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Just south of Lindsay across the Washita River, this small town was originally called Elm Springs and was a stage stopping point. A large elm tree grew behind the stage depot and a natural spring ran between the depot and the river which gave it the name, Elm Springs. (In "Oklahoma Place Names" by George H. Shirk, states it was originally named Edgewood.
The first home in Erin Springs was built in 1871 by Frank Murray, an Irish immigrant from Londonderry. Murray eventually became a large land owner and rancher. He had 20,000 acres of land and 26,000 head of cattle. In 1879-1880 Murray began construction of a large stone house which is still standing and preserved by the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Elm Springs was changed to Erin Springs in honor of Frank Murray's sister Erin Westland. (In "Oklahoma Place Names" Shirk states that it was named for Erin Murphy, son of a local rancher.)
In 1889 when the land run opened the territory, the large land acreages began to disappear and small communities were formed. Erin Springs was later noted for it's oilfield and businesses rather than for its farming industry as it was in Murray's day. This small community is now a place where people pass to get to Lindsay.
The Lindsay Historical Society's
During the 1870's and 1880's enterprising mixed-blood Indians
With unlimited access to rich tribal lands and growing markets for beef and produce in the territory, the Murrays prospered. To house their eight children and to reflect their new status, they began work on a large stone house. The principal building material was obtained from a nearby quarry, and the mason was John Coyle, a Scotsman. Lumber was hauled from Gainesville, Texas, and walls and partitions in the downstairs level were eighteen inches thick and solid rock. The original building was a two-story square design, with full basement and attic. A wooden veranda extended across the front facade. When finished, it was the largest and most ornate house in the western Chickasaw Nation, containing 15 rooms, 2 baths and 4 fireplaces.
Business in Indian Territory
The library is one of 15 rooms in the lovely old mansion
This Dining Room is typical of the excellent craftsmanship that was used in construction of the old mansion.
Business in Indian Territory
Frank & Alzira McCaughey Murray
One of Indian Territory's truly liberated businesswomen and mothers, Alzira McCaughey Murray was born Feb 8, 1848, at Starksville, Oktibbeha Co ., Mississippi and claimed Choctaw citizenship through her great grandmother, Molly (Ar-chi-ho-yo) Folsom. After the 1863 death of her father, John McCaughey during the siege of Vicksburg, the widow and family moved to Oklahoma here she had lived with her family as a young girl when the Folsom/Dibrell family had moved after the Choctaw removal.
Married first to William Powell, Capt. USA, at Fort Arbuckle and second to Frank Murray on April 30, 1871 at Fort Gibson, Alzira settle quickly into post Civil War era Indian Territory life. The newlyweds and her small daughter, Anita, moved first to Pauls Valley for a few months before finally settling in the Erin Springs area where they were the original settlers, based on her Indian heritage allotment.
Alzira's mother and family also moved to the area where the family prospered in farming and ranching. Older children of the family were sent to Catholic schools in Denison, Texas and Sacred Heart Academy near present Shawnee, Oklahoma.
In 1879, Frank started to build the old rock mansion which still sands, remodeled, at Erin Springs today - an Oklahoma Historical Society attraction. When completed in 1883, it was the largest and most ornate house in the western Chickasaw Nation. Houseguests ranged from territorial governors to Indian chiefs. Since it was near the Ft. Sill road, many officers from the post also visited there.
Over the next ten years, their prosperity waned, until when Frank died in 1892, he left his wife in debt and with a large family. She reorganized the farm and ranch and pared expenses, but when unlimited access to Indian land was halted, she switched to non-farm business. A stockholder in the Chickasaw National Bank of Purcell, First National Bank of Chickasha, with interests in the Purcell Electric Light Company and a mill and grain elevator in Pauls Valley, Alzira "moved with the times."
According to social articles in the Purcell Register, she was friendly with the Dorset Carters, so it's possible she was also involved in the Oklahoma Central Railroad. Since Purcell was the nearest railroad shipping point, much time was spent in Purcell. Register accounts list many events from cattle shipping to social affairs to the obituary of son, John, in 1897, while on a trip to Denison with his mother, visiting sisters, Lula and Erin, who were at school there.
In the summer of 1898, Alzira moved to "a fine residence" on the southwest corner of now Adams and Second which she had constructed. It was near the Catholic Day School where her youngest daughters, Mamie and Ila, were enrolled when they died at ages 12 and 15, within a week of each other, from a January 1901 scarlet fever epidemic. Within a month of their deaths, Mrs. Murray and her remaining daughters, moved back to the family home at Erin Springs. There she busied herself with various projects - one of them being the remodeling of the mansion to its present appearance. She was also an organizing officer, vice president and major stockholder of the First National Bank of Lindsay.
While visiting in Colorado Springs in September 1919, Mrs. Murray suffered a paralytic
stoke from which she never recovered before her death, April 3, 1924. At the time of
her death, only 2 of her 9 children serviced her, Mrs. Anita (Lewis) Lindsay and Mrs. Erin
(W.W.) Wistanley. All the family are buried in the Cemetery at Erin Springs.
Despite personal tragedy and heartache, she stood out in the male dominated society of her
time - a success in every way!
(Purcell Register, Dec 22, 1983, Joyce A. Rex)
Bloody Battle on a Ranch
The following dispatch was sent from Gainesville Saturday night: Gainesville, Aug 15 - A bloody battle has been fought on the Washita river, Indian Territory, in which two men were killed outright and others wounded. The scene of the tragedy was at the ranch of Frank Murray. The particulars learned were as follows, Wyatt Williams and Frank Murray were partners in the stock business, Williams resided in this city and recently constructed a very handsome residence one mile north of town. Frank Murray lives in the Chickasaw Nation and is a native. The informant states that several months ago Williams and Murray bought several hundred head of cattle and executed therefor their promissory note for $60,000. Williams & Murray disagreed in their business transactions, and it is alleged that Williams drove off and sold a large number of the cattle. The note falling due, Murray turned over the remaining cattle to the creditors, amoung whom was Jim Fitzpartick, foreman of Murray's ranch. Bitter feeling was engendered between the parties and several days ago Williams sent six men, Dick Cavitt, Dick Jones, and three others, all headed by Bob Wood, over to Murray's to gather some cattle. They went first to see Murray, who refused to give up any cattle, saying that Williams had already got his interest but of the stock. The party then went out into the ranch and were met by W.T. Rousseau, Frank Rousseau, Frank Witt, John Palmer, Dick Strawn, Tom Fitzpartick, George Hroner, Bill Brooks,, and others, headed by Jim Fitzpartick They later opened fire on the first party without any warning, killing Dick Cavatt and Dick Jones. Cavatt was shot in the small of the back and Jones in the breast, head and arm. The names of those wounded were not learned. The squad sent by Williams wheeled and left after the first few shots. None of the Murray men are reported injured. No arrests have been made. Instructions are being awaited from the authorities at Fort Smith, who have been notified. The affair has created considerable excitement here, where many of the parties are known. They are also familiar with the break between Williams and Murray, and had hoped the matter would be amicably adjusted.
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