July 6, 1921.
From: Major C. W. Daley
To: Lt. Col. L.J.F. Rooney
Subject: Information on activities during Negro Uprising May 31, 1921.
1. Pursuant to communication of June 27, 1921 from the Adjutant General I beg to submit the following report:
On May 31st, 1921 about 8:30 P.M. as near as I can find out the first inkling of trouble between the black and whites was noticeable. At this time I was out of the City, being called to Sapulpa, Oklahoma, 14 miles distant. Upon leaving the City I left a memorandum on the Chief of Police’s desk stating I would be out of the City for a few hours. I left Sapulpa about 11:10 P.M. by auto and arrived at West Tulsa Bridge at 11:45 P.M.
I was stopped by several men on the bridge and informed that hell was breaking loose and that the negroes were trying to take the City. I immediately drove to the Court House and upon arriving there, there was between two and three hundred people gathered in front. I talked to the crowd a few moments and requested them to disperse and go home. I then drove to the Police Station and upon arriving took charge of the situation in the handling of the crowd and other details. At this time which was about 12:05 A.M. several people were gathered in front of the station running with guns of all kinds. It was at this point that I requested all men to stand still and I picked out a half dozen ex-service men to act as my assistants. Separating the crowd placing men with pistols on one side and men with rifles on the other, and gave final instructions that all men under 21 years of age be disarmed as the City would not be responsible for any accidents that might occur in the discharge of firearms in the hands of boys.
At this point I discovered Lt. Col. L.J.F. Rooney in the middle of the block on Second Street with several members of the Guard standing beside a truck belonging to the Service Company National Guard. I immediately reported to Col. Rooney. I was directed by Col. Rooney to continue as I had been and to organize the automobile patrols and keep them organized and report the number available.
At this time I was informed by Col. Rooney and Major Bell, and Capt. McCuen were on duty at the Armory as there had been an attempt to secure the rifles and ammunition. Major Kirkpatrick was on duty in the Chief of Police’s office. Capt. Van Voorhis and Lieut. Wood were on duty with the troops under command of Col. Rooney. Upon receiving these instructions and Col. Rooney notifying me he would remain with the troops I again assumed charge of the crowd gathered at the station. At this point runners were sent out by me to assemble all automobiles at the Police Station as I had been informed they had been running wild over the City without any
head or any one to give instructions.
While this was being done there was a mob of 150 walking up the street in a column of squads. That crowd was assembled on the corner of Second and Main and given instructions by myself that -if they wished to assist in maintaining order they must abide by instructions and follow them to the letter rather than running wild. This they agreed to do. They were split up at this time and placed in groups of from 12 to 20 in charge of an ex-service man, with instructions to preserve order and to watch for snipers from the tops of buildings and to assist in gathering up all negroes bringing same to station and that no one was to fire a shot unless it was to protect life after all other methods had failed.
The patrols were assembled and distributed over the City in automobiles with instructions to pick up all negroes on the streets and to go to servants quarters and gather them in, for I thought some of the bad negroes may set fire to homes of white people causing a lot of destruction to property and a possible loss of life. The instructions to the men in patrol cars were the same as above stated to the walking patrols in regards to the discharge of firearms. In each patrol car was placed an ex-service man and where it was possible an officer from the Police Department for the purpose of having some semblance of po1ice authority, thereby helping to maintain order. With the result that the negroes were gathered in.
About 2:30 A. M. a patrol of cars which numbered over a hundred and patrols of men were very well organized. Upon receiving information that large bodies of negroes were coming from Sand Springs, Muskogee and Mohawk, both by train and automobile. This information was imparted to the auto patrols with instructions to cover the roads which the negroes might come in on. At this point we .received information that a train load was coming from Muskogee so Col. Rooney and myself jumped into a car, assembled a company of Legion men of about 100 from among the patrols who were operating over the city, and placed them in charge of Mr. Kinney a member of the American Legion and directed him to bring men to the depot which was done in a very soldierly and orderly manner. Instructions were given that the men form a line on both sides of the track with instructions to allow no negroes to unload but to hold them in the train by keeping them covered. The train proved to be a freight train and no one was on it but regular train crew. I then informed Mr. Kinney to take his men and use them to the best of advantage in-maintaining order throughout the City. Just prior to going to the M.V. depot Col. Rooney had with Capt. Van
Voorhis and Lieut. Wood and men of the Guard with a truck established a guard line on Boston Avenue and Brady Street for a period of about two blocks. There was a large crowd gathered at this time. There were two small buildings burning and some damage had been done to a few stores on Boston Avenue north of the depot. Fire Department had been called to handle the fires and at this point had been fired on, the firing coming from the interior of the black belt. The Fire Department returned as I understand after many shots had been fired at them making their work very dangerous.
At this point I arrived and found Col. Rooney in command giving instructions and maintaining order among the mob. After investigating around the fire I discovered on the inside of a small shack just adjoining a large brick building that an additional fire had been started which might terminate in a great amount of damage by continued fires. I notified the Chief of the Fire Dept. of this finding and requested one truck be sent there which was done and upon arriving a guard of six men were placed around the firemen and they with fire extinguishers entered the building and put out the fire. · This was about 3:15 A.M. At this time heavy firing started over by the Frisco depot. I immediately went to the depot and found a large crowd gathered on the platform of the Frisco station also on the Frisco tracks where several of the men were firing over into the black belt. At this point I called for volunteer guards to handle this crowd and to prevent further shooting. About twenty men with rifles stepped forward. They were placed in a triangular formation from Boston Avenue to the end of Frisco platform on Cincinnati Avenue, and back across the Frisco tracks with instructions to keep the crowd back and to prevent any further firing over into the negro district.
At this point I made an investigation of the interior of the Depot and around the baggage room to see that there was no danger of fires being started, following which I reported back to the police station and found things running along in good shape.
I have received information from different quarters that the guard rendered a splendid service in the protection of life and property at the time the attack was made by the negroes on the white section on Sunset Hill. On many other occasions the officers and men were exposed to rifle and pistol fire both from the arms of the blacks and stray shooting from portions of the whites.
The local American Legion men and sixty-two from Cleveland, eighteen from Drumright and seven from Broken Arrow rendered invaluable service at all times. Many splendid citizens of the city also volunteered the use of their automobiles and did other patrol and guard work.
In my judgment at least 5,000 people were under arms in this city between the hours of 9 P.M. of May 31st and 9 A.M. June 1st.
On the arrival of the Adjutant General and Col. Markham with the troops from Oklahoma City at 9:10 A.M. June 1st I found Col. Rooney and Major Kirkpatrick at the railroad station to meet the Adjutant General and Col. Markham. When these troops arrived I reported to the Adjutant General and escorted Col. Markham to the police station, Col. Rooney’s Hd. Qrs., and from that time forward was with him until he left the city. My actions can be best covered from this time by a report from Col. Markham as I took direct orders from him immediately upon his arrival.
Chas. W. Daley
Maj. I.G.D. Okla Nat’l Gd.
Extracted from: Halliburton, R. The Tulsa race war of 1921. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates, 1975.