Early Tulsa History

The Beginnings of Tulsa

The city now known as Tulsa was first settled by the Lockapoka Creek Indians between 1828 and 1836. Driven from their native Alabama by the forced removal of Indians from southeastern states, the Lockapokas established a new home at a site near Cheyenne and 18th Street. Under a large Oak tree, they rekindled their ceremonial fire.

Like the rest of the nation, Indian Territory was divided during the Civil War. The first battle fought in Indian Territory was the Battle of Round Mountain in November 1861 between Confederate-aligned tribes and Union Creeks led by Opothle Yahola. Although the exact site is disputed, the location was probably near the town of Keystone, west of Tulsa.

The Battle of Caving Banks was fought in December of that year as Yahola led his group, including the Lockapokas, to refuge in Kansas. The Caving Banks site is on private land near 86th Street North and Delaware Avenue.

The Lockapoka site near the Council Oak Tree was abandoned and destroyed during the war, but afterward they returned to their home alon the Arkansas and relit the council fire.

In 1848, Lewis Perryman, a prominent Creek rancher, opened a cattle ranch and the first trading post near the Lockapoka settlement.

Lewis Perryman died in Kansas during the war, but his son George returned to the ranch of his youth, building a large white home. In March 1878, a star route mail station was established at the Perryman store. The community served by the station was officially designated as “Tulsa”.