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Oklahoma Family Tree Stories

This beautiful sculpture of three redbud trees with gold and silver leaves by artist Robin Starke is located just outside the Eleanor & John Kirkpatrick Research Center in the Oklahoma History Center. Each leaf of the "Oklahoma Family Tree" memorializes an Oklahoma family with the family surname, first name(s), and the town or county where they lived. In addition, a short family history will be preserved in the digital family history book at the base of the tree. This is a great way for your family to make history and benefit future generations at the same time. To find out how to honor your own family with a leaf visit the Oklahoma Family Tree Project page.

Epperson Family

Shortly after they were married, John and Sarah (Epperson) Cook came to Indian Territory in a covered wagon in 1889. They returned to Missouri before participated in a second land run. They were living in a sod house when John's mother, Elizabeth (Collette) Cook, who accompanied them on the second land run, died in the winter of 1892. She was buried at the cemetery at SW 59th and Council Grove Road in Oklahoma City. A headstone was never installed at her gravesite.

Sarah's mother, Rebecca (Cantrell) Epperson, died in childbirth in 1889. She and her husband, Lot Epperson, had eight children. According to Sarah's granddaughter, Noreen Pramberg, her grandmother was a twin, and the families were separated. When her mother (Rebecca) died, her parents were living in a tent.

In 1905 John and Sarah Cook were living in Skiatook, Indian Territory.

Jesse "Bart" Loveless and his wife, Cadelia (Brooks) Loveless, arrived in the Twin Territories from Ellis County, Texas, where Jesse's father was a minister. They were buried in a family plot with the Castleman family in Maguire Cemetery. Jesse lived in Noble, Oklahoma, at the time of his death in the 1940s.

According to Noreen (Cook) Pramberg, her grandmother, Ira Mae (Castleman) Loveless, described the Castlemans as a very large family. Her great-grandfather died before they secured land in Oklahoma. She was told that two of their sons stole her grandmother's cattle and sold them. Records of the theft remain on file with the Texas Rangers.

Later generations of the Cook, Loveless, and Epperson families are documented in two books shelved at the Oklahoma Historical Society.

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