Chisholm Trail Museum605 Zellers Avenue
Kingfisher, OK 73750-4228
Director: Jason Harris
Curator: Taylor Mills
Assistant Curator: Kimberly Ross
Monday through Saturday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(up to 6 people)
Use of drones over Oklahoma Historical Society property is not permitted without written approval of the facility director.
Chisholm Trail Museum and A. J. Seay Mansion
COVID-19 Safety Measures
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, occupancy may be limited. We ask that you practice social distancing by staying six feet away from staff and visitors who are not in your party.
OHS is requiring face masks in all public areas. Due to current COVID-19 conditions and Oklahoma State Department of Health guidelines, all visitors, staff, volunteers, contractors, and vendors are required to wear face masks in public areas of OHS facilities.
Bridging the Chisholm Trail through Indian Territory
Now on exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Museum is Bridging the Chisholm Trail through Indian Territory. The largest exhibit ever constructed at the museum, it emphasizes the history of the Chisholm Trail as it relates to Indian Territory and present-day north-central Oklahoma. During museum hours visitors may also tour the Pioneer Village, which includes two log cabins, a one-room schoolhouse, a church, and one of Kingfisher’s first banks. Admission to the Chisholm Trail Museum also includes admission to the A. J. Seay Mansion located just the street.
This property is managed by Chisholm Trail Museum, Inc. For more information, visit the Chisholm Trail Museum’s website at www.ctokmuseum.org.
History of the Chisholm Trail
Once the greatest cattle trail in the world, the Chisholm Trail served to get Texas cattle north to the Kansas railheads from which they were shipped to the other parts of the country. The main stem of the Chisholm Trail ran along what is now US 81. Cattle were first moved over the trail in 1867. In the ten years from 1867 to 1877, more than three million head of cattle passed through Oklahoma to Kansas.
The trail blazed was named after Jesse Chisholm, a mixed-blood Cherokee guide and trader. Chisholm had moved trade goods over a part of the route and travelers began referring to it as Chisholm’s Trail. In Kingfisher County all three parts of the trail can be seen; the Chisholm Trail Museum is located directly on this famous trail. To learn more about the Chisholm Trail, visit The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
Visitors can step back in time while touring historic structures in the Pioneer Village, including an early Kingfisher Bank, Gant Schoolhouse, Harmony Church, a jail cell, Dalton Cabin, and Cole Cabin.
A. J. Seay Mansion
The A. J. Seay Mansion was built by Abraham Jefferson Seay (1832–1915) in hopes that Kingfisher would be the capital of Oklahoma Territory. Governor Seay served as the third territorial governor from 1892 to 1893. He built the three-story mansion named Horizon Hill for approximately $11,000 on fifteen acres of land just outside of Kingfisher, Oklahoma Territory. The mansion was completed in March of 1892 and hosted dignitaries present for the Cheyenne and Arapaho land opening. The mansion includes a reception hall, library, a ballroom, seven fireplaces, and a distinctive domed-roof tower. The A. J. Seay Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
About A. J. Seay
Abraham Jefferson Seay had a distinguished career long before he was appointed the third governor of Oklahoma Territory. He was born in Virginia, but his family moved to Missouri when he was three years old. At age twenty-one, he worked on a construction crew of the Missouri Pacific Railroad to pay for his education. Later, he taught school and studied law, and was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1861. Shortly after passing the bar and beginning his law practice, he joined the Union army as a private to fight in the Civil War, ultimately attaining the rank of colonel.
After the war, he returned to the legal profession and entered politics as a Republican. He served as a county attorney and as a circuit judge, operated a private law firm, and later became a bank president. When the territorial government for Oklahoma was being established in 1890, Seay was appointed associate justice on the Territorial Supreme Court by President Benjamin Harrison. On February 1, 1892, Seay resigned his position and was inaugurated as the third governor of Oklahoma Territory. His tenure lasted only sixteen months with one of his most significant actions being the opening of the Cheyenne and Arapaho district to settlement. Seay was an enthusiastic advocate for the territory and he encouraged the legislature to fund an exhibit for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
Governor Seay worked to raise funds for education, and supported educational opportunities for African American children. He increased public school township sections lease revenue and helped secure funds for higher education facilities. On leaving office in 1893, he returned to his home in Kingfisher where he remained active in business and Republican politics. He moved to California in 1909. Seay died December 22, 1915, and was buried in Kingfisher.
Visit The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture to find out more about Abraham Jefferson Seay.
The Abraham Jefferson Seay Collection
The Oklahoma Historical Society Research Center in Oklahoma City houses the Abraham Jefferson Seay Collection (M2012.236). It contains his war diary from 1864, copies of correspondence, his last will and testament, and Seay family genealogy. The Governor Abraham Jefferson Seay Papers 1862–1916 are available on microfilm (Roll OHS-100) in the Research Center.