How the Sabbath Came to the Cherokee Strip Part 2 of 3
(Oklahoma Territory Land Run 1893)
by Bryan Burrell
The winter of ’93 and ’94 was pretty tough on those pioneers who decided to stay on their claims. They threw together crude shelters of sod and poles and fashioned dugouts by digging huge holes with low walls of sod and roofs of poles and more sod. By spring, things took on a brighter look and the settlers were there to stay.
Ed Webster, using part of his six months in which to establish a residence upon his claim, returned to Missouri for his wife, Crinner and they came to the Indian Territory to make their home. Their neighbors on the east who had stayed through the winter and had their dugout in a fairly habitable condition was Junis Wells’ brother, Charley. They had been right about the wagon they had seen on the day the race took place. Junis and Charley had gone in and had staked claims. Their father and a sister had also taken claims. The Wells families made the Websters welcome, and until their own home was ready they camped in their covered wagon in the Wells’ yard.
Through the busy days of getting their home established and their ground in production, the Websters had little time to think about the strange doctrines of the Wells families. Ed Webster had not had time to go to church before, and he knew little about religion. The strange things the Wells boys believed were far different from Crinner Webster’s church.
The Wells families would go every Saturday to a little sod schoolhouse about six miles west where they would hold church services. The Horton and Douglas families had filed near there and they,too, were of the same belief and they all met for services in the school house.
There were no towns, yet. A man had put up a crude building, and had brought a wagon load of supplies from Enid. That was a store. It was not uncommon for him to sell out his entire stock of merchandise in a few hours and hitch up to his wagon and head for another supply.
Two brothers, Henry and Clifford Bower made the run and filed on tracts that were divided by what is now known as West Central Street in the town of Fairview. Henry started a store there shortly after establishing a residence in 1894. That store was the start of what is now Fairview in northwestern Oklahoma.
The seventh-day people soon began planning to get a minister of their faith to come to the Indian Territory. In 1896, J. R. Goodenough came and filed on a claim not far from the school where they were holding services. He began to preach the same strange belief that the Wells families had been talking, and the Websters were often invited to attend the meetings, but they declined. Goodenough held a few night meetings in a school near the Websters and their neighbor came back talking about that preacher. “He says he is going to preach on prophecy.” That got the Websters interested and they went to hear him. The meeting didn’t last long, but the Websters began going to the weekly meetings at the Golden Valley School.
We will finish next time!