Little Sarah Rector, a former slave, became one of the richest little girls in America in 1914. Rector had been born among the Creek Indians, as a descendant of slaves. As a result of an earlier land treaty from the government. Back in 1887, the government awarded the Creek minors children 160 acres of land, which passed to Rector after her parents’ deaths. Though her land was thought to be useless, oil was discovered in its depths in 1913, when she was just 10 years old.
Her wealth caused immediate alarm and all efforts were made to put the child Sarah under “guardianship” of whites whose lives became comfortable immediately. Meanwhile Sarah still lived in humble surroundings. As white businessmen took control of her estate, efforts were also made to put her under control of officials at Tuskegee Institute.
Much attention was given to Sarah in the press. In 1913, there was an effort to have her declared white, so that because of her millions she could ride in a first class car on the trains.