Historic Oklahoma Divorce Laws

In historical Oklahoma, divorce jurisdiction varied among Native American Nations, with Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Muskogee courts overseeing cases and maintaining records. The Choctaw Nation uniquely mandated clerks to use a “large blank book” for record-keeping. Post-1890, Nebraska’s laws, followed by Arkansas’s laws under the Organic Act, governed divorces in Oklahoma Territory, initially placing jurisdiction in district courts. By 1895, sole authority rested with district courts. Divorce records reported to the state board of health starting in 1908 were poorly complied with, resulting in a lack of health department records of divorces.

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Wash Robinson, a Noted Colored Scout

Wash Robinson, a Noted Colored Scout

Wash Robinson was born in Old Mexico, as nearly as he remembers, about the year 1840. When quite a boy, he was stolen by the Navaho Indians. When he was nearly grown, he was sold by them to the Pueblos. After having been with them for some time, he left, and went to the Wichita Mountains. He was next taken prisoner at the battle of Big Frame on the Santa Fe Trail, and taken to Washington. He could talk no English at all, but he was proficient in Spanish and in several Indian tongues. He didn’t know what his English

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Two Braids, Ora Woodman

Two Braids, Ora Woodman

From the best evidence that the government has been able to secure, this man was born somewhere in western Texas before the Civil War. Whether he has any living relatives or not will probably never be known, and what his real name is will also remain veiled in mystery. Whether he had father, mother, brother, sister, massacred by the red men, no one knows; or perhaps, he was torn from his mother’s breast, leaving her to lament and bewail his loss. In all probability, however, he was stolen by a warrior named Toey, since the warriors always kept the captives

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Indian village at Colony, Oklahoma.

Religion and Traditions of the Cheyenne

There is a tradition among the Cheyennes that in the beginning they lived upon the upper Missouri or in some part of Canada, existing much like animals. What they could catch they ate raw, so the tradition says, and as to clothing, the less they had, the better. They had no love nor respect for one another, and when a woman gave birth to a child she would take care of it until it was large enough to catch what it needed to live on, and then turn it adrift and care no more for it. They were living somewhere

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Quanah Parker, Chief of the Comanche

Quanah Parker, Chief of the Comanche

This chapter on the the of Quanah Parker will be begun with the following poem taken in substance from Indianology by Herman Lehmann. The old chieftain, Parker, was a great lover of music, and the following poem fairly illustrates the figure of a dance of which the noted chief was especially fond: Get yo’ little sage hens ready, Trot ’em out upon the floor; Line up there, you cusses, steady; Lively now, one couple more. Shorty, shed that ol’ sombrero; Broncho, douse that cigarette; Stop your cussin’, Casimero; For the ladies now, all set. S’lute your ladies, all together; Ladies

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Thomas Segar, Big Man among Indians

Thomas Segar, Big Man among Indians

The subject of this sketch was born and raised in Ohio. After he had married he came west as others have done before him and since, to find wider fields of action. As I have been reliably informed, he was a young man of considerable wealth. About the year 1876 he stopped at Fort Reno, and accepted a position as principal of a government school at Darlington. Darlington was located on the north side of the North Canadian opposite Fort Reno, and was the agency for the Cheyennes and Arapahoes. He adapted himself quickly to the ways of the Indians,

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The Puckett Family at Big Jake Crossing

James L. Puckett’s Story

The author of this book was born in Clay County, Indiana, on the 18th day of March, 1863, and was raised in Indiana and Illinois. I came west in the fall of 1881, and entered the Indian Territory at Cherokee City. Cherokee City was a small health resort on the Arkansas line in the Cherokee Country, eight miles north of Siloam Springs. I began work for a cattleman by the name of Sam McFail. This was my first introduction to the Indians and to the United States marshals. I hadn’t been at work for this man but two days when

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The Puckett Family at Big Jake Crossing

History of Oklahoma, Indian Territory and Homeseeker’s Guide

Mr. Puckett spend most of his life working around the Oklahoma Territory.  With his wife in ill health they traveled together over the Indian Territory and Oklahoma in hopes that she might regain her health.  Believing that his knowledge will be worth something to people seeking homes in the new country, he decided to put his memories into a book. When he speaks of any part of this country it is not hearsay, it is what he actually knew from his own experiences.  Mr. Puckett at the writing of this book, 1906, still owned a good farm twelve miles southwest

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Homeseekers Guide

It is cheaper to lease land than to own land. It will be remembered that of these lands those in Kiowa, Comanche, Caddo, Washita, Roger Mills, Custer, Blaine, Dewey and Day counties all belonged to the different tribes of Indians, and the best lands were allotted to them, 160 acres for each individual. Along the rivers and creeks, and wherever there was timber, these allotments were taken. They have never failed to make good crops of corn. The upland makes good cotton, wheat and oats. There is but a small per cent of this land in cultivation, but it can

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History of the Wichita Mountain

A visit to Oklahoma would not be complete without a trip to the Wichita Mountains. These mountains have long been known by miners as rich in minerals, and they have long looked forward to the time when they might develop them. According to Spanish records Father Gilbert, with one hundred men, led an expedition into the Wichita Mountains as early as 1657, and sunk a shaft to the depth of one hundred feet about nine miles northwest of Mount Scott. About the year 1738 another expedition was lead to the mountains, and work was begun towards developing a mine in

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Early Cherokee History

The first treaty that ever was made between the United States and the Cherokee Indians was concluded at Hopewell, on the Kiowee, November 22, 1785. There came a division among the Cherokees, and a chief by the name of Dutcher became dissatisfied and decided to go towards the sunset about the year 1808. A number of French traders came up the Tennessee River from New Orleans. They had a large stock of goods and undertook to establish a trading post. They had a quantity of whisky among their stores, and the Indians all got drunk. It is said by the

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Creek and Seminoles in Indian Territory

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,

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Choctaws and Chickasaws in Indian Territory

There is a tradition that these two tribes once inhabited the same country where they now live, and that a great tribe of Indians from the northwest made war on them so long and so fiercely that they decided to leave the country. They started east, guided by a dog and a magic pole. At night they would plant the pole in the ground, and in the morning the way the pole would be leaning would be the way they would go. They traveled east until they came to the Mississippi River. The dog was drowned crossing the river, leaving

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The Battle of the Washita or Red Moon

It will be remembered that the Comanches were not able to handle the Texas Rangers in the war known as the treaty war in 1860, and were forced to retire to the plains north of the Red River. They started in then to get help from their red brothers, and made a treaty with the Apaches and other associated tribes. A council of war was held in the Wichita Mountains in the fall of the same year. It was decided that in the spring of 1861, on the first full moon after the first whippoorwill had been heard, all the

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Allotment Of Indian Lands

Immediately following the disastrous fire of February 23, 1899, which destroyed nearly all of the business section of Muskogee, the citizens made an earnest appeal to the Secretary of the Interior to appoint a townsite commission to survey and plat the town lots and fix the appraised value thereof, as provided by the Curtis Act of the previous year. Prior to this date a prosperous town of 4,000 inhabitants, with well-built homes and substantial brick store buildings, had been built up, with no one having a valid title to the lot upon which he had made improvements. The fee simple

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Act of Union Between Eastern and Western Cherokee, 1838

“Whereas, our fathers have existed as a separate and distinct nation, in the possession and exercise of the essential and appropriate attributes of sovereignty, from a period extending into antiquity, beyond the records and memory of man; and, Whereas, these attributes, with the rights and franchises which they involve, remain still in full force and virtue; as do also the national and social relations of the Cherokee people to each other, and to the body politic, excepting in those particulars which have grown out of the provisions of the treaties of 1817 and 1819, between the United States and the

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Articles Of Agreement Between The Cherokee And Delaware

“Made this 8th day of April, A. D. 1867, between the Cherokee Nation, represented by William P. Ross, principal chief, Riley Keys and Jesse Bushyhead, delegates, duly authorized, parties of the first part, and the Delaware Tribe of Indians, represented by John Connor, principal chief, Charles Journeycake, assistant chief, Isaac Journeycake, and John Sarcoxie, delegates for and on behalf of said Delaware Tribe, duly authorized, witnesses  “Whereas, by the 15th article of a certain treaty between the United States and the Cherokee Nation, ratified August 11, 1866, certain terms were provided, under which friendly Indians might be settled upon unoccupied

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Attitude Of Indians Toward Dissolution Of Tribal Governments

On November 11, 1896, the International Council, composed of delegates from each of the Five Civilized Tribes, met at South McAlester to consider the matter of treating with the Dawes Commission, looking toward the dissolution of their tribal governments. Captain Standley of the Choctaw Nation was elected president, and Robt. L. Owen of the Cherokee Nation, secretary. After full discussion they adopted resolutions providing:    First: That if compelled to dissolve their tribal governments they would insist upon the prompt payment of all claims due from the United States under treaties or other sources.   Second: That they would insist that

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Ball Games, Dancing and Ghost Dance

Indian Ball Game      The following account of an Indian ball game, played some years ago, has been sent to the writer.       When it was announced that the teams were about to appear, there was some nervousness on the part of most of the spectators. It had been reported that the red men would appear in costumes that would put the sea-side bathing suit to shame and make the average ballet dancer consider her dress fit for the Klondike. Instead of this, however, no one appeared in breech cloth and with the exception of two or three who were

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Cherokee Treaties

On the 20th day of November, 1785, while the American colonists were still operating under the defective Articles of Confederation, the First Treaty was concluded with the Cherokees, known as the Hopewell Treaty. This treaty was made by and between Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens, Joseph Martin and Lachlan McIntosh, commissioners representing the Colonies, and the headsmen and warriors of all the Cherokees, thirty-seven in number. Article I provided that the Cherokees should restore to the Colonists all prisoners and property taken by them during the Revolutionary war. Article II provided that the Colonists should restore to the Cherokees all Indians

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Additional Cherokee Treaties

Eleventh Cherokee Treaty A delegation, soon afterward, explored the Arkansas River country and reported that they had found a suitable tract which was not claimed by any other Indians, and on July 8, 1817, the chiefs, head men and warriors again met Gen. Andrew Jackson and two other United States commissioners at the Cherokee Agency and negotiated their Eleventh Treaty, by the terms of which the Indians ceded a large portion of their rapidly disappearing reservation east of the Mississippi in exchange for an equal number of acres out in the White and Arkansas rivers country. The United States authorities

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Coffin Scores the Military

William G. Coffin, superintendent of Southern Indians, in a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated August 31, 1863, says:  “The contrariness and interference manifested by the military authorities in the Indian country towards those who are having charge of the Indians within the Cherokee Nation is so annoying and so embarrassing that it has become unpleasant, difficult and almost impossible for them to attend to the duties of their official capacities with success. If the military would only make it their business to rid the Indian Territory of rebels, instead of intermeddling with the affairs of the Interior

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The United States Court In Indian Territory First Location At Muskogee

For many years prior to 1889 the United States District Court of western Arkansas had jurisdiction over the Creek and Cherokee Nations in matters in which non-citizens, i.e., persons not members of the Indian tribes, were interested. Judge Isaac C. Parker, who presided over that court established the reputation of being “a terror to criminals,” it being claimed that during his administration fully one hundred men were sentenced to be hanged. Judge Parker was kind and courteous to attorneys, witnesses and jurors, but he possessed no sympathy for crime or criminals. It was very inconvenient and expensive, however, for lawyers,

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Creek Treaties

The origin of the Creek tribe of Indians, like that of most other tribes, is shrouded in doubt and mystery. While uncivilized and of nomadic disposition, it was not possible to preserve any reliable historic records of the tribe. They have assumed the name “Muskogee Nation,” but 200 years ago, they constituted but one branch of the powerful confederation known as the “Muskhogeans,” which at one time included the other four tribes of Indian Territory. The early English settlers gave them the name of “Creeks,” because of the numerous small streams of water in the sections of Alabama and Georgia

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