Le Flore County, Oklahoma
|Le Flore County, Oklahoma|
LeFlore County Courthouse
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
|Named for||An influential Choctaw Indian family|
|• Total||1,608 sq mi (4,165 km2)|
|• Land||1,586 sq mi (4,107 km2)|
|• Water||22 sq mi (58 km2), 1.38%|
|• Density||31/sq mi (12/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
Le Flore County is a county located along the eastern border of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 50,384. Its county seat is Poteau. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma is the federal district court with jurisdiction in Le Flore County. The name honors a Choctaw family named LeFlore.
The Choctaw Nation signed the Treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820, ceding part of their ancestral home in the Southeastern U. S. and receiving a large tract in Indian Territory. They signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830, which ceded the remainder of their original land and caused the removal of all Choctaws who had not voluntarily migrated to the tribe's new territory.
In 1832, the Federal Government constructed the Choctaw Agency in Indian Territory about 15 miles (24 km) west of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The town of Skullyville grew up around the agency. The town housed Indian agents and was a stage stop (Walker's Station) for the Butterfield Overland Mail route. It was also the Choctaw capitol for a time. In 1834, the U. S. Army built Fort Coffee a few miles north of Skullyville, but closed it in 1838. The idled fort then became the Fort Coffee Academy for Boys, operated by the Methodist Episcopal Church. That church also opened the New Hope Seminary for Girls in 1845, just east of town. In 1847, the Choctaw Agency burned and its functions were transferred to Fort Washita.
The Battle of Devil's Backbone was fought near the present town of Pocola on September 1, 1863. Union Major General James G. Blunt defeated Confederate Brigadier General William Cabell. Union troops burned the academy in 1863, because it was being used to house Confederate troops.
In 1866, the Choctaw government was able to reopen area schools. New Hope Seminary operated until it burned in 1896. The first school for Choctaw freedmen opened at Boggy Depot. In 1892, the Tushkalusa (black warriors) Freedmen Boarding school opened three miles southeast of Talihina.
Coal mining and timber production attracted railroad construction beginning in 1886, when the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (leased to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway in 1904) built tracks from Wister west to McAlester and, in 1898, from Wister east to Howe, continuing the line to Arkansas in 1899. In 1896 the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (acquired by the Kansas City Southern Railway in 1900) built tracks through the region north to south, exiting into Arkansas near the Page community in southern Le Flore County. In 1900-01 the Poteau Valley Railroad built a line from Shady Point to Calhoun, which they abandoned in 1926. Also in 1900-01 the Arkansas Western Railroad constructed tracks from Heavener east to Arkansas. In 1901 the Fort Smith and Western Railroad connected Coal Creek west to McCurtain in Haskell County. In 1903-04 the Midland Valley Railroad laid tracks from Arkansas west through Bokoshe to Muskogee. The Oklahoma and Rich Mountain Railroad, owned by the Dierks Lumber and Coal Company, constructed the county's last railroad, from Page to the lumber town of Pine Valley in 1925-26.
Prior to statehood, the area that became LeFlore County was part of Moshulatubbee and the Apukshunnubbee districts, and in Sugar Loaf, Skullyville, and Wade counties in the Choctaw Nation.
Robert S. Kerr left a legacy in Le Flore County, where in the 1950s he established a ranch outside of Poteau. In 1978 the family donated his ranch home to the state, and it was opened as the Kerr Conference Center and Museum. Carl Albert State College, formerly Poteau Junior College, in Poteau operates the center. The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Overstreet-Kerr Historical Farm are also in the county.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,608 square miles (4,164.7 km2), of which 1,586 square miles (4,107.7 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57.0 km2) (1.38%) is water.
The Arkansas River forms the northern boundary of the county, while its tributaries, the Poteau and James Fork Rivers drain much of the county into the Arkansas. The Kiamichi, Little and Mountain Fork Rivers drain the rest of the county into the Red River of the South. The Ouachita Mountains extend into the southern part of the county, along with associated ranges: the Winding Stair Mountains and the Kiamichi Mountains. Cavanal Hill is partly in the northern part of the county.
Lake Wister, a flood control reservoir, is in the central part of the county. The Ouachita National Forest, in the county's southern half, and Heavener Runestone State Park are tourist attractions.
- Sequoyah County (north)
- Sebastian County, Arkansas (northeast)
- Scott County, Arkansas (east)
- Polk County, Arkansas (southeast)
- McCurtain County (south)
- Pushmataha County (southwest)
- Latimer County (west)
- Haskell County (northwest)
National protected areas
As of the census of 2000, there were 48,109 people, 17,861 households, and 13,199 families residing in the county. The population density was 30 people per square mile (12/km²). There were 20,142 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.35% White, 2.21% Black or African American, 10.72% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 5.03% from two or more races. 3.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.7 were of American, 10.1% Irish, 9.6% German and 7.7% English ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 17,861 households out of which 33.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.50% were married couples living together, 11.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.10% were non-families. 23.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the county, the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 27.00% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 99.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $27,278, and the median income for a family was $32,603. Males had a median income of $26,214 versus $19,792 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,737. About 15.40% of families and 19.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.10% of those under age 18 and 16.50% of those age 65 or over.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012|
|Party||Number of Voters||Percentage|
|2008||69.32% 11,605||30.68% 5,136|
|2004||61.31% 10,683||38.69% 6,741|
|2000||54.82% 8,215||43.62% 6,536|
‡ – small portion in Latimer County
The following sites in Le Flore County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- O"Dell, Larry. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "LeFlore County." 
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Crain, Harold.Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "Wister."
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11.
||Haskell County||Sequoyah County||Sebastian County, Arkansas|
|Latimer County||Scott County, Arkansas|
|Pushmataha County||McCurtain County||Polk County, Arkansas|