Marriage Ceremony Celebrates Oklahoma Statehood
On Nov. 16, 1907, the Union admitted its 46th state when Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory combined to form the new state of Oklahoma. Residents throughout the state celebrated with wild jubilation and a “red letter” campaign. An unusual aspect of the festivities was a marriage ceremony symbolizing the merging of the two territories.
The day’s celebrations were highlighted in this article, published by the Hobart Daily Republican (Hobart, Oklahoma) on Nov. 16, 1907:
This Is Red Letter Day in the New State
Thousands of Crimson Missiles Mailed to Friends All over the United States
This was a red letter day in the history of Oklahoma, marking its admission as a state of the Union, and great celebrations and demonstrations were held in every city and town of both former territories. Receipt of the news that the president had formally issued his proclamation was greeted with the ringing of bells, the tooting of whistles and other manifestations of joy. A feature of the day was a great inaugural parade in honor of Governor Haskell, Oklahoma’s first chief executive under statehood, in which many military bodies, civic organizations, students and Indian chiefs participated. The oath of office was administered to Governor C. N. Haskell, who led the Democratic state ticket to victory in the recent state election, by Leslie G. Niblack, editor of the Guthrie Daily Leader. After the oaths of office had been administered to the justices of the supreme court, the remainder of the state officers were inducted into office. A great barbeque was held today and the celebration closes tonight with the governor’s inaugural ball, at which the social and political leaders and the most beautiful women of this “land of the fair god” will be in attendance. Thousands of people from all over the new state are in the city today, and many Indians, including several chiefs, are taking part in the general jubilation over the actual arrival of statehood.
The commercial bodies and immigration organizations of the state have assisted in making this a “red letter day” in fact as well as in name by printing thousands of red letters announcing the resources and opportunities of the new commonwealth. These have been distributed all over the state and are being mailed by Oklahomans today to their relatives and friends in other states.
The Oklahoma marriage ceremony, conducted as part of the inaugural festivities, was highlighted on the front page of the Fort Worth Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) on Nov. 17, 1907:
Oklahoma Weds Indian Territory: New State Made
Unique Ceremony at Guthrie Celebrates Statehood
Formal Proposal of Marriage Made by C. G. Jones of Oklahoma City
Special to the Telegram.
Guthrie, Okla., Nov. 16.—The ceremonies which gave birth to the new state of Oklahoma were consummated here at 1 o’clock today when Governor Charles N. Haskell and twenty other state officials took the oath of office. The inauguration was conducted on a platform built on the steps of the Carnegie library.
A few minutes before 12 o’clock Mr. Haskell was driven in a carriage from the Hotel Royal to the library, three blocks distant. The other officers gathered from their hotels and when the whistles blew for the noon hour all were grouped on the platform.
C. G. Jones, the prominent Oklahoma City republican, walked quickly to the center of the platform and in a voice that could be heard to the edges of the immense crowd, read the proclamation of President Roosevelt, admitting the two territories into the Union. When he had finished he turned to the group on the pavilion and in a short address made proposal of marriage on behalf of Oklahoma to Indian Territory.
W. A. Durant, a Choctaw Indian, prominent in democratic circles, stepped from the party of state officers-elect and solemnly “accepted” the abbreviated wooing in behalf of Indian Territory, impersonated by Mrs. Leo Bennett, a charming young Indian matron from Muskogee...the marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. William A. Dodson, pastor of the First Baptist church of this city.
Following the consummation of the vows the clergyman raised his hand for silence while he prayed.
For more information, visit the official Oklahoma website.
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