110 Million Fossils of Sauroposeidon proteles, a
60-ton, 60-foot tall dinosaur, were found in 1994 near Antlers,
(SFC, 11/4/99, p.A8)
1540 Feb 23, Spanish explorer
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado began his unsuccessful search for the
fabled Seven Cities of Gold in the American Southwest. Antonio de
Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico, sent Francisco Coronado overland to
search for the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola in present day New
Mexico. Coronado, Spanish explorer, introduced horses, mules, pigs,
cattle, and sheep into the American southwest. An Indian guide spoke
of a rich kingdom called Quivira. When no cities were found he
confessed under torture that the story was false.
(NPS-CNM, 4/1/97)(HN, 2/23/99)(TL-MB, 1988,
p.16)(SFC, 1/31/04, p.D1)
1758 Oct 10, Jean Pierre
Chouteau, French fur trader, early St. Louis settler and "father of
Oklahoma" was born in New Orleans.
1802 Oct 10, The 1st non-Indian
settlement in Oklahoma was made.
1825 Jan 27, Congress approved
Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced
relocation of the Eastern Indians on the "Trail of Tears."
1834 Jun 30, Congress passed
the final Indian Intercourse Act. In addition to regulating
relations between Indians living on Indian land and non-Indians,
this final act identified an area known as "Indian country". This
land was described as being "…all that part of the United States
west of the Mississippi and not within the states of Missouri and
Louisiana, or the territory of Arkansas…" This is the land that
became known as Indian Territory. Oklahoma was declared Indian
1838 Aug, Some 12,000 Cherokee
Indians in 13 ragtag parties followed the Trail of Tears on a
116-day journey west 800 miles to eastern Oklahoma. Estimates have
placed the death toll in camps and in transit as high as 4,000. They
followed the trail already set by the Choctaw out of Mississippi,
the Creek from Alabama, the Chickasaw from Arkansas and Mississippi,
and the Seminole from Florida.
1842 Aug 14, Seminole War ended
and the Indians were moved from Florida to Oklahoma.
1861 Apr, William Woods
Averell, recently convalesced Union officer, was sent out west in
civilian garb from Washington, D.C., carrying orders to a fort
commander in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Averell was to
proceed through secessionist lands to Fort Arbuckle in Indian
Territory. Ordinarily, orders to frontier posts were telegraphed to
Fort Smith, Arkansas--some 180 miles east of Fort Arbuckle--and a
courier dispatched from there. But with Arkansas likely to secede at
any time, such orders might be intercepted by secessionists.
1864 The Confederate War Dept.
organized the Indian tribes of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas
into the Indian Division. Cherokee Gen’l. Stand Watie commanded the
Cherokee Mounted Rifles.
(WSJ, 6/9/97, p.A19)
1865 Jun 23, Confederate
General Stand Watie, who was also a Cherokee chief, surrendered the
last sizable Confederate army at Fort Towson, in the Oklahoma
(WSJ, 6/9/97, p.A19)(HN, 6/23/98)
1868 Nov 27, Lieutenant Colonel
George A. Custer’s 7th Cavalry killed Chief Black Kettle (b.1801)
and about 100 Cheyenne (mostly women and children) on the Washita
River near present day Cheyenne, Oklahoma.
1872 The Osage Indians
purchased close to 2,300 square miles in the Oklahoma Territory from
the Cherokee and created the Osage Reservation.
(SFCM, 3/9/08, p.20)
1873 Fall, Leaders of the
Northern California 1872 Modoc War were executed and survivors were
exiled to Oklahoma.
(SFEC, 6/18/00, p.T7)
1875 The Quahadi Comanches, led
by Quanah Parker (c.1852-1911), gave up their fight and settled on
Indian Territory in Oklahoma after hunters slaughtered the great
buffalo herds of the Texas panhandle.
1876 William M. “Bill" Doolin
was killed by an “Oaklahoma" posse. Photos of the dead man were sold
for 25 cents.
(SFEC, 3/8/98, BR p.6)
1879 Nov 4, William Penn Adair
Rogers was born on a ranch in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). "I
never met a man I didn't like." He was widely loved during the 1920s
and 1930s for his gentle humor and homespun philosophies. Part
Cherokee Indian, Rogers once told a Boston audience, "My ancestors
didn't come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat." Rogers
got his show business start in 1902 doing rope tricks in a Wild West
show. He moved on to vaudeville and, by 1916, he was the
wisecracking star of Florenz Ziegfeld's "Follies." As a newspaper
columnist and book author, Rogers poked fun at important people and
events, and he was equally successful as a motion picture actor.
Rogers' film credits include “A Connecticut Yankee" in 1931 and
“State Fair" in 1933. The nation mourned when Will Rogers, along
with pilot Wiley Post, were killed in an Alaska plane crash on
August 15, 1935.
(HFA, ‘96, p.18) (HNPD, 11/4/98)(HN, 11/4/98)
1879-1954 Enamored with flying after Louis
Beriot’s 1909 famous flight across the English Channel, Oklahoma
automobile salesman Clyde Cessna became a pioneer aviator--flying,
building and selling airplanes.
1889 Mar 23, President Harrison
opened Oklahoma for white colonization.
1889 Apr 15, A marshal's posse
killed and captured a group of Sooners, settlers who stole onto the
Public Domain territory in Oklahoma in hopes of claiming it legally,
just nine days before the official start of the land rush.
1889 Apr 22, The US federal
government opened up the Unassigned Lands of Indian Territory to the
country's first land run. The Oklahoma land rush officially started
at noon as thousands of homesteaders staked claims.
(WSJ, 1/4/96, p.A-8) (AP, 4/22/97) (HN, 4/22/98)
1890 May 2, The Oklahoma
Territory was organized.
(AP, 5/2/97) (HN, 5/2/98)
1890 May 22, George Washington
Steele, on appointment by Pres. Benjamin Harrison, took the oath of
office as the 1st territorial governor (1890-1891) of Oklahoma.
1891 Sep 15, The Dalton gang
held up a train and took $2,500 at Wagoner, Okla.
1892 Feb 1, Judge Abraham
Jefferson Seay was sworn in as the 2nd territorial governor
(1892-1893) of Oklahoma.
1892 Jan 8, Coal mine explosion
killed 100 in McAlister, Okla.
1892 Nov 2, Lawmen surrounded
outlaws Ned Christie and Arch Wolf near Tahlequah, Indian Country
(present-day Oklahoma). It would take dynamite and a cannon to
dislodge the two from their cabin.
1893 Sep 16, More than 100,000
settlers ("Sooners") claimed land in the Cherokee Strip during the
first day of the Oklahoma land rush.
(AP, 9/16/97)(HN, 9/16/98)
1898 Feb 12, [Le]Roy Harris,
composer (When Johnny Comes Marching Home), was born in Oklahoma.
1901-1905 Discovery of oil in the nearby
villages of Red Fork and Glenn Pool in 1901 and 1905 launched the
Oklahoma city of Tulsa's modern era. The city's population of 1,400
in 1900 reached 18,200 by 1910 and 72,000 by 1920. Tulsa long called
itself "The Oil Capital of the World."
1902 Sep 22, A long-simmering
feud between the Brooks and McFarland clans erupted into a bloody
gunfight in the railroad town of Spokogee, Indian Territory, which
is now Dustin, Oklahoma. Spokogee had sprung up in the path of the
coming Fort Smith & Western Railroad. The Creek name meant "the
exalted," or "near to God." The area around Spokogee was home to two
feuding families, the Brookses and McFarlands. Willis B. Brooks, 48,
was a well-known inhabitant of the Dogwood Settlement and one of the
toughest men to be found in Indian Territory. He was a gunfighter
from Alabama, by way of Texas. Jim McFarland, his chief adversary,
had the reputation of being an outlaw and a killer. While the ribbon
of steel inched its way toward Spokogee, the long-simmering feud
between the warring families heated up and then erupted into a
classic Western gunfight, settled with gun smoke, blood and lead.
1904 Apr 3, Iron Eyes Cody,
actor (Black Gold, Ernest Goes to Camp), was born in Tulsa, OK.
1905 Feb 7, Congress granted
statehood to Oklahoma. New Mexico and Arizona were the only
remaining territories. [see 1907]
1907 Nov 16, Indian Territory
and Oklahoma Territory were unified to make Oklahoma, which was made
the 46th state. Black settlers founded some 30 towns before
statehood was achieved. Osage Indian Reservation became Osage
County, one of the largest in the US.
(WSJ, 11/10/97, p.A1)(NG, 5/95, p.92)(HN,
11/16/98)(SFCM, 3/9/08, p.20)
1908 Feb 27, The forty-sixth
star was added to the U.S. flag, signifying Oklahoma's admission to
1908 The Wichita National Bison
Range opened and received 15 bison from New York.
(ON, 3/02, p.9)
1909 Feb 17, Apache chief
Geronimo died of pneumonia at age 80, while still in captivity at
Fort Sill, Okla.
1910 The Oklahoma State
Reformatory was built of granite from Wildcat Mountain by the first
60 inmates who arrived in covered wagons.
(WSJ, 11/2/05, p.A9)
1911 Elmer McCurdy, outlaw,
died. His mummified corpse became a tourist attraction in a small
Oklahoma funeral home, and later was taken across country in
carnivals and roving wax museums. In 2002 Mark Svengold authored
“Elmer McCurdy: The Misadventures in Life and Afterlife of an
(SSFC, 11/10/02, p.M4)
1912 Jul 14, Woodrow Wilson
“Woody" Guthrie, American folk singer, was born. Woody Guthrie
(d.1967) was born in Okemah, Okla.
(HN, 7/14/98)(SFC, 11/27/98, p.C11)
1912 Grasshoppers swept across
Tulsa, Okla. People raked them up and sold them as chicken feed.
(SFC, 5/23/98, p.C3)
1913 Apr 25, Earl Bostic, alto
sax player (Flamingo, Temptation), was born in Tulsa, OK.
1916 Mar 6, Rochelle Hudson
(d.1972), American film actress (That's My Boy), was born in
Oklahoma City, Ok.
1918 Apr 13, Electrical fire
killed 38 mental patients at Oklahoma State Hospital.
1918 Sep 4, Paul Harvey,
conservative radio commentator, was born in Tulsa, Okla.
(HN, 9/4/98)(SFC, 12/27/99, p.E3)
1920 Feb 26, Tony Randall
[Leonard Rosenberg], actor (Felix-Odd Couple, Love Sidney), was born
in Tulsa, OK.
1921 May 31, A major race riot
broke out in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Greenwood, the black section of town,
was burned. In 1997 Jewell Parker Rhodes wrote the novel “Magic
City" based on this event. As many as 10,000 white men and boys
attacked the black community and 35 blocks of the black business
district were burned with participation by police officers and a
local unit of the National Guard. Some 200-300 people were believed
to have been killed. In 2000 the Tulsa Race Riot Commission
recommended that reparations be paid to survivors of the riots. In
2001 a final state commission recommended that reparations be paid
to survivors and their descendants.
(NPR, 5/31/96)(SFEC, 6/29/97, BR p.3)(SFC,
8/10/99, p.A2)(SFC, 2/5/00, p.A3)(SFC, 3/1/01, p.A4)
1921 Jun 1, A race riot erupted
in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing 85 people (21 whites & 60 blacks
killed). [see May 31, 1921]
(HN, 6/1/98)(MC, 6/1/02)
1922 Jul 2, Dan Rowan, comedian
(Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in), was born in Beggs, Okla.
1923 Sep 15, Gov. Walton
(b.1881) of Oklahoma declared a state of siege because of KKK
terror. Walton was elected governor in 1922 and impeached in 1923.
1923 Nov 19, Oklahoma Governor
Walton was ousted by state senate for anti-Ku Klux Klan measures.
1924 Nov 1, Bill
Tilghman (b.1854), legendary Oklahoma marshal, was gunned down by a
drunk in Cromwell, Oklahoma, while trying to arrest Wiley Lynn, a
corrupt prohibition officer.
1926 A collection of US roads
from Chicago to Los Angeles were improved and formed what would be
designated as US 66. It was later replaced by 3 interstates, I-55 in
Illinois, I-44 in Missouri and Oklahoma, and I-40 to LA. Route 66
was decertified in 1985. In 2006 Arthur Krim authored “Route 66:
Iconography of the American Highway."
(WSJ, 6/16/06, p.P8)
1927 Mar 6, Leroy Gordon Cooper
Jr. (d.2004), USAF astronaut (Mer 9, Gem 5), was born in Shawnee,
(SFC, 10/5/04, p.B7)
1927 Mar 16, Daniel Patrick
Moynihan (d.2003), later NY Senator (1976-2000) and scholar, was
born in Tulsa, Okla.
(SFC, 3/27/03, p.A1)
1927 Oklahoma produced 278
million barrels of crude oil. By 2005 production dropped to 60.7
(Econ, 7/29/06, p.33)
1928 Apr 7, James Garner, actor
(Rockford Files, Bret Maverick), was born in Norman, Okla.
1929 The Paseo Arts District of
Oklahoma City was built in the style of a Spanish village.
(SFCM, 3/20/05, p.31)
1932 Aug 17, Chet Allen, actor
(Jerry-Bonino, Slats-Troubleshooter), was born in Chickasha, Okla.
1932 Dec 21, Carl McGee,
Oklahoma inventor, applied for a patent for his parking meter. He
had came up with the 1st coin-operated, single-space, mechanical
meter to be used to free up parking spaces in downtown Oklahoma
1934 May 13, A great dustbowl
storm occurred. [see Apr 14, 1935]
(SS, Internet, 5/13/97)
1934 Oct 20, Michael Dunn,
actor (House of the Damned, Ship of Fools), was born in Shattuck,
1935 Feb 17, Thirty-one
prisoners escaped an Oklahoma prison after murdering a guard.
1935 Apr 14, A major sandstorm,
dubbed “The Black Blizzard," ravaged the US Midwest. The Black
Sunday was the worst day of the almost decade long Dust Bowl era. It
ravaged Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. In 2005
Timothy Egan authored “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of
Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl."
1935 Jul 16, The first parking
meters were installed, in Oklahoma City. Carlton Magee's automatic
meter, the "Park-O-Meter" was installed by the Dual Parking Meter
Company in Oklahoma City. The parking meters were divided by 20-foot
spaces painted on the pavement and accepted nickels.
(AP, 7/16/97)(HNQ, 8/4/02)
1938 Charles George Werner
(d.1997 at 88), cartoonist, won the Pulitzer Prize for his Oklahoman
cartoon of the Nobel Peace Prize lying on a grave marked
(SFC, 7/3/97, p.A24)
1940 Mar 25, Anita Bryant,
homophobe, singer (George Gobel Show), was born in Barnsdall, Okla.
1941 The town of Berwyn renamed
itself Gene Autry after the 34-year-old radio and film star.
(SFEC, 12/20/98, z1 p.5)
1941-1983 Wagon Wheel dinner sets were
manufactured of cream-colored clay from Ada, Okla. After 1956 they
were made of red clay from Sapulpa, Okla.
(SFC, 7/29/98, Z1 p.23)
1942 Jun 1, The US Supreme
Court, in Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, struck down
Oklahoma’s Habitual Criminal Sterilization Act.
1944 Feb, Denison Dam was
completed and formed Lake Texoma, one of the largest reservoirs in
the United States. Woodville, Okla., was flooded when the Red River
was dammed to form Lake Texoma.
1947 Apr 9, A series of
tornadoes struck Kansas, West Texas and Oklahoma. 181 were killed
and some 1,300 injured. The Woodward tornado ranked as the deadliest
ever to hit Oklahoma.
(AP, 4/9/08)(AH, 4/07, p.55)
1948 Mar 20 A severe tornado
moved through Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City destroying 52
(SFC, 3/20/09, p.D8)
1949 R.D. Hull, a Texas
watchmaker, invented the spin-cast reel for fishing and got the Zero
Hour Bomb Co. in Tulsa to manufacture it. The company soon changed
its name to Zebco.
(WSJ, 9/9/99, p.A25)
1950 The first “Yield" sign was
installed in Tulsa. Okla. It read “Yield Right-Of-Way. Clinton E.
Riggs (d.1997 at 86), Tulsa police officer, developed the sign after
a decade of experimentation.
(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.C10)
1951 Aug 11, The Mississippi
River flooded some 100,000 acres in Ks, Okla, Mo and Ill.
1954 The Collins Kids of
Oklahoma, Lawrencine (b.1942) and Lawrence (b.1944), began
performing as a musical act on national TV.
1955 May 25, Series of 19
twisters destroyed Udall, KS., and most of Blackwell, OK.
1956 Feb 7, Garth Brooks,
country vocalist (No Fences), was born in Tulsa, Okla.
1959 Apr 7, Oklahoma ended
prohibition after 51 years.
1963 Aug 19, NAACP Youth
Council began sit-ins at lunch counters in Oklahoma City.
1963 The Oral Roberts Univ. in
Tulsa, Okla., founded by Oral Roberts (1918-2009), was chartered.
(SFC, 12/15/09, p.C5)
1969 George B. Kaiser took over
Kaiser-Francis Oil Co., a small family oil firm founded in the 1940s
by his uncle and parents, Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, who had
settled in Oklahoma. Operations at the time were limited to Kansas.
By 2004 the firm had over $600 million in revenues from oil and gas
(WSJ, 7/23/04, p.A1)
1970 Nov 20, In Oklahoma 3
teenagers in a Chevrolet Camaro failed to return home after a high
school football game. In 2013 divers on a training exercize
discovered Their skeletal remains in a Camaro in Foss Lake.
(SFC, 9/19/13, p.A8)(http://tinyurl.com/m9owvbn)
1971-1976 Carl Albert (d.2000 at 91), Oklahoma
Democrat, served as the Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
(WSJ, 2/7/00, p.A1)
1974 Nov 13, Karen Silkwood, a
technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium
plant near Crescent, Okla., was killed in a car crash while on her
way to meet a reporter.
1977 The Alfred P. Murrah
Building was put up in Federal Plaza in Oklahoma City. It was bombed
on April 19, 1995 and 169 people were killed including 19 children
and 600 injured.
(WSJ, 1/4/96, p.A-8)
1981 May 27, Roger Wheeler,
chairman of Telex Corp. and owner of World Jai Alai, was shot
execution style at a Tulsa country club. In 2001 2 reputed Boston
mobsters, James Bulger and Stephen Flemmi, were charged. Jai Alai
executive John B. Callahan was murdered in Aug 1982 in Miami. In
2001 hitman John Vincent Martorano (60) pleaded guilty to Wheeler’s
murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2003 former FBI
agent H. Paul Rico (78) was arrested and charged with murder for
helping to setup the hit.
(SFC, 3/15/01, p.A8)(SFC, 5/4/01, p.D5)(SFC,
1981 The federal government
declared Picher, Oklahoma, a hazardous waste site due to lead
contamination and proceeded to buy out about 900 homeowners and
businesses. In 2011 every commercial building was destroyed and only
a handful of residents remained.
1982 Jul 5, Penn Square Bank of
Oklahoma went bankrupt as wildcat oil well loans went bad. More than
$2 billion in oil and gas participations were held by five major US
banks: Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company,
Chicago, Illinois held $1 billion in those participations. Most of
the remaining participations were held by Chase Manhattan Bank, New
York, New York; Michigan National Bank, Lansing, Michigan; Seattle
First National Bank, Seattle, Washington; and Northern Trust
Company, Chicago, Illinois.
1982 Debra Sue Carter (21), a
cocktail waitress in Ada, Oklahoma, was raped and murdered. For five
years the police could not solve the crime. For reasons that were
never clear, they suspected Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis
Fritz. The two were arrested in 1987 and charged with capital
murder. With no physical evidence, the prosecution's case was built
on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and
convicts. Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence.
Williamson was sent to death row. Both were released 12 years later,
when DNA evidence proved their innocence. In 2006 novelist John
Grisham read Williamson's obituary in The New York Times and made
him and Fritz the subject of his first non-fiction book: “The
Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town." The book became
1984 In Oklahoma John A. Boltz
(52) killed his stepson (22) with multiple stabbings. Boltz was
executed for the murder in 2006.
(SFC, 6/2/06, p.A3)
1985 Jul 3, Three people were
shot, clubbed and stabbed during a robbery of an Edmond grocery
store. Mark Andrew Fowler (20) and Billy Ray Fox (20) were convicted
and executed in 2001.
(SFC, 1/2/01, p.A5)(SFC, 1/26/01, p.A5)
1985 Dec 14, Wilma Mankiller
became the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe as she
took office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
1985 Addie Hawley (84) of
Oklahoma City was kidnapped, raped, beaten and set afire. Loyd
Winford Lafevers (20) was convicted with another man and scheduled
for execution in 2001.
(SFC, 1/2/01, p.A5)
1985 Rhonda Kay Timmons (19)
died after she was stabbed 12 times. Robert William Clayton (24),
apartment complex groundskeeper, was convicted and scheduled for
execution in 2001.
(SFC, 1/2/01, p.A5)
1986 Aug 20, Postal employee
Patrick Henry Sherrill (44) went on a deadly rampage at a post
office in Edmond, Okla., shooting 14 fellow workers to death before
killing himself. This incident is credited with inspiring the
American phrase "going postal".
(WSJ, 8/7/97, p.A12)(AP,
1986 Aug 22, Kerr-McGee Corp.
agreed to pay the estate of the late Karen Silkwood (1946-1974)
$1.38 million, settling a 10-year-old nuclear contamination lawsuit.
1987 Oct 6, In Oklahoma Michael
Houghton (27) and Laura Lee Sanders (22) were kidnapped from behind
a Tulsa bar, stuffed into a car trunk and taken to a rural area
where the car was set afire. Scott Allen Hain was executed for the
murders on Apr 3, 2003. Hain was 17 in 1987 and claimed to be under
the influence of Robert Lambert.
(SFC, 4/4/03, p.A6)
1987 In Oklahoma City Ernestine
Jones (84) was beaten, raped, robed and murdered in her home. Eddie
Leroy Trice (35) was convicted and scheduled for execution in 2001.
(SFC, 1/2/01, p.A5)
1988 Dec 3, Barry Sanders of
Oklahoma State University won the Heisman Trophy.
1988 In Oklahoma City the
Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, designed by I.M. Pei, was
built. The 224-foot long steel and acrylic cylinder stood 7-stories.
(SFCM, 3/20/05, p.30)
1988 Gloria Jean Leathers (29)
was shot to death by her roommate in front of a police station.
Wanda Jean Allen (29) was convicted and scheduled for execution in
(SFC, 1/2/01, p.A5)
1989 Aubrey McClendon (b.1959)
and Tom L. Ward co-founded Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City. They
took the company public in 1993. In 2012 Chesapeake was the
second-largest producer of natural gas, a Top 15 oil producer and
the most active driller in the United States.
1990 Jack E. Counts Jr., an
Oklahoma City entrepreneur, founded Glamour Shots Licensing. The
business was based on the idea of photographing ordinary women in
dazzling garb and makeup.
(WSJ, 5/13/96, p.B-1)
1990 Katherine Ann Busch (7)
was stabbed to death and thrown into a trash bin, Floyd Allen
Medlock (19) was convicted and scheduled for execution in 2001.
(SFC, 1/2/01, p.A5)
1991 Apr 26, Twenty-three
people were killed as four dozen tornadoes raked Kansas and
1991 Dec, An Islamic extremist
conference was held in Oklahoma City. Terrorism expert Steve Emerson
filmed the conference for his documentary, “Jihad in America." The
documentary (which has been shown to Congress several times)
revealed that during the 1991 OKC conference, WTC attacks were
openly discussed and planned by OKC Hamas terrorists being closely
monitored by OKC FBI agents including FBI agent Floyd Zimms.
1991 Michael N. Bates
(1952-1996), Wichita correspondent for the Associated press, covered
the six-week Wichita abortion protests and the tornado devastation
of Andover. While in Oklahoma City, Bates covered the Karen Silkwood
trial and the Locust Grove Boy Scout murders.
(SFC, 7/5/96, p.B2)
1992 Lois Frederick was killed
with a croquet mallet and her body was burned with gasoline. Dion
Athanasius, her adopted daughter’s boyfriend, was convicted and
scheduled for execution in 2001.
(SFC, 1/2/01, p.A5)
1993 Francisco Morales and
Maria Yanez were killed during a burglary. In 1996 George Ochoa and
Osbaldo Torres were convicted of the murders and sentenced to death.
In 2004 Gov. Henry commuted the sentence against Torres (29)
following a World Court ruling his rights, as well as those of 51
other Mexicans on death row, were violated because they was not told
that they could receive help from their government as guaranteed by
the 1963 Vienna Convention.
(SFC, 5/14/04, p.A3)
1994 Aug 30, Randolph Dial, a
sculptor and painter convicted of a 1981 murder, escaped from the
Oklahoma State Reformatory. On the same day Bobbi Parker disappeared
from staff housing at the reformatory, where her husband worked. On
Apr 4, 2005, she was found living with Randolph Dial on a chicken
farm in Texas. In 2011 Bobbi Parker was sentenced to a year in jail
for helping Dial escape.
1994 Dr. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma
Republican, was elected to Congress. He retired in 2001 after 3
terms in the House of Representatives. In 2003 he with John Hart
authored "Breach of Trust."
(WSJ, 12/11/03, p.D6)
1995 Feb 25, In Oklahoma store
manager Richard Yost was beaten to death with a baseball bat and
placed in the freezer of his supermarket in Tulsa. Three men were
later executed for the murder and a 4th was convicted to life in
1995 Apr 19, At 9:02 A.M.
Oklahoma City, USA, a large car bomb exploded at the Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building killing 168 people, and injuring 500
including many children in the building’s day care center. Within a
week a suspect, Timothy McVeigh, was caught and charged. Two
suspects, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, faced trial. McVeigh
was arrested during a routine traffic stop 78 miles from Oklahoma
City on weapons charges the same day. Timothy McVeigh and Terry
Nichols, were later convicted of charges related to the bombing.
Michael Fortier, a key government witness and friend of Nichols and
McVeigh, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1998 for failing to
warn authorities, lying to the FBI, transporting stolen weapons and
conspiring to fence stolen weapons. In 1999 Fortier's sentence was
overturned and a more lenient sentence was ordered under
manslaughter guidelines. In Oct a new 12-year sentence was issued.
McVeigh was later convicted of federal murder charges and executed.
(NPR, 4/19/95)(SFC, 4/29/97, p.A2)(SFC, 5/28/98,
p.A3)(SFC, 7/1/99, p.A3)(SFC, 10/9/99, p.A7)(AP, 4/19/06)
1995 Apr 21, The FBI arrested
former soldier Timothy McVeigh at an Oklahoma jail where he had
spent two days on minor traffic and weapons charges; he was charged
in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing two days earlier in
which over 200 people were killed by a truck bomb that exploded in
front of a Federal building.
(AP, 4/21/00)(HN, 4/21/99)
1995 Apr 23, Pres. Clinton
declared a national day of mourning for the victims of the Oklahoma
(AP, 4/23/00)(MC, 4/23/02)
1995 Apr 29, 10 days after the
blast, rescue workers in Oklahoma City continued the grim task of
searching for bodies and pulling debris from the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building, where 168 people died.
1995 May 5, As rescue workers
ended their search for bodies in the Oklahoma City bombing,
President Clinton denounced self-styled anti-government militias,
saying, "How dare you call yourselves patriots and heroes."
1995 May 10, Terry Nichols was
charged in the Oklahoma City bombing.
1995 May 23, The nine-story
hulk of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was
demolished. That day, James Nichols, whose brother and a friend were
charged in the Oklahoma bombing, was released from federal custody.
1995 Aug 10, Timothy McVeigh
and Terry Nichols were charged with eleven counts in the Oklahoma
City bombing. McVeigh was later convicted of murder. He was executed
by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, at the US Federal Penitentiary
in Terre Haute, Indiana. McVeigh (33) stated that his only regret
was not completely leveling the federal building. Nichols was
convicted of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter and sentenced
to life in prison.
1996 Apr 19, On the first
anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, hundreds of mourners
paused for 168 seconds of silence at the site where the federal
building once stood.
1996 Dec, Juli Buskin (21) was
murdered shortly after her last semester at the Univ. of Oklahoma.
Her raped body with a shot in the head was later found near a lake.
Police later attempted a DNA dragnet to find her killer.
(SFC, 5/31/01, p.A3)
1997 Jun 2, Timothy McVeigh was
convicted on 11 counts in the Apr 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. McVeigh was executed in
(SFC, 6/3/97, p.A1)(SFC,12/24/97, p.A4)(AP,
1997 Aug 14, An unrepentant
Timothy McVeigh was formally sentenced to death for the Oklahoma
1998 Jan 2, The defense in the
Terry Nichols trial rested its case in the penalty phase after
calling nine witnesses who pleaded for his life. Nichols had already
been convicted of conspiracy, which carried a potential death
sentence, and involuntary manslaughter for his role in the Oklahoma
City bombing. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison on federal
convictions of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter involving the
deaths of eight federal law enforcement officers. He was later
convicted of state murder charges in Oklahoma, and sentenced to 161
consecutive life sentences.
(AP, 1/2/99)(AP, 1/2/08)
1998 Jun 4, In Denver Terry
Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without parole for
conspiring in 1995 to bomb the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in
(SFC, 6/5/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 25, Thousands came to
Oklahoma City for the ground-breaking ceremony of a memorial to the
1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.
(SFC, 10/25/98, p.A3)
1998 Nov 1, Weekend rain caused
severe flooding in central Kansas and Oklahoma. The Whitewater and
Walnut Rivers topped a 35-foot levee.
(SFC, 11/3/98, p.A3)
1999 May 3, Tornadoes hit
Oklahoma and Kansas and at least 40 people were killed. As many as
1,500 homes were destroyed. 38 people were killed in Oklahoma and 5
in Kansas. Damages in Oklahoma were later estimated at over $225
(SFC, 5/4/99, p.A1)(SFC, 5/5/99, p.A1)(WSJ,
1999 May 8, Dana Plato (34), a
star of TV’s Diff'rent Strokes, died in a suburb of Oklahoma City.
Authorities said she succumbed to an overdose of painkillers.
1999 Jun 8, Sen. James Inhofe
(R-Okla) blocked all the civilian nominations of Pres. Clinton in
protest of the "recess appointment" of James Hormel.
(SFC, 6/9/99, p.A3)
1999 Dec 6, In Oklahoma a boy
(13) opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun and injured 4
classmates at Fort Gibson Middle School.
(SFC, 12/7/99, p.A3)
2000 Jan 2, Steven Ray Thacker
(29) of Oklahoma was arrested in Tennessee following a 3-state crime
spree that left 3 people dead.
(SFC, 1/3/00, p.A5)
2000 Aug 19, In Oilton Kristi
Blevins (12) was raped in strangled to death by Robert Rotramel
(19), a known juvenile sex offender.
(SFC, 10/14/00, p.A7)
2000 Dec 28, In the US recent
bad weather was blamed for 41 deaths: including 22 in Texas and 11
(SFC, 12/29/00, p.A6)
2001 Jan 11, Wanda Jean Allen
(41) was executed for 2 murders. This was the 1st execution of an
African American woman since 1954.
(SFC, 1/12/01, p.A6)
2001 Jan 27, A small plane
crashed south of Denver and 10 people were killed including
passengers associated with the Oklahoma State Univ. basketball team.
(SSFC, 1/28/01, p.A13)
2001 Feb 19, President George
W. Bush opened a museum commemorating the 1995 Oklahoma City
2001 Apr 12, Tornadoes killed
at least 4 people in Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma.
(WSJ, 4/13/01, p.A1)
2001 Sep 5, C. Wesley Lane, the
new district attorney for Oklahoma City, announced that he would
prosecute Terry Nichols for murder in the 1995 Oklahoma City
(SFC, 9/6/01, p.A3)
2001 Oct 10, Tornadoes hit the
US plains and caused heavy damage in Oklahoma and Nebraska.
(SFC, 10/11/01, p.C16)
2001 Dec 28, Oklahoma led the
US in prisoner executions this year over Texas in with 18 vs. 17.
(SFC, 12/28/01, p.A9)
2002 May 26, In Oklahoma a
barge hit an I-40 bridge over the Arkansas River and 14 people were
killed. A 500-600-foot section of the 1,988-foot bridge collapsed
after Joe Dedmon, Capt. of the Robert Y. Love tugboat, apparently
(SFC, 5/27/02, p.A1)(SFC, 5/28/02, p.A3)(SFC,
2002 Oct 26, In eastern
Oklahoma Daniel H. Fears, a teenager apparently angered by a
neighbor, went on a shooting spree that left two people dead and at
least seven injured.
(AP, 10/27/02)(SFC, 10/28/02, p.A4)
2002 Oklahoma banned
cockfighting following a referendum. In 2005 state senator Frank
Shurden proposed gamecock boxing with cocks wearing foam-filled
muffs and protective vests.
(Econ, 2/5/05, p.27)
2003 May 8, In Oklahoma a
tornado swept through Oklahoma City and flattened hundreds of homes.
At least 104 people were injured.
(SFC, 5/8/03, p.A10)
2003 May 13, A judge ruled that
Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols should stand trial
in state court on 160 counts of first-degree murder. Nichols was
later found guilty on 161 counts; the 161st count was for the fetus
of a pregnant victim. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.
2003 Aug 27, Oklahoma charged
Bernie Ebbers (62), ex-CEO of WorldCom, and 6 other former
executives with 15 felony violations of state's securities laws. The
charges against Ebbers were dropped when the Federal
government filed on March 2, 2004 security fraud and conspiracy
charges. Ebbers was found guilty of all charges on March 15, 2005.
He was sentenced to 25 years in a federal prison in Louisiana, the
toughest sentence yet among other recent corporate accounting
2003 Elizabeth Seay authored
"Searching For Lost City," a look at Native Indian languages in
(WSJ, 11/28/03, p.W4)
2003 Oklahoma and Arkansas made
an agreement on phosphorus levels. Toxic run-off from poultry houses
in Arkansas was entering the Illinois river watershed, which
supplied water to eastern Oklahoma. In 2005 Oklahoma filed suit
against Arkansas for various violations related to high phosphorus
(Econ, 7/16/05, p.30)
2004 Jan 22, Oklahoma Gov.
Henry proposed a series of tax cuts to improve the state's economy.
(USAT, 1/23/04, p.12A)
2004 Mar 22, Terry Nichols went
on trial for his life in the Oklahoma City bombing. Nichols was
already serving a life sentence for his conviction on federal
charges. On May 26 he was found guilty of 161 state murder charges,
but was again spared the death penalty when the jury couldn't agree
on his sentence.
2004 May 26, A District court
jury in McAlester, Oklahoma, convicted Terry Nichols of 161 counts
of 1st degree murder in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building
bombing. Nichols later received 161 consecutive life sentences.
(SFC, 5/27/04, p.A3)(AP, 5/26/05)
2004 Jun 11, Terry Nichols
escaped execution as the District court jury in McAlester, Oklahoma,
deadlocked in the penalty phase of his trial. He was convicted May
26 on 161 counts of 1st degree murder in the 1995 Oklahoma City
federal building bombing.
(WSJ, 6/14/04, p.A1)
2004 Aug 9, In McAlester,
Oklahoma, District Judge Steven Taylor sentenced Terry Nichols to
161 consecutive life sentences for the 1995 Oklahoma City federal
building bombing. Terry Nichols, addressing a court for the first
time, asked victims of the blast for forgiveness
(SFC, 8/10/04, p.A3)(AP, 8/9/05)
2004 Sep 9, It was reported
that a munitions plant in Oklahoma had suspended production of
“bunker buster" bombs after workers there developed anemia.
(WSJ, 9/9/04, p.A1)
2004 Oklahoma became the first
US state to pass a law that made it harder to buy more than small
quantities of medicine containing pseudoephedrine, one of the
ingredients for the illegal production of methamphetamine. Other
states soon followed.
(Econ, 9/30/06, p.40)
2005 Oct 1, In Norman,
Oklahoma, Joel Henry Hinrichs (21), a Univ. of Oklahoma student,
committed suicide using an explosive attached to his body near the
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, where 84,000 people watched a football
(SFC, 10/3/05, p.A3)
2005 Dec 27, Grass fires burned
in drought-stricken Texas and Oklahoma. Over three days, nearly 200
homes were lost and the fires blamed for at least four deaths.
2006 Jan 2, Grass fires in New
Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas left at least 4 people dead with over 250
(SFC, 1/3/06, p.A4)
2006 Jan 8, Wildfires in the
southwest US spread to Arkansas and Colorado destroying 9 more
homes. Over the last 2 weeks the fires in New Mexico, Oklahoma and
Texas have destroyed 475 homes and left 5 people dead.
(SFC, 1/9/06, p.A3)
2006 Jan 10, Oil magnate Boone
Pickens donated $165 million to Oklahoma State Univ. for the
development of new sports facilities. The 100-acre site under
consideration in Stillwater faced problems with low-income
2006 Jan 20, Michael Fortier,
the government's star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing trials,
was released from federal prison after serving more than 10 years
for failing to warn authorities about the plot.
2006 Mar 12-2006 Mar 13, Swarms
of tornadoes killed at least 10 people across the Midwest states of
Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Dakota, Minnesota and
Wisconsin. It caused so much damage in Springfield, Ill., that the
mayor compared it to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
2006 Apr 14, In Oklahoma Kevin
Ray Underwood (26) was arrested after investigators found the body
of Jamie Rose Bolin (10), missing since April 12, in a bedroom
closet in his apartment. The girl's unclothed body was inside a
large plastic tub. Police said she was killed as part of the
neighbor's elaborate plan to eat human flesh. On February 29 2008, a
jury found him guilty of first degree murder after deliberating for
twenty-three minutes. This quick verdict was attributed to the
showing of Underwood's videotaped confession. On Thursday, April 3,
2008, McClain County District Judge Candace Blalock approved a
recommended death sentence.
2006 May 10, Oklahoma became
the last state to make tattoos legal when the governor Brad Henry
signed legislation to license and regulate tattoo artists and
2006 Jul 18, The Seattle
SuperSonics basketball team said a group of Oklahoma businessmen had
purchased the club for $350 million. The new ownership group said it
plans to keep the team in Seattle, if it can work out a deal for a
new arena in the next 12 months. Officials in Seattle said they
planned to hold the Sonics to their lease, which expires in 2010.
(Econ, 7/29/06, p.33)(http://tinyurl.com/qga3e)
2006 Jul 18, A heat wave in the
US left at least 7 people dead including 5 in Oklahoma and 2 in
(SFC, 7/19/06, p.A2)
2006 Aug 18, In Bristow,
Oklahoma, Donald Thompson (59), a former judge convicted of exposing
himself while presiding over jury trials, was sentenced to four
years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000.
(SFC, 8/19/06, p.A2)
2007 Jan 14, In Oklahoma a
minivan carrying 12 people skidded off an icy highway and slammed
into an oncoming tractor-trailer, killing seven.
2007 Jan 17, A US snow and ice
storm was blamed for at least 64 deaths in nine states. These
included 20 deaths in Oklahoma, 9 in Missouri, 8 in Iowa, 4 in New
York, 5 in Texas, 4 in Michigan, 3 in Arkansas, and 1 each in Maine
(AP, 1/17/07)(SFC, 1/18/07, p.A3)
2007 Jan 29, Lauren Nelson, an
aspiring Broadway star, was crowned Miss America, the second year in
a row that a Miss Oklahoma has won the crown.
2007 Mar 3, In Oklahoma
Cherokee Nation members voted to revoke the tribal citizenship of an
estimated 2,800 descendants of the people the Cherokee once owned as
2007 Jun 15, In Tulsa, Okla., a
crane lifted out a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that had been buried in
an underground concrete vault half a century earlier to celebrate 50
years of statehood.
2007 Jun 27, Don Harvey and his
wife, Joyce, of Oklahoma won a $105.8 million Powerball lottery.
They chose to receive a $33.3 million lump sum after taxes instead
of the full amount paid out over 29 years.
2007 Aug 19, Fierce storms from
the upper Mississippi to Texas since last week left 22 people dead.
Six people died in floodwaters across Oklahoma after heavy rains
from the remains of Tropical Storm Erin drenched the state. As much
as 9 inches of rain fell across a wide swath of Oklahoma, leaving
roadways under 5 feet of water. 8 people were reported dead in Texas
and 6 dead in Minnesota.
(Reuters, 8/20/07)(SFC, 8/21/07, p.A6)(AP,
2007 Aug 22, The death toll
across the Upper Midwest and from the remnants of Tropical Storm
Erin that swept Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri over the past week rose
to at least 26. Three people were electrocuted by lightning at a bus
stop in Madison, Wis.
2008 Jan 7, Tornadoes were
reported or suspected in southwest Missouri, southeastern Wisconsin,
Arkansas, Illinois and Oklahoma. Two people were killed in Missouri.
2008 Apr 4, In SF cyclist Tammy
Thomas, Univ. of Oklahoma law student, was found guilty of lying to
a federal grand jury about her use of banned drugs.
(SFC, 4/5/08, p.A1)
2008 Apr 10, Powerful storms
brought hail, heavy rain and possible tornadoes to Arkansas, Texas,
and Oklahoma, causing flooding and power outages for thousands of
customers and at least one death.
2008 Apr 16, In Oklahoma Custer
County Sheriff Mike Burgess (56) resigned just as state prosecutors
filed 35 felony charges against him, including 14 counts of
second-degree rape, seven counts of forcible oral sodomy and five
counts of bribery by a public official. On March 24 Burgess was
sentenced to 79 years in prison for forcing drug defendants to have
sex with him.
(AP, 4/18/08)(SFC, 3/25/09, p.A7)
2008 May 10, A tornado rumbled
through Picher, Okla., killing at least 7 people. The same storm
system then moved into southwest Missouri, where tornadoes killed at
least 15 others. The storms moved eastward and killed at least one
person the next day in Georgia.
(AP, 5/11/08)(SFC, 5/12/08, p.A2)
2008 Jun 8, In Oklahoma Taylor
Placker (13) and Skyla Whitaker (11) were murdered on an unpaved
road in Weleetka. On Dec 9, 2011, authorities announced murder
charges against Kevin Sweat (25), who was already in custody in
connection with the July 17 death of his girlfriend, Ashley Taylor
(SFC, 12/10/11, p.A6)(http://tinyurl.com/6lne9lz)
2008 Aug 29, In Oklahoma a
train slammed into a propane tanker truck triggering an explosion
that killed 2 people.
(WSJ, 8/30/08, p.A1)
2008 Nov 9, In Louisiana
Raymond "Chuck" Foster, 44, shot and killed an Oklahoma woman, who
was lured over the Internet to take part in a Ku Klux Klan
initiation, after a fight broke out when she asked to be taken back
to town. The group tried to cover it up by dumping her body on a
rural roadside and setting her belongings aflame. Foster, the local
Klan leader was soon in jail on a second-degree murder charge, and
seven others were charged with trying to help conceal the crime.
2008 The Seattle SuperSonics
basketball team was renamed Thunder following a move to Oklahoma
City. Ticket prices rose 34%.
(SSFC, 2/23/14, p.A14)
2009 Jan 12, In El Reno,
Oklahoma, a woman and her 4 children, aged 3-7, were found killed.
Texas officials the next day arrested the mother’s boyfriend, Joshua
Steven Durcho (25).
(SFC, 1/14/09, p.A3)
2009 Jan 28, President Barack
Obama signed requests from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Arkansas
Gov. Mike Beebe for federal emergency declarations as crews worked
around the clock to resurrect power lines downed by thick ice in
both states. Since the storm began building on Jan 26, the weather
has been blamed for at least six deaths in Texas, four in Arkansas,
three in Virginia, six in Missouri, two in Oklahoma, and one each in
Indiana and Ohio.
2009 Feb 10, In Oklahoma an
unusual cluster of twisters ripped across the state killing eight
people. The eight confirmed deaths included seven people in Lone
Grove and a truck driver who was driving through the area.
2009 May 19, In Oklahoma City
pharmacist Jerome Ersland (57), confronted by two holdup men,
pulled a gun, shot one of them in the head and chased the other
away. Then, in a scene recorded by the drugstore's security camera,
he went behind the counter, got another gun, and pumped five more
bullets into the wounded teenager. Ersland was soon charged with
first-degree murder. District Attorney David Prater later said
Ersland was justified in shooting Antwun Parker (16) once in the
head, but not in firing the additional shots into his belly.
2009 Jun 26, In Oklahoma 9
people died when a tractor-trailer slammed into a line of cars
stopped outside Miami, Okla. A 10th person died a few days later.
(SFC, 6/27/09, p.A4)(SFC, 6/29/09, p.A4)
2009 Sep 5, A small airplane
crashed into a Tulsa, Okla., park killing all 5 people on board.
(SSFC, 9/6/09, p.A7)
2009 Dec 15, Oral Roberts
(b.1918), preacher, televangelist and founder of the Oral Roberts
Univ. in Tulsa, Okla., died in Newport Beach, Ca. The pioneer
Oklahoma-based televangelist began broadcasting his revivals by
television in 1954.
12/15/09, p.C5)(Econ, 1/2/10, p.65)
2009 Oklahoma’s legislature
passed a bill ordering that a monumental version of the Ten
Commandments be placed in the grounds of its state capitol building,
but that the state would not pay for it. It was donated by bill
sponsor Mike Ritze and erected in Nov, 2012.
(Econ, 12/14/13, p.41)
2009 Oklahoma’s population
stood at about 3.6 million people.
(Econ, 11/14/09, p.31)
2010 Jan 29, A US storm that
toppled power lines, closed major highways and buried parts of the
southern Plains in heavy ice and snow began moving into the South,
leaving tens of thousands of people in the dark. Nearly 142,000
homes and businesses in Oklahoma were without power.
2010 Apr 27, The Oklahoma
Senate voted to override Gov. Brad. Henry’s veto of two abortion
bills, one that an abortion-rights group has said would be among the
nation’s strictest measures against the procedure. On July 19
Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich granted an injunction
blocking enforcement of the abortion law.
(SFC, 4/28/10, p.A6)(SFC, 7/20/10, p.A4)
2010 May 10, Several tornadoes
were reported in Oklahoma and Kansas. 5 people were killed and
dozens more injured. Flattened homes, toppled semitrailers and
downed power lines were left behind.
2010 Jun 14, Floodwaters
inundated parts of Oklahoma City following 10 inches of rain.
(SFC, 6/15/10, p.A6)
2010 Sep 8, Tropical Storm
Hermine swept north through Texas and into Oklahoma swamping city
neighborhoods and killing 6 people, 5 in Texas and 1 in Oklahoma.
(SFC, 9/9/10, p.A7)(SFC, 9/11/10, p.A4)
2010 Nov 2, Oklahoma voters
approved a measure that would forbid judges from considering
international law or Islamic law when deciding cases. The "Save Our
State Amendment" was approved by 70 percent of state voters. A
federal judge in Oklahoma City issued a court order in November 2010
barring the measure from taking effect. On Jan 10, 2012, a federal
appeals court upheld an injunction against the voter-approved ban on
Islamic law in Oklahoma, saying it likely violated the US
Constitution by discriminating against religion.
(SFC, 11/4/10, p.A9)(AP, 1/11/12)(AP, 1/10/12)
2010 Nov 2, Iowa (Terry
Branstad), Kansas (Sam Brownback), Maine (Paul LePage), Michigan
(Rick Snyder), New Mexico (Susana Martinez), Ohio (John Kasich),
Oklahoma (Mary Fallin), Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett), Tennessee (Bill
Haslam), Wisconsin (Scott Walker), Wyoming (Matt Mead) all replaced
the Democratic governors with Republicans. Snyder (R) defeated
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) by bragging about his managerial
(Econ, 11/6/10, p.45)
2010 Dec 16, Oklahoma executed
John David Duty (58) using a drug combination that included the
sedative pentobarbital, commonly used to euthanize animals. Duty had
strangled a cellmate nearly a decade ago.
(SFC, 12/17/10, p.A13)
2011 Feb 9, A second powerful
blizzard in a week roared through parts of the US midsection,
bringing biting winds and dumping more than a foot of snow on areas
still digging out from last week's major storm. Up to 2 feet of snow
fell on parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.
(AP, 2/9/11)(SFC, 2/10/11, p.A5)
2011 Apr 14, Storms began late
in the day in Oklahoma, where at least 5 tornadoes touched down and
two people were killed. The system then pushed into Arkansas,
killing 7 more.
2011 Apr 16, Vicious storms and
howling winds smacked the deep South, killing at least 7 people in
Alabama including three family members whose homes were tossed into
nearby woods. Combined with earlier reported fatalities in Arkansas
and Oklahoma, the confirmed death toll over 3 days rose to 16.
2011 Apr 17, A furious storm
system that kicked up tornadoes, flash floods and hail as big as
softballs has left at least 45 people dead on a rampage that
stretched for days as it barreled from Oklahoma to North Carolina
and Virginia. 11 people were confirmed dead in Bertie County, NC,
bringing the state's death toll to at least 18 people. Authorities
have said 7 died in Arkansas; 7 in Alabama; 2 in Oklahoma; one in
Mississippi and at least 5 in Virginia.
(AP, 4/17/11)(AP, 4/18/11)
2011 Apr 20, Oklahoma Gov. Mary
Fallin signed a pair of bills intended to further restrict abortion
in her state.
(SFC, 4/21/11, p.A6)
2011 May 3, Oklahoma City
reported a record drought, the longest there since record keeping
began in 1908.
(SFC, 5/4/11, p.A6)
2011 May 25, A violent storm
system powering through a wide swath of the Midwest and South
spawned tornadoes and powerful winds that turned homes into
splintered wreckage and cars into crumpled shells. At least 8 people
were killed in Oklahoma, 2 in Kansas and 3 in Arkansas.
2011 May 25, The death toll
from the May 22 tornado that savaged Joplin, Missouri, rose to 125.
A violent storm system across a wide swath of the Midwest and South
spawned tornadoes and powerful winds. 9 people were killed in
Oklahoma, 2 in Kansas and 4 in Arkansas.
2011 Jun 26, In Oklahoma the
Cherokee Nation election officials declared Bill John Baker as its
new leader. He unseated 3-term incumbent Chad Smith by 11 of 15,000
(SFC, 6/27/11, p.A4)
2011 Aug 22, The Cherokee
nation, the USA’s second-largest Indian tribe, formally booted from
membership thousands of descendants of black slaves who were brought
to Oklahoma more than 170 years ago by Native American owners.
2011 Nov 5, In Oklahoma a
5.6-magnitude earthquake hit the state with the epicenter located 44
miles east of Oklahoma City. It was felt as far away as Wisconsin
and South Carolina, but there were no serious injuries. The largest
earthquake previously recorded in Oklahoma was a 5.5-magnitude
tremor in 1952. In 2013 geologists said the Oklahoma quake and other
seismic activity in the central US was linked to the disposal of
wastewater from fracking operations for oil extraction.
(Reuters, 11/6/11)(SFC, 3/27/13, p.D3)
2012 Jan 5, In Oklahoma Gary
Roland Welch was executed by lethal injection for killing a man
during a knife fight nearly two decades ago.
(SFC, 1/6/12, p.A6)
2012 Mar 6, Ten US states voted
in the Super Tuesday Republican primaries. Republican presidential
frontrunner Mitt Romney edged out conservative rival Rick Santorum
in the vital battleground of Ohio and won five of the night's other
contests. Romney also notched victories in Alaska, Idaho, Vermont,
Virginia and his home-state of Massachusetts, while Santorum won
North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and Newt Gingrich carried his
home state of Georgia.
(SFC, 3/7/12, p.A6)(Econ, 3/10/12, p.18)
2012 Apr 6, In Oklahoma a
series of early-morning shootings left three people killed and two
others critically wounded within a three-mile span of north Tulsa.
On April 8 police arrested two white men, Jake England (19) and
Alvin Watts (32) in connection with the shootings. Both men soon
confessed to the shootings. On April 13 they were charged with first
(AP, 4/7/12)(AP, 4/8/12)(SFC, 4/10/12, p.A6)(SFC,
2012 Apr 15, In the area of
Woodward, Oklahoma, tornadoes killed at least 5 people and left at
least 29 injured. At least 8,000 were without power in the region.
About 75 tornadoes touched down in Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and
(AP, 4/14/12)(SFC, 4/17/12, p.A6)
2012 Jun 24, In Oklahoma two
freight trains collided near Goodwell and 3 crew members were
(SFC, 6/25/12, p.A5)
2012 Sep 8, In Oklahoma fierce
overnight thunderstorms carried a mobile home into a creek killing 3
people. A truck driver was killed when wind flipped his semi onto a
(SSFC, 9/9/12, p.A10)
2012 Nov 6, Oklahoma voters
approved a measure that wipes out all affirmative action programs in
state government hiring, education and contracting practices.
(SFC, 11/7/12, p.A10)
2012 Nov 6, Oklahoma executed
Garry Thomas Allen (56) for the 1986 killing of his fiancee, despite
claims that he was insane.
(SFC, 11/7/12, p.A5)
2012 Dec 14, Oklahoma police
arrested Sammie Eaglebear Chavez (18) on charges that he had plotted
to shoot students at Bartlesville High School.
(SSFC, 12/16/12, p.A12)
2013 Jan 7, In Oklahoma 4 young
women were found shot to death in a Tulsa apartment.
(SFC, 1/8/13, p.A5)
2013 Feb 22, In Oklahoma City a
medical helicopter crashed outside a nursing home killing 2 people
onboard and injuring a third.
(SFC, 2/23/13, p.A4)
2013 May 19, More than two
dozen tornadoes were spotted in parts of Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and
Illinois. A half-mile wide twister struck near Oklahoma City and at
least one person was killed.
2013 May 20, In Oklahoma a
mile-wide category 5 tornado with winds of up to 200 mph touched
down in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. 7 children were among the
24 people killed. Early estimated of damages ranged from $1.5-2
billion. In 2017 the Oklahoma City reached a settlement with the
families of the seven children for $14,000 each to settle a lawsuit
arising from construction of a Plaza Towers classroom addition where
the children were killed.
(AP, 5/21/13)(SFC, 5/22/13, p.A6)(Reuters,
5/26/13)(Econ, 5/25/13, p.30)(SFC, 6/14/17, p.A5)
2013 May 31, A 2.6-mile wide
tornado hit Oklahoma City and its suburbs with winds nearly 300 mph.
Storms and flash floods left 14 people dead. They included storm
chaser Tim Samaras, his son and another member of their team. 6
people remained missing.
(SFC, 6/1/13, p.A10)(AP, 6/1/13)(SFC, 6/4/13,
p.A4)(SFC, 6/5/13, p.A6)(Econ, 6/15/13, p.90)
2013 Aug 9, Christopher Lane
(22) of Melbourne, Australia, was shot once in the back as he was
jogging in Duncan, Okla. He died before paramedics arrived. On Aug
20 prosecutors charged two boys, Chancey Allen Luna (16) and James
Francis Edwards Jr. (15), with first-degree murder. A third boy,
Michael Dewayne Jones (17), was charged as an accessory to
first-degree murder after the fact. The boys said they were bored
and decided to shoot someone.
(Yahoo, 8/21/13)(AP, 2/4/14)
2013 Aug, The Oklahoma chapter
of the ACLU sued Oklahoma for violating a section of state law
forbidding the use of public property to support any system of
(Econ, 12/14/13, p.41)
2013 Sep 17, The Oklahoma
governor’s office confirmed that Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the
national Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for
same-sex couples. State voters had approved a constitutional
amendment in 2004 that prohibited giving benefits of marriage to gay
(SFC, 9/18/13, p.A7)
2013 Oct 12, In Oklahoma 5
people were shot at a Hmong New year’s festival in Tulsa. Meng Lee
(19) and Boonmlee (21) fled the scene, but were arrested the next
(SFC, 10/13/12, p.A4)
2013 Nov 23, In Oklahoma 4
people were slain and a 5th wounded after being shot at a residence
in Tulsa. Police said the home was the scene of several drug
(SFC, 11/25/13, p.A5)
2013 Nov 24, US media reported
that a major winter storm that has dumped freezing rain and snow in
the US southwest has killed at least 13 people in Arizona (1),
California (3), Oklahoma (4), New Mexico (1) and Texas (4).
2013 Dec 2, The Satanic Temple,
a New York-based group, launched a campaign to donate a monument to
stand next to Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma City.
(Econ, 12/14/13, p.41)
2013 Dec 28, In Oklahoma Harry
Carl Mapps (59) was arrested in a motel in Roland. He was suspected
of killing 3 people and setting fire to a home in Colorado on Nov
(SFC, 12/30/13, p.A6)
2014 Jan 9, In Oklahoma an
African American man was put to death for murdering a store manager
with a baseball bat. This was the second US execution of 2014.
Michael Lee Wilson (38) was the third man put to death for the
murder of Richard Yost, beaten with a baseball bat and found in the
freezer of his supermarket in Tulsa in February 1995.
2014 Jan 14, A US federal judge
struck down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage. He immediately
stayed the ruling pending appeals.
(SFC, 1/15/14, p.A4)
2014 Jan 22, TransCanada began
delivering oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to customers in Nederland,
Texas, through the southern portion of the proposed Keystone XL
(SFC, 1/23/14, p.A6)
2014 Apr 27, A broad tornado
killed at least 15 when it sliced through Arkansas at the start of
the US tornado season. Two more people were killed died in Iowa and
(Reuters, 4/28/14)(Reuters, 4/29/14)
2014 Apr 29, Oklahoma halted a
double execution after Clayton Lockett (38) appeared to twitch and
gag after being declared unconscious. Vein failure was cited.
Locket, convicted of shooting a woman in 1999 and having buried her
alive, soon died of a heart attack. The execution of Charles Warner
(46) was stayed for 14 days. He had been convicted of the rape and
murder of an 11-month-old girl in 1997.
(SFC, 4/30/14, p.A9)
2014 May 16, Clyde Snow
(b.1928), American forensic anthropologist, died in Norman, Ok. His
work took him around the world to examine the slaughter of
2014 Jul 18, A US federal
appeals court ruled that Oklahoma must allow gay couples to wed,
prompting an angry respnse from state leaders.
(SFC, 7/19/14, p.A5)
2014 Aug 5, In Oklahoma Tulsa
police officers Shannon Kepler (54) and Gina Kepler (48) who are
married, were arrested in the fatal shooting of Jeremy Lake (19) who
was walking with their daughter. Lisa Kepler (18) said the next day
that her parents had kicked her out of their home a week ago, and
she said was living with Lake at the time of the shooting. On July
7, 2017, a third mistrial was declared in the murder case against
officer Shannon Kepler.
(AP, 8/6/14)(SFC, 7/8/17, p.A6)
2014 Aug 13, Former Oklahoma
doctor William Valuck (71) pleaded guilty to 8 counts of 2nd-degree
murder in connection with the drug overdose deaths of several
patients. The plea deal called for eight years in prison.
(SFC, 8/14/14, p.A7)
2014 Aug 21, Oklahoma police
officer Daniel Ken Holtzclaw (27) was arrested on complaints of
sexually assaulting at least six women during traffic stops.
(SFC, 8/23/14, p.A6)
2014 Aug 25, In Tulsa,
Oklahoma, a man (35) fatally shot his estranged wife (22), their
5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son before shooting himself. The
victims were all from Guatemala.
2014 Sep 15, Oklahoma state
trooper Eric Roberts (42) was arrested on complaints of kidnapping,
rape and othercrimes after three women alleged the officer sexually
assaulted them while he was on duty.
(SFC, 9/16/14, p.A6)
2014 Sep 25, In Oklahoma Alton
Nolen (30), just fired from work, severed the head of Colleen
Hufford (54) and attacked another worker at a Vaughan Foods
processing plant in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, before he was
shot and wounded.
(SFC, 9/27/14, p.A6)
2014 Sep 26, In Oklahoma 4
women’s softball players from North Texas Central College were
killed when an 18-wheel truck crashed into the side of their team
(SSFC, 9/28/14, p.A15)
2014 Oct 6, The US Supreme
Court denied review of cases in five states that had limited
marriage to opposite sex couples. This in effect granted equal
marriage rights to gays and lesbians in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah,
Virginia and Wisconsin.
(SFC, 10/7/14, p.A1)
2014 Nov 4, The Oklahoma
Supreme Court put on hold a state law restricting abortions while
the issue is argued in a lower court. The law had gone into effect
on Nov 1.
(SFC, 11/5/14, p.A7)
2015 Jan 15, Oklahoma executed
Charles Frederick Warner for raping and killing an 11-month-old
girl. An autopsy later revealed that the wrong drug was used to stop
the inmate’s heart. Corrections officials used potassium acetate,
not potassium chloride, as required under state protocol.
(http://tinyurl.com/p9lhow9)(SFC, 10/9/15, p.A6)
2015 Mar 9, Univ. of Oklahoma
Pres. David Boren severed the school’s ties with national fraternity
Sigma Alpha Epsilon and ordered its on campus house to be shuttered
after several members took part in a racist chant caught in an
online video. Two students were expelled the following day.
(SFC, 3/10/15, p.A6)(SFC, 3/11/15, p.A7)
2015 Apr 2, In Oklahoma Eric
Courtney Harris, a black man, died after being shot by Robert
Charles Bates (73), a white deputy, after selling drugs to an
undercover officer in Tulsa County. The reserve deputy in an
apparent error used a gun instead of an intended Taser.
(SFC, 4/13/15, p.A5)
2015 May 7, Residents of
Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and northern Texas cleaned up after
overnight storms spawned 51 tornadoes that left at least one person
(SFC, 5/8/15, p.A8)
2015 May 24, In Texas a
five-year drought came to a dramatic end, as a straight month of
rain built into a torrent that destroyed more than 1,000 homes. At
least 21 people were killed, including 5 in Houston, as spectacular
flash flooding hit Texas and Oklahoma.
(AFP, 5/25/15)(Reuters, 5/27/15)(SFC, 5/28/15,
2015 Jun 18, In Oklahoma
Tropical Depression Bill pelted the state with heavy rains that
swept a two-year-old toddler away overnight in flood waters and
triggered a rockslide that piled boulders on a major highway.
2015 Jul 23, Oklahoma police
found 5 members of the Bever family either dead or dying and a girl
(13) stabbed but alive near the front door of a home in Broken
Arrow. Brothers Michael (16) and Robert Bever (18) were taken into
custody. Both faced trial as adults.
(SFC, 7/24/15, p.A11)(SFC, 7/25/15, p.A4)(SFC,
2015 Aug 3, Oklahoma regulators
imposed new restrictions on energy companies injecting wastewater
underground, in the latest effort to stem a sharp increase in
2015 Sep 13, In Oklahoma
violence erupted at the for-profit Cimarron Correctional Facility in
Cushing. 3 inmates were stabbed to death. A 4th died overnight.
(SFC, 9/14/15, p.A5)
2015 Sep 18, The Oklahoma
Corporation Commission (OCC), which regulates the state's oil and
gas industry, ordered companies to shut or reduce usage of five
saltwater disposal wells around the north-central Oklahoma city of
Cushing. Days later an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.5 struck
near the crude oil hub of Cushing.
2015 Sep 29, In Oklahoma a
panel that oversees artwork at the statehouse voted 7-1 to authorize
the removal of a granite monument depicting the Ten Commandments
after the state’s highest court ruled that it violated the state
(SFC, 9/30/15, p.A7)
2015 Oct 2, Oklahoma’s highest
criminal court agreed to halt all executions after the state’s
prison system received the wrong drug for a lethal injection this
(SFC, 10/3/15, p.A6)
2015 Oct 24, In Oklahoma 4
people were killed and dozens more injured after Adacia Avery
Chambers (25), suspected of driving under the influence, crashed
into a crowd attending an Oklahoma State University homecoming
parade in Stillwater.
(AP, 10/2515)(AFP, 10/2515)
2015 Nov 5, In Oklahoma some
1,000 barrels of crude oil spilled from a rural pipeline owned by
magellan Midstream Partners.
(SFC, 11/7/15, p.A5)
2015 Nov 19, A magnitude 4.7
earthquake struck northern Oklahoma.
2015 Nov 30, Oklahoma Governor
Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency after storms over the
weekend caused floods, coated roads with ice and left about 60,000
customers without power.
2015 Dec 16, In Oklahoma a man
began firing randomly from a pickup truck and killed 2 people on
I-40. A suspect was arrested the next day following a 25-mile chase.
(SFC, 12/18/15, p.A9)
2016 Jan 21, Oklahoma City
police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was ordered to spend the rest of his
life in prison for preying on women in 2013 and 2014.
(SFC, 1/22/16, p.A10)
2016 Mar 2, In Oklahoma City
Aubrey McClendon (56), co-founder of Chesapeake Energy and a
part-owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, drove his SUV into a
wall a day after he was indicted for conspiring to rig bids to buy
oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.
(SFC, 3/3/16, p.C2)(Econ, 3/5/16, p.58)
2016 Mar 7, US regulators asked
oil and gas producers in central Oklahoma to restrict wastewater
disposal operations to help curb a spike in the number and severity
(SFC, 3/8/16, p.A7)
2016 Mar 7, Matthew Lane Durham
(21), a former missionary from Edmond, Okla., was sentenced to 40
years in federal prison after being convicted of sexually abusing
children at an orphanage in Kenya in 2014.
(SFC, 3/8/16, p.A7)
2016 Mar 22, In Oklahoma a
wildfire began and spread to Kansas. By Easter it covered 620 square
miles making it the biggest wildfire in Kansas history.
(SFC, 3/28/16, p.A4)
2016 Apr 6, Kansas and Oklahoma
authorities said wildfires this week have burned through thousands
of acres, scorched numerous structures and prompted hundreds of
people to evacuate their homes ahead of the blazes.
2016 May 12, In Oklahoma the
Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 landed in Tulsa after taking off from
Arizona on the latest leg of its around-the-world journey.
(SFC, 5/14/16, p.A6)
2016 Sep 3, In Oklahoma a 5.6
earthquake, one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the
state, rattled the area northwest of Pawnee, fueling growing concern
about seismic activity linked to energy production.
(Reuters, 9/3/16)(SSFC, 9/4/16, p.A8)
2016 Sep 16, Oklahoma police
Officer Betty Shelby shot a black man who ignored repeated requests
to put up his hands before reaching into an SUV that was stalled in
the middle of a street in Tulsa. Terence Crutcher (40) died at a
hospital following the shooting. Police dash cam video showed
Crutcher with his hands up and no weapon was found at the scene.
(SSFC, 9/19/16, p.A11)(SFC, 919/16, p.A5)(SFC,
2016 Sep 22, In Oklahoma Tulsa
prosecutors charged police Officer Betty Shelby with first-degree
manslaughter in the Sep 16 shooting of Terence Crutcher. On May 17,
2017, a jury acquitted Shelby of first-degree murder.
(SFC, 9/23/16, p.A8)(SFC, 5/19/17, p.A7)
2016 Oct 4, Oklahoma’s Supreme
Court threw out another state law that would put new restrictions on
(SFC, 10/5/16, p.A5)
2016 Oct 23, In Oklahoma
Michael Vance (38) shot two police officers, stole a patrol car,
carjacked another car and then killed his aunt and uncle in Luther.
On Oct 30 Vance was shot and killed in a gunbattle with state
troopers near Leedey.
(SFC, 10/25/16, p.A6)(SFC, 11/1/16, p.A10)
2016 Oct 24, A leak prompted
the Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC to shut one of the largest
pipeline systems feeding crude from the US oil storage hub in
Cushing, Oklahoma to Gulf coast refineries. Enterprise said much of
it was contained in a retention pond at Enbridge's facility.
2016 Nov 6, In central Oklahoma
a 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Cushing. The state recorded
19 earthquakes in the past week. Scientists have linked the sharp
increase to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas
(SFC, 11/7/16, p.A5)
2016 Nov 8, California,
Nebraska and Oklahoma voted to reinstate or otherwise support the
death penalty. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts had poured some $400,000
of his family’s money to finance the death penalty referendum.
(SFC, 11/10/16, p.A7)(AFP, 11/12/16)(Econ,
2017 Jan 18, Oklahoma Attorney
General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead
the Environmental Protection Agency, said he would honor the
Congressional intent and timetables of the U.S. Renewable Fuel
2017 Jan 29, An American
Airlines flight arrived in Miami from Bogota, Colombia. It was
flagged for maintenance and sent to Tulsa where seven bricks of
cocaine were found in the nose gear.
(SFC, 1/31/17, p.A5)
2017 Feb 17, The US Senate
approved former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt, a climate change
skeptic, has been an ardent critic of the agency for years.
(SFC, 2/18/17, p.A7)
2017 Feb 22, More than 6,000
e-mails were made public that showed close ties between Scott
Pruitt, the new administrator of the EPA, with major oil and gas
producers, electric utilities and political groups tied to the Koch
brothers and their efforts to roll back environmental regulations
during Pruitt’s tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma.
(SFC, 2/23/17, p.A4)
2017 Mar 8, Wildfires in
Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas left 6 people dead along with
some 2,500 adult cattle and 1,000 calves.
(SFC, 3/9/17, p.A7)
2017 Mar 29, In Oklahoma and
Texas six people were killed and nearly 200,000 customers were
without electric power after overnight storms brought tornadoes,
torrential rain and hail to large parts of the states.
(Reuters, 3/29/17)(SFC, 3/30/17, p.A12)
2017 Apr 1, Acclaimed Russian
poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko (b.1932) died in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1961
he gained international acclaim with the poem “Babi Yar," that told
of the Nazi slaughter of almost 34,000 Jews and denounced the
anti-Semitism that had spread throughout the Soviet Union.
(SSFC, 4/2/17, p.C11)(Econ, 4/22/17, p.82)
2017 Apr 20, The Cherokee
Nation sued distributors and retailers of opioid medications for
contributing to an epidemic of opioid abuse in the 14 Oklahoma
counties that comprise the Cherokee Nation.
(SFC, 4/21/17, p.A5)
2017 May 16, In the central US
storms that stretched from Texas to the Great Lakes spawned 29
twisters that killed two people in Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
(SFC, 5/18/17, p.A4)
2017 Jul 6, Federal prosecutors
said Oklahoma-based craft store chain Hobby Lobby has agreed to pay
a $3 million federal fine and forfeit thousands of ancient Iraqi
religious artifacts smuggled from the Middle East.
(SFC, 7/7/17, p.A7)
2017 Jul 9, In Oklahoma
hundreds of prisoners began rioting late today at the federal Great
Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton. Authorities gained control
the next morning after about eight hours.
(SFC, 7/11/17, p.A7)
2017 Aug 12, US federal
officials arrested Jerry Drake Varnell (23) of Sayre, Okla., in
connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb in an alley
adjacent to BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City.
(SFC, 8/1517, p.A5)