Indian Territory Turned Into the Oil Capitol

There five tribes that came to Tulsa by way of the Trail of Tears. This was ultimate to be part of the Indian Territory in 1830 as the American government took away the land belonging to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes. The larger tribes were given extensive land holdings and formed individual governments with tribal members starting a new life as farmers, ranchers, and trappers. The biggest part of modern Tulsa today is located in what is referred to as Creek Nation and some in the Cherokee Nation, as well as the Osage Nation.

Tulsa would be first settled by the Lochapoka and Muscogee between 1828 and 1836 as they left their homes in Alabama. The area they made a home is what is known today as Cheyenne Avenue and 18th Street, under a large oak tree they called Creek Council Oak Tree. They would rekindle their ceremonial fire and name the area "Tulasi" which means "old town" in the language native to them.

It was Washington Irving, a famous writer, who would put the area on the map with his visit in 1832. He described the area in his book, A Tour on the Prairies, which was published in 1835. Mr. Irving accompanied an American Army exploration party from Fort Gibson west to the prairie land that was occupied by the Osage and Pawnee. He wrote of his experiences camping in the large tree groves on the Arkansas River. That area is now Bixby, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa. Close by is the Washington Irving Park.

By 1901, Tulsa would be changed from that frontier town settled by the five tribes to a boomtown when oil was discovered at Red Fork. The wildcatters and many investors flooded the city and before long a town took shape and would soon be known as The Oil Capitol.