Oklahoma’s Oldest Indian Cemetery

Yesterday after running errands I was driving past by a small cemetery and decided to stop.

The cemetery has an iron fence around it located on 32nd and Utica. It is surrounded by a residential neighborhood.

It is called Perryman Cemetery.

I found this information online about the graves there. It is Oklahoma’s oldest Indian cemetery.

The cemetery has approximately fifty people buried there and a small number of unmarked graves.

I decided to look up more history about this small cemetery.

The Perrymans were instrumental in the foundation of Tulsa during the 19th century.

The cemetery was laid out in its current location in 1848 by Lewis Perryman.

Then an outbreak of cholera in the Broken Arrow area forced his family to move to the settlement of “Tulsey Tulova.”

Lewis Perryman built a log cabin near what is now 33rd and Rockford. He ran a successful cattle operation in the years before the Civil War.

Lewis fled to Kansas at the outbreak of the war and died there in 1862.

The Perryman family, friends and unknown soldiers in the Civil War are buried in the cemetery.

By the 1960s, the Perryman Cemetery had fallen into disrepair. The grounds were overgrown and grave markers were vandalized.

Forced relocation of the bodies buried at the cemetery and development of the land was a real possibility.

But then it was deeded to the Tulsa Historical Society in 1971.

The gift was considered as “giving us the history of the Perryman family, which is Tulsa.”


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  1. Always enjoy reading your stories, thanks so much for putting a smile on my face.


  2. My mother played with the Perryman children in that big house in front of the cemetery. Right on the corner of 32st and Utica. The Perryman’s were the first to build a trading post and post office. Barges(believe it or not) came up the Mississippi to the Arkansas then to Tulsa. The of course was much wider and deeper. I live about 3 blocks from the river and it is considered river bottom land. Very interesting story about the Creek Indians.

  3. I grew up about 8 blocks from the Indian cemetery you are writing about. We explored it as kids. ❤️

  4. The history is interesting and gives such valuable information. Thank you fro sharing.

  5. Some ancestry information we found in Alabama gave us a great deal of more information when we researched more via Ancestry.com…it is a great gift when someone’s headstone tells their full name as well as the full name of both parents!!!

  6. Brenda I’m not sure if you got tested for covid or not yesterday but if you did you shouldn’t be out running errands. The results usually take 3 days. You are suppose to quarantine til then.

  7. My daughter and I love researching cemeteries. We found out some very interesting information about our ancestors !

    1. Have you listened to Yanni, The Piano Guys, Jim Brickman or Enya? They are all wonderfully soothing … try them. 🙂

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