History of "Go Ye" Mission and Markoma

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  • Thomas "Tom" Graham moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Tahlequah in 1905. One of his brothers was the father of evangelist Billy Graham. In 1921 the Graham family acquired 550 acres southwest of Tahlequah. The property included a farmhouse that was built around 1918 on the foundation of the Cherokee Male Seminary. The farmhouse would soon become known as the Graham House. Tom Graham owned seventeen cotton gins in Oklahoma, including one in Tahlequah near Muskogee Avenue and the downtown creek. He also owned a mill and elevator located between Oklahoma Highway 51 and Keetoowah Street in Tahlequah. Early access to the Graham Farm was along Stick Ross Mountain Road, which was named after a man named Stick Ross who lived in a log cabin on the "mountain side" of the Graham Farm. Stick Ross moved from North Carolina to work for Tom Graham in his cotton gins. In addition to being a businessman, Tom Graham was the first farmer in the state of Oklahoma to perform "contour terracing farming."


  • Rev. Solomon Mouttet, chair of the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Bible Academy and pastor of a church near Inola, Oklahoma, and his wife send out missionaries from their home near Inola, Oklahoma, southwest of Chouteau. Rev. Mouttet and "his trusty Model A Ford" transport "workers" with the missionary effort "from place to place." This is the beginning of an outreach program to spread the Gospel in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas, and marks the beginning of what will be named "Go Ye" Mission.
  • Daily Vacation Bible Schools are started for children to attend during summer months.


  • The mission program that started in 1943 grows to include eleven young people who travel the Ozarks. Sometimes these traveling missionaries stay for up to two weeks in the homes of sponsor families, and other times they camp with cots and "Sterno stoves."
  • At the end of summer, Walter Goossen and his wife, Ethel, join the Scripture Memory Program. For a time they live in an upstairs room of the Murrell Home near Park Hill, Oklahoma. The Goossens hold regular meetings near Standing Rock, where "his horse clippity-clopped" through the community.
  • The Scripture Memory Program for children is introduced.


  • The first issue of the "Go Ye" newspaper is published in December. At first a bi-monthly publication, beginning in 1948 the newspaper is published monthly, and by the 1980s it is published four times a year. The newspaper keeps subscribers up-to-date about "Go Ye" Mission activities, and later also provides news about the school.


  • On October 1, 1946, the "Go Ye" Mission headquarters moves from the Mouttet farm to upstairs rooms of Perry Crockett's Furniture Store in Chouteau, Oklahoma.
  • "Go Ye" Mission begins its first summer camp on the campus of Bacone College, Muskogee, Oklahoma.


  • In August a 95-acre site on the banks of the Illinois River, east of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is acquired by "Go Ye" Mission. The site becomes known as Camp Look-a-Way.


  • In March the "Go Ye" Mission office is moved to the Basil Tedlock Building on East Main Street, Chouteau, Oklahoma. 
  • The campsite at Camp Look-a-Way along the Illinois River is cleared by the Ben Kroeker family with "sling axes, weed cutters, corn knives, and machetes." The campsite is located near where Town Branch Creek joins with the Illinois River.
  • In the summer of 1948 a gift of $2,000 is received for the purpose of starting a Christian bookstore in Muskogee, Oklahoma. On December 4, 1948, the "Go Ye" Mission Book Store, known as the store with literature that "folks can trust," opens for business at 132 South Third Street in Muskogee.


  • This is the first of a four-year summer teaching program for young people at the "Go Ye" Mission campground on the Illinois River. Camp Look-Away welcomes "Go Ye" Mission children, Bible conferences, church youth groups, boys from Youth for Christ ministry in Tulsa, and special camps for handicapped children.
  • "Go Ye" Mission offers church services at both Standing Rock and Boggy Depot, west of Atoka, Oklahoma.


  • On October 4, 1951, "Go Ye" Mission is reorganized, with Solomon Mouttet named as the director and Marvin Eck as the assistant director.
  • In November the "Go Ye" Mission Book Store reopens for business at its new location at 105 North Fourth Street, in the center of Muskogee. The bookstore begins serving churches in a 200 mile radius with Vacation Bible School material.


  • Marvin Eck, Wanda Eck and Jane Mouttet start the Children's Radio Bible Hour program.
  • Homer Mouttet becomes President of "Go Ye" Mission.


  • In January the "Children's Radio Bible Hour" begins broadcasting on Saturday afternoons, from 5:00-5:30, on KGGF 690 radio, Coffeyville, Kansas.
  • In June Mrs. Ruth H. Graham meets with Laverne Steiner, Director of Camp Look-Away, and Homer Mouttet, President of "Go Ye" Mission,  to offer the sale of her 264-acre farm southwest of Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  Mrs. Graham suggests the property would be a perfect location for a 10-acre Christian high school and working farm.
  • In November ownership and management of the "Graham Valley Farm" is formally transferred to "Go Ye" Mission.


  • On January 5, 1954, the 264-acre "Tom Graham Farm" is purchased by R. J. Stucky of Pretty Prairie, Kansas, followed by donating the farm to "Go Ye" Mission. The property's main building is located on the site of the first Cherokee Male Seminary west of the Mississippi River. 
  • In early 1954 Markoma receives 12 registered Holstein cows and a bull to help start a farm. Eventually, the Grade A Dairy keeps 100 Holstein cows, of which 70 are milking at any one time.
  • In December the "Markoma Farm" officially begins operations. 
  • In the autumn two acres are purchased and a well dug in preparation of building the "Rocky Mountain Chapel."


  • Planning for an interdenominational Christian school includes deciding on the name "Markoma," which is derived from combining the names of three states: Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma = MARKOMA.
  • The "Go Ye" Mission Book Store is so successful that it needs more space, and is moved to a larger facility at 217 North 3rd Street in Muskogee.  Later, the bookstore begins a Book Mobile Unit, which tours the area to bring Christian literature to people who are not able to visit the store in Muskogee.
  • Laverne Steiner is commissioned to start a Scripture Memory program in Yell County, Arkansas.
  • Rocky Mountain Chapel is completed.


  • The "Go Ye" Mission Bookstore in Muskogee offers for sale Christian literature, plaques, Bibles, greeting cards and gifts.


  • In March "Go Ye" Mission headquarters moves from Chouteau, Oklahoma, to the Graham Farm near Tahlequah. The headquarters building is built on the northeast corner of the Mission's farm. "Go Ye" Mission offices, a print shop and mailing room are all contained in the headquarters building for 15 years.
  • A Publications Department is established in the Administrative Offices building to serve the printing and publication needs of "Go Ye" Mission.
  • "Go Ye" Mission begins fundraising to build a Christian high school near Tahlequah.


  • In March a used clothing business is opened in the Rocky Mountain Community to help support the Rocky Mountain Chapel.


  • In the autumn the Markoma Bible Academy opens its doors and receives the school's first 18 students on its 250-acre campus. Markoma is a coeducational/interdenominational, four-year Christian high school that welcomes students from around the United States and many foreign countries, as well as serving as a school and home for missionary children whose parents are on the foreign field. Beginning in 1961 and continuing through much of the school's history, about 20% of the student body consisted of students from the Tahlequah area, with the remaining students coming from different parts of the United States and other countries. From the beginning, the school focused on providing "all kinds of activities to make the student's life on campus one of enjoyment as well as study and work." Also from the beginning, athletics played a big part of the education program, including soccer, basketball, volleyball, track, and cheerleading along with the Mabee Athletic Center which was built in the 1970s. In addition, music (including local and traveling "Chorale" groups) played a vital part of the students' educational experience. The school, which is built on the "Tom Graham Farm," is initially located in the Graham House (later known as Markoma's "Guest House"). Before becoming known as the "Graham Farm," the school site was on the grounds of the "Old Cherokee Male Seminary" which burned in 1910. The first floor of the Graham House serves as the kitchen, dining room, laundry and classrooms, the second floor houses the girls' dorm, and the basement is the boys' dorm. Virgil Ralph Dirks is the founding Director of the school. He later serves as a counselor and choral director at Markoma from 1966-1969.
  • The school is introduced to the community at the Cherokee County Dairy Association summer event with the following statement: "What you see on the campus and farm is potential! The areas of development are many and varied. The history of the campus and farm site is rich. We believe the future also to be rich, fruitful in the building of stalwart Christian character and the training of community leaders and citizens." Markoma's Holstein Grade A Dairy is highlighted during the Cherokee County Dairy Association's summer tour.
  • This year marks the beginning of the student Work-Study Program, which helps pay for room and board. Students participating in the program can choose to work in the kitchen, print shop, office, laundry, library, farm, grounds maintenance, and building maintenance. Students working on the farm can choose from the tree nursery, dairy, hogs, chickens, pure-bred Simmental cattle, and feeder cattle. At one time the Swine Division keeps 100 brood sows. Most students in the work-study program work 15-20 hours per week. The farm not only provides vocational training, it supplies milk, meat, eggs, and vegetables for the school.
  • Wilbert and Ruth Unruh move to Markoma. Ruth Unruh is the school's dietitian, and later a house mother. Wilbert Unruh becomes known as "Mr. Fix-it" on campus.
  • "Go Ye" Mission Press publishes "Historic Points in and around Tahlequah," by Thomas Lee Ballenger.


  • The administrative office building is expanded to provide more room for the "Go Ye" Mission Publications Department. "Go Ye" Mission's Publications Department, which becomes known as the 4th Street Print Shop, expands its operations to serve the printing needs of the community. Located at 1123 West 4th Street in Tahlequah, the Print Shop is open to the public for many years, and remains in operation under the management of Laverne Steiner until the early years of the 21st century.


  • On May 4 "Go Ye" Mission held a one day Bible camp at Wheatley near Boynton, Oklahoma.


  • In May the first class of students graduate with high school diplomas from Markoma Bible Academy.


  • Markoma Bible Academy's Mixed Quartet and Mixed Trio compete alongside 2,000 junior and high school students in a northeastern Oklahoma district music contest held at Northeastern State University. Both Markoma singing groups qualify to go to a state-wide music competition in April held at the University of Oklahoma. These two singing groups are part of Markoma's commitment to offering individual and class music instruction in ensemble, choir, voice and piano. Beginning in 1964, and continuing into the 1990s, the Markoma Choir also traveled throughout the Midwest and South Central U.S., performing in churches while representing the school.
  • In April the 38-voice Markoma Bible Academy Choir performs at churches in the Kansas City area.


  • Beginning in 1966, and continuing until 2005, Markoma offered a wide variety of sports opportunities to its students. A member of the Tri-State Christian Conference, Markoma competed in volleyball, soccer, basketball and track.


  • The Fidelis Fellowship is formed by "Ladies of the Go Ye Mission Family." The purpose of the Fellowship is to promote Christian fellowship and spiritual growth.


  • "Mailbox Ministries" is established. Mailbox Ministries incorporates a free Bible study correspondence program for anyone wishing to receive study materials. One correspondence student sent a letter of appreciation to the ministry, writing that "Mailbox Ministries [is] like having church in an envelope."  Mailbox Ministries also offers Bible study correspondence courses to prisons and prisoners throughout the United States. Mailbox Ministries later merges with "Christ for Me."


  • Harley Smith starts a swine enterprise on the Markoma Farm. The farm manages 170 sows, a number of horses, a nursery, general farming, and other agricultural programs for the benefit of the school and students having an interest in agriculture.
  • Bill Richardson becomes full-time business manager of "Go Ye" Mission.


  • The Janzen-Mabee Building groundbreaking ceremony occurs on January 13.


  • The Rocky Mountain Bible Mission, established by "Go Ye" Mission, is organized in Adair County, Oklahoma. Rocky Mountain Bible Mission later becomes the Rocky Mountain Bible Church.
  • In November a plan to develop the Go Ye Village retirement center as a separate corporation is put forward. The "Go Ye" Village retirement center's is derived from the name GOlden YEars Village, and is developed on the "life care" concept.
  • The first "sign up" for a Go Ye Village apartment is on December 28.


  • Rocky Mountain Bible Church building in Adair County, Oklahoma, is dedicated in February.
  • In June more than 7 acres is deeded from "Go Ye" Mission to "Go Ye Village," and construction of Phase I of Go Ye Village begins. Go Ye Village is designed as a "Life Care" facility, supporting "the retired person to remain actively engaged in Christian service" by meeting the "physical, spiritual, social and intellectual needs" of its residents.
  • In July, Rev. and Mrs. Glenn Fink of Community Chapel in Lakota, Iowa, delivered a pickup truck to Markoma Bible Academy for the school's use. The truck was purchased by Lakota's Community Chapel, and put in good working order for the trip by the Chapel's youth group.


  • The Mabee Athletic Center is built.
  • In April Phase I of Go Ye Village retirement center opens its doors, and the first resident moves into their new apartment. This being the first of many stages of development, the phrase "phase upon phase" is adopted in describing the planned step-by-step development of Go Ye Village.


  • This marks the first year that Markoma has a gymnasium of its own.
  • In July Phase II of Go Ye Village (Med Center) opens.


  • As part of the "Go Ye" Prison Ministry, Dave Richert and Kurt Marquardt begin traveling to institutions across Oklahoma, including making weekly trips to the maximum security prison at McAlester. They visit prisons and enroll inmates in the Ministry's "Acorn" Bible study program. The program slogan is: "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow."
  • In July nearly 64 acres is deeded by Go Ye Mission to Go Ye Village for the expansion of the retirement center.
  • The proposed Burrell Memorial Hall dormitory is named after the late Rev. Jack Burrell, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, South Bend, Indiana. Rev. Burrell was in charge of raising funds for the new dormitory.


  • Rev. Gaylord Smith is named Go Ye Village chaplain in April.
  • In November "Go Ye" Mission (sole owners of Go Ye Village) vote to approve Go Ye Village, Inc., to apply for tax exempt status under IRS Code Section 501.


  • Go Ye Village Phase III opens.


  • A second book store is opened in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The "Christian Book Store of Mountain Home, Inc." is located in the Wal-Mart Shopping Center, on Highway 62 East, Mountain Home.
  • The Go Ye Village dedication celebration is held on March 8.


  • On March 26 the General Council of "Go Ye" Mission separates Go Ye Village retirement center from Markoma Bible Academy, both of which become self-governing.
  • Go Ye Village Phase V, with eight Garden Apartments, opens in April.
  • Go Ye Village Phase IV opens in November.


  • Go Ye Village Phase VI, with 9 apartments, opens in May.
  • "Christian Youth In Action" fellowship training takes place in June on the campus of Markoma Bible Academy. The youth fellowship is an organization whereby students from 8th grade through college can do summer missionary work in Oklahoma.


  • A Markoma Bible Academy student is selected as a semifinalist, from among one million high school applicants in the United States, in the National Merit Scholarship contest.
  • Go Ye Village Phase IVA opens.
  • Go Ye Village Phase VII, with 12 apartments, opens in December.


  • Go Ye Village Phase IV-B Personal Care Wing, with 22 units, is completed. The Med-Center is licensed for 32 beds.
  • Markoma's 22-voice chorale choir tours Kansas and Missouri during spring break, performing at various churches.
  • In June more than 45 acres is deeded by "Go Ye" Mission to Go Ye Village.


  • "Go Ye" Mission closes its operations at Camp Look-Away.


  • Markoma introduces the first Summer English as a Second Language (ESL) program. The first year of the program begins with two students from Japan. As many as seven international Markoma students are enrolled in the ESL program years later. Students enrolled in the program meet in the International Student Services Building (Cherokee Hall).
  • "Go Ye" Mission's missionary outreach program extends to Mexico City.


  • Don Evans, Markoma's Spanish language teacher and a former missionary to Nicaragua, begins a Bible teaching ministry among Spanish-speaking prisoners.
  • Camp Look-Away is converted to become the Riverview Center (Riverview Camp Grounds), which is a "ministry of recovery and discipleship" and half-way house.
  • Camp Scott, Locust Grove, Oklahoma, is purchased to replace the camping program of Camp Look-Away. Camp Scott becomes a "first-class Conference Center."
  • In February the Christian Book Store of Mountain Home, located in Mountain Home, Arkansas, is sold.


  • Classes in Drama, Yearbook, Consumer Math and Keyboarding are added to the school's curriculum.


  • The school reports that the international student enrollment numbers have increased.
  • Markoma Bible Academy welcomes its first international exchange students.
  • A new commuter program is started to encourage students living in the Tahlequah area to attend Markoma.


  • Markoma Bible Academy begins accepting home-schooled student participation in its athletic programs.
  • Markoma Bible Academy begins a program that welcomes home-schooled students enrolling in individual classes.


  • The Riverview Camp Grounds is sold on August 11, 1999.
  • Markoma establishes a website.


  • In August the school's name, Markoma Bible Academy, is officially changed to Markoma Christian School. The Board of Directors decides to change the name to "Christian School" because Markoma Bible Academy is sometimes confused with being a college, and the name "Christian School" is seen as a "more realistic term for our purpose and mission." The name "Markoma" is kept to honor the "heritage" of the school, and in response to the student body's request to retain the name.


  • "Go Ye" Mission, Inc. is renamed Markoma Christian Ministries, Inc.
  • The Markoma "Eagles" claims Green Country Christian Athletic Conference postseason tournament title.


  • In May Representative Dan Boren honors more than 150 northeastern Oklahoma area students who submitted entries in the Congressional Artistic Discovery competition. The ceremony takes place on the Muskogee campus of Northeastern State University. Students in the competition are in grades 9-12. Winners of the competition include two Markoma Christian School students.  Students competed in the Artistic Discovery competition to display their artwork in a corridor of the U.S. Capitol building.
  • After teaching students from around the world for more than 40 years, Markoma Christian School closes its doors due to declining student enrollment and financial difficulties, with a deficit of over half a million dollars.
  • In September the school and nearly all of its 120-acre property near 4th Street, which is fondly remembered as the historic Graham farm, is sold to the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Nation also acquires the well-known Markoma Gym, where many school home games were played. The only Markoma school property not sold is the 4th Street Print Shop, which continues operating under the management of Laverne Steiner.
  • Markoma Christian School becomes known as Markoma Christian Ministries, which establishes an archive of student transcripts, yearbooks and other school records. The archive serves the documentary and information needs of Markoma alumni and former employees. Although the school is gone, the spirit of it will remain with us forever.


  • Proceeds of the sale of Markoma Christian School are invested in a foundation.  Since then, interest from the investment has been awarded by Markoma Christian Ministries as scholarships for Markoma alumni and Shiloh Christian School in Tahlequah.


  • The West 4th Street Print Shop, which has operated since 1958 under the management of Laverne Steiner, closes operations in October. Markoma Christian Ministries continues the school's tradition by maintaining an archive of transcripts and other records, and through its scholarship program.


Total scholarships awarded by Markoma Christian Ministries from 2007 to 2023:

Markoma Alumni - $73,600

Shiloh Christian School - $557,625

Last updated: May 30, 2024