college that A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of William and Mary in Virginia, from 1693 to 1888 (Richmond, 1941) has been issued. If the reader of The Chronicles of Oklahoma can contribute any data about an alumnus, it may be helpful in compiling a biographical sketch of him. You are invited to correspond with the librarian of the college, E.G. Swem, if you can be of assistance in this project.

One of our readers who is also an active member of the Society writes regarding the book review which appeared in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, XVIII (1940), on pages 195-196:

"...the proclamation of President Benjamin Harrison for the original Oklahoma opening for settlement, dated March 23, 1889, recites that pursuant to section eight of the Act of Congress approved March 3, 1885, certain articles of cession and agreement were made and concluded at the city of Washington on the 19th day of January, in the year of our Lord, 1889, by and between the United States of America and the Muscogee (or Creek) Nation of Indians, whereby the said Muscogee (or Creek) Nation of Indians, for the consideration therein mentioned, ceded and granted to the United States without reservation or condition, full and complete title to the entire western half of the domain of said Muscogee (or Creek) Nation, in the Indian Territory, lying west of the division line surveyed and established under the treaty with said Nation, dated the 14th day of June, 1866, and also granted and released to the United States all and every claim, estate, right or interest of any and every description in and to any and all land and territory whatever, except so much of the former domain of said Muscogee (or Creek) Nation as lies east of said line of division surveyed and established as aforesaid and then used and occupied as the home of said Nation, and which articles of cession and agreement were duly accepted, ratified and, confirmed by said Muscogee (or Creek) Nation of Indians by act of its council, approved on the 31st day of January, 1889, and by the United States by act of Congress an-

Page 286

proved March 1, 1889...During the administrations beginning with President Chester A. Arthur, these Boomers were ejected as trespassers, and under President Grover Cleveland's administration they entered into a treaty and got the Creeks to release any claim they had to it and under act of March 3, 1889, which was signed by President Cleveland before he went out of office provision was made for opening that country to settlement. The same recital goes (on to state) in that same proclamation (that) the Seminoles had released any claim to the land to the west under a treaty approved March 2, 1889. That was during President Cleveland's administration, and the appropriation was made paying the Seminoles before they opened this land for settlement, showing that President Cleveland's administration acted honestly and faithfully with the Indians and then they opened it for settlement."

In a sketch published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma (March, 1939) the name of Judge Owen should have appeared as Thomas Henry Owen instead of as Thomas Horner Owen.

The Oklahoma Historical Society is preparing a list of historical markers (tablets, statues, monuments, and memorials) which have been erected in the different counties in the State. Information is desired regarding all permanent markers or monuments which have been erected to commemorate historical personages, important events, sites of early schools, churches, forts, settlements, battles, and treaties. It is encouraging to note the progress that is being made in the placing of markers and tablets by patriotic and other organizations at points of historical interest in our State.

The Philbrook Art Museum, Eugene Kingman, Director, Tulsa, Oklahoma, will sponsor a historical exhibition from October 1, 1941 to January 1, 1942. This exhibition, which will occupy the entire Museum, pertains to the American Southwest, including in general, the States of Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas. The theme to be stressed is the life and activities in this part of the country since about 1800 as depicted by the artists and designers. Emphasis will be placed, not only on the Indian but on everyday scenes of the settlers, their towns, farms, fairs, and politics. There will be seventeen exhibits furnished by different organizations.

The Oklahoma Historical Society has acquired a valuable tract of three hundred acres of virgin forest adjoining the Robert M. Jones Memorial Cemetery through the untiring efforts of Judge R. L. Williams with the assistance of P. A. Norris and S. C. Boswell.

Mr. Thomas J. Harrison, a well known authority on the history of northeastern Oklahoma and a life member of the Society, was elected a member of the Board of Directors on July 24 to succeed the late Jasper Sipes.

A former Oklahoman, Mr. Gaston L. Litton an assistant archivist in the National Archives, Washington, D. C., has accepted an appointment as Librarian of the National University of Panama; having been given a year's leave of absence from the National Archives.

Page 287

Dr. B. B. Chapman has become assistant professor of history this autumn at the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, Stillwater, Oklahoma, after serving on the faculty of the Fairmont West Virginia State Teachers College for a number of years. During summer sessions he has taught at the College of the City of New York.

T. Austin Gavin, Tulsa, has been appointed a member of a committee of the American Bar Association for the purpose of preparing a pamphlet concerning the background of the Bill of Rights as adopted in each state of the Union.

At the July 24 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society, upon motion of H. L. Muldrow, Norman, William E. Baker, Boise City, veteran county agent of Cimarron County and a nationally known archaeologist, was unanimously elected to honorary life membership in the Society.

The Society was represented at the Sequoyah Shrine, July 25 at a meeting of Cherokees, by J. B. Milam, Claremore, who received from Louis Mertins, the artist, a silhouette of Sequoyah framed in sequoia wood, for the Shrine.

At the recent meeting of the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution in Oklahoma were given a vote of thanks for their work in furnishing a room on the fourth floor showing the furniture used in the colonial period of our country.

Dr. Grant Foreman recently got in touch with Mrs. Edgar M. Hawkins, Rochester, New York, daughter of Gen. R. H. Pratt, a distinguished army officer who conducted the Cheyenne prisoners from Ft. Sill to Ft. Marion, Florida, in 1875 and later took a number of them to Pennsylvania where he used them as a nucleus for the Indian School at Carlisle. He has presented copies of these valuable Pratt letters to the Society through the kind cooperation of Mrs. Hawkins. He has also given the Society a collection of newspaper files consisting of the Fort Smith Elevator, the Fort Smith New Era, the Siloam Springs Herald, the Fort Scott Weekly Monitor, the Tahlequah Arrow and the Arrow-Telephone.

H. L. Muldrow has enriched the collections of the Society by the gift of some letters written in longhand by the Reverend Joseph Samuel Murrow to H. L. Muldrow.

Mrs. Jessie E. Moore recently presented to the Society a collection of California seaweed, mounted in 1875, as a gift from Mrs. Vera Wignall Bare, Pauls Valley.

The library of the Oklahoma Historical Society has recently been given fourteen volumes of newspaper clippings dealing largely

Page 288

with the governors of Oklahoma by Reuel Haskell, Oklahoma City, former secretary of the Oklahoma State Bar Association. A diary of his trip around the world along with guide books, post cards, and other illustrative material has been presented by A. D. Engelsman, Oklahoma City.

Don Tyler of Dewey, Oklahoma, has made a gift of $5,000 to the recently formed Washington County Library Association. This money will be used to purchase books for a county-wide library service program. Officers of the Association are: President, Clinton Beard; Vice-President, Fred Popkiss; Secretary-Treasurer, A. J. Mahoney; Directors, Mrs. Allen Pettigrove and H. E. Lemmons. Plans are being made for the collection and preservation of manuscripts and other historical records relating to Washington County.1

The Oklahoma Historical Society lost a valuable member in the passing of Jasper Sipes July 12, 1941. An outstanding pioneer school equipment dealer, he served the Society successively as a member of the board of directors, vice president, president, and president emeritus. A sketch of his life will appear in a subsequent issue of The Chronicles of Oklahoma.

The Society lost another interested member at Lawton on August 21, 1941, in the passing of Mrs. Robert J. Ray who was active as a leader in civic, religious and political affairs.

The Oklahoma Historical Society lost an interested member in the death of Judge Almer S. Norvell on April 26, 1941, at his home in Wewoka. A native of Tennessee, Norvell moved to Wewoka in 1910 from Arkansas City, Arkansas, and established a law office. He was elected county judge in 1913 and served two terms. He was then elected to the state legislature for a term. Since that time he practiced law in Wewoka with the exception of a two years' residence in Shawnee. He was president of the Seminole County Abstract company, director of the Wewoka Brick and Tile company, director and counsel of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association, president of the Landowners' Royalty Company and president of Patterson and Norvell Drilling Company. Judge Norvell, as he was known to most Wewokans, was a Thirty-second degree Mason and a member of the board of deacons of the First Baptist church.2

Dr. Joseph B. Thoburn passed away March 2, 1941, after many years of devoted service as a member of the board of directors and of the staff of the Society. A later number of The Chronicles will present his biography.

Page 289

Mrs. C. A. Galbraith, a member of the Society, died August 15, 1941 in Ada. At one time she lived in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, for several years while her husband held a federal judgeship in the territory.

Tom Hale, also a member of the Society, president of the National Bank of McAlester and chairman of the board of directors of the Hale-Halsell Grocery Company, passed away at his home in McAlester, April 25, 1941. He was active in local civic affairs and for many years sponsored and liberally supported the Boy Scout movement. He was also a trustee of the First Presbyterian church, McAlester.

Another member of the Society, Judge Homer S. Hurst, sixty-three years old prominent Oklahoma attorney, former state senator and former corporation commission official, died June 6, 1941.

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