Nowata County, Oklahoma

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Nowata County, Oklahoma
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Nowata County
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Founded 1907
Seat Nowata
Largest city Nowata
 • Total 581 sq mi (1,505 km2)
 • Land 565 sq mi (1,463 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 2.74%
Population (Est.)
 • (2012) 10,611
 • Density 18/sq mi (7/km²)
Congressional district 2nd

Nowata County is located in northeastern Oklahoma, on the Kansas Border. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,536.[1] Its county seat is Nowata.[2] The county name is derived from a Delaware word "no-we-ata," meaning "come here" or "welcome."[3][4]


Map of Indian Territory from 1889 Encyclopædia Britannica 9th edition

For millennia, the land now known as Oklahoma was inhabited by Native Americans. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture states that archaeological evidence indicates that humans first lived in this area in the Verdigris River valley over six thousand years ago.[3] In the 17th century, white trappers first visiting the area found it occupied mostly by the Osage and Quapaw tribes. It was recognized as Osage territory by the time United States secured it as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1819, the Arkansas Territory was organized, then was split in 1824 and 1828. An 1828 treaty with the Cherokee Nation assigned the area of Nowata County to the Cherokees, who included it in 1856 in their newly created Cooweescoowee District. The Cherokees and the Delaware signed a treaty in 1867 that resulted in Delaware settlements near the present towns of Delaware, Lenapah and Nowata, Oklahoma.[3]

The state of Oklahoma and Nowata County was established in 1907, and the county had a population of 10,453. The town of Nowata was named as county seat.[3] The exact origin is unknown, but the two most common stories are that railroad surveyors used the Delaware word noweta for welcome or that a sign was posted indicating that local springs had no water: No wata.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,504 km² (581 mi²), of which 1,463 km² (565 mi²) is land and 41 km² (16 mi²) (2.74%) is water.[5]

The Verdigris River divides the county into eastern and western halves. Creeks in the extreme western part of the county drain into the Caney River. All other creeks drain into the Verdigris River. Lake Oologah lies partly in this county.[3]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 14,223
1920 15,899 11.8%
1930 13,611 −14.4%
1940 15,774 15.9%
1950 12,734 −19.3%
1960 10,848 −14.8%
1970 9,773 −9.9%
1980 11,486 17.5%
1990 9,992 −13.0%
2000 10,569 5.8%
2010 10,536 −0.3%
Est. 2012 10,611 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 10,569 people, 4,147 households, and 2,989 families residing in the county. The population density was 7/km² (19/mi²). There were 4,705 housing units at an average density of 3/km² (8/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.43% White, 2.46% Black or African American, 16.56% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 8.17% from two or more races. 1.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,147 households out of which 31.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.80% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.90% were non-families. 25.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 25.30% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 17.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,470, and the median income for a family was $36,354. Males had a median income of $27,047 versus $19,371 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,244. About 9.00% of families and 14.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.00% of those under age 18 and 11.30% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[8]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 3,100 51.61%
  Republican 2,260 37.62%
  Unaffiliated 647 10.77%
Total 6,007 100%


Presidential election results[9]
Year Republican Democrat
2008 68.24% 3,031 31.76% 1,411
2004 62.82% 2,805 37.18% 1,660
2000 53.75% 2,069 44.25% 1,703


NRHP sites[edit]

The followings sites in Nowata County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Cheatham, Gary L. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture: "Nowata County." Retrieved October 1, 2011.
  4. ^ "Origin of County Names in Oklahoma." In:Chronicles of Oklahoma. Volume 2, Number 1. March 1924. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 

Coordinates: 36°47′N 95°37′W / 36.79°N 95.62°W / 36.79; -95.62