White Oak came into existence
about 1895 as a small settlement north of the present site but moved later
to its present location after Theo. Jones an early merchant, and Charley
Brown built a stockyards, started businesses in the new location, and invited
the people at the earlier site to join them.
The first post office was established
October 31, 1898, and B.B. Burnett was officially listed as postmaster,
although early residents tell that Andy Hampton was postmaster. He
was followed by W.D. Stout, Theo Jones, and Oliver Haynes, who served in
that capacity for 38 years. The post office closed in 1957.
The Frisco railroad built a spur
at the site, and for more than 50 years White Oak was a major shipping
center for cattle. There were stock pens, and a large pasture nearby
(both owned by the Frisco) where cattle could be held for a time after
they were unloaded and waiting to be driven to the ranches or until the
cattle cars could be brought in for shipping them. Cattle were usually
shipped to Kansas City or St. Joseph, Missouri.
Early day cattlemen shipping into
and out of White Oak were the Montgomery's from as far north as Centralia,
the Franklins, Leforce brothers, Milburn Condray, the Oskisons, Grayson
Wills, the Christian brothers, and the Sneddens. After World War
11 roads were improved and the trucking industry took business from the
railroad. The passenger service was discontinued and freight service
was lost to trucks. The chutes and loading pens have since been removed
and the original depot no longer stands.
Miss Rhoda Carruthers was the
station agent for the Frisco, beginning in Tulsa during World War 1, and
retiring in the 1960s. Through her efforts the railroad leased a
nearby pasture of 160 acres for the cattlemen to use as a "holdover or
trap" for their cattle. This pasture was used to hold over the cattle
after being driven overland from the home ranch for shipping on the railroad
and as a hold over after receiving cattle by train before the trip to the
Through the efforts of Rhoda,
as she was affectionately known by community residents, a July 4th picnic
was held in the pasture (now the property of Dwight Hunt) in 1934.
Political candidates provided a free barbeque. Beef for the barbeque
was prepared by Sam Woodard, a pioneer Craig Countian. The popular
Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys of radio station KVOO in Tulsa were present
to provide the music for square dancing on a specially built platform.
There was a local rodeo and fireworks at night.
The shipping of prairie hay was
a thriving business for a number of years with two or three huge hay barns
alongside the railroad. Early day shippers were Fred and George Kelly,
Monroe Butler, Theo Jones, A.W. Kennedy and Lester and Dewey Rafferty.
Among the many people who have
owned and operated general stores in White Oak were a Mr. Kilgore, Jess
Butler, S.C. Clawson, Theo Jones, Enoch Jenkins, Will Rafferty, Oliver
(Barney) Vogel, Orvel Alumbaugh, A.W. Kennedy and O.M. Haynes. Mr.
Haynes operated a general store for over 50 years before retiring in the
A two-room house served as White
Oak's first hotel, used principally by visiting cattlemen. Later,
Bud Miles built a hotel and rooming house which he operated for several
years before selling to Joe Beck.
Early doctors in the White Oak
area were Dr. M.P. Haynes and a Dr. Maioller.
The town is near a rich coal vein
which was mined for several years in the 1950s by the McNabb Coal Company.
The vein runs south and west of the town.
The town's water supply came from
private wells until the Rural Water District was created to bring water
in from Grand Lake in the late 1960s.
White Oak no longer has a general
store, post office or depot but approximately 100 people still live there.
The first school located northwest
of the present day town site burned and a new school was built closer to
the community. This facility burned at the close of the school year
in 1943 and was rebuilt as the existing and enlarged school of the present
time. Grades of kindergarten through high school are served.
At a 1974 school reunion former
school board members in attendance with their spouses included Mike Roberts,
Charley Prather, C.A. Casity and Johnny Bowie. Former teachers present
were Hugh Sapp, Gladys (Franklin) Martin, Mary Jane Douglas, O.G. Shubert,
Rosa Belle Curtis, Willard Johnson and Otis Harlan.
Former teachers at a 1975 school
reunion included Gladys (Franklin) Martin, Mary Jane Douglas, Mr. and Mrs.
O.B. Schubert, John Keeter, Willard Johnson, Katherine Hemphill Adams,
and Thelma Jones. Also attending were former school board members,
Mike Roberts, W. T. Williams, Vernon Bussey, Norman Miles, Dorothy Hennigan
Beisley, and Barbara Herod Parmley.
In 1979, the annual school reunion
celebrated "50 Years of Community Service". The school superintendent,
George Wickliffe, gave an in-depth speech of the "White Oak School of Today".
Honored students attending were graduates of the first graduating class
of 1929: Velma Smith Martin, Pearl White Most, and Sarah Fry Looney.
Other former graduates at the reunion included Malcolm Workman, Otis Jones
and R. W. Underwood, class of 1930.
That year, Mrs. Leno Piguet, White
Oak third grade teacher of 23 years, resigned. She began her teaching
career in country schools in Rogers County, then cam to Craig County area.
During her years as a teacher, she was sponsor of 4-H clubs, and a member
of a home demonstration club for several years. She is a member of
the White Oak First Baptist Church. She is married to Howard Piguet
and they are the parents of two children.
In May 1975 Mrs. Lela Lay of White
Oak was honored on her 74th birthday. Her children included daughters,
Marie Summers of Jet, Louise Bowie, Wanda Walker, Wilma Hugg and Laverne
Walker all of the Vinita area, Fay Wayman of Walsh, Colorado, and a son,
Jim Lay of Canadian, Texas.
Steven Lynn Seidenberger, son
of Herbert R. Seidenberger, Vinita, is a Doctor of Veterinary medicine.
He graduated from White Oak High School in 1971, attended Northeast Oklahoma
A&M College in Miami, and Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.
Mary Korthase of Tulsa was giving
sign language to the deaf during services for First Baptist Church members
in Tulsa. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Korthase and attended
White Oak school.
In January 1975 Mr. and Mrs. Leslie
William Seaton of White Oak celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
They were married January 10, 1925 in Miami, Oklahoma and spent most of
their lives in the Vinita and Afton area. They are the parents of
eight children, Leona Messimore, Afton, Lawrence Robert Seaton, White Oak,
Idalice Sturgeon and Ray Seaton of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, James Seaton,
Lancaster, Texas, Rosaletta Sasser, Spavinaw.
In 1974 Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence
Robert Seaton of White Oak celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.
They were married in Bentonville, Arkansas, and have spent most of their
lives in the Sapulpa and Vinita area. They are the parents of four
children, Larry Seaton, Ricky Seaton, Brenda Parrish, and Sharon McGee,
all of White Oak.
At the 1974 Old Settlers reunion
in Vinita, the winner of the Old Fiddler's Contest was David Hayes, accompanied
by his guitarist brother, Mark Hayes, and cousin, Brad Hayes.
Area Indian Dances
White Oak . . . Indian stomp dances
have been a part of this area's heritage for "many generations," according
to Mrs. Emeline Carpenter, leader of the White Oak dances.
Asked in a February, 1984 interview
how long the dances had been in existence in the area, she replied, "Way
back, before my time, and I am 85 years old," going on to say that the
leadership is handed down within a family, going back generations ago to
a grandmother who was an Indian queen.
There are three main dances held
a year at the grounds located three and one-half miles southwest of White
Oak, not far from Mrs. Carpenter's home, and she especially stressed the
sacredness of the ceremonial stomp dances to the Indians.
"The three dances which consist
of the May Bread Dance, the August Green Corn Feast and the November Bread
Dance are a Thanksgiving to God for what the Indians have received for
the seasons," Mrs. Carpenter explained, adding that preparations begin
Indians in the area are mainly
Shawnee, Delaware and Cherokee, but Indians from other tribes and from
all over the United States are represented at the dances which are from
four days to a week in length. Many camp at the stomp grounds site.
Again stressing the sacredness
of the dances, Mrs. Carpenter pointed out that Indian-dress such as shawls
and moccasins are worn, not the feathers of a pow-wow.
"Although it is Indian grounds,"
she said, "everyone is welcome to join the activities."
The area surrounding the stomp grounds
is a heavily wooded area. As you turn off the main road onto a lane
leading down through the trees, you come to a clearing where the ceremonial
dances are held. In the center of the camping area there are logs
laid to form a circle, the ground is well packed by the many moccasins
that have danced around the large bonfire in the very center of the log
Mrs. Carpenter explained the ceremonies
carefully. Without divulging her trusted knowledge as leader, she
described a part of the tradition:
"The grounds have two doors;
the west side is for women and the east side door is for men. They
cannot cross over the logs -the logs being divided for seating on each
side with a separation of the men and women.
"We have twelve main men dancers
and twelve main women dancers who lead. The women dancers also are
in charge of the bread baking which is presented to the men following the
"After the main dancers, other
Indians and other persons of all ages will join in.
"We have four ushers (butchers),
two men and two women, who help with the dancers and bread baking.
There are three drummers.
"There is an altar where we present
our offering in the sacred ceremony of thanking God."
Mrs. Carpenter has served as
head of the dances about twenty-five years, learning the traditions from
created 10-30-99 mgc
to Craig Co., Oklahoma