Craig County, Oklahoma ~ Vinita today

The character and condition of the business of a city are usually reflected by the character and condition of its financial institutions. In this respect Vinita makes a good showing. Its two National banks have total deposits of $1,200,000, and its two State banks have more than a million dollars. Some of the leading financiers of the state are connected with these banks and they are noted for their conservative management.

Many of the residences of Vinita have been built through the aid of a local Building & Loan Association, which at this time has more than a half million dollars invested in the homes of the city.

Most of the towns of Oklahoma have been rather tardy in availing themselves of the benefits of home building associations but Vinita was one of the first to realize their importance in connection with city building.

Vinita maintains two good daily and weekly newspapers, The Journal and The Leader, both of which are, now under the same management. The first newspaper established here was the Indian Chieftain, which appeared in 1882. It was largely devoted to the affairs of the Cherokee Nation. For many years it exercised a good deal of influence in Cherokee political affairs, but as tribal affairs became settled up and tribal councils abolished, it turned its attention to state and county affairs. Several years ago the Chieftain was absorbed by the Leader Printing Company.

Civic Organizations

About 1900 the Twentieth Century Club was organized and, for several years, followed a systematic course of study.

The Vinita Art Club was organized in 1899 by about twenty-five of the foremost women of the city and soon became one of their most popular clubs.

The Fortnightly Club enjoyed a brief season of popularity, but in 1903 it consolidated with one of the other societies.

Several years ago a Women’s Civic Club was organized by Mrs. J. W. Orr, in which the men were admitted as associate members. This society did much toward beautifying the city by planting shade trees and developing the parks of the city.

The Entre Nous Club was organized early in 1903 with a large membership. For several years its members studied the Bay View course and held many interesting and profitable meetings.

About 1904 the Sequoyah Literary Club (named in honor of the inventor of the Cherokee Alphabet), sprang into existence and, for several years, made a ‘special study of Shakespeare and other dramatic authors.

During the past three years the Woman’s League of Vinita has done some effective work in cleaning up the city and improving sanitary conditions. The league is also endeavoring to secure a good city library and a county hospital.

The Sachem Club is one of the newest of the women’s societies to be organized. During the past year its members have been making a systematic study of cities and city life.

The Delphian Society, founded in 1920, has undertaken a somewhat exhaustive study of the science of ethnology. Other women’s clubs have at different times been organized, some of them surviving but a short time, but all possessing worthy aims and objects.

The men, too, have had their Commercial Club, Rotary Club, Red Cross and other societies which have responded to the call of service, and have been instrumental in improving social, moral and economic conditions in Vinita.


The religious welfare of the inhabitants of Vinita has not been neglected. Religious exercises were first held in 1872 in the railroad depot. In the course of a few months, an old country schoolhouse was moved into the village and used as a community meeting-house. As the town began to increase in population, various denominational societies were formed and the Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Christians, Catholics and others have erected substantial church buildings and all are well supported.

During the year 1919 Craig County voted bonds in the sum of $150,000, for erecting a new courthouse in Vinita. The money derived from the sale of these bonds was well spent in the construction of a commodious county building, with suitable rooms and furnishings for all of the county officials.

Willie Halsell College

Willie Halsell College, a Methodist Educational Institution, located in the suburbs of this city, has for many years been recognized as one of the leading denominational schools of the state. Prior to the advent of a public school system, it furnished many white and Indian students with their only available facilities for securing an education.

Valentine Business College

The Valentine Business College, established in 1915, has been doing its share toward preparing the young men and women of this section of the state for practical business careers.

The educational and literary progress of the people of the city has been very materially aided by the rather unusual number of women’s clubs which have been organized at various times in Vinita. The Thursday Literary Society was organized in 1896 by a dozen of the leading ladies of Vinita and was active until about 1905.

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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