I spent some time researching the cause of Oscar Hunt’s death. First, I thought if I could locate his death certificate, I would find out what caused his death. I quickly learned that death certificates were not issued in Oklahoma till later that year and were not required then. It was some time that death certificates were routinely issued in Oklahoma.
Next, I thought if I could locate the court records, they might contain something about his death. Because newspaper articles stated that his case was in Federal Court at Afton, Oklahoma, I contacted the Northern District Court in Tulsa. Their clerk informed me that the court did not exist until 1922 and referred me to the Eastern District Court in Muskogee. Their records don’t start until later in 1907 and a quick check of their card file found nothing. The clerk suggested that I contact the county court. Since Afton is split between two counties, Jay and Ottawa, it was necessary to contact both of them. Unfortunately, they had no records prior to statehood. A clerk did recommend that I contact the Muskogee Court House because that court was older than many others. Muskogee had nothing prior to statehood, either.
No one seems to know if records for trials that took place in Indian Territory still exist and, if they do, where they are preserved. My next stop is at the National Archives in Fort Worth. I fear that finding Hunt’s legal records will be like looking for a needle in a haystack.