Monday, November 19, 2007

Did Henry Overholser steal the seal?

A cousin writes: "Seems there is some story about an Overholser stealing the state charter from Guthrie and moving it (thus the capital) to OKC. You got anything on that?"

My reply: Hmmm, I've never heard anything about an Overholser connection to this story, but Guthrie residents have long maintained that Gov. Haskell "stole" the state seal from the capitol in Guthrie in the dark of night and took it to OKC. But from what I can make out from various sources, the story is exaggerated at best. There was an election to determine whether OKC or Guthrie should be the capital in June of 1910, and OKC won. Gov. Haskell sent his secretary for the seal that night, but the clerk there handed it over willingly. The election and the move were questionable legally, since an earlier law said that the capital could not be moved until 1913, but the courts ruled in OKC's favor.

This Tulsa World story sums it up pretty well.

I'm sure that Henry Overholser was a proponent of moving the capital, as it would have been good for his real estate interests. But there's nothing to suggest that he took the law (or the seal!) into his own hands. . . .

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