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John Joseph Mathews Historic Cabin Tour


A view of the outside of John Joseph Mathew's historic cabin which has a stone facade and a sunroom.
Historic Cabin Home of famed author, John Joseph Mathews, at the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. © Harvey Payne/TNC


Event Overview

See the restored historic cabin of famed Osage author, John Joseph Mathews. He was considered to be one of the Osage Nation’s most important spokespeople and writers. He wrote the majority of his works in this cabin which he called "The Blackjacks" while also serving on the Osage Tribal Council.

His book Talking to the Moon (1945) is a narrative of the first ten years he spent living in his cabin on the prairie of his homeland, observing nature and reflecting on the influence of the environment on Osage culture. It is a combination of autobiography, philosophical treatise and the work of an amateur naturalist; some critics compared it to Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Read his full story: An Osage Historian on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.

Every fourth Saturday from April to October, meet at 10 a.m. at the scenic turnout,  “T” intersection, of the south entrance of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve where the blacktop ends. Be on the lookout for the TNC flag! A caravan will lead to the cabin from there. The tour will be led by a Docent who will give the history of the famed author and his cabin. 

Click here for a detailed map of the meetup location.

Sturdy shoes, long pants, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended and remember to bring your camera and binoculars.


Attendance is limited. To sign up for a tour, please click on the dates below: 

Each person on the tour must have signed a release that will be provided before the tour. Any minor children must have their release signed by their parent or guardian. Any person without a signed release cannot be allowed to go on the tour.


See Inside (9:46) Storytellers Harvey Payne and Patricia Webster give us an inside look at John Joseph Mathews and his historic cabin.