As far back as the
Creeks know themselves, they were living in Alabama and there came
trouble among them, and one part of them went to Florida. These were
called Seminoles. They made a treaty for the country in which they now
live about the same time the Cherokees moved west. Possibly as late as
1836 they, by agreement, divided their territory among themselves, the
Seminoles taking the west part. They made a
treaty in 1866, and sold their surplus land in Oklahoma, as the'
Cherokees had done, at 47½ cents per acre, to be used to settle friendly
Indians upon, as well as freedmen. On their land the government settled
the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, Sac and Fox, Iowas, Pottawatomies, and
A part of this country was not settled by any
Indians, and was the original Oklahoma. The Creeks claimed that the
title reverted to them, arid, they let it out for grass pasture land to
various cattlemen, among others Wagoner, Auho & Burnet, Pitckguel
Brothers and the Miller Brothers, who established the famous 101 ranch.
In the fall of 1880 Captain Payne led a colony of settlers into that
The Creek government contended that the land had not
been sold to white settlers, but Captain Payne and his "Sooners" settled
on Deep Fork at the stage line between Welch and the stage station on
Deer creek, and began to build houses and to dig wells. The government
notified them to get off, but they paid no heed to the warnings. Finally
soldiers were sent to enforce the command. They had to tie Captain Payne
to get him out of the country.
After this boomers continued to
cross the hne continuously, and the soldiers had a busy time putting
them out. After the death of Captain Payne Captain Couch took his place,
guided by one of the most determined cowboys of the west, Phil Johnson,
who had spent many years in the country after cattle and knew it to be a
good country. He knew also all the good camping places, and being, as
well as Couch, a determined man, they defied the government until
finally, in the fall of 1888, President Harrison bought the land from
the Creeks for white settlement, and old Oklahoma was opened for
settlement on April 22, 1889.
The opening of Oklahoma might be
called the opening wedge. Too much credit for it cannot be given Captain
Payne, Captain Couch and Phil Johnson. There should be a monument of
Oklahoma stone built for those three men.
The opening of
Oklahoma threw the surrounding tribes of Indians into closer touch with
the white men, and introduced them to civilization. The Pottawatomie,
Ponca country was opened for settlement on September 22, 1891. The
next reservation to be opened was that of the
Arapahoes, whose country was opened for white settlement on November
19, 1892. The next was the
Kickapoo country, opened for settlement on May 23, 1895.
will be remembered that all these openings up to this time had been "on
the run." The prospective settlers had been lined up outside the new
country, and at a given signal they rushed into the new land, to secure
what farms or lots they could. The man with the fastest horse and the
biggest gun and the most friends would get the best place.
Creek Indians were the first to make a final treaty with the United
States for the closing of their tribal government, and were also the
first to open a land office. The allotment of their land was about
completed by January 1, 1903.
- Additional Creek and Seminole Resources
History of Oklahoma, Indian
Territory and Homeseeker's Guide
Source: History of Oklahoma and Indian Territory and Homeseeker's
guide, By J. L. and Ellen Puckett, Vinita, Oklahoma, Chieftain
Publishing Company, 1906