Mormons in Cherokee County, Oklahoma

In 1844 Tahlequah was visited by a delegation of Mormons, migrating toward the West, who passed through Tahlequah and being fascinated by the beautiful scenery of the neighborhood, decided to locate there and establish a Mormon society among the Indians. Being industrious and energetic, they began to manufacture brick and built some of the first brick houses erected in the town, including the old, historic National Hotel which, for many years was headquarters for council members and visitors. Aunt Eliza Alberty, a fine old Cherokee lady, proprietor of this hotel until a few, years ago, could relate many interesting stories of the political schemes that were devised and intrigues that were plotted by both Indians and whites in the olden days.

But while the Cherokees admired the enterprise and energy of the Mormons, they did not take kindly to their religious notions, and in a few months the Mormons left the town in search of a place where their religion might receive a more cordial welcome. The Cherokees were too well grounded in the religion of the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists to receive with favor any religious teachings in conflict with those which they had already accepted.

The Cherokees were, perhaps, the first Indian tribe to make provision for the care of their orphans. Their National Council, in session at Tahlequah on March 25, 1871, passed an act providing for the establishment of an orphan asylum or home and for a year or two thereafter their orphans were cared for at the male seminary, but in 1873 a permanent home for orphans was located at Grand Saline, near the present site of the-town of Salina.

Source: Benedict, John D. Muskogee and northeastern Oklahoma, including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. 3 v. illus., ports., facsims. 28 cm. Chicago, S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.

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