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date: 28 January 2020

Gilcrease, Thomaslocked

(08 February 1890–06 May 1962)
  • Martha A. Sandweiss


Gilcrease, Thomas (08 February 1890–06 May 1962), oilman and art collector, was born William Thomas Gilcrease in Robeline, Louisiana, the son of William Lee Gilcrease and Mary Elizabeth Vowell, farmers. When Tom was an infant, the family moved to Indian Territory where his mother, who was one-quarter Creek, was entitled to live. As the eldest of fourteen children, Gilcrease grew up working on the family farm and attending school only sporadically. In 1896, when the federal government ordered the Five Civilized Tribes to compile membership rolls in preparation for an allotment of land, Gilcrease became an official member of the Creek tribe by virtue of his one-eighth blood heritage. In 1899 he was awarded his 160-acre plot of land. It proved an immensely lucky piece of property. Located twenty miles south of Tulsa, the land was in the middle of the Glenn Pool, one of the most profitable oil fields in Oklahoma....

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