Nuyaka School and Orphanage

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Nuyaka Mission
Established 1882
Alternate Names
  • Nuyaka School and Orphange


The Nuyaka Mission was established in 1882 approximately 15.7 miles west of the intersection of U.S. Route 75 and State Highway 56 (6th Street) in the City of Okmulgee. The mission was established by Alice Mary Robertson and the Creek Council, and run by the Presbyterian Church.

Nuyaka Mission was named for the nearby Creek town of Nuyaka. According to one source, the name Nuyaka is from the Creek pronunciation for New York, which was the site of a meeting between President George Washington and 26 Creek chiefs. Reportedly, the Creeks were so impressed with New York City that they named one of their towns for it. White men wrote the town name as Nuyaka. Ironically, some of the official correspondence cited by Carolyn Thomas Foreman, gives the name as "New Yorker Mission" and "Nuyarker Mission."

The mission consisted of four buildings. One building contained a chapel/assembly room and some school class rooms. The second building held the superintendent's apartment and housed the boys. The other two buildings were cottages that housed the girls and the teachers who supervised them. Initially, the mission enrolled 70 boys and girls. It had 7 female teachers and one man who supervised the boys after school hours. Rev. Thomas Ward Perryman, a Creek who had been educated at Tullahassee Mission, was the first pastor and taught religious classes.

Per the granite marker at the site: "Established in 1882 by the Creek Council, Nuyaka Mission was a boarding school for Boys and Girls by the Presbyterians from 1884 to 1899. The Creek Tribe then operated the school for ten years. From 1909 until 1921 it was operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. From 1921 to 1933 it was operated by the Baptists."

In 1936, the buildings were removed and E.E. Mount bought the site to prevent its destruction. In 1937, his daughter and son-in-law, Oakla and Bill Spears, bought the site and lived in the Dormitory Superintendent's home for 54 years. Interested in the site's history, they interviewed former students and children of former superintendents. Their efforts led to the preservation of the property which they donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1992.