Indian Territory 1866-1907
Crossing Oklahoma – in all of its varieties - was a big move. Railroads were the boldest efforts to cross the land, but multiple stakeholders at a variety of levels participated and were affected by crossing Oklahoma.
This site is centered on a collection of correspondence, publications, legislation and financial documents relating to the act of crossing what would become the south-eastern corner of the state of Oklahoma. The act of crossing brought multiple people together at a variety of levels of interaction, sometimes peaceably, sometimes contentiously.
More than fourteen railroads crossed this region by statehood in 1907, including the Missouri Kansas and Texas Railway (The Katy or MKT), Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway (CO&G), the Fort Smith and Western Railroad (FS&W), and the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (Frisco). The process of building rail lines and their supporting infrastructure required interaction between large business, tribal government, and federal government. This process brought people to the region in unforseen quantities. The new mix of individuals interacted on multiple levels from cooperation to competition with their experiences varying wildly. This project seeks to understand the meanings of those interactions, at both a corporate level and an individual level.
This project has several goals. At the most basic level, users can search documents from the
Choctaw National Records relating to railroads using a simple search tool. Users will encounter original scanned documents from the pre-statehood era of Oklahoma. Users will also be able to read and cross reference Choctaw records and information. Documents are sorted by their origination, either the Choctaw Nation or Railroads. This site aims to inform the study of both railroads and Native Americans.
Crossing Oklahoma uses an interactive timeline to display the collection of documents so their effective dates are easily cross-referenced. This site will eventually combine interactive
maps to provide new meanings for the Crossing of Oklahoma.