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Wedding Rings

Marriage Records
of the Indian Territory (OK)
1890-1907

(c) Linda Haas Davenport

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Prior to 1907 there were not suppose to be any non-Indians in Indian Territory, but of course there were and many of them married. Depending on a couple's circumstances and the time frame they were in Indian Territory they may well have traveled to the closest bordering state or back "home" to marry. For those who chose to marry in Indian Territory there were several options depending on the time frame. The ranking officer at a fort could perform marriages. There were early Christian missions in Indian Territory and the minister at those were licensed to perform marriages. Many brave traveling preachers wandered their way through Indian Territory and did a brisk business in marriages. There were many non-Indian towns located in Indian Territory and almost all had a least one church. In all of these instances the marriage license was given to the couple and it was up to them to take it to a courthouse and have it recorded. Prior to 1890 when the federal court districts were established in Indian Territory there was no where within Indian Territory to record marriages.

Prior to statehood (1907) Indian Territory was actually twin territories. Oklahoma Territory was located almost in the center of the state with seven counties; (1) Logan (2) Oklahoma (3) Cleveland (4) Canadian, (5) Kingfisher (6) Payne and (7) Beaver. Surrounding Oklahoma Territory was Indian Territory. After the land runs marriages performed in Oklahoma Territory were recorded in the county court clerk's office. From 1890 to 1907 Indian Territory marriages were recorded in the Federal judicial districts.

In 1890 three Judicial Districts were established in Indian Territory: First District, covering the area of the Cherokee and Creek Nations with Muskogee as the court seat; Second District covering the area of the Choctaw Nation with South McAlester as the court seat; Third District covering the area of Seminole and Chickasaw Nations with Ardmore as the court seat. Non-Indians needed to travel to one of these districts to record a marriage.

In 1895 the Judicial Districts were divided: Northern District covering the area of Creek, Seminole and Cherokee Nations with Vinita, Miami, Tahlequah and Muskogee as court seats; Central District covering the area of the Choctaw National with South McAlester, Atoka, Antlers and Cameron - later moved to Poteau, as court seats; Southern District covering the area of the Chickasaw Nation, with Ardmore, Purcell, Paul's Valley, Ryan and Chickasa as court seats.

In 1902 the Western District was established covering parts of Northern and Central District with Muskogee, Wagoner, Sapulpa, Wewoka, Eufaula, and Okmulgee as court seats.

Below is a list of where Indian Territory marriage records can be found. The first entry date is the date the first marriage record was recorded. The last entry date is the date of the last license recorded prior to statehood when counties were established. From November 1907 to present marriages are recorded in the court clerk's office of the county seat.

Here are the known locations of the old Indian Territory Marriage Records

Current County

County Seat

Number of Volumes

First Entry

Last Entry

Muskogee

Muskogee

28

Jul 1890

Nov 1907

Carter

Ardmore

12

Apr 1895

Nov 1907

Pittsburg

McAlester

13

Jun 1890

Nov 1907

Craig

Vinita

10

Jul 1902

Oct 1907

Atoka

Atoka

3

Jun 1897

Nov 1907

Bryan

Durant

2

Jul 1902

Oct 1905

Latimer

Wilburton

1

Jul 1906

Nov 1907

Leflore

Poteau

3

Jun 1897

Nov 1907

 The records for Bryan County have been transcribed. Click here and then enter OKBRYAN

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