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Lewis Perryman

Also Known As: "Kochukua Micco", "Chieftain of the Creek Indians"
Birthplace: Ft. Mitchell, Russell, Alabama, USA
Death: Died in Burlington, Coffee, Kansas, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Perryman and Mary Perryman
Husband of Befeeny Perryman; Unknown Perryman; Ellen Perryman and Hattie Perryman
Father of Alexander Perryman; Lewis Wesley Perryman; David Perryman; Hattie Perryman; Ellen Perryman and 14 others
Brother of Samuel Perryman; Columbus Perryman; Moses Perryman; Mary McKellop; Henry Perryman and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Lewis Perryman

Chronicles of Oklahoma Vol. 15 pg 168, 172-4: Lewis Perryman (Kochukua Micco) was the father of Legus C. Perryman an erstwhile chieftain of the Creeks. We are invited to a more intimate acquaintance with Lewis Perryman, a son of Benjamin Perryman. He was born near Ft. Mitchell, Alabama in 1787, came to the Indian Territory in February, 1828, and established himself upon lands near the falls of the Verdigris river. He was accompanied to the West by his wife and three children Andrew, Mahala and Nancy. About 1833, he married Hattie Winslett nee Ward and in 1838 established his home at Big Springtown on Adams Creek some seven or eight miles northeast of the present town of Broken Arrow.

In about 1837 he added her daughters Befeeny and Ellen to his domestic household. There was nothing unorthodox about this romantic status in his domestic affairs because plural marriages were not uncommon and were recognized among the Creek Indians at that time. His wives each bore him children. Hattie was the mother of Sanford W., Thomas W., John W., Kizzie and Phoebe. Befeeny was the mother of Alexander, David, Hattie, Ellen and Lewis and Ellen was the mother of Legus C., Josiah C., China, Henry W., George B. and Lydia.

Washington Irving, on October 11, 1832, passed through this area which was to become the arena of the early activities of the Perryman's and leaves for us his contemporary impressions. "For some miles the country was sprinkled with Creek villages and farm houses, the inhabitants of which appeared to have adopted, with considerable facility, the rudiments of civilization and to have thriven to consequence. Their farms were well stocked and their houses had a look of comfort and abundance. They were a well made race, muscular and closely knit, with well formed thighs and legs. They have a gypsy fondness for brilliant colors and gay decorations and are bright and fanciful objects when seen at a distance on the prairies."

Extending to the south and west of the Verdigris Falls is a triangular area having an apex at the forks of the Verdigris and Arkansas rivers and extending northwestward along the north bank of the Arkansas toward the old Tullahassee Mission. In the very early days this region was called Sodom and it was in this section that Lewis Perryman established his home and where he lived until about 1838.

The succeeding years in the life of Lewis Perryman were very commonplace. In fact it was a slow and stagnant period during which little progress was registered among the Creeks. He lived at Big Springtown on Adams Creek and after 1848 in the proximity of Tulsa where he ran a trading store. The removal to Tulsa was occasioned by an epidemic of Cholera at Big Springtown.

Fortune kept her engagements with Lewis Perryman and ere the Civil War came he was living in comfortable environs to which his patient efforts had contributed. He was engaged extensively in the cattle business along the Arkansas River valley below Tulsa. The years of the Civil war were gruesome for the Creek Indians, as the sectional issue permeated the Indian country. With the withdrawal of the Union forces from the Territory in the early days of the conflict, the affair became disproportionate and many of the Union Creeks fled to Kansas under the leadership of Opothleyahola. Lewis Perryman saw no military service but his sons entered the Confederate Army by enlistment on August 9, 1861. The brief occupancy of Tahlequah by the Union forces after July 14, 1862, influenced his sons to abdicate their enlistment and abandon the Confederate service. When the confederate troops reoccupied Tahlequah on October 28, 1862, Lewis Perryman taking his wives, Hattie and Befeeny and his children abandoned his accumulations in the Territory and joined the Creek refugees near Burlington, Coffee County, kansas where he passed away early in December 1862 and where he rests in an unknown gave. His sons enlisted in the Union army on December 7, 1862 and served until the conclusion of the war. His wives returned to the Territory.

Hattie died at Choska in 1866 and Befeeny passed away in 1877 and both are buried at Coweta. Ellen died at Tulsa in 1854 and was buried in a erstwhile family burying ground between East 11th and East 13th streets and west of South Norfolk Ave. in Tulsa. The crude markings have long since disappeared and a residential section of the city now occupies the spot.

Tulsa's Magic Roots page 54-55: LEWIS PERRYMAN. But it was Benjamin's son, Lewis Perryman and his offspring that figured most notably in Tulsa's history. Lewis was born near Fort Mitchell, Alabama, in 1787, and came with his father and family to the Creek nation in 1828, bringing his wife and three children: Andrew, Mahala and Nancy. They first settled near the falls of the Verdigris River. In about 1833 Lewis added another wife to his household where he married Hattie Winslett, nee Ward, who had previously been married to a white man named Winslett.

Hattie and two daughters by Winslett, Ellen and Befeeny, accompanied Winslett to the Creek Nation with the Chilli McIntosh detachment of Creeks. In 1830 Hattie gave birth in Choska to a son, David, who later distinguished himself in the Presbyterian ministry. Later he studied under the Rev. R. M. Loughridge in the Tullahassee Mission and finally became an interpreter for Rev. Loughridge. Winslett, the father, seems to have faded from history shortly after the birth of their son. Perhaps he died or rejoined his white kinsmen.

In about 1837 Lewis Perryman married Hattie's two daughters by Winslett, then having four wives in his household. This was not unorthodox as plural marriage were recognized among the Creeks. This practice was finally prohibited, however, by an act of the Creek Council on October 28, 1891.

Each of Lewis' wives bore him children, some of whom became very prominent in the affairs of the Creek Nation and the building of the affairs of the Creek nation and the building of Tulsa. His children by Hattie Winslett Perryman were Sanford W., Thomas W., John W., Kizzie and Phoebe. Ellen was the mother of Legus C., Josiah C., China (a daughter), Henry W., George B. and Lydia. Befeeny bore him five children: Alexander, David, Hattie, Ellen and Lewis. He had a total of nineteen children. In about 1838 Lewis established a home for his large family at Big Spring Town.

Lewis' daughter, China, married Sarnokitchee Partridge and had four children: Reubin Lee, Lewis , Kizzie and Delilah who were prominent in the history of very early Tulsa. Lewis lived with his large family at big Spring Town until 1848 when he opened a trading post in the vicinity of what is now Thirty-Third street and Rockford Avenue in Tulsa, which was the area settled by the Upper Creeks upon their arrival from the South in 1836. His enormous story-and-a-half log trading post, built in two sections divided by a breezeway and containing large stone fireplaces and wide verandas, was the center of a cluster of buildings that housed his four wives, his numerous children, his slaves, the animals and gear of a large plantation.

Creek law allowed him as much land as he could use and when the Dawes Commission broke the common Indian lands into one hundred sixty acre allotments, there were enough Perryman's by that time to keep a good share of the families holdings together. For some years the Perryman ranch remained as the only vestige of the huge cattle operations that the mixed-bloods ran in the Creeks Nation during the '70s and '80s.

During the Civil War, the wealthy Lewis Perryman family declared for the South. On August 9, 1861, his sons Sanford, Thomas, Legus and Josiah enlisted at the Creek Agency in the First Mounted Volunteers. A larger party of the less-well-off under another Creek Indian, Opothle Yahola, who had been chief of the Upper Creeks, was led west on the Trail of Tears by him. In 1836 they declared for the Union. Late in 1861 the Union Creeks were run out of the area in three skirmishes near Keystone, Bird Creek and Skiatook by Confederate troops, almost all Indians, under Col. James McIntosh; the Cherokee, Stand Waite and Col. Douglas Cooper.

In mid-war Lewis Perryman's sons, fearing their homes would be in jeopardy if the Confederates lost the war, reversed their allegiance and left the Confederate Creek Mounted Volunteers and he, fearing retribution, abandoned his plantation, took his surviving wives, Hattie and Befeeny and younger children, and fled with the refugees to Kansas. He died in Burlington, Coffee County, Kansas, in December 1862. On December 7, 1862, his sons enlisted in the Union Army of Indian Home Guards.

Legus, Josiah and Thomas were among the few who returned from the war in the Spring of 1866 to Choska where they operated a trading post for two years, then going to the Arkansas River where they all later became historically important to the foundation of Tulsa. Nineteen-year-old George, who had not been in the war but had fled with the refugees to Kansas, also returned and immediately set about becoming the cattle king of the Creek Nation.

Lewis' surviving wives also returned to the Territory. Hattie died at Choska in 1866 and Befeeny died in 1877 at Coweta; both were buried there. Ellen had died prior to the war in Tulsey Lochapoka Town in 1854 and was buried in an erstwhile family burying ground between the present Eleventh and Thirteenth Streets, west of South Norfolk Avenue in Tulsa. No information is available as to the fate of Lewis' first wife who, with their three children, accompanied him from Alabama.

Tulsey Lochapoka Town had not escaped the desolation of the war even thought it had not been an important battlefield. Upon their return, the Indians found that they had been stripped of their cattle by Kansas thieves, their few public building and cabins had been destroyed, their slaves had fled and the once luscious cornfields were overgrown with weeds.

Prior the Civil War the Creek Indians had begun to change with living habits anf to cease many of the old tribal customs of their forefathers and to pattern their life after the white man. Following the war the Lochapokas of Tulsey Town began to scatter out into their vast domain and make individual farms instead of the old custom of communal living. The practice of living like the white man grew steadily and there was even less of the old ceremony in their habits. Their few public buildings became scattered and by then were only crude brush arbors. There was nothing to resemble the white man's description of a town

Newspaper Unknown: LEWIS PERRYMAN LAID OUT THE PERRYMAN CEMETERY IN 1848 - TULSA HAS COLORFUL HISTORY...The colorful cowboy and Indian background of Tulsa has its beginnings in a tiny family cemetery still to be seen nestled in one of the cities prettiest residential areas.

A little plot 150 x 150 feet located near 31st and Utica avenue is all that remains of the great Perryman ranch which once embraced more than 60,000 acres from Tulsa on past Broken Arrow.

Here the late George and Rachel Perryman founders of Tulsa were buried with more than a few Indian friends. The story of the cemetery begins in Georgia where treaties with the Indians forced the Creek tribes west over The Trail of Tears along with the Cherokees and other tribes.

George Perryman was among those moved to Oklahoma over the shameful route. He was of the Tulassi branch of the Creek Indian tribe and he and his family owned over 1/2 of the present Tulsa town site. He built comfortable houses for his large family and his slaves and educated his children in the Tullahassee Mission. It is an oddity seldom noted that the Indians of this area were better educated before statehood than the white settlers who first came.

Lewis Perryman established a trading post a few miles east of Tulsa in 1848 and died as a refugee in a camp in Kansas during the war between the states. He had thrown in his lot with the Union.

Among his descendants was Legust and oldest who served as Chief of the Creeks for many years. Josiah C. who was Tulsa's first postmaster, and George B. Perryman Sr. all buried in the cemetery.

The Tulsa World, Sunday, November 1, 1987: FIRST FAMILIES OF TULSA, Stories by Pat Morris of the World Staff: Tulsa has come of age. That means it is now old enough to boast a number of families that have been a part of the community for several generations.

Some of those families are descendants of the original incorporators of the city; some owned the land on which it was built; still others came early in its history and have remained active in its growth and development.

Many came to Tulsa when it was a small town on the banks of the Arkansas and have helped it grow into a modern city. Three Tulsa families, the Perryman's, Price's and Chappelle's, are among those.

Representatives of these and many other families figure not only in Tulsa's history, but promise to have an impact on its future.

PERRYMANS OWNED LAND WHERE CITY NOW STANDS: The Perryman family came to the area in the 1920's and has been part of Tulsa forever. For most of the last half of the 19th century, in fact, the Perryman's were Tulsa. While the family had little to do with founding the governmental entity, George Perryman might be considered "father" of Tulsa because he owned the land and buildings, built by his father Lewis, which served as the U.S. Post Office that first carried the name.

Prier L. Price III, grandson of a merchant who was one of the original incorporators of the community, said the Perryman's weren't involved in that legal action because "Hell, they owned the land." Indeed they did, Just about all of it.

Tracing the genealogy and property transactions of this prolific clan would take an entire book but to clarify their line of descent, Dr. Robert Perryman and his wife, Carolyn, explained as briefly as possible. "Benjamin started it all. He came to Indian Territory as an old man with six sons and two daughters. One of his sons, Lewis, started this branch of the family.

"Lewis had four wives and 16 children. Thomas Ward Perryman (Robert's grandfather) and George Perryman (who owned the post office building) were half brothers -- Lewis' sons by different wives."

Lewis had established a plantation near Muskogee, moved to near what is now Broken Arrow, then built, in 1848, an imposing log house and established a cattle ranch that covered most of the land that became the city of Tulsa. Headquarters for the ranch were located just north of what is now 33rd Street and Rockford Road.

"They have a historical marker at 41st Street and Utica Avenue," said Dr. Robert Perryman, great-grandson of Lewis. "But the first house, trading post and post office were somewhere behind Zink Park." "The doctor prefaced further comments about his family history by expressing his attitude and that of many of his generation. "All this historical stuff is not important. What we do today is important;" he said. "This history is interesting, but I like to keep it in perspective by concentrating on what's happening now."

The Tulsa World Oklahoma Magazine July 27, 1986: Tulsa's First Family - The Perryman's Helped Launch A City From a Ranch: THE PERRYMAN LEGACY ONE FAMILY'S SPRAWLING CATTLE RANCH BECAME A CITY CALLED TULSA. Time somehow has a way of twisting history. Tulsans are told that their city was built on oil. But that's not entirely true, It was partially built on the success of a cattle ranch. A ranch to rival the Ponderosa. A ranch owned by Indians in the role of cowpokes. Creek Indians with the Welsh name of Perryman.

Before statehood, their leases on tribal land encompassed more than 60,000 acres of what is now Tulsa -- from downtown to Broken Arrow. From the Arkansas to Lynn Lane. It was an era filled with pasture land and orchards, with farmhouses and trading posts and the stopping point for the earliest postal station bearing the name "Tulsa." The cattle that grazed this land played a large role in the budding prosperity of the Creek Nation and the creation of a rail terminal and post office.

And while the Perryman's were one of the area's most well known and prolific families, you won't find a park, playground or performing arts center named after them. The only remnant of their mark on the city is a cemetery. A cemetery filled with crumbling markers, smack dab in the middle of one of Tulsa's well established neighborhoods at 32nd Street and Utica Avenue. Now it is place for daring children to search for ghosts. Once it was the burial ground for the Perryman family, its sons an daughters and their sons and daughters. And for Civil War soldiers who had nowhere else to rest. Most of the graves no longer have markers. Many lie beneath yards to the north and west of the remaining site.

But if you count longevity, the Perryman's are among the oldest residents of Tulsa -- here before the Council Oak was chosen. They arrived in 1828, as part of a contingent of Creeks who withdrew from Alabama and Georgia following the assassination of their political leader, Chief William McIntosh. His son, Chili, brought a group that included Perryman's, Porter's and Winslett's, all well known names to Tulsa history buffs.

Benjamin Perryman was the family patriarch, a tribal town chief back in Alabama. He settled with his six sons and two daughters in what is now Wagoner County. One of his sons, Lewis, established a plantation in the Three Forks area near Muskogee, moved later to a site northeast of what would become Broken Arrow, and in 1848 built an impressive log house north of what is now 33rd Street and Rockford Avenue.

Lewis created havoc with Perryman genealogy charts. At a time when polygamy was acceptable, he came west with one wife, and added three more -- a mother and her two daughters. Each wife bore him three to six children. Only family members were equally prolific; some married their former slaves, some continued to intermarry with whites. Today's descendants say that within Tulsa alone there are cousins who do not even know they are cousins.

Rob Trepp, a Perryman on his mother's side, says this fact was brought home to him at a holiday gathering. A party acquaintance noted that he lived in the 31st Street and Utica Avenue area. "My family's land." Trepp said. "No, my family's land," the stranger said. Several minutes of discussion led to the discovery of a mutual great-grandmother. Among Lewis' sons were: Thomas, who became a highly regarded Presbyterian minister, translating portions of the Bible into Creek; Legus, a principal chief of the Creeks: Josiah, the town's first postmaster, and George, who became the Indian cattle king.

The Creek Nation was in many respects a transplantation of the old South, complete with slaves and extensive farms. The Civil War destroyed this way of life for Indians and whites. Trepp says that the family doesn't hold a real reunion every year. By now, there are too many relatives and too many different last names. All with Benjamin Perryman as a great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. It somehow seems a shame. Few families in Oklahoma can claim residence in one town for 138 years. The town that quite literally they called home.

Tulsa Sunday World, May 4, 1969: HISTORY RECALLED BY NOAH PARTRIDGE by Louise Morse Whitham. In every age and every land there have been men with special gifts, the story tellers, travel historians, Noah Partridge had that gift but dwarfed by radio and television he told his stories whenever he found an interested listeners. Noah Partridge was a "connection" to the Perryman family. He was an advisor to several writers on pioneer stories and history. Gratefully I acknowledge my debt to Mr. Partridge. "One year my teaching assignment at Central High School was changed to ancient history to Oklahoma History with emphases on Tulsa History." There is no text but the pioneers who began this town still living here, "Get there own stories, write their own books". Those were my orders.

Writing local history is never easy but there are always confusing remembrances of past happenings, and so young Tulsa Historical of Central High School made its mistakes. The publication of the Tulsa postcard labeled "Tulsa first house" crediting Lewis Perryman as its builder brought my first visit with Noah Partridge.

Following is what Mr. Partridge told me on that first visit. "I've seen your young folks peddling those picture cards around town and I object to it because it gives a very poor idea about how my kinsman Lewis Perryman lived." True, he had several of these cabins on his property used by his large family. His negro helpers and his guest houses for the many travelers who needed a nights shelter, even the slaves had houses as good as this. "Lewis Perryman's main house was many times this size. It was a story and a half double house with a wide veranda across the front and two grate fireplaces - built of logs of course - but with a plated puncheon floor and glass windows brought by steam boat to Ft. Gibson especially for the Perryman house. The Lewis Perryman house was the "Big House" of its day around these parts."

You say that you know that Lewis Perryman was an important citizen. I call him a really great man. He always spoke of his negro helpers as "my people" never "my slaves". For many of them had escaped from slavery and had come to him for employment, support and protection. This was a way of lift at that time and not always an unhappy one." Pocketing the post card Mr. Partridge went on "If you had time to listen I'd like to tell you a story which I heard many times."

"The Perryman family was setting around the big fireplace one evening talking over a days adventures when in walked three white men and a young very tall negro."

"You're Perryman, aren't you?" the leader ask. "Well I have a bargain for you, this fellow is a runaway slave, we caught him and we have him for sale"

Mr. Perryman said "What's your name man?" The answer came "Jedidih Brown sir at your service" The seller said "Just call him Jed, lift up your arms and show your new master how strong you are; jump up and down, fine looking animal wouldn't you say, worth at least ten times a ordinary slave?"

As this sort of sales talk went on my kinsman paid more attention to Jed than to the salesman. The black boy smiled and so did Mr. Perryman. It was almost as though they made the bargain "How much?" Perryman ask. "He'd be cheap at $500 but I'll take less if you have the cash" "How much?" "Well $400." "How much?" Perryman repeated pointing downward. "Well $300 dollars, take him or we take him out"

Now you must remember that in those days folks had to do their own banking usually hiding their small savings somewhere about the house. Very few had a even a hundred dollars, gold and silver were used instead of paper money.

Mr. Perryman said to his wife, "Fetch my money bags" she with one of her daughters brought in four leather bags and put them down on the table in front of her husband. He looked first at the money bags and then at Jed and again there was a understanding look between them.

Two of the strangers came close to the table and watched as Perryman emptied a bag into a golden heap. He pushed aside the fives and tens and the double eagles until the whole added up to three hundred dollars. The stranger eyed Mrs. Perryman as she carried out the still heavy bags.

As the sellers went through the head man slapped Jed on the arm and said "Now black boy you mind you new master or I'll come back for you some dark night"

As soon as the sellers were heard galloping away the big black man said "Master, you are now in very great danger, these men, the leader is called Quantrell, stole me from my master in Louisiana and this is the third time I've been sold. Each time these men have back backed at night to get me. They have killed the men who have tried to stop them. They will be back here before morning. Get all your men together and use all your guns, knives, clubs, stones anything you can fight with.

Before long the Perryman house was readiness, the men lain in expectancy for hours, finally they heard the arranged signal - an owl hoot - from the nearby tree. The enemy was near and the defenders were ready for action. In the fight that followed one of the strangers was killed as the survivors fled the leader shouted at Jed "I'll get you yet, I'll kill you someday."

The slave stealing leader was the notorious Quantrell. He later headed a group of outlaws as desperate and murderous as he was. They terrorized settlements in Missouri, Kansas and Indian Territory, stealing livestock and killing many helpless people.

Lewis Perryman found that Jed was not only strong but very capable and trustworthy. Often Jed captained a prairie wagon train of products for sale in the markets of Coffeyville, Kansas, and returned with an exact accounting. This trust gave Jed a perfect chance to keep the money he collected and be in free Kansas with a wagon team of money. He might have gone on as a free man but Jed was deeply interested in the welfare of the Perryman family. His work made it possible for the Perryman sons to continue their education at the Tullahassee Mission school. Also as the years went on he had a stout cabin, a wife and two sons of his own. He was Lewis Perryman's right hand man.

When the Civil war rolled over Tulsa, five of the Perryman sons signed up with the Confederate Indian Brigade but after about two years went over to the Union Indian Home Guards. Mr. Perryman felt that this action endangered the lives of the rest of his family and he moved them to Kansas.

Before Lewis Perryman left his home in many properties he had a meeting with "his people" and told them to do what Jed told them to do. Look out for yourselves but stick together and I'll be back someday. But Lewis Perryman never came back, he died in Kansas.

It may have been early in 1864 when Quantrell, more blood thirsty than ever, made good his threat to get Jed. He and his gang swept over the little settlement with guns shooting down anyone in their way. Soon Quantrell spied Jed and with a laugh made good his threat to killing Jed and his little son. The Quantrell man burned some of the homes and stole such cattle and horses as they wanted. By the way Quantrell was later killed during the raid in Kentucky.

I was curious to know what happened to the colored survivors of that terrible time. "Oh" said Mr. Partridge, "They found shelter in the woods or in partly burned homes. Most of the Perryman black people made out but they were never again in such peril as when Jed was killed by Quantrell."

In another meeting I said to Mr. Partridge, "I've noticed in Mr. J. M. Hall's book, the beginnings of Tulsa, that there were no colored people in Tulsa when he first came here in 1882. We know they were here before and before the Civil War, what became of them?"

Noah Partridge replied, "Your history should explain that, you know that the south lost that war and all former slaves became freed men. The Indian nations lost their status as independent nations. Not long after the treaty of 1966 the United States Government sent a directive to the Creek General Council by which all Creek former slaves relocated north of the Arkansas River in an area known as Three Forks and the Choska Bottoms. This was fortunate for the freedmen for the MKT Railroad was then building toward Texas and it gave paying to many colored folks.

The hardship was born by those Creeks whose land and homes were then given to the Freedmen. The uprooted Creeks had to make new homes and it was for them something like the Trail of Tears all over again. Many of the freedmen and their descendants became wealthy from lands allotted to them in 1906. I remarked, "I suppose such lucky folks were happy when oil was found on their land". "No," he replied, "Happiness came from having - more than that brings trouble and lots of it".

Retrospect: In the almost 30 years since Tulsa Historical Society of Central High School published the postcard title "Tulsa's first house," I have heard many stories about other first houses. A popular present day theory is that the two section log house pictured on the post card may have been built by George Perryman after the Civil War for his bride Rachel. In any case log cabins were typical in Tulsa's early days. Actually the very earliest of Tulsa houses may have been just one room log cabins with fireplaces and dirt floors. A roof was more important than a board floor.

The original painting from which the post card was made is still owned by the Arthur Perryman family, is an art treasure and pride of historical importance. May I add, but for it I might never have heard of Noah Partridge stories.

INTRODUCTION: Publication of this illustration with its accompanying explanation brought about Mrs. Whitham's first visit with Noah Partridge. The original inscription to which Mr. Partridge objected credited to the Tulsa's oldest house went on before the Civil War. Lewis Perryman built this double log cabin near 31st Street and South Rockford. Note the hand-hewn shake roof and enclosed central porch the enormous logs mortised together and the stake and rider fence. Kate White, first art teacher in Kendall College, Tulsa University, sketched this house in 1907. "Distributed by the Tulsa Historical Society of Central High School, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Tulsa World, March 29, 1959: FIRST FAMILY OF TULSA? By Mrs. J. O. Misch. The Civil War ended late in the Indian Territory. Stand Waitie, the Cherokee commander did not surrender his Confederate troops until 1865. The Cherokee and Creek Nations lay in ruin and ashes. Guerilla bands from both North and South had killed and driven off the livestock.

George and his older brothers had attended school at the Tullahassee Mission before the war. On Aug 9, 1861, his brothers Sanford, Thomas, Legus and Josiah enlisted at the creek agency in the First Creek Mounted Volunteer Regiment of the Confederates. Realizing their mistake in yielding to persuasion, they repudiated their alliance and sent word of their loyalty to U.S. agents in Kansas. They joined with other Loyalists who had rallied around the Creek, Opothleyohola, who was leading the refugees to Kansas.

After the battles of Round Mountain near Keystone then Caving Banks on Bird Creek battle on Dec. 9, 1861, the orderly exodus of the loyalist became about. All personal belongings were abandoned in their flight.

A bitter winter added to the sufferings of the fugitives. Many starved, others were made helpless from frozen limbs. Infants died and were buried in the snow. The Union army was unprepared for the responsibility of furnishing food, clothing and shelter for the thousands who slowly collected on the Verdigris River in Kansas.

Lewis Perryman with his four wives, younger children (including George) and slaves left their comfortable log home near the present site of 33rd and Rockford in Tulsa and joined the trek to Kansas. He was one of many who froze to death in camp and was buried in an unmarked grave in December, 1862.

His two surviving wives and the older boys returned to the Choska Bottoms in what is now Wagoner county and operated a store. Other members of the family established homes near Coweta and Broken Arrow. George Perryman was 19 when he returned to his father's old home in 1866, taking up the task of restoring his father's farm and lease holdings.

His grandfather Benjamin and Benjamin's brother Sam Perryman arrived in the Indian territory from Georgia in 1828. They were well to do Indians at that time and took part in council meeting with the army at Fort Gibson. His father Lewis, an able member of the famous family, had settled on Adams creek about seven miles north and east of Broken Arrow in 1839. He and fellow townsman had established the Big Springs ceremonial grounds there. George Beecher Perryman was born there in 1847. A cholera plague caused the family to leave this settlement in 1848, and establish a new domicile south of Tulsey Tulova, Indian Territory (north of the present 33rd and Rockford).

Lewis first built a small double log house with open passageway between the rooms. he later built an additional home, a two story double log house with verandas all around, also barns, corn cribs and other outbuildings. He needed a large home since he had four wives, many children and slaves. Plural marriage were legal in the Creek Nation until 1891.

Lewis Perryman also built a trading store south of Strawberry creek near the Texas tail, believed about today's 12th and Norfolk. The source of this creek was in Noah's spring located near the present 11th and Boulder. This spring was a water supply for early Tulsans. The Perryman's also thrived in the cattle business on the Arkansas river in those pre-Civil war days.

The Battle of Caving Banks was fought near this stretch of Bird creek north of Tulsa Dec. 9, 1861, between loyalist Creeks fleeing to refuge in Kansas and 1,500 confederate troops, many of them Indians. The loyalists were led by Opothleyohola.

This double log cabin was built by Lewis Perrymann before the Civil war near what is now 31 and Rockford. It was the first of three Perryman homes in the same area. This sketch was made in 1907, long after the house was abandoned as a dwelling.

Diary of Legust Chouteau Perryman. Lewis Perryman, my father, owned about 5000 head of cattle in and around Tulsa and was about 80 years old when he died.

Newspaper: Tulsa World, Thursday 11 June, 2009. Story with picture tells of Eagle Scout Project of cleaning the historic Perryman Cemetery in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Scout Matt Heinrichs, 15, decided for his Eagle Scout project to clean and restore parts of the Perryman Cemetery located near 32nd Street and Utica Avenue. The cemetery which is overseen by the Tulsa Historical Society dates to the 1840s and is no longer active. At least 50 graves are documented in the cemetery but many of the stones are unreadable or missing said Sharon Terry, Executive Director of the Historical Society. Ms. Terry was initially a bit doubtful about the project until she talked with Matt Heinrichs and his family.

Matt, who is a Bishop Kelly School student, was respectful of the historic cemetery and willing to do extra research. He learned about the Perryman's and their Indian heritage and why some of the graves have a small house=like structure over them. "That's a Creek tradition," he said. "They used to bury their ancestors under the house; so that symbolizes that." Matt spent about four months in planning and preparation. He raised money from businesses and enlisted help from friends and fellow Scouts. Professional tree trimmers were brought in and the work all was finished in one day, including some fence repair.

Newspaper story written by Sara Plummer.

SOURCE: Beverly Joan Thurman Case's website. Home Page: Joan's Ancestors and Descendants.

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Lewis Perryman's Timeline

Ft. Mitchell, Russell, Alabama, USA
Age 47
March 1, 1838
Age 51
July 24, 1839
Age 52
April 25, 1840
Age 53
January 17, 1842
Age 55
Big Springtown, Wagoner, Oklahoma, USA
April 17, 1847
Age 60
February 22, 1849
Age 62
December 1862
Age 75
Burlington, Coffee, Kansas, USA
Age 75
Creek Nation, Oklahoma, USA