Atoka County, Oklahoma
Cities and Townships
The county seat of Atoka County, Atoka is situated at the crossroads of U.S. Highways 69 and 75,
running north and south, and State Highways 3 and 7, skirting the southern section of town from east to west. Located
forty-five miles southwest of McAlester, Atoka is approximately a two-hour drive from Oklahoma City and Dallas,
Texas. Founded by Choctaw Indians in the 1850s and named for a Choctaw subchief who lived nearby, Atoka has a diverse
and historic background. Its early growth and development were due largely to Baptist missionary Joseph S. Murrow,
who established a mission to the Choctaws there in 1867 and a church in 1869. Travelers and trade goods came
through the area on the Texas Road and military roads. On September 20, 1858, John Butterfield's coach rumbled
into Geary's Station, on Muddy Boggy River (creek) near present Atoka. The stage line that carried both mail and
passengers from St. Louis, Missouri, to San Francisco, California, until 1860. Even though a post office was established
in 1868, Atoka remained little more than a dispersed rural community, with the main hub of commerce located at
Boggy Depot, established in 1837 by Chickasaws fourteen miles southwest, on the Texas Road. Many newspapers
have served the area, including the Atoka County Gazette, Jeffersonian, Atoka County Times,
Atoka Independent, Branding Iron, Indian Champion, Indian Citizen, Indian Missionary,
and Atoka Democrat. The Choctaw and Chickasaw tribal court grounds and courthouse were situated just
north of present Atoka on land owned by A. J. Harkins on the Muddy Boggy River. The meetings were held in the open
around campfires until 1867, when the nation made an agreement with a pioneer settler of Atoka, J. D. Davis, to
build a courthouse. Not until 1872, when the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway (MK&T) laid ties and rails
through the Choctaw Nation and bypassed Boggy Depot, did Atoka show its potential. Almost immediately businesses
relocated closer to the railroad tracks. In 1872 Father Michael Smyth established St. Patrick's Catholic Church,
the first Catholic church in present Oklahoma. Then in June 1898 the Curtis Act passed, providing that Indian tribal
courts be abolished and all cases, white or American Indian, be tried in U.S. federal courts. The Dawes Commission
was ordered to proceed with the allotment of lands, and townships were reserved and provisions made to sell town
lots. Thus ended the first stage of Atoka's history.
Bentley is a small unincorporated community in Atoka County, Oklahoma. It lies east
of the county seat of Atoka off Highway 3. There was once a school at Bentley, but it has closed down.The community
had a post office from June 1, 1903, until August 30, 1963.On the main street of Bentley, there is a fire department,
community center and a Southern Baptist Church. There is also one store still operating in Bentley
Boggy Depot is a ghost town and Oklahoma State Park that was formerly a significant
city in the Indian Territory. It grew as a vibrant and thriving town in present day Atoka County, Oklahoma, United
States and became a major trading center on the Texas Road and the Butterfield Overland Mail route between Missouri
and San Francisco. After the Civil War when the MKT Railroad came through it bypassed Boggy Depot and the town
began a steady decline. It was soon replaced by Atoka as the chief city in the area. By the early 1900s all that
remained of the community was a sort of ghost town. The United States government removed the Choctaws and
Chickasaws from Mississippi and Alabama to the new Indian Territory, including the area of Boggy Depot, in the
1830's. While at first the Choctaws and Chickasaws lived together jointly on the Choctaw land the Chickasaws later
emigrated to the western portions of the Indian Territory and eventually formed their own separate nation. 1834
General Henry Leavenworth built the military road from Camp Washita (later Fort Washita) to Fort Gibson. For years
this road was generally the division between the Choctaw and Chickasaw lands. Afterwards a treaty created a formal
dividing line between the nations, with Boggy Depot on the east side of the line in Choctaw lands. Reverend Cyrus
Kingsbury established the church in Boggy Depot in 1840. The church building was the temporary capitol of the Choctaw
Nation in 1859. Boggy Depot received a post office in 1848, and in 1858 became a stop on the Butterfield Overland
Stage line. During the Civil War a Union raiding party fought a Confederate group at the Battle of Middle Boggy
Depot a few miles northeast of Boggy Depot. After the Civil War with Boggy Depot clearly in the Choctaw nation
many of the original settlers, mostly Chickasaws, abandoned Boggy Depot. A small community formed near this time
two miles to the south named New Boggy Depot. Choctaw Chief Allen Wright, who lived at Boggy Depot, coined the
word 'Oklahoma' in 1866 to describe the Indian Territory. The name was officially used for the state in 1907. In
1869 Oklahoma's first Masonic Lodge was founded in Boggy Depot.As part of the treaty between the Five Civilized
Tribes and the United States government at the end of the Civil War the tribes had to allow a north to south railroad
to be constructed across their lands. This railroad became a reality in 1872. The Missouri Kansas and Texas railroad,
or Katy, ran 12 miles east of Boggy Depot and was the end of the town's importance. The city of Atoka, on
the railroad, flourished while Boggy Depot languished. Today little is left of the original town except for
a few stone foundations and the cemetery. Boggy Depot State Park is a recreational area at the site and preserves
the memory of the town.Boggy Depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
Caney is located approximately fourteen miles southeast of Tushka, on County Road E1920, just
east of U.S. Highway 69/75 and along the Union Pacific Railway line in Atoka County. A wooded area with flowing
streams and fresh-water springs attracted the early townbuilders. The village received its name from the Missouri,
Kansas, and Texas Railway (or Katy) switch, called "Caney Switch." The town's first post office was established
on June 20, 1888. In 1904 Harvey Brown and R. R. Hall organized the First Bank of Caney. The original school was
a one-room building located on the south side of town. In 1910 a two-story school was built on the north side of
the community. The 1910 population stood at 295 residents. In 1911 Caney boasted five general stores, a cotton
gin, two drugstores, a lumberyard, a restaurant, and the bank. The town has supported four newspapers: the Choctaw
News, the Caney News, the Caney Democrat, and the Caney Leader; none continued into the
1920s. Municipal court was held in the basement of a two-story building called Akers Hall. In the early 1920s Caney
added two more banks and two hotels. In 1920 the population peaked at 432 residents of a thriving, growing city.
However, the Great Depression, three major fires, and two major tornadoes stunted the town's growth. With each
natural disaster, Caney has lost its business interests. In 1930 the population had dropped to 274, then to 252
in 1950, and to a low count of 128 in 1960. Since 1970 the census figure has consistently remained around two hundred.
In 1983 the Cimarron Cellars Winery began producing wine in the area, continuing its operation into the twenty-first
century. In 2000 the town had a population of 199.
Chockie, formerly Chickiechockie, is a small unincorporated community
north of Stringtown, in Atoka County, Oklahoma, Oklahoma. The Chockie post office closed in 1934. The community
was named for Chickie and Chockie LeFlore, daughters of Charles LeFlore, a prominent Choctaw Indian.
Daisy is a small unincorporated community in Atoka County, Oklahoma, United States,
along State Highway 43. Located in the northeastern part of the county, Daisy was once a thriving community with
a general store, school, and other institution, much like Redden to the south. Currently, very little of the town
remains. The old store has closed down and the school as well. Recently a local businessman (Rick Isom) opened
a new store and is doing quite well. On Friday nights they serve a great catfish plate, not to mention you will
meet many local residents. If you stay long in the store you will find many local historians and government officials,
including mayors of various locations nearby. Apart from a small number of homes and families (mostly of the Kellogg
family), all that remains of the town is a small post office. The post office was opened April 5, 1906. It is said to have been named for Daisy Beck, a local girl.
Farris is a small unincorporated community in Atoka County, Oklahoma, United
States. It lies east of the county seat of Atoka on Highway 3 near the border of the county. There is a small,
K-8 grade school at Farris, but those students who are above the eighth grade attend Atoka High School in
Atoka, some twenty miles away from the town. The post office was established May 17, 1902. It was named for the
first postmaster, Joil Lee Farris. (Note: In the various history books the first postmaster is listed as John
L. Farris, his given name was really Joil Lee Farris per his great-great-grandson James W. Farris.)
Harmony is an unincorporated community to the south-east of Atoka in Atoka County, Oklahoma,
United States. Harmony has a small, K-8 school located in the community. Students of high school age either go
to Atoka, Stringtown, or Tushka High Schools.Harmony also has a country store and a volunteer fire dept. The fire
dept has recently gotten one new truck and are expecting another within the year. This brings their total
to 5 trucks and 12 fireman who have recently all went through firefighter 1 classes and two of the fireman just
became state certified first responders. The fire dept. has plans on continuing to work hard on lowering the ISO
rating for the community and trying hard to keep the community safe.
Hopewell is an unincorporated community in Atoka County
Kiowa's post office was established May 6, 1881. Before statehood, the site was located in Atoka
County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. At the time of statehood it was then located in Pittsburg County.
Lane is a small unincorporated community in Atoka County, Oklahoma, United States. The
post office was established February 11, 1888.Lane is located along State Highway 3 10 miles (16 km)
southeast of Atoka.
Mount Olive is a ghost town to the east of Stringtown in Atoka County, Oklahoma,
United States. Today, besides a few people who live in the general area, all that marks the where the community
is Mount Olive Baptist Church.
Redden was a small town located in northeastern Atoka County, Oklahoma, United States,
on State Highway 43, about 13 miles northeast of Stringtown. The Postal Service established a post office
on June 1, 1903, in what was then Atoka County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. It was named for John A. Redden
(1873), a local resident who was appointed the first postmaster. The Statehood Proclamation was signed November
16, 1907. The post office at Redden, Oklahoma, was closed permanently on October 31, 1954.Much like Daisy, Redden
was once a firmly established, thriving community. However, Redden is now little more than a small dot on the map.
All that remains of the old town is the Redden Cemetery, fenced and well kept, and the ruins of the schoolhouse
standing on the side of the road. Redden is considered a ghost town.
Stringtown is located in Atoka County, eight miles north of the county seat, Atoka, near the junction
of U.S. Highway 69 and State Highway 43, about halfway between Durant and McAlester. In the early twenty-first
century the small town could be seen along the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad (originally the Missouri, Kansas
and Texas or Katy Railway, which was built through Stringtown in 1872). The town developed in Indian Territory,
with its first frame house erected in 1868 and its post office established in 1874. Stagecoaches and wagons traveled
through the area on the Texas Road. Stringtown grew from humble beginnings to encompass a small valley surrounded
by rolling hills. The origin of the name has been traced to two possible sources. One claims the original designation
was Springtown, honoring a nearby sulfur spring, and that a spelling mistake changed the name to Stringtown. Another
tradition alleges that it began as Stringtown, because of its few businesses and other buildings and structures
were strung out along the railroad tracks. In the early 1900s the Southwest Stone Company (commonly known as the
rock crusher), thriving lumber businesses, and bumper cotton crops kept the small community booming. Simultaneously,
trains occupied as many as three sidetracks of the Katy Railway while goods were loaded. Stringtown boasted mercantile
stores, drugstores, blacksmith shops, cafés, a two-story hotel, bank, post office, jail, school, cotton
gin, train depot, and several churches. One of the town's memorable but tragic events occurred on August 5, 1932.
Notorious outlaws Clyde Barrow and Ray Hamilton shot and severely wounded Atoka County Sheriff Charles Maxwell
and killed Deputy Gene Moore, abruptly ending a local dance south of Stringtown. In 1933, north of the community,
the state of Oklahoma initiated a prison to alleviate the overcrowding at the state penitentiary. In 1937 the facility
changed to the Oklahoma State Technical Institute, teaching vocational skills to inmates. In 1942, during World
War II, the prison interned residential aliens, including Germans, Italians, and some Japanese. In 1943 it became
a prisoner of war camp, housing German soldiers. After the war the state returned the grounds to use as a substation
for the state penitentiary. At the end of the twentieth century the institution, known as the Mack Alford Correctional
Center, served as a medium security prison. The first federal census for Stringtown reported 360 residents in 1920.
Numbers rose to 558 in 1930 and to 718 in 1940. The population during post-World War II years declined to 499 counted
in 1950. The community continued to lose citizens during the next two decades. In 1960 and 1970 the censuses enumerated
414 and 397, respectively. The population peaked in 1980 at 1,047 before dropping throughout the late twentieth
century. At the turn of the twenty-first century the town had 396 residents. Its few remaining businesses, a post
office, a school, city government, and churches served locals and tourists enjoyed nearby Atoka Lake, McGee Creek
State Park and Reservoir, McGee Creek Wildlife Management Area, and Stringtown Wildlife Management Area.
Tushka is located on U.S. Highway 69/75 five miles southeast of Atoka in Atoka County. Prior to
development the area provided a hunting ground for the Choctaw. By 1872 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway
(MK&T) began building tracks five miles south of Atoka, and a settlement by the name of Peck Switch began.
The town has existed under four names. The first was Peck, Indian Territory, where the first post
office was established in 1903. By 1905 it was changed to Lewis, named for Charles Lewis, the
first postmaster. In 1909 the town's name switched to Dayton. Later that same year, the present
designation, Tushka, a Choctaw word for warrior, replaced Dayton. The first public structure was a small one-room
combination school and church. Citizens donated the funds to construct it. Jim Butler provided the land for the
community cemetery. By 1907 the town was surveyed and platted. In 1908 the first telephone system was installed.
The short-lived Lewis Agitator served as the local newspaper. By 1913 there were three churches and twelve businesses,
including a hardware store, grocery, dry goods, implement store, cafés, barbershop, bank, lumberyard, blacksmith
shop, theater, telephone office, drug store, courthouse, and two doctors. Tushka's first incorporation came in
1915 and lasted for twelve years. The 1920 census registered 248 residents. During the Great Depression, a faltering
economy and fires that burned most of the businesses almost destroyed the town. Because of World War II many of
the residents left for work in California and never returned. Tushka reincorporated in 1968. The 1970 population
stood at 230, rising to 358 in 1980. At the beginning of the twenty-first century the town had a pre-kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade
school system, many businesses along Highway 69/75, a Baptist Church, a police department, a volunteer fire department,
and a community building.
Wards Chapel is a small unincorporated community in Atoka County, Oklahoma, United States. There
are a few people, a few houses, and a church, Ward's Chapel Baptist Church. The community is located around five
miles west of Atoka.
Wardville is a small unincorporated community in northern Atoka County, Oklahoma, United
States. It was named for J.P. Ward, a territorial judge. Wardville is located along State Highway 131.
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