The Annual Meeting of the Oklahoma Historical Society convened May 11, 1939, at Durant, Oklahoma, at 2:00 P. M. with Judge R. L. Williams, President, presiding.
The invocation was given by Rev. Ebenezer Hotchkin.
Dr. W. B. Morrison introduced President H. V. Posey of the Southeastern State Teachers College, who delivered the address of welcome, which was responded to by the President, Judge R. L. Williams.
Miss Betty Jo Morgan recited the poem "Land of the Mistletoe" written by George Riley Hall, accompanied on the piano by Miss Ernestine Harr, both of Henryetta.
Dr. Grant Foreman presented to the Society an oil portrait of George Riley Hall, the gift of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Henryetta of which Miss Clarice Harriman is President.
The President presented to the Historical Society a framed photograph of Rev. Evan Dhu Cameron, the first Superintendent of Public Instruction of Oklahoma, the gift of the women of the First Baptist Church of Henryetta.
Col. A. N. Leecraft moved that the gifts be received and that proper markers be placed on the frames. Motion was seconded and carried.
The meeting recessed at 3:00 P. M., and the ruins of old Fort Washita, at the western edge of Bryan County, were visited, where the party was greeted by Charles Colbert and his wife, the present owners of the site of the ruins. This old fort is described by Dr. W. B. Morrison in Historic Southeastern Oklahoma as follows:
Eighteen miles northwest of Durant, on the heights above the Washita river, are the ruins of Fort Washita. The location, chosen in 1842 by General Zachary Taylor, was ideal for the purpose, surrounded by peaceful oaks and looking out to the east over the level vista of Twelve Mile Prairie. The buildings were constructed from the abundant supplies of limestone in the neighborhood. While today all of them have been destroyed, the original plan of the fort can easily be traced from the extensive ruins. The walls of the first barracks buildings stand almost intact.
From the time of its construction until the close of the Civil War this post was of considerable importance. It became a station on one of the overland routes to California during the gold rush. After the Mexican War Braxton Bragg was stationed here with the artillery detachment that became famous in the Battle of Buena Vista. The names of many other prominent men of the Civil War period, notably Randolph B. Marcy, George B. McClellan and Douglas H. Cooper, last Confederate commander of the district of Indian Territory, are indelibly associated with the place. General Cooper spent his last days here, and is buried in an unmarked grave either in the post cemetery or at Hastboro, the little civilian town that sprang up at a point nearer the river and west of the fort. The cenotaph of General William G. Belknap, once commander of Federal forces in the Southwest, may also be seen in the old cemetery.
Preceding the evening session, an informal reception was held in the library of the college, where the visitors were met by Miss Lucy Leonard, chairman of the reception committee, President and Mrs. H. V. Posey, Dr. and Mrs. W. B. Morrison, other members of the faculty of the college, and Mr. and Mrs. Glenn McDonald, of the Chamber of Commerce.
At 8:15 P. M. the meeting was called to order in the college auditorium with the President, Judge R. L. Williams, presiding.
Mr. John B. Meserve, of Tulsa, delivered an address on "The Chickasaw Indians."
Prof. Rex A. Strickland of the Department of History, University of Texas, delivered an address on "Miller County, Arkansas Territory, (now a part of Oklahoma), The Frontier that men forgot."
A short business meeting was held as follows:
The President read his report on the activities of the Society during the past year:
At the last annual meeting, gradual progress in the work of the society during the past year was reported. Such has been the case during this preceding year.
The Works Progress Administration projects had been for two years functioning in connection with the historical society as sponsor in the cataloguing and indexing of newspapers and other periodicals, manuscripts, old letters, diaries, wills, etc.
The historical society has within its archives one of the finest newspaper collecions in America, especially for such a new state as Oklahoma. This project, with the historical society as sponsor, was renewed and continued as S179 and it has again been renewed and is now being continued as S179A, and is to extend without more funds until the latter part of October, 1939.
The Indian-Pioneer project which was reported at our last annual meeting, closed in April, 1938. During the progress of the work, about 25,000 questionnaires were sent out to aged pioneers and an average of seventy field workers interviewed thousands of others. This resulted in the preservation of priceless recollections of many people some of whom have already passed away. The accumulation of valuable data from pioneers from all parts of the state has been typed and bound in 120 volumes of more than 500 pages each. This collection is known as the "Foreman Papers" on account of the great effort and attention given by Dr. Grant Foreman in their accumulation.
Project S179A as renewed is being utilized (1) for the indexing of these items, the same being done in the Muskogee branch, twenty-one of said volumes have been indexed and 13,473 cards have been typed for the files; (2) the Indian archives which have been received not only from the office of the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes at Muskogee, but also from the various other Indian agencies in the sate, are also being indexed.
These projects have been under the supervision of Mrs. Edith Connelly Clift-Collins, Mrs. Helen S. Carpenter and now Mrs. Helen R. Payne. The Indian-Pioneer project for a great part of the time was under the direct supervision of Dr. Grant Foreman, but on account of other pressing work he gave that up. However, he has continued to give a great part of his time toward aiding in this work.
Seven hundred and twenty-five volumes of newspapers have been indexed, and approximately 368,716 cards placed in the general file. Heretofore, during 1939, six hundred sixty-nine (669) volumes of newspapers were completely mended. With the assistance of two WPA workers in the stack room, which is in charge of Mrs. Laura M. Messenbaugh, as custodian, 5000 volumes of newspapers were made more accessible to the public for research. An itemized list of the newspapers indexed as follows:
BOISE CITY, OKLAHOMA
EL RENO, OKLAHOMA
FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS
NEW ECHOTA, GEORGIA
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
PAULS VALLEY, OKLAHOMA
In the archives department, eight WPA workers were assigned during the periods of the project for assistance to Mrs. Rella Watts Looney (Archivist-clerk), the head of said department. Most of the classifications have been filed chronologically and at present the workers are indexing documents. An itemized list of documents so indexed follows:
Genoa Indian School
In the library, Miss Hazel Beaty being librarian, with like assistance of WPA workers, one hundred forty-six (146) volumes have been indexed, there being 39,225 index cards in the biographical file. The result is that there is a record or biography on that many individuals who have had a part in the history of Oklahoma.
With the assistance of the workers of our WPA project, a typewritten copy of all manuscripts connected with the Judge Jesse James Dunn collection has been placed in the library, the collection indexed and 1114 cards typed.
The assistance rendered by the various supervisors, to wit, Mrs. Edith Connelly Clift-Collins, Mrs. Helen S. Carpenter, and Mrs. Helen R. Payne, has been of great benefit to the historical society. The aid and supervision rendered by Dr. Foreman
has also been of inestimable benefit. I take this occasion to make these references so that our appreciation may become a matter of record.
Under the leadership of the Secretary, with the cooperation of those already mentioned, Mrs. Czarina Conlan, Mrs. Annie R. Cubage, Mrs. Annie Canton, Mrs. Edith Cox Mitchell, Miss Martha A. Mulholland and Mrs. Mabel Fuller-Hammerly, progress has been made in the work of the Society.
Dr. Joseph B. Thoburn, who has charge of the Union Soldiers room, has been disabled for months on account of an automobile accident, but we are glad to note that he is now recovering. The officers of the society together with its membership have sympathized with him.
During the past year a concerted effort has been made to increase the life and annual memberships of the Society. A form has been prepared by the Secretary and inserted in the back of the magazine for the use of members in recommending new members. Letters sent out have been accompanied by membership application blanks. An effort has been made with some success to bring about the restoration of delinquent members.
The Historical Records Survey is making inventories of the county, state and municipal records in the custody of the society, and has rendered assistance in bringing to our custody such records and archives.
The late J. H. Randell, of Denison, Texas, whose brother, the late G. G. Randell, had married a daughter of Robert M. Jones, delivered a collection of said Robert M. Jones to the president of the historical society to be placed in the archives in the historical building, which has been done.
Mr. James H. Gardner, Tulsa, Oklahoma, has presented a large aerial map of the upper sections of the Chisholm Trail made by the Aero Exploration Company of Tulsa.
Dr. Grant Foreman presented a plat of old Fort Jefferson Davis, near MuskGgee, to the society.
Dr. E. C. Routh, of the Baptist Headquarters in Oklahoma City, gave to the society, for preservation, a large collection of early day Baptist correspondence and other letters.
The G. A. R. Post at Sapulpa, Oklahoma, presented its archives for our custody.
Acknowledgment of other gifts has been made by letters to donors.
Through the exchange of the Chronicles, valuable historical data have been added to our library.
The editorial work has been carried on by the editorial committee consisting of Dr. Grant Foreman, Judge Harry Campbell, Judge John B. Meserve, George H. Evans, and the Secretary.
The patriotic societies in the state have been requested by the committee to send to the Secretary news items to be utilized as may be appropriate.
It is desired that a genealogical section may be added to our library facilities.
The Daughters of the American Revolution and other patriotic organizations are using the auditorium.
The historical society was represented by the Secretary at the last meetings of the American Historical Association and the Conference of State and Local Historical Societies at Chicago, Illinois, December 28-30, 1938, the Southern Historical Association at New Orleans, Louisiana, November 3-5, 1938, and the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, at Memphis, Tennessee, April 20-22, 1939.
During the past year the Oklahoma Historical Society has been represented by the Secretary at a number of meetings as follows:
Dedication of the Osage Indian Museum, May 2, 1938; the Tulsa Association of Pioneers, June 9, 1938; the Old Timers Picnic at Alluwee, Nowata Countv, October 28, 1938; the American Indian Exposition at Anadarko, August 24, 1938; the Old Pioneers meeting at Chickasha on September 2, 1938; the Centennial of the Cherokee removal at Chattanooga, Tennessee, September 20-22, 1938; the Third Annual Indian week program in Tulsa and the Oklahoma State Archaeological Society, at Tulsa on October 19, 1938; the State conventions of the Daughters of the
American Revolution and the Children of the American Revolution; and the Cherokee Seminaries Students Association, May 7, 1938.
The following resolution was presented: "It being essential that the entrances to the exhibit galleries on the top floor of the historical building on the capitol grounds in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, having seven openings, each of which should be fitted with a pair of doors approximately 7' 0" high with a transom sash over to fit the height of the opening, doors to be walnut and hardware of bronze, all to match the present building as nearly as practicable, to cost approximately $900.00, such is hereby authorized and the President further authorized to have contract entered into for the installation of same; the President of this Society is also authorized to use any of the state-appropriated funds which may be available by specific appropriation or by transfer from another state appropriation for such purpose, and as much as is necessary from the private funds of the Society needed to be expended in such installation"; and its adoption moved by Dr. Grant Foreman, which was seconded and unanimously carried.
Upon motion of John B. Meserve, which was duly seconded, the Society and visitors voted a resolution of thanks to the faculty of the two colleges, the Southeastern State Teachers College and the Presbyterian College for Girls, the Chamber of Commerce, and the city officials and citizens of the city of Durant for their hospitality and helpfulness in the success of the meeting.
The Secretary presented the following list of applicants for membership in the Society:
LIFE: Lee T. Low, Denison, Texas.
ANNUAL: Mattie M. Addison, Oklahoma City; George T. Arnett, Idabel; Lyall Barnhart, Oklahoma City; Willard S. Bulkley, Oklahoma City; James Green Campbell, Tulsa; Fred R. Caviness, Chickasha; Rev. J. M. Cockerell, Miami; Fred E. Cooper, Tulsa; Royston Campbell Crane, Sweetwater, Texas; Judson Cunningham, Cheyenne; Rev. Gustave Depreitere, Oklahoma City; Mildred Donaldson, Oklahoma City; Pearl Zoa Downing, Oklahoma City; Edgar B. Eastman, Oklahoma City; Nathan Adams Gibson, Tulsa; Mrs. S. M. Hamill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Lotus Alexander Harper, Oklahoma City; Hugh Logan Harrell, Oklahoma City; Wilbur Edgar Hightower, Oklahoma City; Claude S. Hill, Oklahoma City; Henry Vanderburg Holmes, Tulsa; Alleye Hopkins, Madill; Mrs. Peter J. Hudson, Tuskahoma; Wash E. Hudson, Tulsa; R. L. Hunter, Muskogee; Mrs. Obeira Irick, Shawnee; Bert E. Johnson, Tulsa; Jno. H. Kaiser, Sheridan, Illinois; William Patrick Katigan, Oklahoma City; Allece Locke, Oklahoma City; Judge Krit Gibson Logsdon, Tulsa; E. B. Luke, Ardmore; Mrs. Lucille V. McCracken, Oklahoma City; Mrs. Bertha O'Brien Meek, Ponca City; Herbert Nathaniel Nagle, Tulsa; William Washington Neifert, Branchville, Maryland; Dr. George H. Niemann, Ponca City; Mrs. Helen Richards Payne, Oklahoma City; Louis W. Pratt, Tulsa; Mrs. Anna Helen Ringer, Oklahoma City; John Thomas Rosser, Shawnee; Mrs. S. U. Sallee, Roff; Alma Seib, St. Louis, Missouri; Jack Stain, Toronto, Canada; Mrs. N. Bert Smith, Oklahoma City; Lon R. Stansbery, Tulsa; Kirk C. Tucker, Oklahoma City; Earl Vandale, Amarillo, Texas; H. C. Watton, Oklahoma City; Kirk Schroder White, Tulsa; Raymond Glenn Wilson, Sand Springs; Hon. E. T. Winston, Pontotoc, Mississippi; Louis W. Workman, Bokoshe.
Upon motion, duly seconded, they were elected and received as members of the Historical Society.
Judge Harry Campbell stated that the Will Rogers Statue is to be unveiled in the Hall of Fame, at Washington, D.C., June 6th, and moved that Dr. Emma Estill-Harbour, Vice President of the Society, be appointed to represent this Historical Society. Motion was seconded and carried. The President also named the two U. S. Senators and the other members of Congress from this state and Mrs. Blanche Lucas, a member of the Board of Directors, to participte in the ceremony as representatives of the Society. Motion was seconded and carried.
Dr. Grant Foreman and Mrs. Foreman presented to the Society the Commission of James M. Shackelford as general in the Union Army, also the sword, sash
and belt he wore when he captured General John H. Morgan, the gift of his daughter Mrs. Marshall L. Bragdon.
Mr. John B. Meserve moved that these be accepted and that a vote of thanks be given Mrs. Bragdon, and that the commission be framed. Motion was seconded and carried.
Col. A. N. Leecraft moved that the Secretary be requested to take necessary steps to arrange for the display and preservation of the other articles. Motion was seconded and carried.
John B. Meserve, on behalf of J. B. Milam, of Chelsea, presented to the Society ten framed photographs of Cherokee Chiefs, for the Cherokee Seminary Students Association, and moved that the donors be extended a vote of thanks therefor.
Judge Harry Campbell, of Tulsa, presented to the Society an invitation from the people of Tulsa, to hold the next annual meeting of the Society in Tulsa, and moved that the invitation be accepted. Motion was seconded and unanimously carried.
The meeting recessed subject to call.
Judge R. L. Williams, President, Presiding.
James W. Moffitt,
Under the direction of Dr. W. B. Morrison of the Southeastern State Teachers College, the following historic sites were visited. He has described them in Historic Southeastern Oklahoma as follows:
About five miles east of Hugo are the ruins of Rose Hill, once the splendid residence of Robert M. Jones, Choctaw planter and statesman, and member of the Congress of the Confederacy. The mansion, with its broad verandas and large white pillars, stood in a well-kept lawn of shrubs and flowers. A walk of marble slabs led down the slope to the military road that passed near by. Around the entire premises a hedge of cedars was planted. Some of these cedars, and the cemetery in which Jones and several members of his family are buried, form the chief reminders of its past.
Largely through the efforts of Judge R. L. Williams the Oklahoma Historical Society last year dedicated a handsome and substantial wall around the old cemetery, which insures that it will be preserved for the future.
This famous mission and school [Wheelock] was established in 1832 by Rev. Alfred Wright, who came from Mississippi with a band of emigrant Choctaws. It was named Wheelock after the first president of Dartsmouth College. The location is not far from the present town of Millerton. Less than a mile from the mission in the early days lived District Chief Thomas LeFlore, member of the family that furnished so many distinguished names in Choctaw history.
Alfred Wright, missionary, teacher and physician, gave the entire remainder of his life to work at Wheelock, dying here in 1853. The enduring monument to his labors is Wheelock church, erected by him in 1846. Its sturdy stone walls stand today, the oldest church building in Oklahoma. In the cemetery near the church may be seen Wright's tomb. Wheelock Seminary, a national school for Choctaw girls, maintains a very efficient educational plant, good buildings and beautiful grounds, and under the leadership of Miss Minta Foreman, is very worthily carrying on the high traditions of more than hundred years of service.
Fifteen miles east of Hugo on the bluffs above Gates Creek are to be found the ever-dwindling remains of Fort Towson. This post, founded in 1824, at its prime around 1840 covered a rectangle containing about a square mile. There were numerous well-built houses, all painted white. Gravel walks, lined by shade trees extended all around the hollow square. It was said to have been one of the best constructed and kept military posts in the West.
About a mile from the Fort across Gates Creek the town of Doaksville developed. This town once the capital of the Choctaw Nation, remained a place of
commercial and social importance long after Fort Towson was abandoned. In its cemetery, now used by the present town of Fort Towson, may be seen the graves of a number of people prominent in early Choctaw and Chickasaw history. Doaksville had a church ministered to by the missionary, Dr. Cyrus Kingsbury, whose home and school were situated a short distance away at a point known as Pine Ridge.
Fort Towson was abandoned in the year 1851. Fire, and the ravages of time have left little to show for its former greatness.
This important mission school, [Goodland] now larger and more prosperous than at any other time in its long career, is situated about three miles southwest of Hugo, Oklahoma. The first work there dates from 1818, though a resident Presbyterian missionary was not stationed at the point until 1850. This pioneer was Rev. O. P. Stark. With practically no intermission a valuable work for the Choctaws has been carried on until today. During the latter part of the nineteenth and the early portion of this century the names of Rev. J. P. Gibbons and his wife, Bella McCallom Gibbons are indelibly associated with Goodland. Under the present able superintendent, Rev. E. D. Miller, a modern school plant has been developed though the mission emphasis remains the same as in the early years of the institution.