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In the late nineteenth century cattlemen's organizations became an important aspect of range-cattle industry management. They served to provide a forum for discussing practical and scientific issues and also sometimes functioned as a law-enforcement mechanism. Cattlemen's associations usually formed on a regional basis, and in the Indian Nations the basis was tribal. Emerging in 1892, the Cattlemen's Protective Association of Indian Territory united various stockmen's associations that had formed in the 1880s in the Indian Nations. These were organizations whose membership was restricted to American Indians or citizens (either by birth or marriage) of the various nations.

In February 1882 the Cherokee Advocate reported that a constitution and by-laws had been approved for a Cherokee National Stockmen's Protective and Detective Association. In 1884 the Muskogee and Seminole Live Stock Association formed, electing Pleasant Porter as president. The group was mainly comprised of the large Creek ranchers, including Pleasant Porter, Frederick B. Severs, and Clarence W. Turner. The Choctaw and Chickasaw apparently had already set up an association by 1884, as early that year it published the members' brands in the Branding Iron, a periodical issued in Atoka (although printed by the Muskogee Indian Journal).

In contrast, non-Indians (generally whites) who grazed stock on American Indian land formed their own organizations such as the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association and the Canadian and Cimarron Cattle Pool Association. In addition, entities based outside Indian Territory moved in to recruit area ranchers. The Protective and Detective Association of Texas, for example, had established a branch office in Atoka in February 1884 and offered, for a price, to brand their safety "C" on local cattle.

In 1884 eight associations represented Indian Territory at the first National Convention of Cattlemen held at St. Louis, Missouri. Three clearly ministered to Indian Nations: the Cherokee Protective and Detective Association, the Muskogee and Seminole Live Stock Association, and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Stock Association. Other, non-Indian organizations in attendance at the convention included the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association, the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Live Stock Association, the Canadian and Cimarron Cattle Pool Association, the Osage Live Stock Association, and the Iowa Stock Association of the Indian Territory.

Cattlemen's associations, whether Indian or non-Indian in orientation, protected their member's cattle from thieves, organized the annual roundups, advertised brands in local newspapers and brand books, placed brand inspectors at various markets and shipping points to identify stolen cattle, promoted the cattlemen's interest in the national business community, and promoted research for breeding, health, and feed purposes.

In June 1892 at Vinita the members of the various Indian cattlemen's groups met to organize the Cattlemen's Protective Association of the Indian Territory. The members elected C. M. McClellan as president. The organization designated committees to solicit membership in the Cherokee, Osage, and Creek nations. The group also hired inspectors to work at the stockyards in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago, as well as at nineteen shipping locations in Indian Territory and Kansas. In 1893 the Muskogee Live Stock Association joined the Indian Territory union, creating a strong alliance of Creek and Cherokee ranchers. Prominent members of the organization included William E. Halsell, J. O. Hall, Clem V. Rogers, Nathaniel Skinner, George W. Grayson, William E. Gentry, and J. E. Campbell. Usually in February the organization held its annual conventions at either Claremore or Wagoner.

Although in 1903 the Muskogee Evening Times reported that the cattlemen of Indian Territory had organized an association for the Chickasaw at Sulphur Springs, it is more likely that the majority of Choctaw and Chickasaw ranchers eventually joined the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA). By 1907 Oklahoma statehood the TSCRA probably enrolled most of the former members of the Indian Territory association. In 1984 TSCRA field inspector districts three, four, and five incorporated all of the old Indian Territory.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: James Cox, Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry and the Cattlemen of Texas and Adjacent Territory (1895; reprint, New York: Antiquarian Press, Ltd., 1959). Indian Chieftan (Vinita, Indian Territory), 23 February 1893. Doug Perkins and Nancy Ward, Brave Men and Cold Steel: A History of Range Detectives and Their Peacemakers (Fort Worth: Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation, 1984). Jimmy M. Skaggs, ed., Ranch and Range in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1978).

Larry O'Dell

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