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BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, PUBLIC ACCESS IS ALLOWED TO ALL COUNTY OWNED PROPERTIES 5/18/20. ACCESS TO SOME OFFICES IS LIMITED & MASKS OR GLOVES MAY BE REQUIRED IN SOME AREAS.

COURT CLERK

PLEASE CONTACT THE COURT CLERK'S OFFICE FOR AN APPOINTMENT AT (918) 287-4104 FOR MARRIAGE LICENSES

Osage County


Osage County History (A Brief Overview of Our Heritage)

Osage County is the largest County in the state of Oklahoma by area. Created at 1907 with Oklahoma's statehood the county was named for and is home to the Osage tribe and is contiguous with the Osage Nation Reservation.

By the 19th century, the Osage and other Siouan tribes had been forced to move west from the Ohio Valley across the Mississippi River. The Osage became established as a powerful nation in the areas of present-day Missouri and Arkansas between the Missouri and Red rivers, as well as extending to the west. By 1760, they had increased their range to include the present Osage County. Historically one of the most powerful Great Plains tribes, their numbers were reduced by infectious disease and warfare after encounter with Europeans.

In 1825, they ceded their claim to the land in present-day Oklahoma to the United States government, which included it in a "perpetual outlet to the west given to the Cherokee Nation by the Treaty of New Echota" in 1835. This treaty was to accomplish Cherokee removal to the Indian Territory. During the American Civil War, on December 26, 1861, a band of pro-Union Creek and Seminole fought with a Confederate Army unit at the Battle of Chustenahlah[1] on Bird Creek, near the present town of Skiatook.[2] Generally the Five Civilized Tribes were allied with the Confederacy.

In 1870, the Osage finally prepared for removal from Kansas, after having negotiated payment for their land. They purchased 1.57 million acres (6,400 km2) of their former territory in present-day Oklahoma from the Cherokee. By owning it, they had a stronger position in relation to the US government than did other tribes.[3]The Osage Agency was established in 1872 at Deep Ford, later renamed as Pawhuska. It was designated as the county seat when Oklahoma was admitted as a state. The other chief settlements in the 1870s were Hominy and Fairfax; each of the three was settled by a major Osage band.[3]

In 1875 the US designated their land as the Osage Reservation. Because the tribe owned the land directly, they retained more control over their affairs than did tribes who only had rights to land held "in trust" by the United States government.[3] This reservation became part of the Oklahoma Territory under the Oklahoma Organic Act of 1890. It became a semi-autonomous district by the Oklahoma Enabling Act of 1906, and Osage County at the time of Oklahoma Statehood in 1907.[2] At that time, there were 2,229 registered Osage members.[3]

IMG950554.JPG.jpg

As owners, the Osage retained the communal mineral rights to their reservation lands. In October 1897, the Phoenix Oil Company drilled the first successful oil well on the Osage reservation and Oklahoma Territory. It was located along Butler Creek. In 1901, Phoenix Oil and Osage Oil companies combined their assets to form the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company (ITIO). It arranged with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to sub-lease the eastern part of the Osage reservation until 1916. When ITIO's lease expired, the United States government supervised the public auctioning of leases for 160-acre (65 ha) tracts.[2]

All subsurface minerals, including oil, are owned by the Osage Nation and held in trust for them by the Federal Government. Each mineral lease was negotiated by the Osage National Council and approved by the U. S. Secretary of the Interior.[2] While the government forced allotment of lands and distribution of 160-acre (65 ha) plots to tribal members for farming in the early 20th century, the tribe continued to hold their "surplus" land after the distribution.[3] Other tribes were forced to give up such "surplus" and allow for sales to non-Indians. The Osage distributed their surplus communal land to tribal members, so that in 1906 each Osage was given a total of 657 acres (266 ha), nearly four times the amount that other Indian households received in the allotment process. Later the enrolled Osage and their descendants received oil and other mineral royalties as payments based on these "headrights".[3]

Main article: Osage Indian murders

By 1920, the Osage were receiving lucrative revenues from royalties and were counted as the richest people in the country. During the 1920s, Osage County was the site of the infamous Osage Indian murders. Because of the great wealth being generated by oil, an estimated 60 tribal members were killed as whites tried to gain their headrights, royalties or land. The FBI believed that several white husbands of Osage women had committed or ordered their murders.[3] Other Osage were tricked out of their legal rights by unscrupulous white opportunists, in some cases attorneys or businessmen appointed by local courts as "guardians" to the Osage, under the requirements of a 1921 law Congress intended to be for their protection, but which put them more at risk.

The Osage called in the FBI to help solve several murders in the Kyle family, and three men were convicted and sentenced. But, many murders were never solved. To try to protect the Osage, Congress passed a law in 1925 prohibiting the inheritance of headrights by persons who were not at least half Osage in ancestry.[

County Statistic
1907 founded in
Pawhuska, OK Seat
47,987 Population /2013/
2,304sq/mi total area

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Counties are one of America's oldest forms of government, dating back to 1634 when the first county governments were established in Virginia. Ever since, county governments continue to evolve and adapt to changing responsibilities, environments and populations. Today, America's 3,069 county governments invest nearly $500 billion each year in local services and infrastructure and employ more than 3.3 million people. Most importantly, county governments are focused on the fundamental building blocks for healthy, safe, resilient and vibrant communities:

  • Maintain public records and coordinate elections
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No two counties are exactly the same. County governments are diverse in the ways we are structured and how we deliver services to our communities. The basic roles and responsibilities of our county governments are established by the states, including our legal, financial, program and policy authorities. Under "Dillon" rules, counties can only carry out duties and services specifically authorized by the state. Meanwhile, home rule or charter counties have more flexibility and authority.

In general, county governments are governed by a policy board of elected officials (often called county board, commission or council). Nationally, more than 19,300 individuals serve as elected county board members and elected executives. In addition, most counties also have a series of row officers or constitutional officers that are elected to serve, such as sheriffs, clerks, treasurers, auditors, public defenders, district attorneys and coroners.


With permission. Original Source Oklahoma State University, County Training Program

By the 19th century, the Osage and other Siouan tribes had been forced to move west from the Ohio Valley across the Mississippi River. The Osage became established as a powerful nation in the areas of present-day Missouri and Arkansas between the Missouri and Red rivers, as well as extending to the west. By 1760, they had increased their range to include the present Osage County. Historically one of the most powerful Great Plains tribes, their numbers were reduced by infectious disease and warfare after encounter with Europeans.

In 1825, they ceded their claim to the land in present-day Oklahoma to the United States government, which included it in a "perpetual outlet to the west given to the Cherokee Nation by the Treaty of New Echota" in 1835. This treaty was to accomplish Cherokee removal to the Indian Territory. During the American Civil War, on December 26, 1861, a band of pro-Union Creek and Seminole fought with a Confederate Army unit at the Battle of Chustenahlah[1] on Bird Creek, near the present town of Skiatook.[2] Generally the Five Civilized Tribes were allied with the Confederacy.

In 1870, the Osage finally prepared for removal from Kansas, after having negotiated payment for their land. They purchased 1.57 million acres (6,400 km2) of their former territory in present-day Oklahoma from the Cherokee. By owning it, they had a stronger position in relation to the US government than did other tribes.[3]The Osage Agency was established in 1872 at Deep Ford, later renamed as Pawhuska. It was designated as the county seat when Oklahoma was admitted as a state. The other chief settlements in the 1870s were Hominy and Fairfax; each of the three was settled by a major Osage band.[3]

In 1875 the US designated their land as the Osage Reservation. Because the tribe owned the land directly, they retained more control over their affairs than did tribes who only had rights to land held "in trust" by the United States government.[3] This reservation became part of the Oklahoma Territory under the Oklahoma Organic Act of 1890. It became a semi-autonomous district by the Oklahoma Enabling Act of 1906, and Osage County at the time of Oklahoma Statehood in 1907.[2] At that time, there were 2,229 registered Osage members.[3]

IMG950554.JPG.jpg

As owners, the Osage retained the communal mineral rights to their reservation lands. In October 1897, the Phoenix Oil Company drilled the first successful oil well on the Osage reservation and Oklahoma Territory. It was located along Butler Creek. In 1901, Phoenix Oil and Osage Oil companies combined their assets to form the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company (ITIO). It arranged with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to sub-lease the eastern part of the Osage reservation until 1916. When ITIO's lease expired, the United States government supervised the public auctioning of leases for 160-acre (65 ha) tracts.[2]

All subsurface minerals, including oil, are owned by the Osage Nation and held in trust for them by the Federal Government. Each mineral lease was negotiated by the Osage National Council and approved by the U. S. Secretary of the Interior.[2] While the government forced allotment of lands and distribution of 160-acre (65 ha) plots to tribal members for farming in the early 20th century, the tribe continued to hold their "surplus" land after the distribution.[3] Other tribes were forced to give up such "surplus" and allow for sales to non-Indians. The Osage distributed their surplus communal land to tribal members, so that in 1906 each Osage was given a total of 657 acres (266 ha), nearly four times the amount that other Indian households received in the allotment process. Later the enrolled Osage and their descendants received oil and other mineral royalties as payments based on these "headrights".[3]

Main article: Osage Indian murders

By 1920, the Osage were receiving lucrative revenues from royalties and were counted as the richest people in the country. During the 1920s, Osage County was the site of the infamous Osage Indian murders. Because of the great wealth being generated by oil, an estimated 60 tribal members were killed as whites tried to gain their headrights, royalties or land. The FBI believed that several white husbands of Osage women had committed or ordered their murders.[3] Other Osage were tricked out of their legal rights by unscrupulous white opportunists, in some cases attorneys or businessmen appointed by local courts as "guardians" to the Osage, under the requirements of a 1921 law Congress intended to be for their protection, but which put them more at risk.

The Osage called in the FBI to help solve several murders in the Kyle family, and three men were convicted and sentenced. But, many murders were never solved. To try to protect the Osage, Congress passed a law in 1925 prohibiting the inheritance of headrights by persons who were not at least half Osage in ancestry.[