Present-day Luther is in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma County, roughly 3 miles west of the Lincoln Co. line and 4 miles south of the Logan Co. line. Lands within a five-mile radius were opened by three different Land Runs in a little over six years. The area changed rapidly in Territorial days. Communities blossomed and died as both Post Offices and Schools were established, then consolidated.
This study is centered on Luther Township and the families we've been able to document as living within its 36 square miles during Territorial days, but also includes many families who lived in the surrounding 8 Townships.
The Unassigned Lands that had been opened in 1889 were on its western border. Many of the original homesteaders had ties to the families who had already settled there in Oklahoma County's Springer and Deep Fork Townships or Logan County's Springvale Township.
The Iowa Lands, which were opened for homesteading in 1891, were to the east of the Unassigned Lands and to the north and west of Deep Fork. The northwestern part of Luther Township was included, along with all of Logan County's Iowa Township, all Lincoln County's Tohee Township and the northern part of Lincoln County's Wellston Township.
The rest of Luther and Wellston Townships, along with all of Oklahoma County's Dewey Township and Lincoln County's Bryan Township, were part of the Kickapoo Lands that were opened in 1895.
Of the many small communities that once existed in these nine townships, only
Arcadia, Jones, Luther, and Wellston still have their own Post Offices.
Arcadia's schools have been divided between the Edmond and Luther districts. Fallis has a few families left, but is essentially a Ghost Town. Captain Creek, Coon Creek, Douglas, Garden,
Garnettville, Glaze, Hibsaw, Jackson, Kickapoo, Ludlow, Mishak, Poole, Servado, Tohee - and probably others I haven't found yet - have disappeared. Some seem to have done so without leaving a trace, but for others you can still find some ruins with the help of the right local guide.
Remember "Sharon's Place"?
Marti Graham coined the name and set up the original "Sharon's Place" on the Oklahoma County GenWeb site to house all the "stuff" I was sending her about the
original homesteaders of Deep Fork and Luther Townships.
For people who are researching the genealogy of families in the area, it's a place to connect with distant relatives and learn more about their ancestors from family friends. For others, it's a demonstration of what can be accomplished by tapping a variety of sources then comparing their information and resolving any apparent discrepancies.
It was a place where oral traditions met history, geography, and genealogy
and was thus the original on-line presence of what we came to call "Ceil's Circle".
If you are familiar with the old-timers of the Luther area, that's
self-explanatory. If you aren't.... This circle of friends consists of people who grew up in the area, who belong to some of the "old families", and who know a lot about their family's friends. Most are now in their 80s & 90s. Collectively, they have helped
us piece together a great deal about Luther's Founding Families.
Ceil's Corner is still centered on Luther Township, which is in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma
County, but has now been expanded from Marti's original concept to include the adjacent Townships in Lincoln and Logan Counties.
Its place in time – Territorial days [1889-1907]. There were no allotments
in Luther Township, so the original focus was on the homesteaders of the
area. As we expanded the area of the study, though, we coined the term
"Founding Families" to include not just the homesteaders but also
allottees, early settlers who leased compensatory school land,
townsfolk – anyone who could be placed in that area between 1889 and
The Luther Crossroads
For this project, all roads do indeed lead through the small town of Luther,
OK. It covers many families, of all races, who came to the area from
various states and foreign countries. Many of them moved on -- but
the one thing all have in common is that they can be placed in the Luther
area during Territorial times.
Present day Luther, Oklahoma was founded
in 1898 in the former Kickapoo Lands of Oklahoma Territory. It is
only three miles from the Unassigned Lands and just across Deep Fork from
the Iowa Lands, so many of its earliest settlers came from there.
Others apparently came for the Kickapoo opening in 1895, followed by more
after the railroads came through and Luther was
This now rather-extensive migration study
started with just our own family. The COLEs,
FRIENDS, HAMILTONS, LOVELLs, and MILLIGANS were among the earliest settlers
of Deep Fork, Luther, and Dewey Townships in what is now northeastern
Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. All came to Oklahoma Territory from Kansas and
Missouri, but their roots go back to Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas.
great-grandfather, O. M. COLE, used to say he was "related to
half the town and friends with the other half". He was not exaggerating.
Not only did members of Luther's founding families intermarry, but
many had connections back in their former homelands. The Luther Area
Study, naturally the most extensive, has now expanded to include quite a
few families of the surrounding eight townships. And it has spawned
many smaller studies. The one centered on the old Crystal community
of Obion Co. TN is up, with more to follow, and no end in sight.
Unlike conventional jigsaw puzzles, this one seems to be infinite....
In tracing these families, we found a great deal of information about
other families. Their migration patterns are as interesting as they
are varied. Sometimes, several families would move together.
Sometimes, one would go first and others would follow over the next 10 to
20 years. Some stayed. Some moved on. All have one
thing in common, though: answers to one family's mysteries
often turn up in the research of one of the allied families.
Luther is a genealogist's dream or nightmare, depending on one's
perspective. In addition to the typical collection of blended
families and double cousins, there are honorary titles and shirt-tale
Titles mean no more and no less than the speaker intends.
"Cousin" sometimes does mean that "their
parents were siblings", but it can also mean something like "his
wife's cousin married her sister". "Aunt" may refer
to a parent's sister, an uncle's wife, mother's best friend, or even best
Genealogy software often says that two people "aren't
related" (meaning there are no direct blood ties) when tradition says
that they are. It's tempting to dismiss oral tradition, but I've
found there is usually a kernel of truth in it. Perhaps the two
lines are related by marriage. Perhaps they came to Luther from the
same small town and the link is found in previous generations who lived
there. Even if the speaker means nothing more than "I
know we're related, I just don't know how" there's a clue worth
Hundreds of families qualify for presentation on
this site. Many are already included in the
database and some now have their own Researchers'
Pages. If you haven't found anything about your family here, but know that
they were in the area during Territorial Days, please write to Sharon