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William Thomas Gilcrease
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Birth: Feb. 8, 1890
Vowells Mill
Natchitoches Parish
Louisiana, USA
Death: May 6, 1962
Tulsa County
Oklahoma, USA

Creek Indian oilman and art collector. At the age of nine, William Thomas Gilcrease, one-eighth Creek, was awarded his allotment of 160 acres located about twenty miles south of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1905, oil was discovered in this area, and his land being astride the Glen Pool Reserve, made him a multi-millionaire by the time he was twenty. He founded the Gilcrease Oil Company in 1922 and was able to purchase more land. He had his company headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, in 1937, and also maintained a office in Europe. In 1949, the headquarters of the company returned to Tulsa. During the 1920s and 1930s being inspired by collections of European art museums, he began to collect oil paintings and other artifacts of the American West. His collection expanded over the next twenty years, with the majority of art obtained after 1939; he created a museum the Gilcrease Museum, located on the grounds of his estate in 1949. Due to declining oil prices in the 1950s, he sold his collection to the people of Tulsa. He died of a heart attack, is buried on the grounds of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He was the son of William Lee Gilcrease b. 8 Jan 1868 in Winn Parish, LA, and Mary Elizabeth Vowell (Muscogee-Creek)b. 25 Nov 1873, Robeline, Natchitoches Parish, LA.

He married on 22 Aug 1908 in Harrisonville, Cass Co., MO, (1) Belle Harlow b. 24 Sep 1893; they had the following children: William Thomas b. 23 Jul 1909 in OK, and Barton Eugene Gilcrease b. 12 Apr 1911 in Tulsa, OK.

He married on 3 Sep 1928 in Tulsa, OK, (2) Norma Smallwood b. 25 May 1909; they had one daughter: Des Cygne L'Amour Gilcrease b. 12 Jun 1919 in Tulsa.


The Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art —Gilcrease Museum — opened in Tulsa on May 3, 1949. Collector and oilman Thomas Gilcrease (1890-1962) created this private museum. The vast collection was deeded to the City of Tulsa in 1955 as a result of a successful bond issue passed in 1954.

Gilcrease Museum History

Family links: 
  William Lee Gilcrease (1868 - 1913)
  Mary Elizabeth Vowell Gilcrease (1873 - 1935)
  Norma Des Cygne Smallwood Bruce (1908 - 1966)
  Belle M. Harlow Gilcrease (1893 - 1979)*
  Thomas Gilcrease (1909 - 1967)*
  Eugene Barton Gilcrease (1911 - 1991)*
  Des Cygne Gilcrease Denney (1929 - 1968)*
  William Thomas Gilcrease (1890 - 1962)
  Edward Jackson Gilcrease (1892 - 1960)*
  Benjamin Everett Gilcrease (1894 - 1986)*
  Florence E. Gilcrease Pugh (1898 - 1995)*
  Elmer Lee Gilcrease (1903 - 1980)*
  Bessie Marie Gilcrease Hawkins (1904 - 1961)*
  Connie Watson Gilcrease (1908 - 1980)*
  Perry Hamilton Gilcrease (1911 - 1970)*
  Jewell Wanita Gilcrease Willard (1913 - 1967)*
*Calculated relationship
Gilcrease Museum Grounds
Tulsa County
Oklahoma, USA
Created by: Alice P.
Record added: Jun 13, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27532085
William Thomas Gilcrease
Added by: Rick Moore
William Thomas Gilcrease
Added by: Pammy In Oklahoma
William Thomas Gilcrease
Added by: DSH
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- Old Coot
 Added: May. 22, 2014

- Sharon
 Added: May. 13, 2014

- Camp
 Added: May. 7, 2011
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