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Photo: James Monroe (J.M.) Hall, the "Father of Tulsa"; Beryl Ford Collection

Early Tulsa: Official Birthday

BY Goble 46-47, Debo 85

In 1889 the United States established a federal district court in Muskogee foreshadowing the eventual abolishment of Creek jurisprudence and extending U.S. law over its citizens. These new laws gave citizens of Tulsa the right to incorporate as a legal city.

A delegation of leading men, Prier Price, Tate Brady, George W. Mowbray, L.M. Poe, R.E. Lynch, Dr. Samuel Kennedy, Edward Calkins, John Seaman and the ever present J.M. Hall, drew up the charter, proudly signed it and sent it by horse-drawn buggy to Muskogee, where the federal court granted Tulsa its official charter of incorporation on January 18, 1898. The date thus marks the city’s official birthday.

In 1901, Gus and Dan Patton were hired to survey the new city and create the town’s plat. Avenues laid out east of Main Street were given names of cities east of the Mississippi (Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, etc.) and those west of Main were given names of cities west of the Mississippi (Boulder, Cheyenne, Denver, etc.)

In 1904 Tulsa outgrew the townsite originally surveyed by the Patton brothers. As such, the Dawes Commission recommended the removal of the twenty-year restrictions on the sale of the land surrounding Tulsa. The Commissions decided to dismantle these restrictions despite the fact that they were originally instituted to protect Creeks from losing their land. Thus Tulsa began to grow “unhindered” sweeping away its cow pastures and ushering in streets paved with black gold.