The Guthrie Daily Leader. (Guthrie, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 37, Ed. 1, Thursday, January 14, 1897 Page: 4 of 6
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Supplement to The Leader January 14 1897.
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(DELIVERED JANUARY 18. 1S97.)
7b the Fourth LvftstaUvc Assembly 0 the Territory of Oklahoma :
In compliance with the provision of the statute of the terri-
tory directing the governor at the commencement of each
session of the legislature to communicate by message such infor-
mation as lie may possess relative to the condition of the terri-
tory and to recommend such measures as lie may deem expedi-
ent the following is respectfully submitted.
Oklahoma is most fortunately located. The boil is so fertile
and diversified that the cotton of the southern and the cereals
of the central states are produced in equal abundance. This
happy location is in part responsible for the slight effect here
felt of the financial distress that now prevails in so many parts
of the country. Many oi the people are poor and have had
and are now having a hard struggle against the conditions that
necessarily exist in the settlement of a new commonwealth.
However an examination of the expenditure of the poor fund
made in the various counties shows that a remarkably small
per cent of the inhabitants are subjects of public charity.
The people of Oklahoma are intelligent courageous energetic
and trugal. You gentlemen are to be congratulated on being
chosen to legislate in behalf of such a people. You also com-
ing fresh from among the people are acquainted with their con-
dition and familiar with tlteir needs. Still it will not be out of
place for me to suggest that much is expected of the Fourth
Legislative Assembly. Many abuses exist that can be remedied
by proper legislation.
The evil most apparent is high taxes. Complaint comes from
every county city and school district in the territory that the
exactions of the tax-gatherer are not in keeping with the con-
dition of the people. Tills condition is not only burdensome to
the people but it drives capital from the territory and is a bar
against other coining in.
You. gentlemen doubtless recognize the existence of this
evil and will remedy it by wholesome legislation. The short
period of sixty days limited for your sitting is hardly sufficient
to perform the labor expected at your hands still I believe that
each of you appreciates the responsible duties of your position
and will enter upon the discharge of your duties with an ear-
nest desire and determination to accomplish the most possible
good within the time given.
I trust that the relation between the executive and legisla-
ture may be most pleasant and friendly and 1 assure you that
it will be my pleasure as it is my duty to heartily co-operate
with you in the enactment of all legislation that promises good
to the territory.
Detailed information as to the condition of the territorial
government and the various departments thereof as well as the
respective territorial institutions is given in the several reports
and vexed question of the renewal of leases unsolved so far as
any legislation was concerned. However they assumed the
responsibility thus thrown upon them and proceeded with their
work. An appraisement of all lands upon which leases were
about to expire save in a few western counties also of all
improvements on same was made and leases were renewed to
lessees at appraised values unless some other persons offered
uiun: mail uppnuseu vaiue aim pay lessee tlie appraised value
of their improvements. The operation of this regulation has I
believe been irenerallv satisfactorv and mnfiiniiv UnuLi
AUDITOR S REPORT.
Tiie report of the auditor for the two years ending November
30 1890 is hereto attached marked exhibit "A." From this
report it will be seen that the receipts from the three mill levy
authorized by statute is insufficient to pay the general expenses
of the territorial government. Your careful consideration is
invited to the remedies suggested in this report for this condi-
tion as well as the recommendation for the separation of the
office of auditor and superintendent of public instruction. It is
a fact worthy of publij notice that the expenses of the terri-
torial government in Oklahoma with the single exception of
Alaska are not half so great as in any one of all the other ter-
ritories. It will be seen that the indebtedness consists of 848000 of
bonded debt created for the university normal school and
agricultural college; 8103078.98 jof general fund warrant in-
debtedness. 83058.40 normal school warrant indebtedness and
.' 030. 85 library fund warrant indebtedness outstanding This
indebtedness including the bonds draws interest at C per cent
and the bonds mature in 1903 and the warrant indebtedness is
.subject to payment whenever the revenues of the territory are
sufficient for tiiat purpose. Under the rule adopted by the
treasurer the warrants are paid in the order of their registra-
tion. The receipts derived from the lease of school lands to-
gether with the one mill levy for 1890 for the normal school
and territorial university will liquidate the debt of those insti-
tutions during 1897. The three mill levy now being collected
on the valuation of 1896 821815.711 will yield a revenue of
about 875000. About 80 per cent of this amount will be paid
promptly into the territorial treasurv and applied to extin-
guishing of that amount of the floating debt reducing the
same about 100 000. This is comparatively a very small in-
debtedness for a territory with the resources of Oklahoma and
compared with other territories is merely a trifle. A calcula-
tion will show that the entire indebtedness will be about fifty-
four cents per capita.
TERRITORIAL TREASURER'S REPORT.
1 herewith submit the third biennial report of the territorial
treasurer marked exhibit "B." A perusal of this report will
disclose the fact that the total revenue of the territory from all
sources for the biennial period ending November 30 1890 was
8878757.07 which added to the balance on hand November 30
1891 87585.95. makes a total of 881312.02. The disburse-
nients for the same period were 631U.00-1.31 leaving a balance
on hand belonging to the various funds of 632887.71. The total
amount of general fund warrants redeemed was 6105381.79 in-
terest on same 69.30S.7K. The amount of territorial common
school fund forwarded to county treasurers was 6120788.92.
The territorial treasurer recommends that provision be made
for the registration of all warrants and their payment in the
order of registration. This recommendation is certainly in
accordance with all precedent in such matters and should be
enacted into law. Your attention is called to the very elab-
orate tables showing receipts and balances due from the coun-
ties on account of territorial tax for 1895 also tables showing
the balances due from the .several counties on account of terri-
torial tax for the years 1891 to 1890. inclusive.
The report of the board for leasing school lands is herewith
transmitted marked exhibit -C." This report gives at length
the transactions relating to school lands for the two years last
past and dals at some length with many of the intricate
problems connected with the administration of that trust. A
complete review of the various acts of congress and rules and
regulations of the board is appended to the report also detailed
tables of receipts and expenditures leased and vacant lands
and much other useful Information.
During the two years last past the work in this department
has been very heavy requiring the services of from throe to
live clerks. Every effort has been made to secure promptness
The Third Loglslative Assembly after considering the subject
f the school lauds at some length and having had under dis-
I'lisnlou several bills failed to pass any general bill on the
Mibjuct but left the whole matter In the hands of the governor
.secretary mid superintendent of public Instruction making
provision simply for the leasing of certain western lands for
grazing purposes. This left the board with the much discussed
ootn to tne sciiool land fund and to the lessons. T iim-rnra
invite your attention both to the theory and actual results of
The proceeds from leasing the school lands of the territory
for the two years last past have been Sl79.fini.fiO whiin h. .
cash proceeds of all leases since the beginning have been
8310538.80. Of this 8274714.45 has been received since the
beginning of this administration. These figures are certainly
very remarkable and are I believe more than has ever been
realized by any other state or territory out of the same amount
of lands for the same period. It must not be inferred that this
has been obtained by oppressing lessees but has been realized
merely by ordinary business methods as to the legitimate com-
mercial values of the lands. The prices paid in the past have
been in the main those fixed by applicants when the lands were
offered for lease to the highest bidder.
Pursuant to the act of the last legislative assembly authoriz-
ing a contract with D. A. Harvey for securing indemnity lands
for the territory lands have been selected by Mr. Harvey in
the former Kickapoo Indian reservation to the amount of 101-
188 and 08-100 acres. These lands were immediately leased and
are now yielding a handsome revenue to the territorv.
Pursuant to an act of the last legislative assembly all graz-
ing lands in Woodward county have been leased in large bodies
at 833.00 per section. This is now yielding from this county
alone six to eight thousand dollars per annum. Very few tracts
in Beaver county have been leased though efforts have been
made to induce stockmen to lease the lands included within
their ranges and pastures. An act giving authority to collect
rental from persons using school lands without leases and
making such use a misdemeanor would probably have a salu-
Having been actively engaged in this work as a member of
the Board for Leasing School Lands I beg leave to submit a
few general recommendations for the consideration of the legis-
No subject is of greater interest to the people or comes
nearer their homes and firesides than that of the public school
and no subject with which your honored body will have to deal
will be more eagerly watched bv the ueonle than this. Tim
school fund is the heritage of the whole people and no act will
tend more to make the Fourth Legislative Assembly forever
dear to them than the passage of a just and equitable law pre-
serving and maintaining this beneficent trust con furred mmn
the territory by congress for the education of the boys and
girls of Oklahoma.
I would respectfully recommend the'ereation of the office of
commissioner of public lands who should have the immediate
supervision of the leasing of all public lands of the territory
and who should be responsible in the first instance for the
proper conduct of the business and whose acts should be sub-
ject to review on appeal to a superior board of commissioners.
I would also recommend that all lands upon which leases are
about to expire together with improvements thereon be
appraised by appraisers to be appointed by the territorial
officer having charge of the leasing and that all appraisements
be subject to review and revision and equalization by the terri-
That all lands be then officially offered for lease for not less
than the appraised rental value with privilege on the part of
lessees to take the land at the highest rental offered by any
responsible bidder or if the tenant so elect he may require the
party applying to lease to pay the tenant the appraised value
of the improvements or the lessee may remove his improve-
ments and that all lands for which no applications are received
be leased to the highest bidder without reserve at not less
than two-thirds the appraised rental value.
It would greatly facilitate the collection of rents due on
school land leases if rents were made a lien on improvements
and growing crops and the school land commissioner authorized
to issue a rent warrant to the sheriff of any county in cases of
I would respectfully recommend that the proceeds from leas-
ing the lands reserved for public buildings be invested in terri-
torial or county bonds at not greater than par value.
More detailed recommendations may be found in the report
of the Board for Leasing School Lands to which your attention
is respectfully invited.
SUPERINTENDENT OP PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.
The report of the territorial superintendent of public instruc-
tion is hereby attached and marked "Exhibit D." It will be
seen therefrom that the educational interests of the territory
for the time covered by this report have shown a continuous
and gratifying progress. The school system of the territory is
shown to be established on a sound basis and with but slight
alterations in the law. will be second to none in any of the
states or territories of the Union. The total scholastic popula-
tion of the territory for the year 1895 is given at 85080 an
increase over the preceding year of 7800 or about ten per cent.
For the year ending .Tune 80. 1890 the scholastic population is
reported at 88507. an increase of 2871 or about three per cent
over that for 1895. The superintendent estimates tnat the in-
crease from now on will average about five per cent per
In the matter of attendance on the public schools the data
given indicates that much progress has been made. During the
year 1895 57074 pupils were enrolled in tiie public free schools
this number representing about 08 per cent of the scholastic
population. During the year ending June 80 1800. 08080 pupils
entered the public schools representing 71 per cent of the num-
ber of children of school age in the territory. Duriug the year
1898 88 per cent were enrolled and during 1891 05 per cent
These figures speak for themselves and indicate very clearly
the progress that has been made.
The report of the board of regents of the territorial university
is herewith transmitted marked " Exhibit E." It is a matter of
congratulation that the territory has thus early in its history an
educational institution of such proportions being as it is thor
oughly equipped with buildings and labratorics. and having a
corps of able and learned professors. The cause of higher edu-
cation should always be kept well to the front and the uni-
versity receive as I feel assured it always will the hearty sup-
port of the legislature and the people.
TERRITORIAL NOU.MAL SCHOOL.
The report of the territorial normal school may be found with
the report of the superintendent of public instruction to whom
by law the president of the normal sciiool is required to report.
The report shows the normal school to be in a flourishing condi-
tion well equipped having an excellent faculty and a large
attendance of young men and women preparing for work in the
schools of the territory. No effort should be spared to make
the normal sciiool the best in the land and through it ulti-
mately to supply a teacher thoroughly trained for every school
district in the territory.
The colored students of the territorv have not attended the
normal school not desiring to cause friction by presenting the
mixed school question and I deem it not only just and right but
an imperative duty incumbent on the territory to provide proper
facilities for educating colored students and supplying the col-
ored schools of the territory with well trained and efficient
teachers. I would therefore earnestly recommend that a
branch normal school for their education be established at some
convenient point in the territory and that an appropriation
ample to put the same into immediate operation be made.
AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL COLLEGE.
I herewith transmit the renort of the Board of Rorrents nf the
Agricultural and Mechanical College of Oklahoma which is
marked "Exhibit G" from which it will appear that the insti-
tution has made commendable progress in the two years past
and is serving a very useful purpose not only in educating the
sons of fanners to a better knowledge of literature science and
art and in the special department of agriculture but has been
a great aid to the practical farmer. Every effort i being made
to bring the institution into closer relations to the l.umer and
put the results of scientific investigation in his hands for use
in his every day work.
I desire to call the attention of the legislature to the import-
ant fact that the United States has not undertaken to supply
all the funds which are needed in investigation in agriculture
buildings etc. And as the institution now stands in need of
rooms for botanical chemical and zoological laboratories a
suitable green house and possibly a few other buildings and as
the Hatch Act provides for the expenditure of only 8750.00
per year for the buildings which is obviously inadequate for the
needs of the growing station I would recommend that at least
85000 be appropriated for these purposes.
The report of the territorial librarian which is herewith
transmitted marked "Exhibit H" makes a very creditable
showing and is entitled to careful consideration. The redemp-
tion of warrants issued on the library fund is a matter which
will need attention at your hand since the proceeds from the
sale of statutes and reports have fallen far below what was
anticipated tnd the proceeds have proven inadequate to meet
the necessary expenses of this department. Your attention is
invited to a joint resolution now pending in congress for the
appropriation of five thousand dollars for the purchase of books
for the territorial library. I trust that an appropriation ade
quale to meet the growing needs of the library and to provide
rooms i or me same may be made by tne legislature.
No report having been filed by the adjutant general I am not
prepared to make as extended a report of our militia as I would
like and believe them entitled to. We have one regiment
well equipped and well drilled as was fully demonstrated at
our territorial encampment held at Guthrie in October last. I
feel assured that with their splendid organization they will
prove equal to any emergency which might arise at any time
within the territory.
By act of the Third Legislative Assembly published as
chapter 50 of the session laws of 1895 veterinary surgery was
made a department of the Agricultural and Mechanical Col-
lege and an experienced person was elected to fill that place.
The principal object of this enactment was to provide .for the
establishment of a quarantine line and to protect the stock-
growing interests of the territory. This enactment has in the
main proved satisfactory and great good has resulted there-
from; still the law is imperfect and should be remodeled so as
to provide adequate punishment for its violation. The report
of the veterinary surgeon is herewith transmitted and marked
COAL OIL INSPECTOR.
By act of the Third Legislative Assembly the office of coal
oil inspector Avas created. I transmit herewith the first bien-
nial report of the inspector appointed under said act marked
exhibit "K." It seems that the working of this law has been
beneficial in the main; still there is serious defect in the stat
ute in that oils that have been inspected and found below the
test prescribed by law are permitted to be sold although they
are branded by the inspector a. 'ejected. It is recommended
that section 11 of the act be amended so as to prohibit the sale
of rejected oils and prescribe proper penalties for its violation.
TERRITORIAL BOARD OP HEALTH.
An elaborate report of the territorial board of health is here-
with transmitted and marked "Exhibit L" and your thoughtful
consideration is invited to the same. Your attention is called
to the recommendation for the adoption of section 838 of the
Oklahoma statutes. As the law now stands there are two ways
of becoming registered In order to be entitled to practice medi-
cine in the territory. One is to present a diploma from a medi-
cal college and the other is to submit to an examination before
the board of examiners. It seems to be durable that only
competent persons should be permitted to practice medicine
and in order to accomplish this desire it is very necessary that
"medical college" as defined in the above section should be
qualified so as to shut out the bogus diploma issued by certain
colleges established for the sole purpose of selling diplomas.
BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS.
The report of the board of medical examiners is herewith
transmitted marked "Exhibit M." A list of registered dentists
is given and several recommendations for change in the exist-
ing laws are made to which your attention is respectfully
The report of the condition of the historical society marked
".Exhibit N" is herewith transmitted. The report shows many
valuable collections made in the two years past and much his-
torical matter preserved which would otherwise have been lost.
The territory' is to be congratulated upon having thus early in
its history begun the preservation of matter which in many
states was entirely lost. Complete tiles of newspapers have
been kept and a very interesting and valuable collection of
Indian relics tribual history and general information as to
Indians has been made which will make an interesting chapter
in the history of Oklahoma. A liberal appropriation for the -maintenance
of this society will certainly commend itself to the
peopleof the territory.
The Third Legislative Assembly passed an act published as
chapter 50 Session Laws of 1895; authorizing the governor to
contract with responsible individuals or a private corporation
for the care and treatment of the insane within the territory
for a term not exceeding three years from the 15th day of June
1805. Under authority of this statute a contract was entered
into with the Oklahoma Sanitarium company a private cor-
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Niblack, Leslie G. The Guthrie Daily Leader. (Guthrie, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 37, Ed. 1, Thursday, January 14, 1897, newspaper, January 14, 1897; Guthrie, Oklahoma. (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc73826/m1/4/: accessed May 25, 2022), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.