History of Perkins
Until the nineteenth century, Indians roamed free in what is now the State of Oklahoma, disturbed only occasionally by hunters and trappers.
Little was known about this part before 1803, when the territory was added to the Union as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Later, American explorers entered the territory to map the nation's newest addition.
One of the most notable expeditions was that of Washington Irving. On October 15, 1832, the expedition passed by the mouth of Red Fork (Cimarron), and the entire party crossed the Arkansas to travel westward through the region that now lies in Creek, Pawnee, and Payne counties. In this area where game was plentiful, the rangers hunted buffaloes, tried their skill at catching wild horses, and supplied fresh meat by shooting deer and turkeys. At all times they kept a sharp watch for hostile Pawnees, whom the commander of the company considered the principal threat to peace on the north bank of the Cimarron.
Pierre Beatte, whom Washington Irving supposed to be the son of an Osage mother and a French father, was employed personally by Commissioner Ellsworth and the noted writer to serve as their guide, interpreter, and man of all work. He was the first of the party to capture one of the wild horses. The camp had been pitched several miles north of the Cimarron, on the prairie northwest of the site of Perkins. Late in the evening after a hunt that lasted all day and a hard chase that covered many miles, Beatte had succeeded in throwing his lariat around the neck of a handsome colt, about two years old. Several of the rangers tried to buy the animal from the successful hunter, tempting him with extravagant offers; but he refused to consider any of the offers. To one of the generous proposals of purchase he answered, "You give great price now; but tomorrow you be sorry, and take back, and say damned Indian." (From Irving, "A Tour On The Prairies")
During the early 1870's, the U. S. Surveying Corps was in the area establishing means and boundaries for townships and section lines. Surveyor's headquarters in Washington, D. C., had pleaded for many months for a troop escort to accompany the surveying parties into Indian Territory. The request was denied, but the crews continued to work deeper and deeper into the unsettled territory.
The Cheyenne Indians were peaceful at the time, with the exception of a few roaming bands who deeply resented the white man's encroachment into their hunting grounds. Among these was a band led by White Horse Charlie, which was considered dangerous. However, as the surveyors advanced more and more of the Cheyennes caused trouble.
Surveying parties were warned not to cross the Cimarron river. It was common practice for the Indians to pull up stakes driven by the crews in an attempt to obliterate the markings. On March 19, 1873, four members of a surveying crew were killed just south of the river along Dugout Creek, at the present site of Vinco (NE/4 Sec. 13- TI7N-R2E). Killed were Edgar N. Deming, Daniel Short, Robert Poole, and Charles Davis.
When news of the slaughter reached Arkansas City, a posse of 30 men left in an attempt to recover the bodies of the victims. On April 2, after five days of travel, the posse reached the Cimarron river and the dead surveyors. Deming's body had been ravaged by wild animals and only the bones remained. A small portion of his scalp was found nearby which led to speculation that he had been a victim of scalping. The bodies of the other three had been stripped of clothing and possessions and were in a badly decomposed state. They were buried on the spot while Deming's bones were returned to Arkansas City and buried in Riverview Cemetery where a marker was erected in memory of the four.
In 1883, the United States conveyed title to the land that is now the site of Perkins, to the Creek Nation. That same year the land south of Perkins and the Cimarron river was assigned to the Iowa tribe of Indians.
In 1824, the Iowas ceded all their lands in Missouri to the United States, and together with the Sauk and Fox, were assigned a reservation in northeast Kansas. In 1876, the question of allotment was discussed and about one-half of the 224 Iowa under the supervision of the Great Nemaha Agency were bitterly opposed to the plan. These Iowa soon began moving away in small bands seeking homes in Indian Territory, making their encampment on the Sauk and Fox reservation. In 1880, there were 46 Iowa at the Sauk and Fox Agency in a destitute condition and without permanent location to build their homes. The following year they were joined by 47 more of their tribe. In their plea to Government officials they were assigned a reservation in 1883. The reservation consisted of 225,000 acres of timber and grassland extending west from the Sauk and Fox reservation to the Indian Meridian, lying between the Cimarron and Deep Fork rivers. A region now included in adjoining sections of Payne, Lincoln, Logan, and Oklahoma Counties.
In 1885, two Easterners, Townsend and Pickett, succeeded in leasing the Iowa reservation for a cattle ranch known as the lOA. The headquarters was located northwest of the intersection of US 177 and SH 105 in Lincoln County (SW/4 Sec. 7-TI6NR3E) on Headquarters Creek. The ranch foreman was George Elliott. Charles Skinner was the chief roundup man. Mont Cartnell, Dick Temming, Ben and Bill Conway, S. R. Stumbo, and Frank Orner were cowboys. The ranch ceased operations in 1890 when the Government decided to open the lands to white settlement on September 22, 1891. Today, the lOA Youth Ranch shares the name and some of the same land once used by the cattle ranchers.
The U. S. Congress approved legislation opening the unassigned lands of Indian Territory to settlers in 1889. On April 22, 1889, nearly 50,000 people lined the borders awaiting the signal to enter the promised land, part of which is now the site of Perkins.
On May 8, 1889, Jesse Truesdale and about twenty others drafted a townsite application for a forty-acre tract (SE/4 SE/4 Sec. I-T17N-R2E) to be called Cimarron. The application was filed at the Guthrie Land Office on May 17.
According to U. S. land law, it took 150 settlers to register a townsite. This was 'out of the question, so several men went to Guthrie and brought back a load of shingles. Under the direction of William A. Knipe, these shingles were marked with names taken from memory and a townsite staked out on what was known as the Wert homestead. Later, as settlers came in, real estate began to change hands rapidly, with the names of actual settlers being substituted on lot stakes and records for the fictitious and imaginary first settlers.
Texans were some of the first arrivals of the young town and decided to pay tribute to the sunny land by naming it Italy. On December 18, 1889, Nathaniel Miller, duly elected mayor, filed a townsite application in the Guthrie Land Office for Italy, covering the same tract known as Cimarron. At this time Italy had two stores and shops, five dwelling houses completed, a school, and a population of about forty people. They had also completed an election of a mayor, five councilmen, a town clerk, and a town treasurer.
In order for the town to survive, postal service was desperately needed. Several of the settlers from Kansas contacted their friend, Bishop W. Perkins, a Congressman from Arkansas City, and a member of the House Committee on Territories, for help. Congressman Perkins used his official powers in Washington to get a mail stagecoach and a post office for the town. On January 30, 1890, a post office named "Perkins" was established in Italy, and Jesse E. Stanton was the first postmaster.
On July 10, 1890, James F. Lockett, Mayor of Italy, made application in the Guthrie Land Office to amend the previous townsite application filed to the extent of changing the name from Italy to Perkins. The name was being changed because of the popular voice of the residents of the townsite.
Application for the Perkins townsite was formally made on February 26, 1891 by David J. McDaid, Chairman of the Townsite Board Number One, the same Board that allotted Stillwater and Guthrie. According to the Minutes of Proceedings, " ... the purchase price of $1.25 per acre was paid, from funds furnished by the people of the Town of Perkins." On April 27, 1891, the Board of Townsite Trustees met to examine and classify the applications for lots, complete a valuation of the lots, and estimate the expense involved in deeding the townsite. A Townsite Patent for the forty acres was issued the trustees of Board Number One, August 25, 1891.
Bishop Walden Perkins
Bishop Walden Perkins, a U. S. Representative and Senator from Kansas, was born in Rochester, Lorain County, Ohio, on October 18, 1841. He attended common schools and Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He prospected for gold in California and New Mexico from 1860 to 1862 when he enlisted in the Union Army. He served four years as sergeant. adjutant. and captain. After the war he studied law in Ottawa. Illinois. and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He began practicing law in Princeton, Indiana. but in 1869 moved to Oswego. Labette County. Kansas. where he was the local county attorney for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad.
Bishop Perkins' career took a leap in 1870 when he was elected Judge of the Probate Court of Labette County. a position he held until 1882. While probate judge. he became editor of the Oswego Register. In 1883. he was elected as a Republican to the forty-eighth and three succeeding Congresses (March 4. 1883 to March 3. 1891). but he was unsuccessful as a candidate for re-election in 1890. He was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy left by the death of Preston B. Plumb, and served from January 1 to March 3. 1893. He then resumed his practice as a lawyer in Washington. D. C .. where he died at his home on June 20. 1894. of cholera morbus. which he contracted in the Indian Territory a few days previous to his death. Bishop Walden Perkins was buried in Rock Creek. Cemetery in Washington. D. C.
When the town of Perkins was founded. the original name was listed as Cimarron. Soon afterwards. the name was changed to Italy. Since daily mail service was desperately needed, the early fathers of Perkins decided that a bit of pioneer politicking might speed up the process. While Bishop Perkins was serving in the United States House of Representatives. he was also chairman of the Committee on Frontier Territories. The town settlers promised Mr. Perkins they would name their town after him if he could arrange for a mail route from Mulhall to Perkins.
On January 30. 1890. mail service from Mulhall started. and on July 10. 1890. the name of Italy was changed to Perkins. Thus it was that the small pioneer town of Perkins began and the Honorable Bishop Walden Perkins became a part of the history of the area.
Ioway ladies in traditional dress.
Ioway Tribe History
The Iowa was a tribe of the Siouan or Chiwere stock. Traditional and linguistic evidence proves that the Iowa sprang from the Winnebago stem. The Iowa separated from the Winnebago and moved toward Minnesota. The closest affinity of the Iowa is with Otoe and Missouria Tribes, the difference in language being merely dialectic. The Otoe have called us Ba-Kho-Je, which translates into "Snow Gray." The oral history relates when the Otoe saw our village in the winter it was covered with gray snow from the fire-smoked snow.
The Iowa people were present in the Red Pipestone quarry region in Minnesota in 1600 to 1650. The first quarrying for catalinite was by people associated with the Oneota Aspect. In earliest historic times these tribes were known as the Iowa and the Otoe. The early history of the Iowa Nation, from aboriginal times to 1730, found the Iowa living in villages in the Lake Okoboji and "Spirit Lake" Region of Northwest Iowa and along the southern boundary of Minnesota. The Iowa influence stemmed partly from the strategic location of their homeland. Their villages were adjacent to the trade routes to western Indians, and were reported by the early French traders.
The Iowa economy and way of life was based primarily upon hunting and trapping wild game and on raising small amounts of agricultural products. The Iowa was a proud, strong, courageous people of endurance whose use and occupancy of land involved a deep emotional and religious meaning, as well as economic significance. The Iowa Nation clearly recognized property rights in land, which could be acquired by Indian tribal units through use, occupancy or military conquest, and which, similarly, could be lost through abandonment or military defeat. This conception is clearly expressed in the Petition of the Iowa chiefs to the President of the United States, 1837, wherein the Iowa Chiefs state that they had once been the most powerful and warlike Indians in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
During the middle of the Eighteenth Century, from 1730 to 1765, the Iowa Nation moved south from the Lake Okoboji Region, down the Missouri River and established a principal village in the vicinity of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and remained there for about 30 to 40 years. The period of trade and stability from 1765 to 1812 was characterized by expanding contact and trade with the white traders, and by consistent use and occupancy of the land. At the invitation of French fur traders from St. Louis, the Iowa moved eastward to facilitate trade and built a summer village on the Des Moines River, a short distance above the Mississippi. Lewis and Clark reported in 1804 the location of the old Iowa Village on the Missouri River as being 30 miles above the entrance to the River Platte.
The Iowa numbered about 1100 in 1760, but only about 800 in 1804. Large numbers had died with smallpox. After 1808 the whites were continually encroaching on the Indian country between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and caused trouble between the whites and the Indians. The United States failed in its obligation to prevent such encroachments on the lands of the Iowa Nation.
The War of 1812 brought a significant change in the history of the Iowa Nation. During the War, Governor Clark, fearing British influence among the Indians, ordered the Iowa to leave their historical summer village sites. As a result, in 1813, the Iowa migrated to their traditional hunting land where they established a summer village on the Grand River and remained there throughout the War of 1812. After a brief return to the Des Moines River in approximately 1819, the Iowa returned in 1823 to their principal summer village on the Grand River. Thus, from 1812 to 1824, the Iowa were forced by the strategy of the War between the United States and England to move their main summer villages three times.
The Iowa Nation arrived at the critical year of 1824 when they executed the Treaty of August 4, 1824, and ceded 1,551,200 acres of land in northern Missouri to the United States. Ma-hos--kah (White Cloud) and Mah-ne-hah-nah (Great Walker), Chiefs and Head Men of the Ioway Tribe of Indians set their hands to the Treaty of 1824 by "x" mark.
Early in 1825, the President of the United States commissioned the Secretary of War to hold a treaty council, which convened at Prairie du Chien for the purpose of establishing boundaries and promoting peace among the Sac and Fox, Iowa, Sioux and a number of other Indian Nations. By the Treaty of Prairie du Chien signed August 5, 1825, the Iowa Nation surrendered all claims to lands in Minnesota. The Iowa Nation was entitled to be paid the fair and reasonable market value for approximately 11,100,000 acres located in western Iowa and Northwestern Missouri for its cession thereof to the United States by the Treaty of July 15, 1830.
The Treaty of September 17, 1836, by which the Platte Purchase was ceded, provided that the Iowa Indians receive, in exchange for their interest in the lands constituting the Platte Purchase, certain cash payments; 200 sections of land on the west bank of the Missouri River. They ceded their interest in the Iowa Claimed Area by the Treaty of November 23, 1837.
The Treaty of 1836 assigned part of them to a reservation along the Great Nemaha River in Nebraska and Kansas, but it was reduced considerably by the Treaties of May 17, 1854 and March 6, 1861. By the Treaty of 1854, the United States undertook to conduct sales of the Iowa trust lands at public auction for the benefit of the Iowa Tribe. The Government violated the treaty by allowing squatters to buy the lands at fixed prices without competitive bidding. As a result, the proceeds of the sales were substantially less than they would otherwise have been and the Iowa Indians were thereby damaged. The Iowa trust lands were part of the choicest area in the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, containing the best soils in Kansas and the prized locations on and near the Missouri River.
The Iowa Nation ceded 5.5 million acres of land in northeastern and southwestern Iowa to the United States under the Treaty of October 19, 1838. The Treaty of 1838 concerned the last of the Nations original homelands, Frank White Cloud (Chief since his father's death in 1834), No Heart and eleven other chiefs signed the Treaty. Although the Iowa land base was greatly reduced, their political, ceremonial, and social organization remained in order. The ancient societies consisted of seven gentes. Some reports enumerate three extinct gentes. The misconception and personal opinion by transient observers in various written accounts relating to the ancient societies and ceremonies become impossible to tell truth from fiction or fact from mythology. In reality, oral history was the source of preservation for each generation.
The artist George Catlin saw the Ioways at the Prairie du Chien Treaty Council in l830 and visited them at their village in 1832. His artistic eye noted in great detail clothing, body decorations and the ceremonial intricacies with which he became well acquainted during the months of a European tour with the Ioways and his exhibition of paintings of American Indians in 1844 and 1845. In 1841, White Cloud chose fourteen Ioway representatives to make the journey to England and France where they visited with King Louis Phillipe and other notable figures. The King presented gold medals to the Chiefs. The War Chief, Neumonya (Walking Rain) was the eloquent spokesman for the Ioways.
The Ioways returned to their home in July 1845. The signed treaties of peace influenced a change in Ioway culture. White Cloud and No Heart had been exposed to the white men's schooling and accepted the invitation to send some of their nation's children to the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky. By 1859, the tribal population was 431. Discontent and bitterness grew as they endeavored to survive on a smaller land base. Gold had been discovered in California and the westward movement of land-seeking settlers had begun. The road to California from St. Joseph ran through Ioway lands. Immigrants of all sorts brought their diseases and used water, grass, and timber extensively. The Ioways saw this as a breach of contract in the negligence of the United States to maintain the integrity of their land.
In council in January 1850, No Heart was the new Chief and he spoke of the injustice and asked to add five hundred dollars a year to their annuities to pay for this.
The Ioways began to seek outside sources for assistance when their appeals to the government went unanswered. According to the agent's report, the Ioways began in 1856 to conform to their standard. Some of the Chiefs requested that their lands be in sections so they could select a piece of land and claim individual title.
From 1837 to the 1850's two Presbyterian missionaries, Rev. William Hamilton and Samuel P. Irvin lived among the Ioways for the purpose of converting them to Christianity and to teach them reading, writing and other skills. They learned to speak the Ioway language. They had complied and printed on a small press brought from the East various books and translated into Ioway parts of the Bible, hymns, a grammar, primer and other works. They kept journals of Ioway life and wrote for newspapers. The long journal of Irvin concerned mostly his personal feelings. Their interpretations were perhaps biased, especially in matter pertaining to religion. In 1845, Reverend Irvin reported that the long-requested boarding school was being built on the reservation.
In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, the men of the Ioway Nation under the Great Nemaha Agency asked if they could enlist as soldiers. The Ioway Nation contributed its share of manpower to the Civil War. Of the total population of 293 in 1864, fourteen men were in the 13th Kansas Regiment, twenty-three in the 14th Kansas Calvary Regiment, one in the 1st Nebraska Regiment, and three in a Missouri Regiment, making a total of 41 in service and leaving only twenty-one men on the reserve.
After the Civil War, the assimilation of the Ioways into the white man's way of life began. The younger leaders who returned after the war accepted the new practices and acculturation of the tribe was evident. Death had removed the older
Chiefs. No Heart (Nuns-che Ning-eh) died on September 2, 1862. He had seen many years of
change for his people. He belonged to the ruling Bear gens (clan) and served as chief after White Cloud's death in 1852.
A council was called for October 23, 1862. The agent reported that Tohee, who had been appointed a chief by the agent, spoke of the young men wanting to be head chief. This indicated a contest for power struggle for the position and the existence of factions. The Great Nemaha agent informed the Commissioner of No Heart's death in November by saying he was unwilling to designate a successor until he was advised. The decision was not left to the Ioways. A former agent replied that the next oldest chief to No Heart should take his place. Accordingly, Naggarash became chief.
In 1865, accusations of squandering Ioway annuities, selling land without their consent was made against the Great Nemaha agent, J. A. Burbank. He was not removed and Ioway discontent and rancor reached new intensity. They went unexpectedly to his office and an outburst followed. The young dissenters no longer had the submissive view of the agent and his authority. The outburst opened ears in Washington and the frequent requests for an audience was finally acknowledged. Ioway chiefs were invited to visit in January 1866. They spoke with representatives of the President, and approached the subject of selling the remaining sections of their land and consented to consider the matter at their leisure.
In 1867, the chiefs informed the agent, that they would sell their land and were interested in signing a treaty to that effect. They said they would move south to Indian Territory to be with the Sacs and Foxes.
Responding to the pressure from influential groups, President Grant sought advice on Indian Policy reform, and Congress created the Board of Indian Commissioners. He turned to the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and successfully enlisted their support of his new reform program. Six agencies were placed under their wing.
Discontent had reached another peak in 1869. The tribe requested permission to visit Washington to discuss their unsettled account, and to voice their opposition to the mishandling of their affairs. With the growth of railroads west of the Missouri and land accession, the government assented to their plea. The Ioways had consented to a railroad right of way through the reservation. The first Quaker agent did not know the ways of bureaucracy, and when railroad men asked for certain reserve lands and Indian timber to build the railroad, he gave consent. He was reprimanded for his unauthorized action. The Ioways spoke strongly against congressional ratification of the treaty concerning railroad rights. Members, especially Ioway women were adverse to removal from the ceded lands and went so far as to affix their names or marks to the petition requesting that the treaty not be ratified. President Grant sent a message to the Senate with a request to withdraw the treaty of February 11, 1869. The Ioways retained their twenty-five sections of land. In March 1876 three of the five chiefs and about one-half of the heads of families of the Ioway tribe requested to have the lands of their reservations allotted to them in severalty believing it would increase their prosperity. The commissioner rejected it on grounds it did not have the unanimous approval of the chiefs or people. The following year some Ioways moved to Indian Territory. In August 1878, the Sac and Fox agent in Indian Territory reported that four Ioway families from the Great Nemaha Agency had arrived in a destitute condition at his agency. In June 1879, twenty-two Ioways arrived after an eighteen-day trip.
After White Cloud and No Heart died, it was unknown which men in leadership positions were hereditary or appointed chiefs. It was reported that Tohee, Mahee, and Kihega were listed as braves in 1861. They were called chiefs later, and were appointed by the agent as such. They eventually came to Indian Territory. In January 1881, of a total 222 Ioways, ninety-two were now in Indian Territory. In May 1882, the Commissioner ordered the Sac and Fox agent to make a roll of the Ioways so they could receive their annuity. In 1882 they settled on land beginning at the point where the Deep Fork of the Canadian River intersects the west boundary of the Sac and Fox Reservation; thence north along said west boundary to the south bank of the Cimarron River; thence up said Cimarron River to the Indian Meridian; thence south along Indian Meridian to the Deep Fork of the Canadian River; thence down said Deep Fork to the place of beginning.
The old Iowa Village was on Bear Creek, a mile from the Logan County line and to the northwest of what is now Fallis in Lincoln County. John F. Mardack, who was a Quaker missionary, lived and and worked with the Ioways. In 1889, a mission with a church and mission house was established at the village.
President Chester Arthur created the reservation for the Iowa Indians of Oklahoma by Executive Order on August 15, 1883. The area totaled 279,296 acres. They were now the Southern Iowas. On March 3, 1885, the Act was passed to sell the Sac and Fox and Ioway lands in Kansas and Nebraska. Certain lands were to be restricted from sale on approval of both tribal councils. This provided for those who wanted to remain. On January 26, 1887 the amended Act was passed which provided for the allotment of land in severalty for any Ioway who elected to stay on the Great Nemaha Agency. These Ioways are the Iowa Tribe of the Iowa Reservation in Kansas and Nebraska and called the Northern Iowas.
In 1885, two Englishmen, Townsend and Pickett saw the profitable prospects in Indian Territory and leased land from the Ioways for cattle ranching. The land was part of that allotted to the Ioways. They used the IOA brand that was the registered brand of the tribe. The ranch remained under the management of Townsend and Pickett until 1889.
The Dawes Severalty (Allotment) Act enacted in 1887, was to assign to individual Indians tracts of land varying from forty to one hundred sixty acres and to pay them for surplus reservation land after allotment was completed. The surplus land, minus tracts for cemeteries, schools, and other uses, was to be opened to white settlement. The Jerome Commission, named after its leading negotiator, David H. Jerome, came into Indian Territory in 1890 to convince the Iowa and other tribes of the benefits of individual tracts of land, rather than common ownership of the reservations.
On May 8, 1890, this commission went to the Ioway Village and set up their meetings in the Quaker Meeting House. The Commission members cajoled and intimidated the Ioway leaders as portions of the proceeding indicate. The Ioways were unsuccessful in their arguments. Under an agreement between the Iowa Indians and the Jerome Commission dated May 20, 1890, which was ratified by an Act of Congress approved February 13, 1891, the, Iowa Indians in Oklahoma sold their surplus land totaling 270,681 acres. The agreement provided that each member of the Iowa Tribe should be entitled to an allotment of 80 acres of land. Thereafter, 109 allotments were made to members of the Iowa Tribe comprising 8,685 acres.
Commissioners on the part of the United States were David H. Jerome, A.M. Wilson and Warren G. Sayre. Kirwan Murray, a member of the Iowa Tribe of Indians was the official interpreter chosen by the Iowa Indians residing on their reservation in Indian Territory. He witnessed and attested to the signatures of the Iowa where signed by mark or otherwise: Jefferson White Cloud, Kirwan Murray, Victor Dupee, Eliza Heelbolte, Eva White, William Tohee, chief, Maggie Tohee, Charles Tohee, Emma Tohee, David Tohee, Garrie Squirrel, Susan Squirrel, Abrockanie, Mary White Cloud, Nellie Grew, Albert Ely, Julia Ely, Naw-a- tawmy, Moses, Lucinda R. Moses, Willie Dole, Tom Dorian, Catharin Dorian, Mary Squirrel, Widow Tohee, Mary Tohee, Ellen White Cloud, Mary Murray, Kis-tom-ie, Big Ear, Theresa Big Ear, Julia Washington, Anna Rubedeau, Josie Dole.
The white settlers who entered the reservation on September 22 in the Run of 1891 soon settled the surplus Ioway reservation land. “From the Iowa Tribe’s noble beginning with massive land holdings, the tribe found itself in 1891 being divested of all its land holdings except for two ten acre tracts. One ten-acre tract was set aside for educational purposes and one ten-acre tract was set aside as a dance ground. The dance ground was to belong to the Tribe unless it was abandoned. If abandoned then the lands would revert to the United States. Then, in 1901, the tribe was deprived of the ten acres of its remaining reservation land set aside as dance grounds due to it being sold by "oversight' by the United States government. The land that was wrongfully sold was situated in the area of Vinco, Oklahoma. For ninety years Iowa tribal leaders were persistent in their course of action and in 1992 received compensation.
New frustrations came from sources other than unfulfilled treaty promises and there was evidence of great dissatisfaction with the life they were living on allotments. In early 1900 there is reference from the papers of Chief Charles Tohee the Iowa Indians were involved in pursuing claims against the United States for their surplus land.
Ira C. Deaver, the Superintendent from the Shawnee Agency, called a general council of the Iowa Indians in February 1919 to elect a Business Committee to transact all of their tribal business and for the principle purpose of their Claims against the United States. The Claim was filed in the Court of Claims August 13, 1920, in the case of the Iowa Tribe of Indians v. the United States. Nine years later, the Court of Claims decided on December 2, 1929, in favor of the Iowa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, and ordered a judgment be entered in the sum of $254,632.59.
About 1894, a new Mission was established five miles southeast of Perkins, Oklahoma. One of the missionaries at the Mission was John Mardack and he remained until it closed in the 1920's. On September 20, 1970, the Cimarron Valley Historical Society dedicated the old Iowa Mission by placing a bronze marker at the Iowa Community Building southeast of Perkins, Oklahoma. The marker reads: "The Iowa Nation, the proud and peaceful people first came to Oklahoma and this area in 1874. The Old Quaker Mission was located 1/2 mi. E, NE, E, of this Marker.”
In March 1921, a meeting was held of the Iowa Indians and others, with the Reverend Robert Hamilton and Reverend Isaac McCoy present. According to the Church minutes the Iowa Indian Baptist Church was organized with twenty-four charter members. Many Iowas were converted and baptized. The membership was involved in various church activities and fellowship.
The Old Settlers, Sons-Daughters Association was organized September 22, 1923. The reunion was held yearly on the Old Settler's campground at Camp Frame, southwest of Perkins. The spirit and intent was clearly visible of preserving in memory the Old Settler’s pioneering a new land when Iowa Indian Country was opened for white settlement on September 22, 1891. The festivities were colorful as was the richness in history of the area.
The recognition, association and friendship between the Old Settler's and the Iowa Indians was a meeting of two worlds. The Iowa Indians were to be members of the Old Settler's Association as long as the water flows and grass grow. Frank C. Orner, was a prominent Old Timer and friend of the Iowa Indians and Chief Charles Tohee. According to history, Mr. Orner was an Old Settler's historian, state legislator, and one-time cowhand of the historic IOA ranch. He had known the Iowas for forty-five years. He wrote a composition in verse form of the Iowa and the treaty they signed at the Old Iowa Village on May 20, 1890. He wrote in part, “Indian get small land, also pay. Thirty-seven cents an acre for big land all the way.”
Frank C. Orner, James Graves and Warren Chantry, of the Old Settler's committee, composed a Memorium-1930 for Chief Charles Tohee upon his death March 2, 1930. It read, “Has not our comrade achieved as Son, Husband and Father from footpaths of primitive unto the modem of civilization, home and God, Who could do more. In our father’s house are many mansions, and one prepared for you.”
In April 1930, a general council was held for a new Chairman in place of Chief Charles Tohee. The political organization of the Iowa Tribe was evolving into a new form of government. There was no officially recognized position of “chief.” The governing body is elective.
This was a new era in the history of the Iowa Tribe and way of life. One of the Iowa elders, Good Track (Franklin Murray) of the Bear Clan, spoke poignantly of the past and future, "When I young - Mother Earth was beautiful and clean and fresh. There were no fences, only a few paved roads, and we traveled cross-country to visit other tribes-we were a happy people. We took only what we needed from Mother Earth - no more. We respected her laws of nature. In my youth, nature was our university - ours was a natural instinct of learning, a natural way of life for the ‘common man’ as we call ourselves. Then came the time when the white man forced his way of life upon us and in this way tried to defeat us - we have proved him wrong. Now, today, I have lived to see that the younger generation, my grandchildren and great grandchildren attend big universities and learn from books to gain knowledge in order to live in today's world. This is good-for this time - young people must compete with others - get a good education to exist on Mother earth. Many times the young people still come to the elders in the tribe to seek their wisdom, and this is good too - they have not forgotten us and our ways.”
Nicholas Conover English, a member of the law firm McCarter & English, Newark, New Jersey, represented the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma in all proceedings of Iowa claims before the United States Indian Land Commission from 1947 to 1973. The Iowa Tribe is grateful to Mr. English for the compilation of Iowa history, and to Martha Blaine, author of The Ioway Indians. Historical work will forever speak for the Iowa Nation.
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is a sovereign Nation. The Seat of Government is located on trust land four miles south and one-half mile west of Perkins, Oklahoma. The Constitution and Bylaws of the tribe was adopted and ratified by the eligible voting members on October 23, 1937, pursuant to the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, approved June 26, 1936. Robert Small was the Chairman of the Business Committee and Jacob Dole was the Secretary.
The Corporate Charter of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma was ratified February 5, 1938. The Charter provides for corporate purposes and powers for the tribe’s economic base. The Election Ordinance provides for the election of a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Councilperson.
Tribal Ordinances are tribal law adopted by the eligible voting members, thereby creating the basis for tribal enterprises and various governmental functions