Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 4, No. 1
March, 1926

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The readers of the Chronicles, and all those interested in historical research in Oklahoma will be glad to know that the State Historical Society has recognized the excellent work done in this great field by its former secretary, J. B. Thoburn, and the board of directors his unanimously chosen him as Director of Research for the Society. This gives Mr. Thoburn a field which he is eminently qualified to fill by reason of his experience with the work, his acknowledged ability as a writer and lecturer on historical and other subjects, and his intimate acquaintance with the pioneers and pioneer history of our young State.

Mr. Thoburn has already to his credit, in addition to his splendid work for many years with the Historical Society, a general history of Oklahoma, and a mass of valuable contributions to historical magazines and current periodicals and papers, and he has the training and love for his chosen work that insures success in the wider field to which he has been assigned. Those who are familiar with the growth and development of the Oklahoma State Historical Society know that a creditable share of the excellent work that has resulted in its growth and expansion has been contributed by the zeal and effort of Mr. Thoburn as its Secretary, and it will be a satisfaction to them to know that in the future his abilities and special training for research work will not be hampered by office details but can be exercised in a larger and more fruitful field.

Articles from his pen covering many incidents of historical value from the rapidly fading pioneer era will appear from time to time in the Chronicles, and the records and exhibit cases of the Society will be enriched as a result of his future work.


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Not as a matter of pastime or recreation, but following an old time custom, that of saying a few things by way of introduction, is the apology offered for the remarks which, we trust, will not be altogether out of place in connection with the office to which we have been elected.

Very reluctantly we assume the duties of secretary and editor as they have to do with Chronicles of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Historical Society.

It is well enough to state here that the position, above referred to, came unsolicited and very unexpectedly; having a "two man" job at Hartshorne as pastor and superintendent of Brooks Institute, which carries with it oversight of the church and hospital, left no time for thinking of other fields wherein one might bestow labors abundant.

Seeking positions has never been a custom of my life, but I find that the habit of going where the powers that be may direct, has become somewhat of a fixed principle of my nature.

Constitutionally we are neither an editor nor a secretary, but having had some experience in both, there may be a chance of getting by if the general public will continue to be as lenient in the future as in the past.

The whys and wherefores of life have always been more or less of a mystery to me; and in this case, the whys that relate me to this office have repeatedly presented themselves, demanding an answer, leaving only this as at all explanatory, "fools sometimes rush in where angels fear to tread."

The only other possible reason, why, is my long residence in this country; having moved into Indian Territory in the year 1868, settling in old Fort Gibson, at which place father was pastor of the Methodist church, gave me a good start with the historical places of this country.

It is reasonable to conclude that a residence of more than one-half century in the Indian country would be sufficient in years for one of observant mind to become more or less familiar with characters, places and events that have gone into the history of this country, all of which, ordinarily, cold be turned to good account in Chronicles of Oklahoma.

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The history of any country depends on the correctness of names and dates, in the absence of which there is no history. Erroneous statements as to names and dates may be written into the records, but all records are not history. History is truth, recorded or un-recorded, and the worth of any station or people is largely determined by its history.

In our Chronicles of men, women and places, we shall strive to be as accurate as possible; we ask all who may be contributors to this publication to be the same.

For several years we have been compiling data in the form of character sketches which we hope to get out in book form some day. Some of these sketches we may use in Chronicles of Oklahoma.

It is our purpose to devote space in the magazine for character sketches and Oklahoma folklore, to which space we now ask you to make contributions.

In article one; section two of the Constitution of the Oklahoma Historical Society, we find the purpose for which the Society is organized: "To preserve and perpetuate the history of Oklahoma and its people; to stimulate popular interest in historical study and research, and to promote historical knowledge generally." It is taken for granted that every intelligent citizen of this great state has an ambition to know as much of his state’s past and present history as possible; we also take for granted that you are willing to join with us in getting together this history.

There is much interesting history in connection with the old towns of the eastern side of our state, some of which we have, and some of which we have not; such towns as old Fort Gibson, Skullyville, Perryville, old Boggy Depot, Stonewall, Tishomingo, Fort Towson, Stringtown, Eufaula, Atoka, Caddo and Colbert. Some of these towns, with others, have lost their identity but the history of these places, and the characters who have lived and wrought so heroically on a rough and rugged edge of so unpromising a civilization, as was characteristic of this western country in their day, would read like a romance.

Those responsible for the Chronicles of Oklahoma are endeavoring to make it readable and educational. In order to do this we must have a more definite statement of our old forts, battle fields, school activities, Indian academies, pioneer

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ministers along with the pioneer country school teachers, who endured many trials and tribulations in an effort to subdue this great West so rich in possibilities. In these sketches don’t fail to mention the business meal, the early day doctors, the cattlemen, and the United States Deputy Marshals with some of the characters with whom they had to deal.

In article one, section two of the Constitution of the Historical Society, we have this language: "It shall particularly aim to perpetuate the knowledge of the lives and deeds of the explorers and pioneers of this region, with the collectio and preservation of typical specimens of the arts and craft of the pioneering period, the legends, traditions, histories and cultural standards of the Indian tribes, with an appropriate collection of the handiwork of the same and also an archaeological collection illustrating the life, customs and culture of the prehistoric peoples.


There has recently been brought into the office of the Oklahoma Historical Society an elephant’s tooth, discovered in Love County, near Lebanon. This tooth has, for no telling how many years, been resting in seclusion at that lonely spot. Few of us ever suspected that such an animal had ever been native to this country. We have known for many year that prehistoric animals once inhabited this country of ours but we little though that the elephant had once roamed our plains or forests.

This country is constantly giving up evidence of former inhabitants, former animals and a civilization that we had scarcely dreamed of; we want you to help us preserve these evidences of former things and if you know of anything that would help us in any way, we ask you to so inform us.

It will be the policy of the Oklahoma Historical Society to give notice in its columns of the death of any of our old citizens, old pioneers and men who have been adventurers in this land of ours. If you have any such characters living in your neighborhood, be ready to furnish this office with the facts concerning their lives so we may give it to the public.

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The old characters of our country are fast passing away, and with their passing will pass some of the most important items of history. Get these items today and mail them to us. You owe that much to the old characters and to your country.

It is the desire of those responsible for the Chronicles of Oklahoma to make it worth while to you and to the state. In order to do this you must help us get the material that will conserve the history of your locality.

Items of interest concerning your locality are very much desired by us and if you will let us have them, we will try not to disappoint you.

There has been lost to this community history of vast importance, history we will never be able to get hold of; there is much in this country yet that will soon be gone; if we are to have these items we must get them now.

Any old Indian diary that you may have, will be of interest to the citizens of this state. Send them to us, we will put them in keeping for the future citizens of this commonwealth.


The Chronicles of Oklahoma is sent to all members of the Society. Membership may be had by paying one dollar, the regular annual dues; life membership by the payment of ten dollars.

The story of the American West is being told. That energy of the West which has entered the current of national development is becoming known. If Oklahoma is to have recognition in the development of the United States from an historical point of view, along with other states of the Union, she must preserve her past history.

Chronicles of Oklahoma must be an authoritative organ, or its existence will be useless; the records of the historical past must be so accurate and complete that it will demand recognition at the hands of those for whom it has been prepared.

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The writer has a letter from a very prominent citizen of Oklahoma in which he says that prior to fifty years ago there were no postoffices in this country.

The Oklahoma Historical Society wishes to preserve the history of its pioneers, the history of men who have changed this from a vast wilderness to its present state of prosperity. To do this it is necessary to have the cooperation of the children and grandchildren of these old men. It is not always an easy matter to write these items of history and get them into the hands of the proper ones; but if you will give a little time to this matter you can do a wonderful work for your state.

Our state is indebted to these old pioneers and there is no better way to pay this debt and show our appreciation than that of perpetuating their memory in the Chronicles of Oklahoma.

One cannot overestimate the value of service rendered by the pioneers of Oklahoma, neither can we overestimate the value of the record of these events as they picture to us of today the heroic efforts to subdue and bring into subjection this vast country with its wonderful resources.

You can render no more valuable service to your state just now than that of helping to preserve the interesting history that has been made by those who gave to us this present day civilization.

To have character sketches of places and noted men and women will be our aim in the management of the Chronciles of Oklahoma. Help us in this matter.

Some good men have almost sweated blood in an effort to preserve the history of Oklahoma. Fifty years from now many of our descendants will rise up and call them blessed. No labor of love will be more appreciated then than that which is and has been bestowed by the men and women who have so faithfully wrought in this capacity.

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