Cherokee County, Oklahoma

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Cherokee County, Oklahoma
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Cherokee County
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Founded 1907
Seat Tahlequah
Largest city Tahlequah
Area
 • Total 776 sq mi (2,010 km2)
 • Land 751 sq mi (1,945 km2)
 • Water 25 sq mi (65 km2), 3.27%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013) 48,017
 • Density 62/sq mi (24/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Cherokee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 46,987.[1] Its county seat is Tahlequah[2], which is also the capital of the Cherokee Nation.[3] Cherokee County is part of the Tahlequah, Oklahoma Micropolitan Statistical Area and the Tulsa-Muskogee-Bartlesville Combined Statistical Area.

History[edit]

According to a gazeteer, Cherokee County was established in 1907.[4] However, the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, states that it was created from the Tahlequah District of the Cherokee Nation in 1906.[3]

The Cherokees moved to this area as a result of the forced relocation brought about by the Indian Removal Act of 1830, also known as Trail Of Tears. The first significant settlements were at the site of Park Hill, where there was already a mission community, and Tahlequah, which became the seat of Cherokee government. However the Civil War divided the tribe and caused many of the early structures to be destroyed. Non-Indians began moving into the area illegally starting in the mid-1870s, and became the majority by the 1890s.[3]

In 1851, the Cherokee Male Seminary opened in Tahlequah and the Cherokee Female Seminary opened in Park Hill. The latter burned down in 1887 and was rebuilt in Tahlequah. A 1910 fire destroyed the Male Seminary. The Female Seminary became Northeastern State Normal School after statehood in 1907 and is now part of Northeastern State University.[3]

During 1901 – 1903, The Ozark and Cherokee Central Railway, which later became part of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway was the first to build a track in the county. It boosted the shipment of farm products through the 1920s, but declined during the Great Depression. All rail service ceased in 1942.[3]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 776 square miles (2,009.8 km2), of which 751 square miles (1,945.1 km2) is land and 25 square miles (64.7 km2) (3.27%) is water.[5]

The county lies in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It includes most of Tenkiller Lake and part of Fort Gibson Lake. The principal river running through it is the Illinois River. Grand River (Oklahoma) forms part of its western boundary.[3]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 16,778
1920 19,872 18.4%
1930 17,470 −12.1%
1940 21,030 20.4%
1950 18,989 −9.7%
1960 17,762 −6.5%
1970 23,174 30.5%
1980 30,684 32.4%
1990 34,049 11.0%
2000 42,521 24.9%
2010 46,987 10.5%
Est. 2013 48,017 2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
2013 Estimate[1]
Age pyramid for Cherokee County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 42,521 people, 16,175 households, and 11,079 families residing in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km²). There were 19,499 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 56.41% White, 1.20% Black or African American, 32.42% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.10% from other races, and 7.56% from two or more races. 4.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 92.7% spoke English, 3.8% Spanish and 2.7% Cherokee as their first language.

There were 16,175 households out of which 32.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% were married couples living together, 11.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. 25.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.30% under the age of 18, 14.60% from 18 to 24, 25.70% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,536, and the median income for a family was $32,369. Males had a median income of $25,993 versus $21,048 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,436. About 17.00% of families and 22.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.40% of those under age 18 and 13.80% of those age 65 or over.

Economy[edit]

Since statehood, the economy of Cherokee County has been based on agriculture, especially production of corn, wheat and vegetables. However, the percentage of the population engaged in farming has declined from 62 percent in 1940 to 4.4 percent in 1990. This is largely due to increased urbanization around Talequah since World War II. Agriculture remains very important. In 2002, this county ranked first in Oklahoma for the value of nursery and greenhouse crops and seventh in the state for poultry and eggs.[3]

Major non-agricultural employers in the county now include the Cherokee Nation government and Northeastern State University,[3]

Notable Citizens[edit]

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[8]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 15,056 64.15%
  Republican 6,009 25.61%
  Unaffiliated 2,404 10.24%
Total 23,469 100%

Politics[edit]

Presidential election results[9]
Year Republican Democrat
2012 57.05% 8,162 42.95% 6,144
2008 56.08% 9,186 43.92% 7,194
2004 52.60% 9,569 47.40% 8,623
2000 47.82% 6,918 50.15% 7,256

Communities[edit]

Talequah and Hulbert are the only two incorporated entities in the county.[3]

City[edit]

Towns[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other community[edit]

NRHP sites[edit]

The following sites in Cherokee County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

  • Cherokee Female Seminary, Tahlequah
  • Cherokee National Capitol, Tahlequah
  • Cherokee National Jail, Tahlequah
  • Cherokee Supreme Court Building, Tahlequah
  • First Cherokee Female Seminary Site, Tahlequah
  • French-Parks House, Tahlequah
  • Illinois Campground, Tahlequah
  • Indian University of Tahlequah, Tahlequah
  • Dr. Irwin D. Loeser Log Cabin, Tahlequah
  • Murrell Home, Park Hill
  • Ross Cemetery, Park Hill
  • Tahlequah Armory, Tahlequah
  • Tahlequah Carnegie Library, Tahlequah
  • Joseph M. Thompson House, Tahlequah

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Burnett, Amanda. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "Cherokee County."[1]
  4. ^ Columbia-Lippincott Gazeteer. p. 386
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ http://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/reg_0112.pdf
  9. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°55′N 95°00′W / 35.91°N 95.00°W / 35.91; -95.00