Baptist History Homepage

The Story of Oklahoma Baptists
By E. C. Routh, 1932

Chapter VII
A Century of Oklahoma Baptist History *

     On the ninth day of September, 1832, Isaac McCoy organized a Baptist Church in the Creek Nation three miles north of the Arkansas River and about eighteen miles west of Port Gibson. McCoy, a native ol Pennsylvania, had been appointed in September, 1817, to labor as a missionary among the Indians of Indiana where he had lived a number of years. Afterward he located at Carey and Thomas stations in Michigan (now Niles and Grand Rapids) in the territory of the Potawatomies. In 1828 by authority of the Government he accompanied an exploration party to the Southwest. On that trip he visited the territory now occupied by the Cherokees, Creeks, Quapaws and other tribes. The party camped nearly a month at the confluence of the Arkansas and Verdigris Rivers. Other exploration trips to the Southwest in behalf of the Government, were made by McCoy in the years 1829, 1830 and 1831. He surveyed much of the territory in what is now northeast Oklahoma.

     In 1820 the United Foreign Mission Society had started work among the Osages at Union Station, about twenty-five miles north of Fort Gibson. In 1830 McCoy found a Presbyterian organization started that year at Union Mission. There were several people in that organization who would have preferred a Baptist church, but there was no Baptist minister to organize a Baptist church and to administer the ordinances. In a letter written July 4, 1831, McCoy said, "I feel not a little ashamed of the Baptist denomination. I am grieved to the heart. Is there not in this circumstance a call to our denomination to come forward to the work, too plain to be misunderstood and too loud and imperative to be resisted? About three hundred
* This and the next four chapters were messages delivered at the Oklahoma Baptist Centennial, September 9, 1932. This fact explains some duplication in this chapter and preceding chapters.

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thousand Baptists in the United States and none so much regarding the wretched Indians as to come and collect them into a fold and administer to them the ordinances. Oh, tell it not in Gath."

      Among the men whom McCoy met on his visit to the Creeks in 1831 was John Davis, a full-blood Creek Indian who had been a member of a Baptist church east of the Mississippi and had there been commended to exhort and had conducted missionary labors in the new home since October, 1829. Davis had been a pupil of Lee Compere, one of the first Baptist missionaries to the Creek Indians in Alabama. In December, 1830, the Baptist Board of Missions took him under its patronage and gave him $200 a year. In the absence of a Baptist church, all of the five or six Baptists, with the exception of Davis and possibly a colored slave, united with the Presbyterians. In 1831 Davis married a Creek woman, a Presbyterian, who had been educated at the Union Mission. He made no effort to proselyte her, but later she joined the Baptists with her husband.

      Here is Isaac McCoy's account of the organization of the first Baptist church:

"On the 9th of September, 1 constituted the Muscogee (Creek) Baptist Church, consisting of Mr. Lewis and wife, Mr. Davis, and three black men who were slaves to the Creeks. [In some letters written shortly after he came to the Territory in 1857, Dr. Murrow gave the names of these slaves as Quash, Bob and Ned, who had been baptized in Alabama by Lee Compere]. In the afternoon we worshipped in another place in the neighborhood. This was the first Baptist church formed in the Indian Territory and I felt thankful to God that He had allowed me the satisfaction of witnessing the constitution of one church in this land toward which some of us had looked with solicitude. The first act of the church after organizing was to order a written license as a preacher to be given to Mr. Davis, the Creek missionary, and I was directed to prepare the same. Mr. Davis was interpreter for others in preaching and also preached and exhorted himself in his mother tongue. On the 16th day of September two Indian men were baptized after which the Lord's Supper was administered

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and we retired under a happy impression that another meeting of ten days had been profitable to many."
On the 14th of October, 37 persons were baptized at a meeting of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, eight or ten of whom were Creeks, and the rest nearly all colored slaves. On the 10th of November nine more were baptized, three of whom were Indians. On the same day a Sunday school was commenced. Not all who applied for membership in the church were received. They were all examined carefully and the church was satisfied of their conversion.

      Under date of January 18, 1833, McCoy wrote to the Baptist Weekly Journal:

"Among the Creeks a church was established last September to which about fifty persons have since been added by baptism. Many of these were Indians; - a majority were blacks who were slaves to the Indians and one was a white person. At this station are two missionaries with their families, one of whom is a full Indian. Among the Cherokees is one missionary and a small church. To the Choctaws a missionary has lately been sent, and in that tribe also we have a few names of our order who were baptized east of the Mississippi."
      Among the Cherokees a Baptist church was constituted about fifty miles north of Fort Smith, November 19, 1832, two months after the Creek church was organized. This church had really been organized December 10, 1825, at Tinsawattee, North Georgia, and had been removed west and "reopened" on the date indicated; of the original twenty members, twelve were still in the old nation. Duncan O'Bryant who had come West with the Cherokees was pastor. The McCoy correspondence indicates that this station was abandoned in 1836.

      In the "Annual Register of Indian Affairs Within the Indian Territory" published in 1838 by Isaac McCoy, he refers to the constitution in 1837 of a Baptist church at Providence station in the Choctaw Nation. McCoy himself never lived in the Indian Territory and was not an official missionary to the Indians in the Territory. He made trips to the Territory as a Government surveyor. His permanent home after he located in the West

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was at Shawnee Mission, Westport, in the southern part of what is now Kansas City. He lived there until the organization of the American Indian Baptist Mission Association in 1842. He was made secretary of the new organization and removed to Louisville, Kentucky, where he lived until his death in 1846.

      Evan Jones and John B. Jones were honored names in the history of missionary work among the Cherokees. The outstanding Baptist leader among the Cherokees was Jesse Bushyhead who came West with them in 1838-1839 over the "Trail of Tears." He was a great Christian, a Baptist preacher, and was Chief Justice of the Cherokee nation until his death July 17, 1844. He was also a member of the Intertribal Conference at Tahlequah, June, 1843. Another spiritual leader was Lewis Downing who served as lieutenant-colonel in the Union Army during the early sixties. His portrait hangs in Bacone College.

      Missionary activities among the Creeks were beset with difficulties. John Davis, to whom we have referred, was the faithful pastor for several years, but correspondence indicates that Davis' ministry was more or less irregular and indifferent toward the end. Eben Tucker came to the field early in the forties and is said to have organized another church among the Creeks in 1843. For several years during this period the Creek Christians suffered persecution.

      As early as September, 1836, the missionaries in the Creek Nation were advised to leave the nation because of prejudice against the missionaries engendered by a serious charge against one of them. In January, 1839, one of the missionaries wrote Isaac McCoy that the missionaries had been ordered by the commanding officer to leave the Creek Nation in accordance with the action of the Creek council.

      In 1842 Evan Jones from the Cherokee Nation visited the churches of the Creek nation. Two Negro slaves, Jacob and Jack, were carrying on the work at Ebenezer. A letter dated October 3, 1842, from Charles R. Kellam to Isaac McCoy tells of a revival carried on by "two or three very pious Negro boys," in which more than one hundred converts were baptized.

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      About this time, probably early in, 1843, the Creek council passed a law forbidding any Indian or Negro to preach, under penalty of whipping, and no white man would be allowed to preach without a permit. Eben Tucker baptized Creek converts across the line in the Cherokee or Choctaw or Seminole nations. A letter from Tucker written in 1845 indicated that Ebenezer had a membership of one hundred and that the Creeks were faithful. Many Christians had been whipped to the point of death, but there was no case on record of any one denying the faith. One woman who received fifty lashes for affirming her faith in Christ went down to a spring, near Old North Fork Town, washed her wounds, and walked ten miles to hear Joseph Islands preach that night. In 1844, Sidney Dyer, who was missionary six months in the Creek Nation, organized the North Fork Church with 14 Creeks and 12 blacks. Chilly Mclntosh, son of General William Mclntosh, was baptized in 1848 by A. L. Hay.

      During the time of the persecution, a Negro Baptist preacher, Mundy Marshall, one day took a long knife away from an Indian, threw him on the ground and held him by the throat. However, he let the Indian get up as he felt that it was not right for a Christian to act that way. He put the Indian over the yard fence and told him to go home. The Indian said, "I thought you Christian people were weak, but you are too strong for me."

      One of the most influential men among the Creeks from 1842, the year of his conversion, to 1848, the year of his death, was Joseph Islands. He was converted in 1842 in a wonderful awakening among the Creeks. Straightway he began to preach. The leaders among the Creeks opposed the introduction of Christianity and persecution was severe. The Creek council tried to enforce the law against praying. Islands saw many converts whipped for praying. H. F. Buckner in an article in the Texas Baptist, (published January 3, 1878) gives the experience of Jesse, a Negro preacher, who was whipped in 1845. "One of them came and tied another rope around my wrists; the other end was thrown over the fork of a tree, and they drew me up until

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my feet did not quite touch the ground, and tied my feet together. Then they went a little way off and sat down. Afterwards one of them came and asked me where I got this new religion. I said in the Old Nation. 'Yes,' replied the Indian, 'You have set half of this nation to praying and this is what we are going to whip you for.' Five men gave me five strokes each."

      Before his death in 1848, Joseph Islands requested the American Baptist Mission Association to "send some man who is not afraid to die for Christ's sake," In response to that appeal Henry Frieland Buckner, a missionary to the mountain people of East Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio, was appointed a missionary to the Creek Nation.

      Buckner's mother, with tears running down her cheeks, said, "Go, my son, and the Lord be with you always. Our Savior says 'Go ye into all the world' and it is as much my duty to give up my son as it is of any other mother. I thank God that I have a son to go to the Indians."

      H. F. Buckner came to the Creek Nation as a missionary and not as a teacher. It was necessary, therefore, for him to secure a permit to preach, not only from the government, but from the Creek council. The Indians debated the question three days. At the end of the deliberation, the chief called in Buckner and said to him, through an interpreter:

"My friend, we have decided to grant you a permit to live with us as a missionary. We have not been discussing this question exclusively during these three days, but one that grew out of it. We know that the religion preached by missionaries is in direct conflict with our customs as well as with the customs of our ancestors; and the majority of our nation clings to those old customs. We also have new laws, and these laws do not enforce the old customs. By our new laws you can remain, but by our old customs we could not receive you. The question we have been discussing these three days is: Which is most binding upon our people, our old customs or our new laws? The counsellors have taken different sides on this question, but we have decided that our laws are more binding than our customs, and hence we have agreed that you can live among us as a missionary."

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      In 1857 the Rehoboth Association of Georgia sent to the Indian Territory, to reinforce Buckner, a young Mercer student, Joseph Samuel Murrow, who first made his home at North Fork Town, the home of Buckner, but later moved to the Seminole Nation. The war between the states came on, and Murrow served through the war as agent of the Confederate government among the Seminoles. As a result of the war, work among the Indians was shattered for several years. Murrow returned from Texas in 1867 and Buckner in 1870. Among the men who were under the burdens of those days were R. J. Hogue and Willis Burns who came to the Choctaw Nation in 1858. R. J. Hogue organized in 1858 the first Baptist church among the Chickasaws but it perished during the war. The Chickasaws were neglected for years. John Jumper (see sketch) and James Factor among the Seminoles, and Peter Folsom among the Choctaws were heroic souls whose names should be recorded on the roll of the faithful. Folsom was intense in his zeal for Christ. He had attended the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky. After coming to the Indian Territory he joined with the white teachers and missionaries in giving the Gospel to his people. He probably organized more churches, preached more sermons and helped to ordain more preachers than any other man in the Choctaw Nation.

      Another Seminole leader who should be mentioned was Governor John P. Brown, himself a Baptist preacher who served some thirty years altogether as governor of the Seminole Nation. His old home is located on the road from Konawa to Sasakwa. Governor Brown once said of whiskey: "Whiskey is the greatest evil ever Invented by the devil. It has done more harm than all other things."

      Early in 1877, John Mclntosh, a descendant of General William Mclntosh, went to the West as a missionary to the Plains Indians. Murrow had become interested in the Indians in Oklahoma Territory and had encouraged Mclntosh in his missionary labors. However because of the lack of support Mclntosh retired from that field after a few months. Dr. A. J. Holt, a nephew of H. P. Buckner accepted an appointment

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as missionary, first among the Seminoles, and later (September, 1877) among the Plains Indians. The thrilling story of his adventures and achievements is told in his book, "Pioneering in the Southwest," one of the most inspiring autobiographies published in our day. While the other pioneers of those days have passed on, Dr. Holt is still with us in the flesh, his home being in Florida.

      In 1876 was organized the General Association of Western Arkansas and the Indian Territory which affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1898 the name was changed to "The Baptist General Association of ths Indian Territory," E. L. Compere was moderator. This organization located and supported for a short time at Salem, Arkansas, Buckner College, named in honor of H. P. Buckner. It eventually went the way of many other schools of that day.

      The Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention of the Indian Territory was organized at Tahlequah, June 2, 1883. Messengers were present from three associations: Cherokee, Muscogee and Choctaw. The following officers were elected: president, J. S. Murrow; vice-president, A. F. Ross; secretary, W. P. Blake, (still living in Hyattville, Maryland); treasurer, Daniel Rogers, (living now in Granville, Ohio). The object of the convention was to unite all the Baptist churches of whatever tribe or nation of the Indian Territory in a common effort for the spread of Christianity, (1) by aiding feeble churches and giving the Gospel to destitute regions through missionary agencies; (2) by aiding in the education of pious young men who may in the judgment of their churches, be called by the Spirit to the Christian ministry; (3) by seeking out and aiding in the education of pious young men and women, who may become Christian teachers and missionaries in the Baptist denomination."

      On December 1, 1898 a meeting of this convention was called at Oklahoma City and it was "mutually" agreed to separate and form two convention, one for Oklahoma known as the Oklahoma Baptist Convention, and one for Indian Territory. The original body continued as "The Baptist Convention of Indian Territory."

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      In 1895 there had been organized at Lexington the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention, which had been "lettered" out of the Baptist General Association at its previous meeting.

      There were thus two general bodies in the Indian Territory, one, the Baptist Convention of Indian Territory, co-operating with the Home Mission Society, and the other, the Baptist General Association, co-operating with the Home Mission Board.* In Oklahoma Territory a similar situation prevailed The Oklahoma Baptist Convention which separated from the Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (in December, 1898), and held its first meeting at Enid, June 21, 1899, co-operated with the Home Mission Society. The Oklahoma Baptist State Convention co-operated with the Home Mission Board. The resulting duplication extended into the associational organization. The Central Baptist Association, composed of churches in Oklahoma County and adjoining counties co-operated with the Home Mission Board: the Baptist District Association, covering the same territory, co-operated with the Home Mission Society.

     At the meeting of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention in Oklahoma City, October 31, 1899, L. L. Smith introduced the following resolution which was adopted: "Resolved, that the president of the Convention appoint a committee of five to confer with a like committee from other bodies looking to a unification of the Baptist forces of Oklahoma." The committee met a similar committee from the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention, March 9, 1900, at Oklahoma City. It was agreed that the two conventions of Oklahoma would meet at Blackwell, October 5, 1900, which was done, resulting in unification.

      Getting back to the two conventions in the Indian Territory: at a meeting in South McAlester, February 7, 1900, the Executive Board of the Baptist Convention of the Indian Territory, appointed a committee to confer with a committee from the General Association of the Territory, and with representatives from the Home Mission Society and the Home Mission Board, on the question of consolidating the
* The Home Mission Society representing Northern Baptists, and the Home Mission Board representing Southern Baptists.

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Baptist work in the Indian Territory. That conference which met in South McAlester, March 6 and 7, was attended by the following representatives:
BAPTIST CONVENTION OF INDIAN TERRITORY, J. S. Murrow, J. H. Scott, C. Stubblefield, D. Rogers, and W. P. Blake;
BAPTIST GENERAL ASSOCIATION, L. W. Wright, J. M. Green, H. H. Mouser, A. G. Washburn, L. P. Patterson;
HOME MISSION SOCIETY, H. L. Morehouse, N. B. Rairden, E. B. Meredith, J. C. Armstrong, H. B. McGee;
HOME MISSION BOARD, F. H. Kerfoot, J. M. Frost, R. C. Buckner, A. J. Holt, J. B. Gambrell.
      The two conventions of the Indian Territory met at Durant, September 6. The plan of co-operation unanimously proposed by the South McAlester Conference was that the two Home Mission organizations co-operate each paying one-half in the ratio of approximately eight dollars to every dollar raised by the new territorial convention. At Durant the two organizations dissolved and the messengers to the two bodies organized the Baptist General Convention of Indian Territory. Of the two lines which converged, one went back to 1883, the other to 1876. J. C. Stalcup was elected president and W. P. Blake, secretary. The convention could not agree then on a corresponding secretary. Two district missionaries, A. G. Washbum and C. Stubblefield were elected. J. C. Stalcup was elected corresponding secretary in 1903. C. W. Brewer, still living in Okemah, was elected corresponding secretary in 1905, of the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention.

      Another epochal Convention was held in 1906 when the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention and the Baptist General Convention of Indian Territory, both meeting in Shawnee, adjourned their separate sessions and messengers from the two conventions marched two-and-two to the meeting where the new convention, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, the present state body, was organized, November 9, 1906. The following brethren have served as presidents of the Convention since the consolidation in 1906: J. A. Scott, H. M. Furman, A. J. Holt, C. Stubblefield, J. C. Stalcup,

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K. C. Miller, A. N. Hall and W. O. Leach. W. P. Blake served as recording secretary 1906-1918 (and 1892-1906 Indian Territory Convention). He was followed by Ed Hamilton who was secretary until his death in April, 1932.

      At a meeting of the Executive Board of the Oklahoma Convention January 28, 1913, there was brought to the attention of the Board a communication from the Home Mission Society concerning its future relation to the Oklahoma Baptist Convention. This involved the question of alignment with the Northern Baptist Convention and with the Southern Baptist Convention, a question which had already been given the most serious consideration in 1911 and 1912 by committees of the Northern and the Southern Conventions and by the 1912 Southern Baptist Convention. The question was considered again in 1913 by the Oklahoma Convention. In his report to the Oklahoma Convention in 1914, Secretary Stalcup, in a fair and fraternal spirit which revealed the heart and mind of a Christian statesman, reviewed the issues involved and brought the recommendation of the state board that the Oklahoma Convention form single alignment with the Southern Baptist Convention in its work. We quote from that recommendation which was adopted by the Convention:

"In making this recommendation this Board of Directors wishes it to be distinctly understood that in no sense are they moved by any bias for or prejudice against any of the Boards or Societies interested with whom we have been co-operating so pleasantly and effectually for so many years. We entertain nothing but the warmest fraternal feeling toward all of the Societies of the Northern Baptist Convention."
Oklahoma Baptists appreciate the great contribution to this territory made through the years by these Societies. We may add that this year is also the Centennial of the Home Mission Society of the Northern Baptist Convention and we would felicitate that organization and its officers on its achievements of faith through the century of its existence.

      Going back to 1876 we find the beginning of the women's work. At the meeting of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Associations in August, 1876, held twelve miles from McAlester,

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Dr. Murrow was carried from the railroad to the place of meeting on a cot, for he was not able to sit up. There were to be distinguished visitors there and he felt that so much depended on that meeting that he could not miss it, though he was far from being able to attend.

      It was at this meeting that Mrs. C. R. Blackall gathered the Choctaw women in a separate meeting under an arbor, and told them, through Mrs. Bond of Atoka, as interpreter, about the great work being done by the Women's Foreign Mission Society. We here quote a description of that meeting written by Mrs. Blackall herself:

"The first women's meeting ever held among these tribes was in connection with that association. They met under a small arbor, somewhat apart. Intense interest beamed from the eyes of these women, as through an interpreter, the methods and work and aims of the Women's Foreign Mission Society were set forth. During the address there came from one of the swarthy listeners a sign as if she would speak. Opportunity being given, she, with quivering lip, and choking voice, said: 'If the women of the states can do so much for the needy women so far away, why do they forget to help us? Don't we need help as much as any? We know there is a better way to live than the way we live, but we don't know how to begin it. I speak for my sisters here when I say that if we could have teachers we would do all in our power to learn to be good mothers and wives, good house-keepers, and true Christian workers.' Her words came as a solemn rebuke, and a painful silence was the only answer at the moment.

"The following day another women's meeting was held, which many of the men attended, they having asked permission to be present, and having expressed through their interpreter their great satisfaction in thought that the women were to have a part in Christian work, which would elevate and culture themselves, while helping the more needy. At this meeting, August 15, 1876, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Women's Missionary Society was organized, the object being to enlist these Indian women in an effort to give the Gospel to their people and to the wild Indians beyond.

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"The president chosen was Mrs. Sallie Holston, a full-blood Choctaw, unable to speak a word of English, an elderly woman, widow of an efficient native preacher, owning and successfully managing a large farm in Bed River bottom. She had brought up several orphan children, and with her own means had built a meeting house near her own home. Possessing much natural force of character and intellect, she held a foremost place in the hearts and confidence of her people. The secretary was the wife of the late Dr. T. J. Bond, who was well known in the states. She is a Choctaw, and also a leader among her people, speaking English and Choctaw and Chickasaw fluently, and having done good service as interpreter and translator. She has visited our leading cities, was educated in one of the Southern states and is a living proof of what education will do for the Indian. Dignified and earnest and with kindliness and Christian character manifest in all her words and ways, she would be at ease in any drawing room and with the best bred people."
      In October following this interesting meeting, Mrs. Rogers, the wife of General Missionary Rev. Daniel Rogers, organized the first missionary society in the Cherokee Nation.

      In February, 1877, the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society, with headquarters in Chicago, was organized, having for its object the elevation and Christianization of the homes of the Indians, freed people, and immigrant population of our country.

      Thus it is that the great work of organized Home Mission work among the women was suggested and started by a full-blood Choctaw woman. She was president of the first Women's Home Mission Society ever organized, and that society was quickly followed by the organization of others all through the Indian Territory. They met again in 1877 and 1878. There is no record of other meetings until 1881 when they were reorganized.

      At Muskogee in 1891, the women met "to consider the propriety of organizing a Women's Annual Missionary Society to work in harmony with the Missionary and Educational Convention." The organization was known as the

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"Woman's Baptist Missionary Society of Oklahoma and Indian Territories, co-operative with the Missionary and Educational Convention of the same." Total number of branches and bands, 54. Total amount of money raised by the Baptist women of the territories, $875.09. The next year 35 "branches" reported $842.82 raised.

      The blessings of God have rested on the Baptist women of Oklahoma. Through the years their work has grown steadily until last year they reported receipts of $75,179.54 and 1629 organizations. The following corresponding secretaries have served since the consolidation to 1906: Mrs. W. B. Dicken, Mrs. C. A. Porterfield, Miss Sue Howell (1908-1918), Miss Pearl Todd, and Mrs. Berta K. Spooner who has served since 1921. During the same period the presidents were: Mrs. T. C. Carleton, (twice), Mrs. W. E. Dicken, (twice), Mrs. W. A. McBride, Mrs. H. R. Denton, Mrs. R. T. Mansfield, (twice), Mrs. George McMillan.

      Probably the outstanding achievement of the women, at least in recent years, has been the building of the W. M. U. dormitory for women at O. B. U., the ground for which was broken February 7, 1928. It is the most elegant home for college women we have seen and is a monument to the faith and courage and labors of Mrs. Berta K. Spooner and her associates. The building cost $200,000 and is being paid for by the women. Of the total cost of $200,000 only $60,000 remains to be paid.

      This brings us to the part which Baptist schools have had in the development of Oklahoma Baptists. The first missionaries, one hundred years ago, conducted schools in connection with their mission work. From the beginning of his labors in 1817 as a missionary to the Indians, Isaac McCoy carried on his missionary labors largely through schools. The first pastor of a Baptist church In the Indian Territory was the product of a Baptist school in Alabama. It is not our purpose here, however, to trace the early mission schools although we must mention the fruitful labors of Ramsay Potts among the Choctaws.

      In March, 1880, a Christian school for the Five Tribes with an initial enrollment of three students was opened at

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Tahlequah, by Professor A. C. Bacone who had come to the Indian Territory in 1878, to teach in the Cherokee Male Seminary. In 1881 he sought a better location and petitioned the Creek council at Okmulgee to make a grant of land on which to build a school. The request was at first declined, but on the insistence of the sainted William McComb, the question was reconsidered and a grant of 160 acres was awarded. A. C. Bacone, J. S. Murrow, and Daniel Rogers, a committee appointed by the Home Mission Society, selected the present site of Bacone College. A granite marker has been placed on the spot where the three men knelt in prayer of thanksgiving to God. The school was opened at the new location near Muskogee, in the spring of 1885 with the commencement exercises for the session then closing. Several years after Dr. Bacone's death in 1896 the name of the institution was changed from Indian University to Bacone College. Dr. B. D. Weeks has been for a number of years president of this institution. This year 46 tribes are represented in the enrollment.

      In the 1891 annual there is reference to the following schools: Atoka Academy, (E. H. Rishel, still living in Oklahoma City, was superintendent from 1891 to 1907), Cherokee Academy at Tahlequah (merged in 1908 into Bacone College), Seminole Female Academy at Sasakwa (W. P. Blake, superintendent), Anadarko School, Lone Wolf Mission, Ardmore Male and Female School. No more faithful service was ever rendered than the unselfish ministry of the teachers in these mission schools.

      In 1893 the Convention adopted the following report concerning schools:

"We consider the work of establishing and supporting Christian schools of education as of very great importance. We therefore urge the support of our Baptist schools, the Indian University [later Bacone], and our academies, not only by prayer, but with our money and patronage. We further commend the effort made to raise an endowment for Indian Territory equal to one dollar for every Indian in the United States."
      On October 7, 1899, Blackwell was selected as the location for a Baptist College. Oklahoma Baptist College, the first
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in Oklahoma territory, opened at Blackwell, September 4. 1901 with James A. Beauchamp as president. The school continued with a checkered history until 1913 when it was closed. However, in those few years it trained a number of our most successful teachers and preachers. Southwest Baptist College was founded at Hastings in 1907. In 1912 it was removed to Mangum where it was operated two and one-half years. It was closed during the 1914-15 session. Carey College, opened at Oklahoma City in the fall of 1911, operated one month and closed.

      The agitation for a Baptist University began in 1908. A commission which reported to the 1907 Convention recommended that as soon as practicable a new Baptist University be established. Several towns, among them Lawton, El Reno, Shawnee, Chickasha, Blackwell, Hobart, presented propositions which were considered. Later Sulphur, Outhrie, and Oklahoma City submitted offers. In 1910 the new school was located at Shawnee. In the summer of 1911, Dr. J. M. Carroll was elected president and the school opened that fall in temporary quarters but was compelled to close before the end of the session because of financial difficulties. It remained closed until the fall of 1915 when it reopened in the present administration building which had been completed that summer. From that time the University has steadily grown and has very encouraging prospects. O. B. U. has had six presidents since it reopened in 1915: F. M. Masters, J. A. Tolman, J. B. Lawrence, W. W. Phelan, W. C. Boone, and Hale V. Davis.* R. J. McKnight is Business Manager.

      From the beginning the Baptists of the Territory emphasized the necessity for three agencies, the Sunday school for teaching the Bible; the Baptist school for training the ministers and Christian workers and home builders, and the Baptist paper for informing, indoctrinating, and inspiring the people.

      The first Baptist paper or newspaper of any kind in the Territory, The Cherokee Messenger, was published at Baptist
* Inaugurated October 25, 1932, following resignation of Dr. W. C. Boone to accept the call of the First Baptist Church, Jackson, Tennessee. Dr. Boone's administration of two years has been constructive and satisfactory to all friends of the University.

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near Westville in 1844 and 1845 by Evan Jones. However Isaac McCoy bad published the "Annual Register of Indian Affairs" in 1836, 1837, 1838 and possibly one or two other years. In the early thirties Joseph Meeker had set up a press at Shawanoe Mission station, the home of Isaac McCoy, and had printed many books and tracts, also a paper, the "Shawanoe Sun."

      At the second session in 1884 a resolution was adopted which led to the founding of the Indian Missionary by W. P. Blake and A. Frank Ross. Later it was edited for several years by J. S. Murrow. In the minutes of the 1891 Convention which met at Muskogee, "our own paper, The Missionary," is commended, and the Convention expressed its appreciation to "the retiring editor, Brother J. S. Murrow." There was a Baptist publishing house in Oklahoma City and a collection was taken at this convention to buy a paper cutter.

      The next year the Convention wished "to emphasize the fact that The Missionary is the property as well as the organ of the Convention and therefore urges its hearty support by every Baptist in the territories and by all friends in the states." That night before taking up again the condition of the paper the Convention united in singing, "Rescue the Perishing."

      The 1894 Convention reported the suspension of The Missionary and of The Baptist Watchman into which it had merged. In the 1896 annual is a reference to The Baptist Beacon published at Muskogee. The next year The Baptist Beacon and the Territory Baptist are both named, "we bid them God speed." At the 1900 Convention the Signal was mentioned. In 1902 Dr. D. B. Ray, editor of the Baptist Flag of Oklahoma City was welcomed. The Indian Territory Baptist of South McAlester was commended. In 1903 the Western Baptist was adopted as the organ of the Convention. A resolution commended Sunshine and Showers published at Okmulgee. Other publications might be mentioned, among them The Baptist Oklahoman, published by Dr. A. J. Holt. Much of the time, the Baptists of the two Territories were served by the Baptist Standard

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of Texas and the Word and Way of Missouri. The Indian Baptist was published several years, 1922 to 1928 by Rev. G. Lee Phelps.

      In 1912, Dr. C. P. Stealey who had recently come to the state launched the Baptist Messenger and continued as editor until 1928, through a period of nearly sixteen years. He was an earnest defender of the faith once for all committed to the saints, and the influence of the Baptist Messenger during the more than twenty years of its continuous existence cannot be measured. The present editor of the Baptist Messenger began his service in that capacity, February 15, 1928. Following the 1919 Convention, the ownership of the Baptist Messenger was transferred to the Convention.

      The Baptist Book Store, opened June 1, 1920 by Dr. C. P. Stealey, was transferred May 1, 1925, to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and the Baptist Sunday School Board, under a plan providing for joint ownership and control. Mr. H. Killingsworth has been connected with the Book Store since it opened in 1920. Under his management the Oklahoma Baptist Book Store has, more than one year, ranked third in sales among the Baptist book stores of the South.

      Dr. J. C. Stalcup was elected corresponding secretary of the Baptist General Convention of the Indian Territory in 1903 and of the consolidated organization, the Baptist General Convention in 1906. He served in that capacity until August, 1916, when he resigned. Dr. F. M. McConnell was elected his successor and served until March, 1922, when he resigned, and Dr. J. B. Rounds, who had served three years as assistant corresponding secretary was elected corresponding secretary. Dr. Rounds has given ten years of faithful, sacrificial service in that responsible position. Dr. Rounds first came to the Territory in 1898 and labored successively and successfully as pastor, missionary to the Indians and to the foreign-speaking people, and as secretary of the B. Y. P. U.'s before his election as assistant corresponding secretary.

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      On June 26, 1896, the "Baptist Young People's Union of Oklahoma and Indian Territory" was organized, less than five years after the first Convention of the B. Y. P. U. of America was held. In 1901 E. E. Lee of Muskogee, who had come from Georgia not quite three years before, was elected president of the Territory B. Y. P. U. The 1903 General Convention adopted a report recommending that E. E. Lee of Muskogee be elected as B. Y. P. U. organizer for the Territory. This was a short time before the removal of Mr. Lee to Texas. E. E. Ford was the successful secretary from 1909 to 1911. In 1912 J. B. Rounds was elected and continued in that position until June, 1919, when he was elected assistant corresponding secretary. At the meeting of the Executive Board in March, 1918, the purchase of 160 acres at Falls Creek, selected by J. B. Rounds and W. D. Moorer for an encampment site, was authorized. The first assembly at Falls Creek had been held the preceding August. Dr. Rounds was succeeded as B. Y. P. U. Secretary by B. F. Davidson who resigned in November, 1923, to enter the pastorate. On January 1, 1924, T. H. Farmer came to us from Texas and has been signally blessed in his labors. There are 1992 B. Y. P. U.'s in Oklahoma with a total membership Of 40,745.

      The development of Sunday school interest and organization among Oklahoma Baptists is itself a thrilling story. From the very first, the Baptists of the two Territories were greatly concerned about the formation of Sunday schools. During the Convention year ending November, 1906, Rev. W. D. Moorer, an alumnus of Furman University and of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was employed as Sunday school missionary by the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention, with the Sunday School Board and the American Baptist Publication Society co-operating. He continued as the Sunday school missionary of the consolidated Convention until 1920 when he resigned to give full time to Oklahoma Baptist University as head of the Department of the Bible and Religious Education, with which he had been connected since the University re-opened in 1915. He departed this life, May 8, 1922. We quote the following tribute to Dr.

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Moorer from his associate and intimate personal friend, Secretary J. B. Rounds: "His combination of abilities, his gentle spirit, his confidence-inspiring personality, his reverence for the Divine and his confidence in men, won for him in this state probably the most universal respect and love of any Baptist that has lived in our bounds." Dr. Moorer was followed by Fred McCaulley who assumed his duties as State Sunday School Secretary, June 1, 1920. He has been notably successful not only in Sunday school enlistment but in evangelism. There are now 846 Sunday schools in Oklahoma with a total enrolment of 134,417. Last year Oklahoma led the South in enrolment in Daily Vacation Bible Schools. With an enrolment of 1154, the First Baptist Church, Chickasha, had the largest school this year of any church in the world.

      Oklahoma Baptists have not neglected Benevolence. In 1903 an Indian orphanage was founded by Dr. Murrow at Atoka and was consolidated with Bacone in 1910. In 1905 the Baptist General Convention of Indian Territory located an orphanage at Oklahoma City. The institution was opened in 1906. Rev. J. A. Scott was the founder of the home. One of the first children in the home was a baby found in a laundry wagon at Pauls Valley. The matron then, Miss Winnie Mitchell (now Mrs. W. A. Everett) was superintendent of the home some two years in the interim between E. D. Jeter and W. A. McKinney. After Rev. W. A. McKinney, the superintendents were Secretaries F. M. McConnell and J. B. Rounds. Rev. E. A. Howard was elected superintendent of the Home in December, 1924. Financially and otherwise he has been remarkably successful. Under his management the liabilities of the Home have been liquidated and the net assets increased from $43,000 to $219,000.

      The Convention owns two hospitals, Muskogee and Miami. The Muskogee Hospital was opened August 8, 1909 and an addition was opened June 1, 1919. By authority of the 1927 Convention meeting in Tulsa, the Muskogee Hospital building was doubled in size at a cost of approximately $160,000. The Miami Hospital built by the Baptists and citizens of Miami and given to the Convention, was opened

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June 1, 1919. J. F. Robinson and family of Miami, who have been unfailing friends of every worthy cause, led in that enterprise. A Hospital in Oklahoma City was purchased by the Convention in October, 1918, but was sold by instruction of the 1923 Convention. Oklahoma City and Enid now have hospitals which are owned and controlled by local groups of Baptists.

      The Debt Paying Campaign of 1925-26, led by J. W. Bruner was successful and practically all liabilities at that time were liquidated.

      We have already referred to the pioneers of faith, named and unnamed, who wrought among the Indians. From the days when Murrow encouraged missionaries to carry the Gospel message to the Plains Indians the work among them has gone steadily forward. We think of such laborers in the harvest field as G. W. Hicks, F. L. King, J. G. Brendel, E. C. Deyo, L. J. Dyke, Miss Mary Jayne, Robert Hamilton, W. A. Wilkins, H. F. Gilbert, H. H. Clouse, H. H. Treat, Miss Isabel Crawford, Miss Grace Clifford, and a host of others who laid the foundations. What a story is written on high, of their labors of love!

      In 1881 the Home Mission Board located at Wetumpka the Levering Manual Training School and it opened in September, 1882. However in 1891, on account of the educational policy adopted by the Creek Nation, the school passed from the control of Southern Baptists, and the Creek Nation refunded the Home Mission Board for money expended in the buildings and equipment. No further school work was done by Southern Baptists among the Indians until 1921 when the property of the historic Nuyaka Academy was sold at auction and was bought by Rev. J. M. Wiley. In 1923 it was taken over by the Education Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and is now under the control of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. With a pitifully meager equipment, Rev. L. B. Alder is doing efficient work as principal. This is the only Indian School operated by Southern Baptists and we ought to provide better equipment and additional resources.

      At present three organizations have missionaries among

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the Indians: (1) The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma among the Five Tribes; (2) the Home Mission Board among the Indians in the Central and Northern part of Oklahoma (The Oklahoma Baptist Indian Association); and (3) the Home Mission Society of Northern Baptists among the Prairie Indians in Southwest Oklahoma. There are approximately 150 active Baptist churches among the Indians of Oklahoma with approximately 15,000 members. The largest Indian Baptist Church in the world is at Pawnee. Not an Indian Baptist Church in Oklahoma has a building debt. A majority of the Indians in Oklahoma are Baptists. In the Chilocco school with 1100 enrolment last year there were 668 Baptists.

      The Indians of this state have a great state B. Y. P. U. Convention, under the leadership of Rev. John Smith, which meets every year with an average attendance of some 1000.

      We have yet to name the man who for thirty years has given himself unreservedly to the Indians, who has gone through heat and cold, through sunshine and shadows, who has endured perils of mountains and plains, who has loved the Indians more than he loved his own life, - O. Lee Phelps. He has already received for baptism this year approximately 150 converts. He has the love and confidence of Baptists throughout Oklahoma - Indians and whites. The thrilling story of his labors will be told in another volume.

      The missionary spirit actuated the men who began and carried on Christian work among the Indians. Much attention has been given to state missions. Approximately $15,000 was received for state missions by Secretary Stalcup the year after the consolidation of the two territorial conventions; A. G. Washburn was superintendent of Indian Missions, three state evangelists were kept on the field and the salaries of many pastors and associational missionaries were supplemented. This amount grew from year to year until 1920, the year following the 75 Million Campaign, when $151,000 wits received for state missions. Some of the men who labored in those years as state missionaries or evangelists were T. C. Carleton, J. A. Scott, J. L. Kellar, J. M. Wiley, Dan and Charley Curb, W. R. Chandler, C. H. Carleton, and G. R.

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Naylor. Our people have been interested not only in State Missions, but in Home and Foreign Missions - World Missions. They have given not only money but life. Of those who have gone to foreign fields we think of Spurgeon Richardson and Mrs. Richardson, Rosalee Mills, Blanche Hamm, Mrs. R. S. Jones, Bettie Stephens, J. V. Davis, Earl Hester, Alfred Carpenter, Pearl Todd, John McGavock and Mrs. McGavock, Marie Leonard, C. R. Barrick, Victor Koon and Mrs. Koon, L. L. Johnson and Mrs. Johnson, Emily Beck, Grace Eliot, Park Anderson, and Harold Hall.

      History is more than a collection of dates, a chronicle of events, a consideration of personalities. It is a survey and interpretation of conditions, motives, spirit, methods, and achievements that, in any given period, have affected the welfare of humanity. So with Oklahoma Bantist history. It is not enough to know when and where churches and general bodies were organized and institutions were founded. We must know the background, spirit, and purposes of the men who bequeathed to us a noble heritage. Our fathers were men of faith, and courage, and resolute purpose, and prayer. They were loyal to the Word of God. They were faithful to their commission. Their faces were set to the future. They saw our day of opportunities and were glad. They did not have our advantages or our material resources and equipment, but they availed themselves of the resources of Omnipotence. They overcame because of the Blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony. Better for us if, like them, we depended more on God and less on material things.

      In the closing verse of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews the Inspired writer reminded the saints of his day, and reminds us, that God having provided some better thing concerning us, the heroes of faith should not be made perfect apart from us. We must not fail those who have gone before. By faith Isaac McCoy, by faith Jesse Bushyhead, by faith H. F. Buckner, by faith John Mclntosh, by faith Charles Journeycake, by faith J. S. Murrow, by faith A. C. Barone, by faith Billy McComb, by faith J. W. Solomon, by faith C. Stubblefield, by faith T. F. Cole, by faith Job Ingram,

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by faith W. D. Moorer, by faith Brad Hays, by faith T. K. Tyson and others, "subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty to war, turned to flight armies of aliens . . . Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
"Faith of our fathers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword:
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene'er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

"Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free:
How sweet would be their children's fate,
If they, like them, could die for thee!
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!

"Faith of our fathers! we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife:
And preach thee, too, as love knows how,
By kindly words and virtuous life:
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!"

[Page 84 is a test and is not included.]


[From E. C. Routh, The Story of Oklahoma Baptists, 1932. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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