Report of James A. Bell. 1st BN, 3d INF, Okla. Natl. Guard.

1st Battalion 3rd Inf. Okla. Natl. Gd.,
Tulsa, Okla.
July 2, 1921

From: Major Jas. A. Bell, Tulsa, Okla.
To: Lt. L.J.F. Rooney, Tulsa, Okla.
Subject: Report on Activities of the Nat!. Gd. On the Night of May 31st and June 1st, 1921.

1. In beginning this report I wish to emphasize the difficulty of remembering time of the different orders ·and action taken. As everything happened so fast and unexpectedly I have a very hazy idea of the time and can only give it approximately.

2. About 9 o’clock P.M. on May 31st. two members of the guard, Sgt. Payne of the Battery and Pvt. Canton of the “B” company, came to my door and reported that a crowd of white men were gathering near the Court House and that threats of lynching a negro were being made, and that it was reported the negroes in “Little Africa” were arming to prevent it. As I had heard rumors of this kind on other occasions that did not amount to anything serious I did not feel greatly worried. However, I instructed these men to return to town and get all the information they could; see what the crowd was doing; whether they were armed or not and report back to me at the Armory. I then went to the Armory and called up the Sheriff and asked if there was any indications of trouble down there. The sheriff reported that there were some threats but did not believe it would amount to anything, that in any event he could protect his prisoner. I then called the Chief of Police and asked him the same questions. The chief reported that things were a little threatening, that it was reported that negroes were driving around town in a threatening mood. I then notified the commanding officers of the three Tulsa units, who were in the Armory getting ready for camp, to hold all men in the Armory, have them get into their uniforms, get all arms and ammunition ready so that if it became necessary and the Governor called us we would be ready. I, also, notified them to quickly but quietly, notify all members of the guard to report at the Armory without giving an alarm. I then returned to my home, just across the alley from the Armory, for my uniform. However, before I could get into it a runner came to my door very much. excited and reported that a mob was trying to break into the Armory. Grabbing my pistol in one hand and my belt in the other I jumped out of the back door and running down the west side of the Armory building I saw several men apparently pulling at the window grating. Commanding these men to get off the lot and seeing this command obeyed I went to the front of the building near the southwest corner where I saw a mob of white men about three or four hundred strong. I asked them what they wanted. One of them replied “Rifles and ammunition”. I explained to them that they could not get anything there. Some one shouted “we don’t know about that, we guess we can”. I told them we only had sufficient arms and ammunition for our own men and that not one piece could go out of there without orders from the Governor, and in the name of the law demanded that they disperse at once. They continued to press forward in a threatening manner when with drawn pistol I again demanded that they disperse and explained that the men in the Armory were armed with rifles loaded with ball ammunition and that they would shoot promptly to prevent any unauthorized person entering there. By maintaining a firm stand backed by Capt. Van Voorhis, Sgt. Leo Irish of the police department, a citizen by the name of Williams and the members of the guard inside this mob was dispersed. I then ordered an adequate guard thrown around the building with one man on the roof. I again called the chief of police and asked if any call had been made for the Governor and he informed me that they were trying to get in touch with him at that time. The chief asked me if I could send some men up town to clear the streets of negroes. I informed him that we could only go out as National Guardsmen with the Governor’ ·s orders and urged haste in getting in touch with the Governor before it was too late. This was, as well as I can remember, about 10 o’clock P.M. In spite of the late hour and demoralized conditions, the officers of the three units, “B” Co., Service Co., and the Sanitary Detachment had been active in getting in men and all supplies in shape. At this hour there was approximately 50 men all told in the Armory and others reporting right along. I had already instructed Capt. McCuen to have his Automatic Rifles ready and manned and plenty of ammunition laid out. (I will state right here, however, that we never sent these Automatics up town at any time because of the danger to non-combatants long distances away if we attempted to use them.) Approximately 110 serviceable rifles and 16000 rounds of rifle ammunition were ready for use at the Armory at this time, all under lock and key and strong guard. The Sanitary Detachment had supplies laid out. So much ·for our action before the Governor’s call.

3. About 10:30 o’clock, I think it was, I had a call from the Adjt. General asking about the situation. I explained that it looked pretty bad. He directed that we continue to use every effort to get the men in so that if a call came we would be ready. I think it was only a few minutes after this, another call from Adjt. General directed that “B” Co., the Sanitary Det. and the Service Co. be mobilized at once and to render any assistance to the civil authorities we could in the maintenance of law and order and the protection of life and property. I think this was about 10:40 o’clock and while talking to the General you appeared and assumed command.

4. When you moved with the first truck load of men to the police station you directed that I remain at the Armory getting the men out as rapidly as they reported and sending them to you. This I did, sending out detachments from time to time as you called for them. Under these instructions, I sent a non-com and four men to the Public Service Co.’s plant on West First Street and a like detachment out to the Water Works plant on the Sand Springs Road. I also sent a squad under Sgt. Hastings of “B” Co., to the Sand Springs substation on Archer between Boston and Cincinnati where the snipers had run the employees out causing the cutting off of the current from several buildings, among them the Brady Hotel. In the discharge of this duty Sgt. Hastings was wounded. As well as I can figure now, we had on duty from the Tulsa units by 6 o’clock approximately 125 men.

5. About 11 o’clock A.M. June 1st the negro wounded, prisoners and refugees began to arrive at the Armory when we turned it into a hospital making preparations to take care of them the best we could. All cots needed as well as blankets were ordered turned over to the Sanitary Detachment. Water and ice to take care of their needs was ordered. The citizens, church societies and Salvation Army brought in coffee and sandwiches for the men on duty and prisoners and refugees.

6. No rifles or ammunition were furnished to civilians at any time except the 2 rifles and 40 rounds of ammunition furnished to Capt. Galoway of the American Legion on request of Commissioner Adkison, and two rifles that had been loaned to the police department several weeks before by Capt. J . W. McCuen on my suggestion: at the request of the chief of police and Major C. W. Daley.

Jas. A. Bell,
Comdg. 1st Bn. 3rd In£. Okla. Nat’l Gd .

Extracted from: Halliburton, R. The Tulsa race war of 1921. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates, 1975.

Martial Law Orders

These have been transcribed (with corrected spelling) from

Barrett, Charles Franklin.  Oklahoma after fifty years: a history of the Sooner state and its people, 1889-1939 … Hopkinsville, Ky.; Oklahoma City, Okla.: The Historical Record Association, 1941.

Hower, Robert N.  1921 Tulsa race riot and the American Red Cross, “Angels of Mercy.” Tulsa, Okla.: Homestead Press, c1993.


The Martial Law Declaration in the collection of McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa.


Headquarters Oklahoma National Guard
City Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 1, 1921.

Following telegram from Governor J.B.A. Robertson received at these Headquarters at 11:29 a.m. places Tulsa and Tulsa County under Martial Law:

‘Chas. F. Barrett. The Adjutant General
c-o City Hall, Tulsa Oklahoma. June 1, 1921

I have declared martial law throughout Tulsa County, and am holding you responsible for maintenance of order, safety of lives and protection of property.  You will do all things necessary to attain these objects.

J. B. A. Robertson, Governor.’

THEREFORE, By authority of this order, I hereby declare the City of Tulsa and Tulsa County from and after the hour named in the telegram to be under Martial Law, which will be enforced with all the rigor necessary to accomplish the purpose of restoring peace and order within the boundaries of this City and County.

The people of Tulsa and Tulsa County will retire immediately to their homes and remain there, so far as possible, until this order is modified or revoked.

All persons, except sworn officers of the law, found upon the public streets of Tulsa or in any locality in Tulsa County, will be promptly arrested and punished as a military court may direct.

All business houses in the city will close on or before 6:00 o’clock P.M. today and will not re-open until 8 A.M., June 2nd, and will observe these hours from day to day until further orders, unless granted permission by the commanding officer of the Oklahoma National Guard.

Services of necessity, such as grocery stores, drug stores, dairies, meat markets and other agencies that contribute to the comfort of the people will be excepted from the provision requiring permission to render such service.

It is the hope of the commanding officer that a prompt compliance with this order will result in a speedy restoration of the public peace, and that the order can be so modified that there will be no interference with the ordinary process of business and commercial life in Tulsa or any surrounding city in Tulsa County.

Every good citizen should lend his or best efforts to secure a prompt compliance with this order.

Automobiles, trucks and other conveyances, except those used by doctors, officers of the law, members of the Red Cross and other individuals or organizations contributing to the health and welfare of the people will not be allowed on the streets between the hours of 7:00P.M. and 6:00A.M.

Sufficient military forces are on hand to rigidly enforce this order, and it will be done.

Equal protection under this order is guaranteed to all persons, without regard to race or color. After the publication of this order, the man or woman, white or black, found with arms in their hands without written permission from military authority or by virtue of proper commission under the civil law will be considered as public enemies and treated accordingly.

Police offices and members of the sheriff’s force will report through their chiefs to Brig-Gen. Charles F. Barrett for further orders.

Chas. F. Barrett, Brigadier General,
Commanding Oklahoma National Guard.’

Headquarters Oklahoma National Guard
City Hall, Tulsa, Okla. June 2nd, 1921

Field Order No. 1

Rules and regulations governing the enforcement of the martial law now in effect in Tulsa and Tulsa County will be further modified to enable the civil authorities of the county to begin and pursue such investigation of crimes and offenses alleged to have been committed by parties now under arrest or by those who should be arrested in connection with the riotous and unlawful conduct that has taken place in connection with the present emergency, and for performing such other functions and duties in connection with their offices as the civil law directs except that peace officers will not interfere with military orders in relation to guard duty or other service of the military authorities.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No.2

The Rules and Regulations provided in the order declaring martial law in Tulsa and Tulsa County are hereby modified to the extent that all normal business and society activities will be allowed, and guards will be withdrawn from the business area during the day of Thursday, June 2nd.  People will not be allowed to congregate on the streets nor engage in heated controversy or interfere with the right of the public the streets.

All street car service will be resumed on regular schedules.  All theaters, taxi lines and agencies of comfort, health and other businesses will go on as usual.  All white people are restricted and barred from visiting the burnt area of the negro district unless proved with military pass.  All negroes provided with the card showing police protection will be allowed to go into the burnt district or negro quarters on presentation of the card.  All negroes living outside of the city and now detained in the various refugee and detention places will be held under detention and brought before the authorities at city hall for investigation.  The commission named as a military commission and the Red Cross will work in cooperation in the work among the refugees.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No. 3

Owing to the present conditions in Tulsa and Tulsa County—funerals of those killed during the riot will not be held in the churches of the city.  Many of these churches are in use as camps for the refugees and it is against the policy of the military department to allow the use for same for funerals under the conditions of emotional stress which still prevailed within the city.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No.4

All able-bodied negro men remaining in detention camp at the Fair Grounds and other places in the city of Tulsa will be required to render such service and perform such labor as is required by the military commission and the Red Cross in making the proper sanitary provisions for the care of the refugees.

Able-bodied women, not having the care of children, will also be required to perform such service as may be required in the feeding and care of the refugees.

This order covers any labor necessary in the care of the health or welfare of those people who, by reason of their misfortunes, must be looked after by the different agencies of relief.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No. 5

To Commanding Officer, 3rd Infantry.  You will detail a Non-Commissioned Officer and 12 men to act as guard at Fair Ground Detention Camp, this detail will be armed and fully equipped will report to Clark Field at American Red Cross Headquarters.  From and after 1.P.M. this date detention camp at McNulty Camp will abolish and camps will be removed to Detention Camp at Fair Grounds.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.

Field Order No. 6

[There is no currently known copy of this order.]

Field Order No. 7

By authority of the Governor and Commander-in-chief of Oklahoma it is hereby ordered that the provisions, rules and regulations contained in the Military Order Putting into effect “Martial Law” in the County of Tulsa Oklahoma be and the same hereby suspended, and the authority and responsibility imposed upon me as Commander of the National Guard, by the governor is, by this order transferred to the mayor and city commissioners of the city of Tulsa and to the sheriff and board of county commissioners of the county of Tulsa, Oklahoma who have taken over all the duties and power conferred upon them by the statutes and constitution of the state. They will exercise with vigor and vigilance the police powers entrusted to them and will take proper care of all wounded, sick and distressed people, who, by reason of the tumult, riot and unlawful conduct of others have become a public charge.

The National Guard unit brought to the city of Tulsa from other section of the state have been relieved from active duty in this field and will repair under the competent orders of their commanding officers to their home stations, subject to orders already in hand to proceed to the Annual Encampment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

The local units of the Oklahoma National Guards will remain on active duty and be subject to call under orders transmitted to Lieut. Col. L. J. F. Rooney by the Adjutant General of Oklahoma. These Tulsa units of the 3rd Infantry will be relieved from further active duty in connection with the present late disturbance at Tulsa, at 9:00 o’clock A.M., Saturday, June 4, 1921, but will be subject to orders already in hand for the Annual Encampment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Battery B, 2nd Field Artillery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be held in readiness to obey orders to co-operate with city and county authorities of Tulsa and Tulsa County in case their services are required but will not act as an organization until orders are received to that effect from the Governor and Commander-in-Chief.

By Command Brig. General Barrett
(signed) Byron Kirkpatrick, Major A.G. Adj.


Tulsa Coal Mines

One of the stories about the riot and aftermath was that the coal mines were used to hide the bodies.  I haven’t looked into it much, but I wasn’t convinced.  I was just sent an article from the Tulsa Gal blog.  She has looked into the history and it looks like that’s an easily busted story since the coal mines are all after 1921.  

More women of the KKK

Concurrent to the W.A.P., as it appeared in Tulsa in October 1922, also on 1 October of 1922, the following article appeared in the New York Times about the Ladies of the Invisible Empire (LOTIE), a different women’s auxiliary that was more ancestral to the eventual Women of the Ku Klux Klan (WKKK). All text after this is quoted from the newspaper article, 1 Oct 1922, p. 23:

Women Klan Members Reveal Family Life

Those who would join Ladies of the Invisible Empire must answer many questions.

Special to the New York Times.

BALTIMORE, Md. Sept. 30.– In a questionnaire sent to the Baltimore women who seek to join the Ladies of the Invisible Empire, the feminine organization modeled after the Ku Klux Klan, are queries concerning many ramifications of the life of the applicant and her family.  Officials of the local organization declare that many Maryland women have answered these questions.

Baltimore’s centre of “female invisibility” is at the home of Alfred Holt, deputy organizer.  At the top of the application blank he issues this declaration:

“I. the undersigned, a true and loyal citizen of the United States of America, being a white woman of sound mind and a believer in the tenets of the Christian religion and the principles of ‘pure Americanism,’ do most respectfully apply for affiliation in the Ladies of the Invisible Empire.

“I guarantee on my honor to conform strictly to all rules and requirements regulating my initiation and the continuance of my membership and at all times a strict and loyal obedience to your constitution and laws of the order. If I prove untrue to my obligations, I will willingly accept as my portion whatever penalty your authority may impose.”

The sum of $10 must accompany this application as a voluntary contribution.

Among the questions the applicant is required to answer are:

“Are you serious and unselfish in seeking membership in this organization?

“Are you past 18 years of age?  Married?  Single? Widowed? Divorced?

“Have you any children?

“What is your religious faith?  Catholic, Jew, Protestant, or Mohammedan?

“With what secret organization is your husband, father, son, or brother affiliated?

“What is the religious faith of your husband?

“Of what church are you now a member?

“Can you keep a secret? Will you do so?

“What are your political affiliations?

“Are you a registered voter?

“Do you owe any allegiance to any foreign nation, Government, Institution, people, or ruler?

“Do you esteem the United States of America, its flag and Constitution above any other nation, flag and Government, and will you ever be loyal in supporting same?

“Can you always be depended on?”

Having answered all these interrogations, the applicant must subscribe to the following:

“I most solemnly assert and affirm that each question above is truthfully answered by me, and in my own handwriting, and below is my signature.”

Women’s Klan in Tulsa

While researching something else this morning, I came across this image, from the Sunday, 15 October 1922 Tulsa Tribune.  As a note, W.A.P. meant White American Protestants according to Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s, by Kathleen M. Blee.  All text after this is quoted from the newspaper article accompanying.

Members of the Tulsa KKK and the WAP at the inaugural meeting, October 1922. -- Tulsa Tribune, 15 October 1922.

Members of the Tulsa KKK and the WAP at the inaugural meeting, October 1922. — Tulsa Tribune, 15 October 1922.

Good Morning Mrs._____; Are You In This Picture?

This is the first photograph ever published of members of the women’s Ku Klux Klan.  It was taken a few days ago at the organization of the Tulsa Chapter of the W. A. P., the Women’s Auxiliary of the Klan.  The robed figures at the left are Klansmen,  The women at the right and in the rear are charter W.A.P. members.   Can you pick out yourself?  What W.A.P. stands for is a secret.

The accompanying picture of the first class of Tulsa women into the W.A.P., the women’s Ku Klux Klan, was brought to The Tribune by a woman who said she was a member.  This is the third class of the kind organized in the United States, it is said, and the first pictures of members of the women’s organization to be published anywhere.

As can be seen in the picture, the W.A.P. has at least the semi-official sanction of the Ku Klux Klan.  Members of the local chapter of the klan are here presenting the American flag to the women, who have just banded together to further the same principles advocated by the invisible empire.  The photograph was taken a few days ago.

The W.A.P., said to be the only women’s organization that has received commendation in the klan national papers at Atlanta, Ga., and Washington, D.C.,was organized at Claremore a few weeks ago.  National headquarters have since been established in Kansas City.

The order claims a membership of 4,000 in Oklahoma.  It is said to have chapters at Claremore, Miami, Tulsa, Vinita, Muskogee, Oklahoma City, Pryor, Wagoner, McAlester, Henryetta, Okmulgee, Haskell, Sapulpa, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Skiatook, Collinsville, Avant, Bigheart, Pawhuska, Pawnee, Stillwater, Perry, Oilton, Drumright, Yale, Cushing, Stroud, Chandler, Guthrie, Edmond, Yukon, El Reno, Kingfisher, Enid, and Ada, in this state,  while others are being organized almost daily.


Klan resources at The University of Tulsa

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives at McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa has a few collections of interest to people researching the KKK.  The collection is growing slowly.

  • Ku Klux Klan (KKK) papers, 1924-1936, 1995. Coll No. 1993.001.  Consists of a ledger containing membership records for the Tulsa Klan chapter for the years 1928-1932 and ephemera which includes: pamphlets pertaining to the organization, structure, and rituals of the Klan; typescript and carbon copy typescript of an acceptance speech given by a newly elected Exalted Cyclops [i.e., Chief Officer] for the Klan #2, Realm of Oklahoma (c1936); membership applications; robe and supply requisitions; and mimeograph copies of 11 official Ku Klux Klan documents dating from 1924-1927; sheet music for the song “The Bright Fiery Cross.”

Some of this material is available online.

Searching the regular Library Catalog and limited to Special Collections.

Other collections do have some Klan materials, although they are currently unprocessed.

[Note:  Updated 11/18/2017 to reflect new URLs]

Beno Hall

EDIT:  It turns out that the county record I was supplied were for the wrong location.  .  That error was that they were looking at block 12 of the city of Tulsa, not block 12 of the North Tulsa Addition – I should have caught it.   Now that all of those records are available through the Tulsa County Court Clerk’s office it’s much easier to resolve this error.  This edit will correct that error.

Although this is not actually about the Race Riot or its immediate aftermath, the presence of the Klan in Tulsa after the riot and looting and burning makes it relevant.  There are two interesting articles on the headquarters of the Tulsa Benevolent Association, as the local Klavern styled itself.  These maybe found at and

To begin, it is unclear at this time when the Tulsa Klan, no. 2, Realm of Oklahoma, Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Inc. actually began operating in Tulsa. The Tulsa World declared on July 24, 1921 that there was proof that the Klan was operating in Oklahoma City, and a story on July 29 referred to the “Muskogee Klan, no. 3.” On August 10, there was a public meeting at Convention Hall with Caleb A. Ridley, pastor of the Central Baptist Church of Atlanta and a noted spokesman for the Klan. On October 31, the first open air initiation of the Tulsa Klan was held for either 30 or 300 people.

According to Steve Gerkin writing for This Land (September 1, 2011) The Tulsa Benevolent Association was formed as a holding company for the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Inc. January 1922. Six months later the TBA spent $60,000 for the land that held the then defunct Tigert Memorial Methodist Church at 501 N. Main.

The article further goes on to say that the land was bought from Centenary Methodist Church, and that the Klavern was built on Tate Brady’s wife Rachael’s land.  Unfortunately, Rachel Brady didn’t have an allotment (although her children did) and they were Cherokee.  501-3 N. Main is on Creek Land, specifically land granted to D. A. Storm by the Creek Nation in 1902.

Location of 503 N. Main on a plat mat with the location of Cherokee allotments.

Location of 503 N. Main on a plat mat with the location of Cherokee allotments.

Tigert Memorial Methodist Church, c1906. Corner of Easton and Main. Image in Special Collections

Tigert Memorial Methodist Church, c1906. Corner of Easton and Main. Image in Special Collections

Tigert’s membership had left sometime in 1920 for the newly built Centenary Methodist Church, at 631 N. Denver, on the southern border of Ruth Brady’s Cherokee tribal allotment, and the northern border of the original “North Tulsa” annexation.

Soon outgrowing the facility, the former Tigert church was razed and what was informally called Beno Hall was built.

1919 Directory showing Tigert Memorial at 503 N. Main.

1919 Directory showing Tigert Memorial at 503 N. Main.

Looking at the Tulsa City Directory over time, we can see that 501 (and 503) N. Main went through these changes.

1907-1921 Tigert Memorial M E Church (in the later years pastor was Rev. J. E. McConnell)

As a note, in 1920, Tigert ceased to be listed in main church directory, but was still listed at the street address. In 1921 Centenary Methodist was listed at being 1160 N Denver and organized in 1907, in 1922 Centenary was at 631 N Denver with the pastor, H.G. Cooke residing at 1160.

1922 Nothing listed at 501 or 503 N. Main.

Tulsa Benevolent Association listing in the 1923 Tulsa Directory.

Tulsa Benevolent Association listing in the 1923 Tulsa Directory.

1923-25. Tulsa Benevolent Assn is listed.

1926-7. TBA/Women of the Ku Klux Klan.

1928-1929 Women of the Ku Klux Klan/Miller E E./Ku Klux Klan.

Please note that E.E. Miller is in the 1928-1932 Klan Register held by Special Collections, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa. He is only listed for 1929, and no address is given.

His residence in the directory is Miller, Elmer E. (Daisy) 503 N Main. In the 1930 directory his residence is at 437c N. Main.

1930-6. The directory shows the address as Temple Baptist Church. (E.E. Miller).

1937. Central Church of the Nazarene

1938. The address changed to 505 N Main. Central Church of the Nazarene

1939. The addresses are listed as vacant.

1940. 501 Dixon Wm Restr, 505 vacant
1941. 501. The Moana nightclub. Chas C Goltry, mgr
1942. 501. The Moana roller skating. Chas C Goltry, mgr
1943. 501. The Moana roller skating. Chas C Goltry, mgr. Barton, Benj.
1944. 501 The Moana Skating Rink.
1946. Vacant
1947-8. 501. American Hardwood co. Lumber

A detail from Construction of Building 600 N. Main showing the north side of the former hall. Beryl Ford #D7271.

A detail from Construction of Building 600 N. Main showing the north side of the former hall. Beryl Ford #D7271.

North up Main, the Eveangelistic Temple in the distance. Cropped from Beryl Ford #A1884

North up Main, the Eveangelistic Temple in the distance. Cropped from Beryl Ford #A1884

1949-76. Evangelistic Temple.
1977-78 listed as vacant.

Simple enough.

The Sanborn maps show the address as being Block 12, Lot 4.

Block 12, Tulsa. Showing the corner of Main and Easton.

Block 12, Tulsa. Showing the corner of Main and Easton.

Block 12, Tulsa. Showing the corner of Main and Easton.

Block 12, Tulsa. Showing the corner of Main and Easton.

Block 12, Tulsa. Showing the corner of Main and Easton.

Block 12, Tulsa. Showing the corner of Main and Easton.

Looking into the County Records, Block 12 Lot 4, North Tulsa Addition

We follow this trail.

So page one.
Grantor                                                        Grantee
Cherokee Nation                                        N. J. Smith Patent 10-1-06
J. N. Baker, et ux                                        S. W. Marr Mtg. 5-15-03
Smith, Newton J.                                        M. E. Church Trustee wd 9-7-07
M. E. Church (South)                                 Bd. Of Church Extension wd 9-7-07
M. E. Church (South) Trustees,               Tigert M. E. C. S. wd 9-7-07

This is Tigert Methodist Church.

Page 2
Wright, G. N. Sr. et al                                Bd. Of Church Extention mtg no date
Wright, G. N. Sr. et al                                Bd. Of Church Extention mtg no date
1st Methodist Church                               Galt, Thomas T. mtg 5-11-09
Board of Church Extension                     Wright, G. N. Jr. Rel 5-20-09
Jones, P. C. et ux                                         Board of Church Extension mtg 5-22-09
Galt, Thomas T.                                          Episcopal Church Rel Mtg 7-8-14
Wright G. N. et al                                      Board of Church Extension Mtg 7-10-14
Ernslarger, A et al                                    do mtg 1-11-15

Page 3
Board of Church Ex                                  Jones, P. L. rel 10-30-19
Gardner, James H.                                    International Life Insurance Co. mtg. 11-13-19

Page 4
Tigert Mem M. E. Ch.                                Public Copy bsn 12-5-21 (This is after the entire congregation decamped to Centenary)
Gardner, James H.                                     Tulsa Benevolent Association W. O. 4-23-20
Tulsa Benevolent Association                 Farm Home Sav. Loan. Mtg 4-20-23
International Life Insurance Co.            M. E. Church R 4-23-23
Calvert Mtg Co.                                          Equitable Trust Co. rel mtg 3-28-27
Marr, S. W.                                                  Baker, John and Elizabeth rel mtg 1-17-28

For those keeping track, the Tulsa Benevolent Association is the KKK in Tulsa. And 1928 was the last year that the Roster was correctly kept.

Page 5
Sheriff Tulsa Co.                                          Farm Home Savings and Loan Deed 12-11-29
Farm & Home Savings and Loan             Early, T. J. WD 3-24-30
Early, T. J.                                                      Farm & Home Savings and Loan mtg. 3-24-30
Do                                                                  Temple Baptist Church WD 3-24-30

Page 6
Temple Baptist Church                              The Central Church of the Nazarene WA 7-27-36
The Central Church of the Nazarene      Jennings, Tom Sledge mtg 12-23-36
The Central Church of the Nazarene      Jennings, Tom Sledge mtg 3-23-37
Jennings, Tom Sledge                            The Central Church of the Nazarene rel mtg 12-27-37
Jennings, Tom Sledge                            The Central Church of the Nazarene rel mtg 4-27-39
The Central Church of the Nazarene     Farm and Home Savings and Loan WA 7-27-36
Farm and Home Savings and Loan        Harris, Mary Lou WA 5-16-39
Harris, Mary Lou                                       Farm and Home Savings and Loan WA 5-16-39
Harris, Mary Lou                                       Pollack, Ben 2nd Mtg 617-40

Page 7
Farm & Home Savings & Loan                Campbell Chas. Co Luna WD 3-26-45
Campbell Chas. Co Luna                          Farm & Home Savings & Loan Mtg 3-26-45
Wallace, Robert A. v Luna                      Campbell Chas. Co Luna Rel Mtg 8-29-45
Campbell Chas. C. et ux.                         Wallace, Robert A et ux Mtg 9-1-45
Funston, Don, et ux                                 First Pentacostal Holiness Ch. WD 9-21-48
Campbell Chas. Co Luna                        First Pentacostal Holiness Ch. WD 10-2-48
First Pentacostal Holiness Ch.              Chamberlain, Emma Mtg. 10-2-48

And so on until 1981 when the World Missions of Tulsa released the property to Public.

Methodology example – 1921 Klan initiation

One of the issues with historical research is being aware that even documentary sources can have a bias. Let’s look at an example of two articles where, although they appear to cover the same event (the 1921 August 31 Klan initiation) they present the events in dramatically different ways.

Tulsa Tribune, Thursday, September 1, 1921
(part of front page was damaged so there are some lacunae in the text)

“[3]00 Klansmen Take Oath at Cross of Fire

[S]ilent Empire Swears in New Members

Like a spectral army, a crowd of [m]en estimated at 1,500 stole out of [Tu]lsa in more than 300 automobiles [la]st night and assembled at a lonely [sp]ot surrounded by overhanging hills [wh]ere Tulsa’s chapter of the Ku [Kl]ux Klan held what is believed to [be] its first initiation.

About 3 o’clock yesterday after[no]on a reporter for The Tribune re-[ce]ived a telephone call. The voice [se]emed to be that of a business man. […] was quick, sharp and to the point. [T]he reporter was informed to be at [th]e corner of Third and Main street [a]t 8 o’clock last night and he would [b]e tipped off to one of the biggest [stor]ies that ever “broke” in Tulsa.

The reporter was inquisitive but [c]ould elicit no further information [ot]her than the assurance that the [pe]rson talking was reliable and the [st]ory worth while.

It lacked two minutes to 8 by the [re]porter’s watch. The theater [cr]owd was bulging in the streets and [th]e stream of automobile traffic [po]uring across the intersection at [Th]ird and Main was growing stead[ily] heavier. A man tapped the re[po]rter in the shoulder.

“Are you The Tribune man?” he [as]ked. Receiving the affirmative re[ply] he said, “Get into my car and I w[il]l drive around to the office. I [ha]ve some big inside stuff on the […]li[…]ation you are interested in [b]ut can’t afford for it to be know [th]at [I g]ave it out.”

Reporter Blindfolded.

They walked around the corner and climbed in a big Cadillac roadster. The reporter noticed that the [cur]tains were up. The car dashed [ra]pidly west and stopped in the [sha]dows Sixth Street and Denver Avenue, when one of the men said “We [are] going to blindfold you and take [you] where you can get a real story. [You] wont’ be harmed but you had [bet]ter keep still. You are at liberty [to] write about all you see on this […]”

The automobile traveled at what [se]emed to be a rather high rate of speed [fo]r a long while. The occupants of [th]e car were silent. Sitting between [t]wo of them on the rear seat, the [re]porter could tell that the car went [up] hill and down hill many times [an]d made a number of turns as it traveled.

Finally it stopped. The car door [op]ened and a few seconds the blindfold was removed. Only the [u]nknown driver was there. He in[s]tructed the reporter to make him[s]elf at home and said he would re[tu]rn later.

The car stood on the brink of a [hi]ll overlooking a little valley sur[ro]unded on all sides by hills. Several [hu]ndred yards away, a strange sight. In the heart [of] the valley [h]undreds of automobiles were as[se]mbled in a great circle, The head[li]ghts of all converged on a spot [wi]thin where nearly 100 men in [th]e long white robes of the invi[si]ble empire stood ghostlike beneath [a] giant tree.

The Fiery Cross

Standing in the glare of the powerful lights their forms were distinctly outlined. The reporter saw the hood and the gown barred with the signs that have come to be known [as] the mark of the Ku Klux Klan. [A] tall man stood directly beneath [th]e tree. Beside him was a giant [fi]ery cross held high by a man in [si]milar garb. Standing near it [w]as a great American flag unfurled. On the outside of the circle of cars were other automobiles at intervals with their lights streaming outward into the darkness. They

(At this point most of the text is too badly damaged to get anything be the last half of each line.)

…ftly on guard. Past
…the spectral figures under
…nd the giant cross that
…e a thing alive as its
…flame leaped and play-
…them. The tall man ad-
…few paces. Rapidly men
…civilian garb and wear…”

You get the point.

Compare this to:

Tulsa Daily World, Friday, September 2, 1921

“Klux Klan initiates

Thirty candidates were initiated into the mysteries of the “invisible empire” at the first open air meeting of the klansmen held in an open field 11 miles south of town on the Broken Arrow road at 9.30 Wednesday night.

The cars containing about three hundred and fifty members of the Ku Klux Klan left Fifth and Cincinnati at 7:30 o’clock. Armed guards stations along the road halted the cars for inspection and a second inspection was had upon arriving at the scene of operations. The cars were parked in a circle with all lights out except those with high powered spotlights which furnished the illumination for the business session of the klansmen.

The proceedings were the same as the previous meetings held in Convention hall. Guns were carried so that the klansmen could be prepared for any emergency that might arise, one of the participants said.”

So, the real question we get from this is – What previous meetings? Clearly more research is required since virtually every academic source has referred to this as the first Klan event in Tulsa.

KKK Roster

(This was originally posted on my Livejournal, but I have moved it here and updated it).

The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives has in its collections a roster of the KKK in Tulsa for the years 1928-1932. It is part of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) papers, 1924-1995, bulk 1924-1936. Coll. No. 1993.001.

Since 1993, it has been the Department’s policy has been to not show the original to anyone, but let them use the photocopy, out of concern that it might be damaged.   This roster was, according to legend, one of four, and only covers the declining years of the Tulsa Klan.

In 2011, Special Collections had it digitally transcribed.

Using that transcription I was able to make the following determinations:

In 1928 registered membership was 975 members, consisting of 720 Democrats, 251 Republicans, 3 Independents.

In 1929, membership was 240.

In 1930, membership was 199.

In 1931, 87.

In 1932, 28.

There are 16 memberships with no discernible year.

Conversely, membership in 1921 (August 31, after the riot), the Tulsa Klan enrolled its first 300 members. By 1924, when the Governor declared martial law in Tulsa, there were reputedly upwards of 10,000 members, not including the women’s auxiliary and children’s groups.