Grant County, Oklahoma

Gibbon, Cherokee Outlet, Grant County, Oklahoma

The town of Gibbon was  a center of activity during the time between the opening of the Cherokee Outlet and the Great Depression.  It was located on the eastern fringe of the Great Plains Region of the United States.  All that remains of this town is a grain elevator and the cemetery. 

Grain Elevator at Gibbon, OK
(above picture taken from cemetery toward the grain elevator)

William H McGibbon was one of the first residents of the area.  He was born in New York, the son of a Scottish imigrant. He travelled with his family to Kansas to make the Cherokee Outlet run on September 16, 1893.  He established the first post office "Gibbon" on March 26, 1896, which became the name of the town.  The town was never chartered by the territory or the newly formed state of Oklahoma, but its strategic location on the new rail line attracted both population and business interests. 

The first business was a grocery store operated by William Douglass.  Other businesses followed:  a hardware store opened in 1904 by Roy Smith.  By 1915, there were 2 grain elevators, 2 general stores, a railroad depot, a lumber yard, a cheese factory, a stockyard and a hotel.  The town was aligned east to west along the section line, with Main Street about a half mile in length.  The south side of the street was the R.R. Smith Company Building, the Farmer's State Bank (est 1910), Dr. Saffold's office, the Gibbon Trading Company (later operated by Fred Matthews) and the barber shop. 

The north side was the Gibbon Trading Company General Store, a garage and 2 other general stores.  The center square of the town comprised of a bandstand.  A field was on the outskirts of town for furthur recreation.  At one point there was a newspaper called the Gibbon Flyer.

The population from 1893 to 1900 grew to 250 and increased by 228 between 1900 and 1910.  The first school house was sod until a frame building replaced it in 1908.  By 1910 a two-story building followed; however, the school only had 2 graduating classes one in 1908 and the other in 1925.  Many of the children did not attend school, or went to adjoining towns to further their education.

Some of the earlier settlers of the town besides William McGibbon were Druary Graham, Samuel Reneau, the Abraham Slaughter family, Herbert Green and William Douglass (McGibbon's son--in-law).  Some of their descendants may still live in the area.

When the new highway was built, it bypassed the town --- much to the town's dismay.  The drought of the 1930's was hard on this small community of mostly famers.  In addition they had to compete for business concerns against their nearby competitors of Wakita and Manchester.  The town slowly began to loose its business concerns and the town began to die.  The post office was closed in 1945 and the few final foundations of this once proud town were dug up in 1983 for farming.

[Source:  "The Chronicles of Oklahoma" Vol 61, 1983 #2, pages 116-129 and information provided by Pat]

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