In the late 1830's, the Cherokee people from Georgia, Tennessee, and North
Carolina were forcibly removed to lands west of the Mississippi River (The
Trail of Tears). Large numbers of them founded the area now known as
Northeast Oklahoma and established thriving farms and ranches. Shortly
after the Civil War, as the nation renewed its expansion west and south, the
Missouri-Kansas-Texas and the Atlantic and Pacific railroads crossed in Indian
Territory. Prominent Cherokee citizens, understanding the importance of
transportation facilities, created a township at the junction of the two
railroads now named Vinita.
soon attracted settlers from the East, creating a cultural mix of Native Americans and European
Americans. Although it was a frontier town, it was no longer "wild
and woolly." Early in its history, it became a school and church
town populated by people determined to provide educational and cultural as well
as economic opportunities. It has never been a boom town, but from a
small beginning in 1872, it has steadily grown, keeping pace with development
of the surrounding country.
formation of St. John's Church dates back to around 1892 when a group organized the first
Episcopal Mission in the area. The Rt. Rev. F.K. Brooks, Bishop of
Oklahoma and Indian Territory, was instrumental in the formal establishment of
the church. Having no building, the church leased the Congregational
church when not used by the Congregationalists. In October 1900, a small
frame building was constructed and used until 1960. At that time, the
present brick church was built.