Ponca City Information
Ponca City History
1880 - 1881 - 1882 - 1886
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1880 — In January, 1880, the editorial page of the Arkansas City Traveler commented that a bill had been introduced in Congress for the organization of the Territory of Oklahoma. The newspaper encouraged all who believed that the Territory should be open to white settlement to sign a petition that would create an organized government for the Indian Territory. "With the Territory organized for settlement, our farmers would find an excellent market for their produce, and our towns on the border would receive trade and activity that nothing else can supply."
The editors were concerned that there were people who wanted to force the question in Congress by organizing the Territory for their particular benefit or by going in as "squatters."
In October 1880, the population of the Ponca in Oklahoma was 530, under the leadership of White Eagle, Black Crow, Rush Into Battle, The Chief, Big Bull, Big Soldier, and Child Chief. It was recorded that they had built 80 houses and they owned 350 head of cattle and 600 horses along with wagons that had been provided. In addition, 350 acres had been planted with corn and other vegetables.
1881 — More than 200 Indians attended Thanksgiving services at the Ponca Agency, all of whom "manifested deep interest in the proceedings," according to the Arkansas City Traveler. The "decidedly unique" program included instrumental music, a song, "Coronation," an address by White Eagle, a prayer by Standing Buffalo, a song by the school children, "Hallelujah," a prayer by Fire Shaker, the song "America," a prayer by Stands Yellow, and the doxology.
In the fall of 1881, there were more hunters in the Indian Territory than ever before. Every day, wagons were going to and coming from the Nation by the dozens. Most of them brought back deer and turkey, as the game were very wild and scarce compared with the previous winter. Deer were chased from river to river until they had left their usual hiding places, and many had migrated into Kansas. The Indians were beginning to complain about all the intruders, and some of their Agents were threatening to arrest the hunters.
1882 — Congress approved an amendment to the general Indian appropriation bill, adding $25,000 for an Indian Industrial School, which became known as Chilocco. The bill required the school to be located in the Indian Territory, near the south line of the State of Kansas, convenient to the Ponca and Nez Perce reservations. The site selected was on the banks of the Chilocco, near the place where three large springs flow into that stream.
$15,000 of the appropriation was to be used in erecting buildings, and $10,000 to run the school for the first year. According to the Arkansas City Traveler, the school location was convenient to all the Indian agencies, so students wouldn't have to travel very far. The students would also have the advantage of observing first-class farming in the immediate vicinity of the school. This large area was virtually unoccupied land, so the Indians could utilize the land to become first-class farmers and stock raisers.
In addition to the benefits for the Indians, southern Kansans were encouraged by the potential increase of commerce in their area.
1886 — Trains began to run from Arkansas City to the Ponca station, now White Eagle, a total of 31 miles. The citizens of Ark City raised over $10,000 to build a depot and have land to build railroad shops. They were prepared for a large railroad center.
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