Thursday, May 19, 2011

Strip Mall Cemetery - Tullahasse Creek Indian Cemetery

I have heard about this cemetery for years. So on Sunday I finally made the two and a half hour drive to see it. 

A Brief History
It's first burial was in 1883 and its last was in 1912. This cemetery was also known as Adams Creek Cemetery. There are roughly 38 people known to be buried at this cemetery. Most of them reside in unmarked graves, only 11 markers still remain. The cemetery was created by Lt. Thomas Adams, a Creek Indian that served in the Civil War. He founded the settlement of Oktahv Uekiwa now known as Sand Spring, OK. As always many years after the finally burial progress encroached on the area.  But thankfully the person who owned the land stipulated that the person purchasing it had to maintain the cemetery. The cemetery is only 1/4 of an acre and is an island of fenced grass in a sea of asphalt. Sadly the cemetery was not surveyed before it was fenced off.  There is a good chance that there are several graves outside the fence and beneath the asphalt.

Here is a satellite view of the cemetery.
There is no mistaking all the progress that has gone on around this little cemetery.

 Just inside the gate is there is a plaque that my daughter and I had to dig up to read.  It was half buried under dirt and grass.
The plaque reads:

Creek Indian Cemetery
Est 1883

Buried here in this historic cemetery is the Confederate Creek Indian Veteran
Lt. Thomas Adams, who founded the settlement of Oktahv Uekiwa (Sand Springs).
Shortly following the Civil War. Listed below are the names of the persons
buried here. Their burial dates are from 1883 to 1912. May they rest in peace.

Thomas Adams
Micco Fixco
Mrs Nubsie Fixco
Joseph Jefferson
Mrs General Adams
Mrs Joseph Adams
Miss Lausisa Adams
Miss Nancy Adams
Boy Adams
Samuel Adams
James Adams
Mrs Mollayar (Harjo) Adams Daughter of Samuel Adams
Nokus Harjo
Mrs Nancy Gooden
Mrs Vurn Tiger
Mrs Salle Sish
Lena Siah
James Siah
Mrs Nancy Scott
Andy Scott
Sunday Scott
Mrs Cimhoka Emarthla
Mrs Hattie Emarthla
Abram Emarthla
Kepe Emarthla
Mrs Mary Emarthla
Mrs Ceneta Mitchell
Martha Fuswa
Hargo Fuswa
Mr Fuswa
Isckee Deer

This cemetery has been restored thur the efforts of
John Franklin Turner Eagle Scott 1986

I noticed that not all the names are on this list.  It seems that they left off the ones who still have remaining headstones. 

There are three markers with no names on them.

April 21, 1886

Note: I believe this is Lt. Thomas Adams Co. H, 1st Creek Cavalry Regiment, C.S.A.- Born ca 1821.
Dau of
S & S
May 31, 1901
Mar 30, 1902 
She was the sunshine
of our home.

Dau of
A & N Scott
Born Sep 7, 1900
Died Oct 2, 1901

Jan 5, 1856
June 2, 1910

Note: No first name is visible.

Gabriel Emarthla
Born 1884
Died July 7, 1910

Seba Rakko
Died Nov 27, 1911
Age 66 Yrs

Note: There is a G.A.R. emblem on his marker.

James Adams
July 17, 1910
Feb 19, 1911

Samuel C
Oct 30, 1883
Feb 13, 1911

Located in the center of the cemetery in a plaque that was placed by the Tulsa Chapter Daughters Of  The American Revolution. That calls the cemetery "Old Indian Cemetery".

I was able to find the following picture of this cemetery that was taken in 1883. It appears that there may have been Grave Houses in this cemetery at one time.  Though it is kinda hard to tell for sure from the photo.
Photo from Tulsa's Haunted Memories By Teri French pg 128


  1. What an excellect find and nicely presented piece about it.

  2. Awesome.. I am currently writing an essay over this graveyard in college. I grew up there.

  3. Great post. The old photo was a real plus.

  4. Hello Great Photos. I"ve been to this cemetery a few times. Oktaha Wekiwa as the Creeks called it is translated as Sand Springs. Oktaha Wekiwa essentially might be called a suburb of its mother town, Locvpokv (Actually Tvlvhassee-Locvpokv) which was the Creek Etvlwa (tribal town) that founded Tulsa in 1836 under the Council Oak tree. Anyway, as to the photo with the plaque that says "Old Indian Cemetery". I have a theory; this plaque may have originally been placed in the the Old Indian Cemetery that was located at today's 2nd and Frisco (basically the west side of the BOK Center"). The Old Indian Cemetery was in use until 1905 and after 1901 it became early Tulsa's main cemetery. A number of graves were moved in 1905 to Oaklawn cemetery. However, over the ensuing years many more graves were uncovered as a result of dirt work. It has been estimated that at least 300 bodies were at the Old Indian Cemetery. Many bodies turned up in 1922. I"ve heard that as recently as 2007 when the BOK Center was being built that more bodies turned up. In any event, I am wondering if anyone else might share that thought that this plaque might actually be referring to the Old Indian Cemetery at 2nd and Frisco (and by the way, it has been documented that from 1905 and in 1922 especially some of the bodies were reinterred at Sand Springs...possibly including Tullahasse?).