Our History

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.

It 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.

The 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.

St. John’s Episcopal Church
522 W. Canadian St. | P.O. Box 165 | Vinita, OK 74301
(918) 256-3766