After a few days of researching the last known location of Frank Lee (son) & his father Frank Herbert Lee, Pryor Creek, OK in 1900, I find that Frank’s parents are lost in a time of constant change. Dusting off their tracks is proving to be a real challenge. Within just a few years things would take another shift & change the complete history of area where present day Pryor, OK, lies.
Due to many relocation efforts by the ever-expanding United States, the Native Americans found themselves all shoved into a small area known as present day Oklahoma. Before Oklahoma became an official state in 1907, Oklahoma fell under many surrounding governments like Kansas & Arkansas, including the Five Civilized Tribes.
Finding my ancestors tracks is tricky. Trying to decided if the Cherokee family story holds water or if he is just a white man in Indian Territory… is proving to be a heck of a challenge. He was definitely in Oklahoma while it was considered Indian Territory, but by 1900 many whites were already living in Oklahoma due to “land runs” and the railroad.
As I fill in the history of the area into Frank Herbert Lee’s timeline, it continues to be confusing:
1870-1871: Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (now known as Union Railroad) is started & reached current day location in Pryor, OK. At one point Dalton’s Gang attempted to rob a train right there in Pryor.
Abt. 1875 BIRTH: [Milwaukee, Milwaukee], WI – male, unknown date, Frank Herbert or Herbert Frank Lee.
1880 CENSUS: unknown
1887: The area known as Coo-y-yah (“Huckleberry” in Cherokee) was changed to Pryor Creek, OK, by the Post Office.
1889: First Land Run – “unassigned lands” were purchased from the Native Americans by federal government opening up white settlement …the birth of Oklahoma Territory. From 1890-1906 a number of reservations were absorbed into the formation of OK.
April 1889 – First Land Run
September 1891 –
April 1892 –
May 1895 – Last land Run
Homestead Records @ Bureau of Land Management- General Land Office – which I searched & only find a Frank Lee for two years: 1909 & 1925 both far west of the state around the panhandle, not near Mayes County, OK. Also well after the birth of his son Frank Lee, so I am not sure he was driven into Oklahoma for free land.
1890 CENSUS: if wasn’t lost in fire, unknown; There isn’t a solid match on the Indian Territory Censuses 1890-1906, via Ancestry.com either.
1897: Whitaker Orphan’s Homes was established for white orphan’s in Cherokee Territory.
1898: The City officially took Pryor Creek as their name under the laws of Arkansas.
Abt 1900: Okmulgee, OK – Family story holds he met & married Clara [Gladys] Marie Nuahause [Newhause, Nayhouse, Newhouse, etc] about this time in Okmulgee,OK…
1900 CENSUS: Not listed in Pryor Creek, OK census, all 12 pages of whites & Indians.
1900 CHILD: Pryor Creek, Indian Territory (Cherokee Lands), OK; male, 22 September  1900, Frank Herbert Lee
1907: 16 July, Mayes Country is officially a county in the state of OK. This also marks the beginning of required records reporting. Prior to this, Mayes County was in Cherokee lands.
1909: “Creek” was dropped from Pryor Creek by the post office,
1911: Water, sewage, & gas was established in Pryor.
1942: “more that 50 people were killed during the tornado that struck on April 27, 1942”
DEATH: Unknown – But family story says he probably died in OK, buried in Pryor Creek, OK.
I am hoping that you are starting to see the importance of timeline, especially in locating an elusive relative :D