OKLAHOMA IS 31 TODAY
Tulsan Needs No History Books
Principal Brown Taught at Prague
, When State Was Born Back in 1907
(Editor's Note: At 10:16 a. m., Nov. 16, 1907, President
Theodore Roosevelt signed a proclamation making Oklahoma
and Indian territories one in the state of Oklahoma. ■SBfiS?/,
31 years later, Oklahoma is celebrating t£s thirty-first birthday anniversary.) £^*H> *^-
At 10:16 this morning, J.H. Brown
Theodore Roosevelt junior high school, locked his office and
walked upstairs to a classroom to talk about Oklahoma.
It was Brown's observance of the thirty-first anniversary of statehood; something he has been doing every year
since Nov. 16, 1907, when he dismissed his classes at Prague,
Indian Territory, and helped his students cheer announcement that Oklahoma had become a state.
Brown speaks with authority on<-
the subject of Oklahoma history,
because he has taught it—and lived
it—in the state's public school system, since it began. He still is
keenly interested in its development
and in accurate recording of what
Now a school administrator, he
teaches no classes, but frequently
drops in on the Oklahoma history
group to "spin a yarn or two." It is
accepted custom for him to push
the history teacher aside every November 16 and take charge of the
lesson. Students at Theodore Roosevelt look forward to those visits.
Oklahoma has gone a long way
in the 31 years it has been a state,
but Brown is confident that she
will take even longer strides in the
next quarter century.
He came to Indian Territory in 1901 from Tennessee
young teahcer just out of
and "all set to make a
name for himself in a new
He got off the train at a
* Hitic town called Lamdlin, in
ivhat is now Lincoln county,
and took over a one-room
"It wasn't much town," Brown
recalls with a grin. "There was
a schoolhouse, a store or two. maybe a residence, and, of course, the
Lamdlin was to become an incorporated town, with the help of a
Tailroad, but a dispute arose over
the purchase of certain property,
and the line veered two miles west
to the present site of Prague.
Brown followed it and was there
when statehood came.
Dr. A. Linscheid, now president
of East Central State Teachers college, Ada, was principal of the
Prague school, and Brown was his
assistant. They were the only men
in the school system. Brown recalled. Prague, at statehood, was
a town of approximately 1,300 people, and there were about 400 students in the school system. Grade
school students had their classes
on the first floor and high school
classes were conducted on the second floor, Brown said.
"It was a big day," he recalls. "We all knew, of
i course, that President Theodore Roosevelt would sign the
proclamation after 10 o'clock,
and toe had our classes ready.
All the students were on the
lawn, and when word came,
school bands then, but Prague
is a Bohemian settlement, and
they love music, so the town
band was out in full uniform.
It tvas a celebration indeed."
He recalls with amusement the
night before statehood.
"The Bohemians like their beer
and wine," he grinned, "and the
statehood proclamation had a prohibition clause in it. There were 14
saloons in town, and they had to
go out of business at 10:16. Some
of the townsfolk took full advantage
of the situation the night before."
Brown remained in Prague until
1909, when he went to Chandler.
He came to Tulsa in 1911, spent
15 years at old Irving school, and
moved over to Theodore Roosevelt
when it was built in 1926.
"I've followed Oklahoma history
closely, because it's been my state
and I've been interested in the
subject as a teacher of history," he
The new state, he said, "constantly amazes me by its rapid growth.
"When statehood came," he con
tinued, "I would not have dared
prklir.t to my clashes that «11 UiLi"
Murray and Haskell
As a teacher, Brown followed the
constitutional convention, particularly the careers of former Governors Haskell and Murray, who
played an important part in it.
"Bill Murray was the schoolmaster,
often taking the convention to task,
but Haskell made most of the important decisions," he observed.
He also followed the fate of the
old Sequoyah convention, held in!
the Hinton theater at Muskogee, j
where bouble-statehood was pro- I
posed, and recalls with a smile the
"wedding" of Mr. Indian Territory
and Miss Oklahoma at statehood.
Oklahoma history, as taught today, Brown said, differs from the
subject as taught when he first took
over classes. Today, he said, it is
in part of a broad "social study."
For example, students are assigned
to study the problem of food distribution, and, naturally, consider its
relation to Oklahoma. There is no
general text, tracing the subject
Today, however, the regular
schedule was scrapped, and Brown
reviewed the subject generally.
He believes the future of Okla
homa is assured by its vast agri
"Agriculture means more to us
even than oil," he says positively.
"Our agricultural wealth and possibilities have not been realized.
There is unlimited possibility here
for people who are willing to hustle."
That's what he told his classes ,in
No one has a better right to talk about Oklahoma history than
J. H. Brown, 1843 E. Seventeenth st., veteran principal of Theodore
Roosevelt junior high school. Brown was teaching in Indian Territory when statehood came 31 years ago today, and is still active.
He is shown above as he addressed an eighth grade class in Oklahoma history, reviewing for them the past and predicting an "even
greater" future for the state.
the shout was deafening. 0/ P^1™^5^ ™w
j-j >j. i it That was what he said 31 years
course, we didn't have high] ago;
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