Oklahoma’s Origins

Our American County Histories collection is growing by leaps and bounds. A recent full-text addition is a comprehensive two volume set covering the history of Oklahoma.

One of the things that makes this pair of books so fascinating is the efforts by the compilers to include detailed information about the earliest interactions – legal and illegal – between the Native American people of Oklahoma and white settlers who carved out homes in the territory long before the region was formally open to American pioneer settlers.

From the Introduction

It is one of the prevalent fallacies, even among some Oklahomans, that the history of this state begins with the year 1889, when the Oklahoma country was opened to settlement. To try to understand the history of Oklahoma by studying the events since that year would be as arbitrary and as productive of sound historical understanding as to begin the history of the nation with the war for the overthrow of slavery. Each was an epochal event, and dated the beginning of a new era, but in a general consideration each stood midway in a vast scene where the background furnished the perspective by which to view the more immediate events.

Oklahoma the state is the result of forces and influences that have been operative for a century. More than can be said to be true of any other state, Oklahoma is a product of evolution; was evolved from a train of causes and effects that make its history both tragic and extraordinary.

To say that the story of Oklahoma’s evolution contains elements of tragedy may seem overstatement. Yet a close study of the past hundred years leaves a feeling akin to that with which one watches, in dramatic action, the struggles and plans of individuals finally made inoperative through a more dominating set of influences or more masterful personalities; however good the outcome, which we applaud, we express sorrow for the ineffectual battling of the weaker characters.

Oklahoma’s history presents such examples. Here, the statecraft and political wisdom of the nation’s founders planned a community where barbarism would gradually redeem itself from the bondage of ignorance and superstition and emerge to equality with the American people. Jefferson looked forward to the time when the American Indian, with the blood of his race unmixed, would attain a degree of civilization and independence that would place him on a plane of political and industrial equality with his white neighbor. An Indian commonwealth was his dream. And yet all the sincerity of purpose and the political foresight of Jefferson and his immediate followers must be reckoned to have come to naught against the operation of stronger forces that in all their wisdom those statesmen could neither foresee nor forestall.

The history of Oklahoma presents the remarkable spectacle of a political community being guided in one direction and being hurried by the tide of circumstances quite in a different course and to another goal.

Map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories - 1892

Map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories - 1892

Source: A History Of The State Of Oklahoma – Volume I. Luther B. Hill, A. B. The Lewis Publishing Company, 1909
Collection: American County Histories
Chapter: Introductory

The chapter list below provides an overview of the material covered in Volume I.  Learn more about gaining access to the Accessible Archives databases.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter I INTRODUCTORY 1
  • Chapter II THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE 11
  • Chapter III BOUNDARIES OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA 15
  • Chapter IV ORIGIN OF THE INDIAN COUNTRY 23
  • Chapter V THE INDIAN COUNTRY A REFUGE OF BARBARISM 37
  • Chapter VI REMOVAL OF THE INDIANS 49
  • Chapter VII THE INTERCOURSE ACT OF 1834 AND PROGRESS OF THE INDIAN TRIBES 76
  • Chapter VIII THE INDIANS AND THE CIVIL WAR 85
  • Chapter IX ORGANIZATION OF AN INDIAN TERRITORY AND CONSOLIDATION OF THE TRIBES 113
  • Chapter X THE TREATIES OF 1866 122
  • Chapter XI REALIGNMENT OF INDIAN BOUNDARIES, AND REMOVAL OF INDIANS FROM OTHER STATES TO THE INDIAN TERRITORY 132
  • Chapter XI REVIEW OF WESTWARD EXPANSION 143
  • Chapter XIII THE CATTLE INDUSTRY AND INDIAN TERRITORY 147
  • Chapter XIV THE WHITE INTRUSION 150
  • Chapter XV THE FIRST RAILROADS 157
  • Chapter XVI THE ACT OF 1871 AND CHANGE OF INDIAN POLICY 162
  • Chapter XVII ORGANIZED INVASION 169
  • Chapter XVIII CAPTAIN PAYNE AND HIS SUCCESSORS 184
  • Chapter XIX NO MAN’S LAND AND “CIMARRON TERRITORY“ 202
  • Chapter XX OPENING OF OKLAHOMA 205
  • Chapter XXI FOUNDING OF CITIES AND ESTABLISHMENT OF LAW AND ORDER 216
  • Chapter XXII ORGANIZATION OF OKLAHOMA TERRITORY 268
  • Chapter XXIII Expansion OF OKLAHOMA TERRITORY; Cession and Opening of Indian Reservations. 291
  • Chapter XXIV LANDS IN SEVERALTY 313
  • Chapter XXV THE DAWES COMMISSION 321
  • Chapter XXVI THE STATEHOOD MOVEMENT 337
  • Chapter XXVII CONSTITUTION MAKING AND ADMISSION AS A STATE 362
  • Chapter XXVIII THE LIQUOR TRAFFIC AND PROHIBITION 374
  • Chapter XXIX OKLAHOMA’S HERITAGE 381
  • APPENDIX 394
  • CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA 414
  • Local History 470

Tags: ,

Stay Connected

Connect with Accessible Archives on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date on news and blog posts or subscribe to our email feed.