The First Eight Months of Oklahoma

The arrivals Monday night numbered more than two hundred. The new city was astir early Tuesday morning and there was great skirmishing for breakfast. Edibles of any and all kinds were in brisk demand and those persons who had established lunch counters reaped a golden reward. Parties from the effete east —who would have disdained to trade and traffic in culinary lines— erected booths and eating houses out of tents and dispensed lemonade, water and poor sandwiches at a high price to the hungry multitude. 

There was but one well in the city, on Santa Fe street, opposite the depot and some enterprising individual hired a man to pump water while he collected toll at the rate of five cents per pint. This occasioned much complaint and General Merritt hearing of the outrage, promptly ordered a military guard put over the well with instructions to allow the people to take the water like salvation, without money and without price. 

An ineffectual effort was made in the forenoon to get the surveyors of the different town companies together so that the differences in the surveys of the town site could be adjusted. Matters were in chaos till about 3 o’clock in the afternoon when the people came together spontaneously and it was one of the most exciting mass meetings ever held in the city. A. C. Scott, of Iola, Kansas, was called to preside, and M. H. Woods, of Garnett, Kansas, was elected secretary. After tumultuous discussion it was decided that an entirely new survey of the town site be made, and that a committee of fourteen citizens be chosen by the mass meeting to conduct the survey and adjust the claims to lots. The election of this committee of fourteen was an amusing performance. When one had been elected there would be a hundred names shouted in nomination. Each candidate was required to get up before the people for their inspection. When the nominee mounted the box and made his bow to the crowd he would be

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greeted with cat calls, “Rats ! “ “Sit down !” “Where are you from, and what did you leave for!” Taken all in all it was a good natured crowd and the fourteen gentlemen elected were: O. H. Violet, of California ; M. V. Barney, of Chicago ; C. W. Price, of Colorado ; M. H. Woods, of Kansas ; A. C. Scott, of Kansas ; W. P. Shaw, of Missouri ; J. B. Wheeler, of Michigan ; B. N. Woodson; of Texas; W. H. Ebey, of Kansas ; John A. Blackburn, of Missouri; William Raney, of Nebraska; D. J. Moore, of Kansas; D. E. Murphy, of Indiana, and C. T. Scott, of Texas. Mr. Raney declined to serve on the committee and A. L. Mendlick, of Wisconsin, was appointed to fill the vacancy. The committee immediately held a meeting at the post office building where an organization was effected and the following officers elected; John A. Blackburn, president; 0. H. Violet, vice president; J. B. Wheeler, treasurer, and M. H. Woods, secretary.

Main street was well to the front by night having numerous houses completed and in course of construction. Every train brought great numbers of new citizens from all parts of the country and the new city was booming by the second night of its existence. Ten thousand people bivouacked that night on the town site. The great bend in the river swarmed with people and glittered with camp fires. About ten o’clock Tuesday night some fellow in camp down by the river, missed one of his mules. He passed the word around in the immediate vicinity plunged into the timber to seek the lost animal.

The mule was discovered shortly afterward by a man with a deep and strong voice, who was a friend of the animal’s owner. Rising from his bed on the ground the deep voiced man called out, “Oh, Joe ! Here’s your mule!” It was a remarkably quiet night and this unique shout was heard far and near. One after the other caught it up and in less than three minutes, ten thousand men were vying with one another to see who could yell the loudest “O, Joe ! Here’s your mule!” It was the mightiest shout ever heard in the valley of the North Canadian and it was kept up until the military on the two hills, over half a mile away, caught the fever, and then the bedlam was renewed. Joe and his mule both committed suicide it is said.