Porter was early railroad developer

With the Railroad Act of 1866, Congress authorized two rail lines to be laid through Indian Territory. One was to run north and south and the second was to run east and west. Because three railroads had been building in Kansas with plans to enter Indian Territory, there was a race to see which would win the right to build to Texas. The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad (Katy) won that race and completed its line across the Indian nations by 1872.

There was only one railroad with plans to cross the territory from east to west. This was the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (A&P), but its lofty goal of stretching from sea to sea was never realized. The A&P entered Indian Territory from Seneca, Missouri, but extended only 34 miles to Vinita. Here it met the Katy line in 1871 and stopped.

At this point the A&P had learned that the federal government would not grant large swaths of right-of-way through the Indian lands. And because the population was still sparse in Indian Territory, there was little freight to ship or passengers to carry. For over ten years, the A&P was content to give the Katy a virtual monopoly on rail traffic through the territory.

In 1882, the A&P extended its line to the little Creek community of Tulsey Town on the Arkansas River. It completed a bridge over the river in 1886 to another Creek town called Sapulpa. But there was so little traffic on the line, it only ran during the fall months when cattle were being shipped to market.

The Creek Nation was being served by two rail lines, the Katy and the A&P, with service to Muskogee, Eufaula, Tulsa and Sapulpa. But neither of these roads extended to the Creek capital at Okmulgee. And the Seminole Nation had no rail service at all.

Between 1886 and 1896 several more short lines were built, many in Oklahoma Territory. Still the Seminole and Creek capitals needed rail service. So when a new line called the St. Louis, Oklahoma & Southern Railroad was being organized and board members sought, John Brown, the Seminole chief, and Pleasant Porter, a prominent Creek citizen living in Muskogee, joined this line’s board with the intent of influencing its route through their capital cities.

Brown and Porter joined other board members in traveling to St. Louis to encourage speed in surveying a new line. But it wasn’t until 1899 that construction would begin.

This railroad was to start in Sapulpa, picking up where the A&P had terminated. Then, the route took a meandering path through Beggs, Okmulgee, Henryetta in the Creek Nation and Weleetka and Sasakwa in the Seminole Nation before continuing on through the Chickasaw Nation to Denison, Texas.

Later, in 1903, Porter and his friend, Charles Haskell, would work to build a line from Muskogee to Okmulgee connecting the St. Louis line to the Katy line.

Both of these lines, as well as the A&P, were later purchased by the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad (Frisco). The Frisco bought up several other short lines through the Twin Territories and by statehood had more miles of track than any other railroad in Oklahoma.

Thloco Tustenuggee

Thlocklo_Tustenuggee_Tiger_tail

Thloco Tustenuggee  (also known as Thlocko, Thlocco, and Tiger Tail) was one of the most prominent Seminole leaders in the Second Seminole War. He spoke English fluently, and also spoke Muscogee. Tustenuggee was one of the three leaders of the 300 Seminoles who fought in the battle that became known as the Dade Massacre. During the war, he and Halleck Tustenuggee, another prominent Seminole leader in the war, met with General Walker Keith Armistead to negotiate, but negotiations broke down and the war resumed. As the war waned, Armistead used money to bribe several Seminole leaders to surrender, but Tustenuggee refused to be bribed and he continued to lead his band in fighting. When the war ended, his Seminole band was one of the few that remained in Florida. In 1843, Tustenuggee and 26 of his followers were forcibly migrated from Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana. They were transported by the USS Lawrence along with 65 other Native Americans and three black slaves. Tustenuggee then committed suicide by swallowing powdered glass.[ His death was reported in newspapers, as were the deaths of other prominent Native American leaders who died in connection with the Trail of Tears.

 

Until The Frost Hit

I.

indian medicines were made
from roots and herbs
boneset
which the creeks called angelica
was used for a purgative
and likewise button snakeroot
used for the same purpose
dogwood root and butterfly root
including goldenrod were used
as you would use quinine to break a
fever
frost root
and a root they called doctor
dick root was used as a medicine

in eighteen eighty one
there was a smallpox epidemic
at okmulgee indian territory
and it came near wiping out the
entire population of this village

II.

i have seen grass so tall here
that you could ride through it
on a horse and it would be
over your head in places
when they made hay on some farms
they would cut until the frost hit
this was certainly fine land
for cattle ranches

we raised a little corn and cotton
we had horses that
did not know what corn was
in fact they would not eat it
we pastured some cattle
for years and at one time my husband
helped handle seven thousand head
for mister brown

in nineteen o seven
oil was discovered near morris
the first well was drilled
north of here

Drawn from interviews with Muscogee (Creek) Indians conducted in 1937-38 and archived in the Indian-Pioneer Papers, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma: I. Jake Simmons, born 1865; II. Leona Moore, born 1885. Submitted by James Treat.

 

Spring Is Wild Onion Time In Oklahoma

February until April, gathering wild onions is big event for many members of Five Civilized tribes in Oklahoma. Wild onion dinners are the fruits of their labor. The dinners are traditionally held in homes, community centers and churches. Wild onions are sometimes prepared with scrambled eggs (although not always) and poke sallet.

Some dinners have been served in the same place for nearly a century-like Haikey Chapel in Tulsa. On a recent Saturday, there was a line about a hundred deep waiting to eat wild onions with scrambled eggs, salt pork, beans, corn, fry bread and grape dumplings. Some have attended this dinner since they were kids, others were in line for the first time. Many said it was the cooking that kept them coming back.

Haikey Chapel has a long history in the community and many descendants of the original family attend church here-one was even doing the cooking on Saturday-Sunrise Tiger Ross. As she sauteed onions alongside her sister and cousin in a tent near the church she said, “Hopefully our grandmothers are happy with what we’re serving today.”

Watch here

Barefooted In The Snow

if i ran off from the mission once
i ran off a thousand times
but it didnt do me any good
my folks would take me back
the very next day and id get
a whipping besides
i dont think there ever
passed a day that i didnt get
punished for something
i ought to be an authority
on punishment

we had to learn english and wed
never hear it except at school
its a wonder we ever learned
anything
i dont remember any of the
teachers and dont want to
why   i stayed in the first
reader till i was twenty years old
and then just got to the center of it
the first half of the book
was as dirty as could be and
the last half was just like new

i dont like to think about the past
people now dont know what
hard times are
little children went barefooted
in the snow
i dont know why the indians
sent their children to school
unless it was because they would be
better taken care of

Wallace Cook, b. 1880

Seminole War Exhibit at Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

Struggle for Survival, 1817-1858

The War Years and How the Seminoles Became Unconquered

On December 14th, 2015, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum opened its newest exhibit, Struggle for Survival 1817-1858. Often called the Seminole Wars or Florida Wars, the years of 1817-1858 are recounted by many Seminoles as one long war of resistance. The Seminoles wanted to live on their chosen lands and not move west under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This exhibition will explore the tactics the Seminoles used to fight the U.S. government and the tools they needed to survive in the hidden Everglade hammocks. Oral histories of the stories and traditions passed on from the war years provide the Seminole voice to a history largely written by U.S. troops.

This exhibit explores the struggles faced during the war years to help exemplify the strength of the Seminole people today. The exhibit also features the Buckskin Declaration, which was presented to President Eisenhower in 1954. This document is a declaration of sovereignty and the right of the Seminoles to live their lives as they see culturally fit.

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