Short History of Craig County, Oklahoma

1803 The United States acquired most of the area that is now Oklahoma as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Panhandle remained under Spanish control.
1812 Most of present-day Oklahoma became part of the Missouri Territory.
1819 Most of present-day Oklahoma became part of the Arkansas Territory.
1821 Missouri become the Twenty-fourth State.
1828/29 Cherokee and Choctaw moved out voluntarily to Indian Territory, (old settlers).
1830 The western part of the Louisiana Purchase, including the Arkansas Territory, was designated as the Indian Territory.
1833 The Creek, Seminole and Chickasaw Indian tribes came to Indian Territory.
1836 Arkansas becomes Twenty-fifth State.
1838/39 The forced removal of the Cherokee Indians over the Trail of Tears. Eight of the nine Cherokee District formed, The Cherokee Districts are Flint, Going Snake, Delaware, Sequoyah, Illinois, Canadian, Saline. & Tahlequah.
1845 Texas becomes the Twenty-eighth State.
1854 The Indian Territory was limited to the area of what is now Oklahoma. Five-mile strip across southern boundary of Kansas was known as neutral lands. Crawford and Cherokee counties Kansas were neutral land was in the Delaware District, IT. until after the Civil War.
1856 Cooweescoowee. District formed from the western portion of Saline District.
1860 Federal Census (white man in Oklahoma) at the end of Yell County, AR census roll.
1860 Coody's Bluff in Nowata County, six miles E. of Nowata post office began 5 May 1860. Prior to the Civil War was 42 post offices had been established in all of Indian Territory. Because of the sparse settlement on the Prairie Plains, one of the closest to what was later Craig County was at Coody's Bluff What few families there were did their trading and got their mail at Chetopa, Kansas. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, only 13 of the twenty-nine post offices were in Cherokee Nation. Only Fort Gibson, Tahlequah and Flint survived the war. Flint dated back to 1846.
1861 Kansas became the Thirty-fourth State.
1861 The Five Civilized Tribes sided primarily with the Confederacy and raised the Confederate Indian Brigade and the Indian Home Guard. They fought in battles in the Arkansas and Oklahoma area.
1865 The Civil War ends.
1865 Between 1865 and 1889, cattlemen, railroaders, soldiers, and settlers lived within Indian Territory's borders before settlement was legally permitted.
1871 Vinita came into existence seven years after the end of the Civil War. The war had left the Cherokee Nation a field of destruction.
1871 The rail lines came through which is now Craig County. Vinita known as "The Junction" was ready to become a new trading and shipping point for the Cherokee Nation.
1890 In May, Indian Territory was divided into Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. The area which is Craig County was part of two Cherokee District, West of Katy R.R. line was known as Cooweescoowee District and East of the tracks was Delaware District.
1890 Territory census was not destroyed. They were not housed with the federal censuses. (Townships in Craig County have numbers instead of names.)
pre 1907 Court records before State Hood check at Muskogee, OK and Ft. Smith, AR archives.

Establishment of the Towns in Craig County


1871 Vinita
1871 Blue Jacket
1887 Big Cabin
1887 Welch
1895 White Oak
1898 Centralia
1898 Ketchum



1871 M.K.T. Railroad or Katy Lines came from Chetopa, Kansas through Welch, Blue Jacket, Vinita, Muskogee, to the border into Texas. Indian Territory was called "the promised land" as it offered fine grazing land the possibility of free land.
1871 Atlantic & Pacific Railroad or Frisco line stopped at Vinita until permission was granted in 1881 to cross the Katy Line. This rail line came from Neosho, Missouri to Big Cabin, Vinita, Claremore and to Tulsa by 1882.
1912 K.O.G. Railroad went through Ketchum


Major Trails

Major trails through Indian Territory such as the Chisholm, Great Western, East Shawnee, West Shawnee, Couch, Payne and Plummer ran between cattle land in Texas and grazing and farm land in Kansas. East Shawnee trail from Fort Washita to Baxter Spring, KS. Military Road used to haul food supplies and ammunition during the Civil War from Fort Scott, KS to Fort Gibson, IT. The Military Road crossed Cabin Creek about three miles above where it empties into Grand River (about 16 miles from Vinita). Battle of Cabin Creek took place at the crossing during the Civil War.



1882-1912 Vinita Indian Chieftain
1892-1912 Vinita Daily Indian Chieftain
1899-1960 Vinita Leader
1904-1918 Centralia
1904-1920 Blue Jacket
1904-1964 Welch
1910-1915 Big Cabin
1910-1918 Vinita Weekly Journal
1919-present Vinita Daily Journal
19124-1929 Craig County Gazette (Ketchum, Blue Jacket, Centralia)
May-Nov 1913 Ketchum
1961-1975 Craig County Democrat


1907 Oklahoma Becomes Forty-Sixth State

Reference Sources:
Ancestry Red
Book-American State, County and Town Sources, edited by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D.,
C.G., published by Ancestry, Salt Lake City, UT, 1992, pgs 858. (Oklahoma information on pages 589-605)
The Boundaries of Oklahoma, by John W. Morris, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City,OK 1980.
Oklahoma Place Names, second Edition, by George H. Shirk, publisher University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1989, pgs 268.
Research Outline, Oklahoma, Family History Library, Salt Lake, Utah, 1992.
The Handybook for Genealogists United States of America-Ninth Edition, Published by The Everton Publisher, Inc., Logan, UT, 1999, pgs 546. (Oklahoma on pages 320-329)
Vinita, I. T—The Story of a Frontier Town of the Cherokee Nation 187 1-1907,by O.B.Campbell, published by Colorgraphics, a subsidiary of the Oklahoma Publishing Co., Oklahoma City, 1969, pgs.171.

Contact the Craig County Genealogy Society, to see if the above books are available. Check our Books for sale, for further research.

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created 8-11-2000

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