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Changes for the Creek Nation

May 16, 2001

Resources

The Angie Debo Papers are held at OSU's Special Collections & University Archives.

I also found information on Rev. Lockridge in several general Oklahoma history texts.

Almanac Transcript

Changes for the Creek Nation this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, I’m Steven Kite.

The name Coweta has a long and revered history for the Native Americans of the Creek Nation. In Alabama and Georgia, Coweta had long been the leading town of the division of the Creek Confederacy known as the Lower Creeks. Initially when the Creeks were forcibly removed to Indian Territory they resisted any involvement with whites. By the late 1830s it was made known that the Creeks were eager for improved schools and educational opportunities for their children.

As if in answer to their wishes a young missionary couple appeared in the area asking for permission to preach a weekly Sunday Presbyterian Sermon. The local Creek leaders agreed to allow this minister, Lockridge, to preach but only on two conditions: if he would conduct a day school for those children interested and that he could only preach at the school, no preaching anywhere else in the Creek Nation would be allowed. Minister Lockridge agreed and began preparations. For ten dollars an abandoned farm was purchased and the couple, now having a place to live, began work on the school/church.

Initially a one room building was constructed for school and church but after one year it was far too crowded and plans for improvement were under way. Soon Lockridge with much help had erected a seven room house of hewn logs able to house ten boys and ten girls. It was in this week of 1844 that the Creek Boarding School of Coweta opened its doors for the very first time. Situated near the present day town of Coweta, the school was a much welcomed addition to the Creek nation.

Minister Lockridge’s job was not an easy one. He first had to persuade the Creek leaders to allow him to preach, agree to teach school, and then organize the construction of any needed buildings. His wife died in 1845 during the birth of his second child leaving the young minister alone with two kids and two full time jobs. Lockridge worked through these difficult times succeeding not only with his preaching but teaching as well. The school, in 1846, had to turn away children for lack of room. Late in 1846 the Creeks, in order to insure sufficient education for all of their children, allowed more schools to open in the area and as a bonus for Lockridge the tribal leaders allowed preaching to occur anywhere within the nation.

A hardworking missionary perseveres and succeeds this week on the Almanac.

I'm Steven Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a production of the OSU Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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