Family Bios in History Books

McClain County, Oklahoma
Historical & Genealogical Society

203 West Washington
     Purcell, Oklahoma 73080


A Compilation

McClain County History & Heritage Book One

First name of all is our county - McClain. It was named for Charles Morgan McClain, a Missouri born, transplanted Tennessean and Confederate who moved to Purcell about 1890 with his family from the Gainesville area. Though he had been in the area earlier on cattle buying expeditions with his Sparks in-laws, Mr. McClain's occupation as a Purcell resident was that of insurance salesman. It is believed that he was chiefly responsible for the town obtaining fire insurance coverage shortly before the disastrous business district fire in 1895. He was also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention for statehood.

ADKINS HILL - A site east of Goldsby overlooking the Canadian River settled by Tennessean Pryor Adkins and family.

ALEX - of Old Pontotoc County, Indian Territory now eastern Grady County. The post office and general store were in operation in 1885.

ARBUCKLE, CAMP - A site established by the U.S. Army in May 1850 to protect the California Gold Seekers passing through the area. It was then relocated one mile NW of Byars/Johnsonville. This site was abandoned after one year when it moved to a permanent site futher south. The new site was named Fort Arbuckle.

BEAVERSVILLE, BEAVERSTOWN - Name of abandoned Camp Arbuckle when occupied by Black Beaver's Delaware tribe before the Civil War.

BEEF CREEK - Presently Maysville in Garvin County. Used as a cattle feeding station on original cattle trail drives.

BLANCHARD - The post office was established November 27, 1906, after the coming of the Oklahoma Central Railway. Land was purchased from Charles Vincent and named for W.G. Blanchard of Purcell, town site developer. His younger brother Arthur and his family resided in the area. Picture - Main business block, early 1920's

BRADLEY - Formerly of Old Pontotoc County, Indian Territory and now in eastern Grady County. The post office was established July 10, 1891 and the town was named for Winters P. Bradley, local stockman and cattle owner.


BYARS - The post office was established on April 19, 1902 although Foreman's Newspapers of the Chickasaw Nation list the Byars Banner first being published in 1902. Named for Mrs. Nathan Byars, an Indian allottee. A township of the county including the town of Byars. Picture - Byars, OK when people came to town.

CHISM - Original proposed name on March 12, 1900 was HAILEY for James W. Hailey, post master, but approved under the corrupted spelling after the Chisholm family, early settlers of the area. The post office was in existence from June 29, 1900 to September 15, 1930.

COLBERT TOWNSHIP - far southwestern township of the county - named after the prominent Colbert family.

COLE - Named for Presley B. Cole. Post office in establishment from April 2, 1912 to August 31, 1954 although the town on the Oklahoma Central Railway was established earlier.

COULSON - located near Rosedale. The town was named for Chalres P. Coulson, the general store owner and postmaster. The post office was in existence from September 30, 1902 to December 31, 1908. Descendants of Coulson are still living in the area, although the town is no longer in existence.

CRINER - Named for Criner Creek or George P. Criner, early day Chickasaw rancher and brother-in-law of Robert Love.

CURTY - In the southwest corner of the county near the Grady County line. A post office was in existence from April 5, 1906 to February 28, 1914. The community included a store and many active churches. Many revivals were listed in the Alex Tribune.

DIBBLE - The post office was established May 22, 1894. It was named for very early ranchers John and James Dibble. Dibble was a remount station earlier on the Fort Smith to Fort Sill road and according to Indian-Pioneer Interviews, established in the area from the 1870's. One interviewee, David Martin, stated that he had worked for a Tom Dibble.

ERIN SPRINGS - Post office was established November 3, 1875. Named by a local rancher, Frank Murray, after his native land. Presently in Garvin County.

FRED - A community of Old Pontotoc County, Indian Territory, now in eastern Grady County.

GIBBONS SPUR - A spur of the Oklahoma Central Railroad on the Gibbons Ranch northwest of Washington.

GOINS - A community west of Purcell on the Goins family property.

GOLDEN - Two miles south of Byars. A post office was there from April 9, 1895 to April 21, 1897. Named for W.T. Golden, local resident according to SHIRK. Another story tells that the post office was established at the site of an ill-fated gold mining operation. (Eagle Mining Co.)

GOLDSBY - A town 6 miles north of Washington and also a township named after the prominent Goldsby family. Frank W. Goldsby was an early county commissioner.

HOPPING - A township in southern McClain County named after the Hopping family. Mrs. Rose Hopping was the original allottee.

IRETON - Ghost town of Old Pontotoc County now eastern Grady County. A post office was there from June 1, 1898 to September 30, 1919. Named after John Ireton, local intermarried Choctaw allottee.

IRON CHAPEL - A community in central McClain County.

JERUSALEM - A Negro farming community northwest of Washington.

JOHNSON - A township on the northern tip of McClain County and a community east of Washington. Named for the Johnson family, probably Montford's son, Edward B., who operated the Johnson Ranch near the Canadian. He also was prominent in early Purcell and Norman history.

JOHNSONVILLE (JOHNSON) - Located north of present day Byars, this town was the earliest community in the county with its post office being in existence from October 5, 1876 to March 15, 1910. Named for Montford Johnson, early Chickasaw rancher, who established his first ranch in McClain County in the 1870's.

KIREFORT - Located halfway between Purcell and Washington. Little is known of this early community.

LEEPER - The post office was in existence from July 2, 1888 to July 21, 1892 and was located on the Leeper Ranch. When William E. Leeper was killed in a gunfight, his widow turned in the post office charter and moved to Norman. Located between the present day towns of Blanchard and Newcastle.

MALVERN - A post office existed from November 3, 1903 to December 31, 1905. Named for Malvern Hill, a Virginia Civil War battle site, this town is no longer in existence. The names originally proposed for this location was "Pearl".

MUNCRIEF - The township where Purcell is located. Named after the Choctaw Muncrief family. Original pioneer was a scout for Colonel Marcy who settled in the area of Fred.

MUSGROVE - An early community in the vicinity of Washington. A school and cemetery were in existence before the town of Washington was platted.

NEWCASTLE - The post office was established March 26, 1894 and named after Newcastle, Texas (probably after the closing of Leeper). According to the Bryan Family story, the location of this town changed after a tornado flattened the town.

OKRA - A farming community east of Rosedale that gradually ceased to exist when the railroad went south of town. Dates of its post office were July 26, 1898 to August 1, 1908.

PAYNE - A farming community in southwestern McClain County. The post office was in existence from December 15, 1904 to October 31, 1922. The original proposed name was "Brooks", but the final charter was named after Jeff D. Payne, the first postmaster.

PERRY - A township named after Joe Perry, county commissioner and early rancher.


PURCELL - The county seat and also Recording Town for District 18, Indian Territory. The post office was established April 21, 1887 and was named for E.B. Purcell of Manhattan, Kansas, Santa Fe Railroad director. Picture - Looking east on Main Street.

ROSEDALE - Named after Rose Hopping, this town came into existence as a station on the Oklahoma Central Railroad.

STEALY - A community southwest of Purcell.

THORRINGTON - A stop on the Oklahoma Central Railroad between Vincennes and Purcell.

TURNBULL - A township named after the pioneer family of the county.

VICTOR - A township named after the pioneer family of the county.

imageWASHINGTON - According to Post Office Site Location microfilms, the application for the post office was dated April 2, 1904. Signed by the first postmaster, John Randolph Kerr, it listed as possible names three ex-presidents of the United States: Washington, Madison or Van Buren. The approved application dated May 10, 1904 showed Washington was chosen for the original name. It was located 3 miles west and a mile north of the present site. This original site was a school house neighborhood with a small store and post office. When the Oklahoma Central Railroad was being constructed, the present site was designated and the post office moved there in 1907. Picture - Washington School House


WAYNE - The site was designated in 1887 as a station on the Santa Fe Railroad and named after a town in Pennsylvania, since depots were regulated by Indian treaty to be constructed at specified intervals. However for several years it was only a depot town. The originally proposed name by the first postmaster, William F. King was "King". The approved name was granted with its charter December 22, 1890. Picture - Wayne Train Depot

WOMACK - The post office was in establishment from August 6, 1900 to September 14, 1909 and named for John Womack, proprietor of the general store at the time.

WOODY CHAPEL - A farming community in central McClain County.


INDIAN/PIONEERY, Shirk, P.O. Site Locations, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Local and Family Histories.

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