Salina, Oklahoma

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Salina (pronounced /səˈlaɪnə/) is a town in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,422 at the 2000 census.



In 1541 the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and expedition passed through the area as did the 1721 expedition of Bernard de la Harpe, who named many of the local streams.

Jean Pierre Chouteau established the first trading post in 1796 at the junction of the Grand/Neosho River and Saline Creek to trade with the Osage Indians. Remembered today as one of the first permanent "white" (European) settlements in present day Oklahoma, at that time the area was part of the Province of Louisiana.

The United States took possession of the land that included present day Salina with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

By 1817, keelboats were landing goods there from Ft. Smith, Arkansas and the area was part of what was known as "Indian Territory". That year, son Auguste Pierre Chouteau and partner Joseph Revoir received an exclusive license from Spanish authorities to trade with the Osage. However, in 1820, the Spanish government of the time took the monopoly away. In response, Chouteau convinced the Osage tribe, under the leadership of Cashesgra, or "Big Trek", to migrate into Indian Territory near the trading post, ensuring survival of the business.

In 1820, Epaphras Chapman was authorized by the United States Department of War to establish the Union Mission, near the mouth of Chouteau Creek to educate and convert the Osage Indians. The mission had the first printing press in present day Oklahoma. The government then began to move Native American tribes to the area.

The Indians boiled salt from the water rising from limestone rock about a mile south of the trading post.[3] They included one hot water geyser that shot boiling water 8 to 10 feet (3.0 m) into the air. Chouteau obtained the springs in a treaty in 1825 then sold them to Sam Houston in 1830. A Cherokee, Captain John Rogers, began making salt from the springs and named them Grand Saline. He built his home nearby. Washington Irving visited him there on October 6, 1832, accompanied by Sam Houston[4]. In 1838 the government began moving Cherokee to the area as part of the Indian Removal Act. By 1839, Rogers was operating 115 kettles. He lost the salt works in 1844 to the Cherokee Nation under a new law. The Cherokee then leased it to Lewis Ross (brother of Chief John Ross), who built a nice home there and operated the salt business using African American slave labor. Ross drilled a deep well for salt water and accidentally hit the first vein of oil in Oklahoma in 1859. It flowed at the rate of 10 barrels a day for a year. He operated two stores in Salina. In 1862, Union soldiers came down the Grand River to Salina unopposed and set all slaves free. They ransacked the Ross home, had the slaves load everything on wagons and hauled it across the border to Kansas[5]. The Cherokee Nation, in 1872, purchased the home for $26,000 for the Cherokee Orphan Asylum. It was destroyed by fire in 1899, was rebuilt and is now used as a gym.

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