Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Orcutt Family




Colonel A.D. Orcutt and his family arrived in what is now Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 19, 1874. He established a large stock ranch 6 miles south of what would become the town of Tulsa, making them one of the first white settlers in this part of Oklahoma. Although there are many accounts of how Tulsa was named, in the book “A History of the State of Oklahoma” written in 1910, Colonel Orcutt is reputed to have been the one who suggested the name of Tulsa for the new town, in honor of an old Indian family of that name. He sold general merchandise, hauling all of his goods from Coffeyville as well as hauling the supplies for the civil engineer and staff who lay the route of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad from Vinita to Tulsa and Red Fork. And, with assistance from the aforementioned engineer, Orcutt made the survey of the first street in the town of Tulsa.
Orcutt’s cattle interests increased until he was classed among the largest dealers in the territory. It was his custom to bring large herds from Texas, pasture them on Oklahoma land, and then ship them to the northern market.
His first wife, Mary Jack, died at the age of 33 leaving 6 children behind. Orcutt married Adalene Hodge in 1886. I’ll tell her fascinating story another time. Colonel Orcutt also founded the town of Coweta where he resided until his death in 1912.
Of the 6 children from Orcutt’s first wife, the eldest, Samuel is probably the most known to Tulsa history lovers.

In 1905 a group of developers, led by Orcutt’s son Sam, purchased 25 acres of the ranch land and began to build an amusement park. They turned a natural watering hole that had been used to water cattle (click on photos to enlarge): into a small lake that provided boating, fishing and swimming. There was a cafe, concession stands, an enclosed dance pavilion (which you can see in the photo above), a hand carved wooden carousel and a roller coaster that cost an unheard of $7,600. The pavilion showcased lecturers, vaudeville, circus acts and on Sunday morning evangelists. After twilight stage performances wrapped up, movies were occasionally shown.

A trolly ran from downtown "all the way out" to Orcutt Park:




Over 10,000 people attended the 4th of July celebration at the park in 1910.
The main entrance to Orcutt Park, 1910. This photo looks east from 18th & St. Louis:

By 1917 Orcutt Lake Amusement Park had become a residential area and was named Swan Lake.





photos courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society

31 comments:

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I learned something new today. Thanks.

Trait said...

I am really digging your blog. Thanks so much for all of this interesting information. I'm not a native Tulsan, but it's my adopted hometown. I love learning all about its early days and the people who made it great.

Nancy said...

Thanks you guys! I love doing this blog. I get my "research fix" and others get to learn a little sumpin' they may not've known. Win-Win!
Tulsa Gal
Nancy

Anonymous said...

Now we know ... the rest of the story.

Gary said...

Do you know if the 1920 era fourplexes off of cherry street were built by Sam Orcutt? They have the name Orcutt on the facades.

Nancy said...

Great question. To answer it I will post a quote from the Preservation Commission's website:
ORCUTT APARTMENTS (1320 East 17th Street and 1320 East 16th Street) 1918
These apartments were built for Samuel Augustus Orcutt in 1918. His family resided in these apartments for a few years while they managed the rental units. This was the first apartment building to be built for Orcutt, and the first apartments in the area. Most of the red brick apartments near Quaker Avenue and 16th Street were owned by Orcutt, including the Lincoln Apartments, which were renamed by a later owner. Because of Orcutt’s apartment development enterprise, there are more apartment buildings built between 1920 and the late 1930s in the Swan Lake neighborhood than in any other area of Tulsa.

Gary said...

ahh... thanks!

bill said...

i think its cool that someone who is not an orcutt would find this stuff interseting my name is billy orcutt and samuel was my great grandfather dodes little brother. in fact my brother was named augustus after him it is a widely used family name to this day.

Anonymous said...

He was my Greatgrandfather.
Archie Wright

Anonymous said...

He was my great grandfather, I have wanted to learn about them for years. Thank You. Paula Winsett

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paula, i thought I was up on the subject but you've added some pictures that I wasn't aware of. The "dode" (German nickname for Theodore), my Grandfather, mentioned was actually Samuel's first cousin. His(dode) father Seymour and Col. A D were brothers. I have been told that Oaklawn Cemetary was originally Orcutt Cemetary/
I greatly appreciate the fact that you used Hills contemporary history for your synopsis of Col. Orcutt, as later versions probably were watered down ,in my opinion, by later "local" historians. I won't mention any names.

Col. Orcutt was also noted for being a member of the first Oklahoma legislature.Thanks

Anonymous said...

I was told by my father that on Orcutt was one of the founders of Tulsa, This is Great Information. From An ORCUTT in Oklahoma City...

Ruth Lance Orcutt said...

I was just reading about my family history, my husband told me about it , he also said they sold buggy rides there for 10 cents. Ruth Lance Orcutt

Chandra said...

Hello, my grandmother is Anna Josephine Orcutt. My great grandfather Alvin Hodge Orcutt. His parents Adolphus Delorain Orcutt & Adaline W. Hodge. I am looking for any information about my heritage. My name is Chandra Raduechel I go by: tv.pv.sv.nv (means dragonfly in muskogean). My email address: dragonfly@usa.com
Thank you for all the wonderful info. Unbelievable.......

lshirley said...

I just went to the courthouse in downtown Tulsa yesterday to find the history of my home. It was sold in 1912 by Annie B. Orcutt to a Bessie MacCurdy. I found it intresting that they were both female, and have been researching both women. It seems Anna (although she signed "Annie" was Samual Orcutt's wife. It seems my home was one of the very first in this addition....it's all very cool. Lynne Shirley Hall

shannon orcutt said...

it is nice to know that people find my family special and i would like to thank you for the page about them....

shannon orcutt

Anonymous said...

I am the Grandson of William Adolphus Orcutt, Jr. and Alberta LaNelle Orcutt (Kane). Our family history is much more indepth than this story, although it is a wonderfull look into our past where Tulsa is concered. I am a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, that birthright being handed down to me from the union of Hodge & Burgess who are on census card #1305 dated December 22nd, 1899 which eventually became Orcutt. Extended family members looking for info are welcome to contact me at antiquephotons AT yahoo DOT com. Our family goes all the way back to the original members of the Creek Nation, our tribal towns are Big Spring (Creek: Wegawa Thocko - spelled in english phonetics rather than creek language so that you know how to say it) and Coweta as listed on census card 678 dated Aug. 12th, 1899.
H. Orcutt

Anonymous said...

Tulsa Gal, grandmother is an Orcutt and was excited when I told her you'd found a picture of the Col. She wants a copy but I can't find it in the catalog for the Beryl collection. Would you please be kind enough to tell me if it is indeed in the Beryl or what its Accession # is?

Many thanks,
Heather

Nancy said...

Heather, send me your email address so I can send the photo to you.

Nancy
tulsahistory@aol.com

Chris said...

This week, I discovered a postcard that my grandfather, Dr. C W Medlock sent to his soon to be wife, Ollie Churchwell (my grandmother). It was postmarked May 17, 1917, and is exactly the postcard that you show above, which depicts the roller coaster. In hid brief note, he mentions how he wished she could join him that weekend and take a ride on the roller coaster on the card. Thanks so much for your posting on this. It saved me a great deal of research to learn what it was all about. -- Chris Medlock, Tulsa

Nancy said...

Happy I was able to help, Chris! Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Colonel A.D. Orcutt's first wife's name was Mary Ann Jack not Jock. She was my g.g.grandmothers sister. Her parents were John J. Jack and Sarah Ann Foutche. Her sister, my g.g.grandmother was Lavina Elizabeth (Lizzie) Jack and she married Frank M Mathewson another original pioneer of Tulsa.
CarieP

Nancy said...

Thank you Carrie, I corrected that.

Molly Orcutt watson said...

I loved this article. my grandfather was Agustus Dode orcutt. my father was Theodore wayne Orcutt. I have a sister named Dodie after our grandfather. beautiful article. Thank You so much

Molly Orcutt watson said...

Molly Orcutt
my grandad was Agustus Dode My Dad was theodore orcutt. My sister was loving called Dodie after our grandfather. Thank you for so much family history.

Molly Orcutt watson said...

Molly Orcutt
my grandad was Agustus Dode My Dad was theodore orcutt. My sister was loving called Dodie after our grandfather. Thank you for so much family history.

Mandyjo-orcutt said...

My grandfather was Theodore Wayne Orcutt and my uncle has done extensive research and written a book called Our Orcutt Family which includes many pictures and references to all of the information you have provided. I think it is wonderful research and work you have done and I have learned many things that were not included in our family history book. If anyone would like a copy or exerpts I plan on putting it online for all to see. I am working on finishing the scanning to PDF or you can check out Joel Orcutts website as well. I live in Tulsa and am about to graduate soon from NSU. I enjoy researching and religious anthropology. Thankyou so much for the information, it has really connected a lot of my research for me! Miranda Orcutt..

Mandyjo-orcutt said...

I am Miranda Orcutt. I chose to keep my family name of Orcutt for personal reasons but am very proud of my extended family who have been there for me in life. My grandfather was Theodore Wayne Orcutt and I miss him dearly. I am a researcher myself and will be graduating from NSU shortly. I plan to do my graduate work at OU. The information you have provided is very accurate and I even learned a few new things which just tickles me pink! Thankyou for oyur efforts in preserving our family name and accomplishments. I have a book written by my uncle Joel Thomas Orcutt which is our geneology and it is wonderful as well. If anyone is curious about it let me know I would be happy to share. The ancestry records date back as far as the 17th century. It is amazing how family attributes are passed down. My son will be named after my great grandfather Dode as well as soon as he is born! I love your site and hope to visit you soon to check out your wares.

Daniel Wheeler said...

I took precious time to comment on your site with pertinent information regarding the subject matter of your blog. Wondering why you didn't post it?

M.D. Wheeler

Nancy said...

Mr. Wheeler: This is not the place for family grievances or personal attacks on others. Second of all, this is MY blog space, therefore it is my prerogative on which comments I allow. Period.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy this account of Tulsa's history. Everything is as it was told to me by my grandmother. I am a 4th generation Oklahoman, my great-grandfather having been in one of the land runs. My aunt married into the Orcutt family in the 1940's. Love the pictures and the tidbits of information you've found!

Barbara Tomer Winters