In April 1847, Presbyterian Missions Board
gave permission to enlarge Coweta Mission and to establish the
Tallahassee Manual Labor School. The school was built to accommodate
eight students, forty of each sex. A large and very convenient brick
building, three stories high, 76 x 34, with a good cellar, was erected
for the Tallahassee school; the building was arranged for a boarding
school for both sexes; it was located on a beautiful ridge, in the
Arkansas district, one and one-half miles north of the Arkansas River
[near the site of the present city of Muskogee].
Rev. Robert McGill Loughridge was named
superintendent and William Schenck Robertson was appointed as principal
teacher. Tullahassee Mission became the principal learning
center for the Creek Nation under the direction of William Schenck and
his wife, Ann Eliza Robertson.
The first day of March 1850, school commenced.
The main building was in readiness; out-buildings, stables, corn-cribs,
fences, etc., had been built; cattle, horses, wagons and teams had been
purchased; furniture for the building, and provisions of all kinds,
books, papers, etc. had been provided, and the school opened with thirty
pupils - boys and girls. The full number of eighty was not received
until in the fall.
A fine, large bell was sent out by the board
and hung in the cupola of the building. Dr. Wells, of Fort Gibson, sent
a beautiful and appropriate vane, representing an Indian standing with
bow and arrow, pointing the course of the wind as it flew past, was
presented and placed on the cupola of the main building. A full supply
of excellent and well-qualified teachers and helpers were sent as the
best interests of the school demanded. The exercises were conducted on
the manual labor plan, and the usual time of six hours daily, was spent
The pupils were employed about two hours
daily in some useful exercise: the boys working on the farm, garden or
chopping firewood, and the girls in household duties, assisting in
sewing, cooking, washing, and the care of the dining-room. The children
were provided with three good substantial meals daily, and abundant time
given for sleep and recreation. Religious exercises were regularly kept
up; preaching on Sabbath, and prayers morning and evening through the
week. Daily at supper table, in connection with singing and prayer,
every pupil was expected to recite a verse, or part of a verse, of the
Teachers and superintendent salaries being
only $100 per annum.
The school continued to flourish until July
10, 1861, when it was suddenly broken up, and all the mission property
was taken possession of by the chiefs of the nation. The children were
sent home and teachers returned to their homes in the North and South.
Loughridge moved him family to Texas in 1862,
but returned in January 1881.
The Tallahassee school building has burned,
and the council build another on a larger scale locating it further west
where the people were now more thickly settled. A beautiful site on the
south side of the Arkansas River, surrounded by several old mountains
and about forty miles west of the town of Muskogee was selected. A large
magnificent brick building, 110 x 42 feet and three stories high was
erected and soon occupied by 100 children. Loughridge, having been
appointed superintendent of the school, opened it November 1, 1882 and
continued as superintendent until he resigned two years later.
Alice Mary Robertson, daughter of William and
Ann Robertson, was born in the
Tallahassee Mission, Creek Nation, January 2, 1854. She returned from Elmira,
New York in 1880 to assist her father after the Tallahassee Mission
Thomas Ward Perryman, half brother of
Principal Chief Lequest Chouteau Perryman of the Creek Nation attended
this school from 1849-1858.
Wilson Miller, an orphan, was reared at
Lincoln Postoak went to school at the
Tallahassee Mission for three years. He recalls when it burned in 1880
and that the building burned to the ground in the middle of the winter.
After Wealaka Mission was built, he attended school there.4
Richard Lewis Berryhill attended the mission
school before the Civil War.7
List of some students and teachers5
1871-1878 Teachers: Phoebe Perryman
1871-1878 Students: Theophilus Perryman, Thomas Perryman, Susan Perryman
1873 Teachers: Miss P. Perryman, Miss S.
1873 Students: Theophilus Perryman, Thomas Perryman
1875 Students: Susie Perryman
Pleasant Porter attended Tullahassee
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submitted by Teresa Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org>
January 2000 from an unnamed source.
Here is a substantial brick building of three stories high, with a modest
cupola, in which is a small bell, and which commands a view of the country
for many miles in every direction. One half of the building is the department
for the boys, and the other for the girls; having a wide hall and staircase,
with airy and commodious rooms on either side in each department. Each
department has its distinct yards; the dining and recitation rooms are
The orchard, garden, workshop, tool-room, and stables are near; and
the farm not far off. About a quarter of a mile distant is a frame building
for a chapel, and a little distance from this, the Mission burying ground,
over which many ancient oaks wave their branches in solemn cadence with
the moaning winds. Some that were pupils in the school lie buried there,
and some who once were missionaries in that field, but are now far way,
often return thither in imagination, for there is dust in that ground that
is precious to them.
The school building is situated between the Arkansas and Verdigris rivers,
about four or five miles from each. From eighty to a hundred Indian youth,
of both sexes, are gathered here for instruction, and from all parts of
the nation they have come, for it is the school for the whole nation. Think
what an influence such an institution must exert; once in every three or
four years, a body of eighty or a hundred youth going out through the tribe
to spread more widely the leaven of the gospel. Every year some are leaving
the school, who have been from two to five years under the tuition and
guardianship of pious men and women, to carry to their homes and neighbourhoods
(sic), something, at least, of what they have been learning by precept
and example; and when they become heads of families, to bring up their
own children, not in the way that was practiced by their forefathers, but
according as they have seen practiced in Christian families, and according
to the rules which they find in that Book of books which they have learned
to read, and which some of them have learned to love.
Wise, Donald A. Thomas
Ward Perryman (1839-1903) Jul 2002 http://home.earthlink.net/~dawise/twp.htm
Alice Robertson Middle School. Miss Mary Alice Robertson Jul
Indian Pioneer Papers, Elizabeth Watts
Interview, April 27, 1937 at
Indian Pioneer Papers, Lincoln
Postoak Interview, December 17, 1937 at Red Fork, Oklahoma.
Indian Pioneer Papers, Richard
Lewis Berryhill Interview, June 23, 1937 at Red Fork, Oklahoma.
Miscellaneous Records, Perryman (Creek Indian) Clearing House. Jul
Reservations. Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties Vol. 1, Laws: Acts of
Fifty-Sixth Congress - Second Session, 1901, Chapter 676 (March 1, 1901)
p. 735 Jul 2002 http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol1/HTML_files/SES0729.html#p735
H.F. & E. S. Autobiographical Sketch of Rev. Robert McGill
Loughridge, D. D., Missionary to the Muskogee Indians. Indian
Territory, Its Chiefs, Legislatures, and Leading Men. July 2002 http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~pennstreet/ITsketches4.htm#475
which may have more information about the mission.
- Guy Logsdon, The University Of Tulsa (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977)
- Althea Bass, The Story Of Tullahassee (Oklahoma City: Semco Color Press, 1960)
- Joe Paul Spaulding, The Life Of Alice Mary Robertson (PhD Dissertation, University of Oklahoma, 1959).
- The Alice Mary Robertson Collection. The University of Tulsa,
McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections.