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Revised 27 December 2010


Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was said to have come to Oklahoma during his days of exploration in search of golden treasures.  It is said that he was bitterly disappointed to find only Plain Apache Indians and "humpbacked cows" (buffalo) and left.  If he had only known the true treasure of Oklahoma that lay in pools beneath the oil rich lands, and their worth in today's market, we all might have been speaking Spanish instead of English and the United States might never have been born.

Oklahoma was the last refuge of the Indian.   Many tribes called the Oklahoma Territory home.  The Kiowa, Comanche and Apache Plains Indians were found there, as were the village-dwelling Caddo, Wichita and Pawnee, who called  this home for hundreds of years.  With the Louisiana purchase in 1803, this all changed.   It was supposedly dedicated for the use of the Indians, and in fact, the American government relocated Indians from several southeastern and east central areas of the United States so that these areas could be opened for white settlement.    Relocation of the Five Civilized Tribes, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole Indians, began in 1820.  By 1830, all Indians who lived east of the Mississippi River had been ordered to move into designated territories.  The worst of these removals was that of the Cherokee nation, know known as the Trail of Tears.  The Cherokee people were moved out in the dead of winter in a forced migration with little food and no shelter.  Along the trail, over 4,000 Cherokee civilians died.  Their lives on the reservation were often no better as they were often cheated by unscrupulous Indian agents and treated with a disrespect for which we, as Americans, should be heartily ashamed.

The government purchased about two million acres in the sections next to Logan and Oklahoma counties.  The farmers of Illinois, Iowa and Kansas moved into the western and northwestern sections.  The settlers from Arkansas, Missouri and Texas took over the southern and eastern parts of the state.  Thousands of homesteaders were granted homesteads in government-supervised land rushes, but these, too, were not without incident as there were some dishonest and unscrupulous individuals who had themselves sneaked over the borders early, staking out some of the best claims and hiding until the gun was sounded, claiming the land ahead of the honest homesteaders.  These people were called Sooners, and many of them eventually lost their ill-gotten gains.  The term eventually got attached as a nickname for the people of the state and it remains "The Sooner State" to this day.

Oklahoma became part of the United States in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase.  it was originally included in the Indiana Territory.  In 1812, it was combined with the Missouri Territory and in 1819, it was changed to the Arkansas Territory.  Oklahoma was included in what was called the Indian Territory, which changed in 1893 when that section was divided into Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory with the Oklahoma section being opened to white settlement.

In 1890, a Territorial Government was established and Guthrie became its capital.  In 1892, two new counties formed and in 1892, six more counties were formed.  In 1893, the area known as the Cherokee Outlet, in the northwest, was opened for white settlers.  Greer County was added to Oklahoma in 1896 as a result of a court action and an act of Congress as settlement of a joint claim by Oklahoma and Texas, who both felt this area should be theirs.

Oklahoma became the fourth-sixth state in the Union on 16 November 1907 and the capital was moved from Guthrie to Oklahoma City in 1910.

Name Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Adair 1907 Cherokee Lands Stilwell
Alfalfa 1907 Woods Cherokee
Atoka 1907 Choctaw Lands Atoka
Beaver 1890 Original County (Public lands) Beaver
Beckham 1907 Roger Mills Sayre
Blaine 1892 Original County (Cheyenne-Arapahoe Lands) Watonga
Bryan 1907 Choctaw Lands Durant
Caddo 1901 Original Lands (Wichita-Caddo Lands) Anadarko
Canadian 1889 Original County El Reno
Carter 1907 Chickasaw Lands Ardmore
Cherokee 1907 Cherokee Lands Tahlequah
Choctaw 1907 Choctaw Lands Hugo
Cimarron 1907 Beaver Boise City
Cleveland 1889 Unassigned Lands Norman
Coal 1907 Choctaw Lands Coalgate
Comanche 1901 Kiowa, Comanche, Apache Lands Lawton
Cotton 1912 Comanche Walters
Craig 1907 Cherokee Lands Vinita
Creek 1900 Creek Lands Sapulpa
Custer 1902-08 Cheyenne, Arapaho Lands Arapaho
Day 1892 Cheyenne-Arapaho Lands - discontinued in 1906 Part was annexed to Ellis County  
Delaware 1907 Cherokee Jay
Dewey 1892 Original County (Cheyenne-Arapaho Lands) Taloga
Ellis 1907 Day, Woodward Arnett
Garfield 1893 Originally "O" Changed to Garfield in 1901 (Cherokee Outlet) Enid
Garvin 1907 Chickasaw Lands Pauls Valley
Grady 1907 Caddo, Comanche (Chickasaw Lands) Chickasha
Greer 1890 Originated by Texas as Greer County in 1886, An act of Congress on 4 May 1896 declared it to be Greer County Oklahoma. Magnum
Harmon 1898 Greer, Jackson Hollis
Harper 1907 Indian Lands (Woods County) Buffalo
Haskell 1908 Choctaw lands Stigler
Hughes 1907 Creek Lands (Creek and Choctaw lands) Holdenville
Jackson 1896 Greer Altus
Jefferson 1907 Comanche (Chickasaw) Waureka
Johnston 1907 Chickasaw lands Tishomingo
Kay 1895 Original County (Cherokee Outlet Newkirk
Kingfisher 1890 Original County (Cherokee Outlet) Kingfisher
Kiowa 1901 Original County (Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Lands) Hobart
Latimer 1902 Choctaw Lands Wilburton
Le Flore 1907 Choctaw Lands Porteau
Lincoln 1891 Original County (Iowa-Kickapoo-Sac-Fox Lands) Chandler
Logan 1890 Original County Guthrie
Love 1907 Chickasaw lands Marietta
McClain 1908 Chickasaw Lands Purcell
McCurtain 1907 Choctaw Lands Ibabel
McIntosh 1907 Indian Lands (Creek Lands) Eufaula
Major 1907 Woods Fairview
Marshall 1907 Chickasaw Lands Madill
Mayes 1907 Chickasaw Lands Pryor
Murray 1907 Chickasaw Lands Sulphur
Muskogee 1898 Creek Muskogee
Noble 1893 Cherokee Lands Perry
Nowata 1907 Cherokee Lands Nowata
Okfuskee 1907 Creek Lands Okemah
Oklahoma 1890 Original County Oklahoma City
Okmulgee 1907 Creek Lands Okmulgee
Osage 1907 Osage Indian Lands Pawkusa
Ottawa 1907 Cherokee Nation Miami
Pawnee 1893 Cherokee Outlet Pawnee
Payne 1890 Original County Stillwater
Pittsburg 1907 chock taw Lands McAlester
Pontotoc 1907 Chickasaw Lands Ada
Pottawattamie 1891 Original county (Pottawattamie-Shawnee Lands) Shawnee
Pushmataha 1908 Choctaw Lands Antlers
Roger Mills 1892 Cheyenne-Arapaho Lands Cheyenne
Rogers 1907 Cherokee Nation (Coo-wee Scoowee District) Claremore
Seminole 1907 Seminole Indian Lands Wewoka
Sequoyah 1907 Cherokee Indian Lands Sallisaw
Stephens 1907 Comanche County Duncan
Texas 1907 Beaver Guymon
Tillman 1896 Comanche Indian Lands Frederick
Tulsa 1905 Creek Lands Tulsa
Wagoner 1908 Creek Lands Wagoner
Washington 1897 Cherokee Lands Bartlesville
Washita 1900 Cheyenne-Arapaho Lands Cordell
Woods 1900 Cherokee Outlet Alva
Woodward 1893 Cherokee Outlet Woodward