Osage County, Oklahoma
|Osage County, Oklahoma|
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
2,304 sq mi (5,967 km²)
2,251 sq mi (5,830 km²)
53 sq mi (137 km²), 2.30%
21/sq mi (8/km²)
Osage County is a county in the northern part of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Coterminous with the Osage Indian Reservation, it is the home of the federally recognized Osage Nation. As of the 2010 census, the population was 47,472 a 6.8 percent increase from 2000, when the population was 44,437. Its county seat is Pawhuska.
By the seventeenth century, the Osage had moved west of the Mississippi River and established themselves as a powerful nation in the areas of present-day Missouri and Arkansas between the Missouri and Red rivers, as well as extending to the west. By 1760, they had increased their range to include the present Osage County. Historically one of the most powerful Great Plains tribes, their numbers were reduced by infectious disease and warfare.
In 1825, they ceded their claim to the land in present-day Oklahoma to the United States government, which included it in a "perpetual outlet to the west given to the Cherokee Nation by the Treaty of New Echota" in 1835. This treaty was to accomplish Cherokee removal to the Indian Territory. During the American Civil War, on December 26, 1861, a band of pro-Union Creek and Seminole fought with a Confederate Army unit at the Battle of Chustenahlah on Bird Creek, near the present town of Skiatook. Generally the Five Civilized Tribes were allied with the Confederacy.
In 1870, the Osage finally prepared for removal from Kansas, after having negotiated payment for their land. They purchased 1.57 million acres of their former territory from the Cherokee and, by owning it, had a stronger position in relation to the US government than did other tribes. The Osage Agency was established at Deep Ford, later renamed as Pawhuska in 1872. It was named the county seat at statehood. The other chief settlements in the 1870s were Hominy and Fairfax, each of the three settled by a major Osage band.
In 1875 the land they purchased was designated the Osage Reservation and, because the tribe owned the land directly, they retained more control over their affairs than did tribes who only had rights to land held "in trust" by the United States government. This reservation became part of the Oklahoma Territory under the Oklahoma Organic Act of 1890. It became a semi-autonomous district by the Oklahoma Enabling Act of 1906, and Osage County at the time of Oklahoma Statehood in 1907.  At that time, there were 2,229 registered Osage members.
In another important difference, as owners the Osage retained the communal mineral rights to their reservation lands. In October 1897, the Phoenix Oil Company drilled the first successful oil well on the Osage reservation and Oklahoma Territory. It was located along Butler Creek. In 1901, Phoenix Oil and Osage Oil companies combined their assets to form the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company (ITIO). It arranged with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to sub-lease the eastern part of the Osage reservation until 1916. When ITIO's lease expired, the United States government supervised the public auctioning of leases for 160-acre tracts.
All subsurface minerals, including oil, are owned by the Osage tribe and held in trust for them by the Federal Government. Each mineral lease was negotiated by the Osage National Council and approved by the U. S. Secretary of the Interior. While the government forced allotment of lands and distribution of 160 acre-plots to tribal members for farming, the tribe held the "surplus" land after the distribution. Other tribes were forced to give up such "surplus" and allow for sales to non-Indians. The Osage distributed their surplus communal land to tribal members, so that in 1906 each Osage was given a total of 657 acres, nearly four times the amount that other Indian households received in the allotment process. Later the enrolled Osage and their descendants received oil and other mineral royalties as payments based on these "headrights".
By 1920, the Osage were receiving lucrative revenues from royalties and were counted as the richest people in the country. During the 1920s, Osage County was the site of the infamous Osage Indian murders. Because of the great wealth being generated by oil, an estimated 60 tribal members were killed as whites tried to gain their headrights, royalties or land. The FBI believed that several white husbands of Osage women had committed or ordered their murders. Other Osage were tricked out of their legal rights by unscrupulous white opportunists, in some cases attorneys or businessmen appointed by local courts as "guardians" to the Osage, under the requirements of a law passed by Congress in 1921 that was meant for their protection, but put them more at risk.
The Osage called in the FBI to help solve several murders in the Kyle family, and three men were convicted and sentenced, but many murders were never solved. To try to protect the Osage, Congress passed a law in 1925 prohibiting the inheritance of headrights by persons who were not at least half Osage in ancestry.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,304 square miles (5,970 km2), the largest county in Oklahoma, of which 2,251 square miles (5,830 km2) is land and 53 square miles (140 km2) (2.30%) is water. Most of the county is in the Osage Plains, and consists of open prairie. The eastern part of the county contains the Osage Hills, an extension of the Flint Hills in Kansas. Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is north of Pawhuska.
Gray Horse Creek, Drum Creek and Salt Creek all drain the southwestern part of the county and flow into the Arkansas River, which is part of the county's southern and western boundaries. Eastern Osage County drains into Caney River, Bird Creek, Hominy Creek, and Delaware Creek. All of these streams flow into the Verdigris River.
Lakes and reservoirs in the county include:
It is the most populous and the second-largest geographically (to Corson County, South Dakota) of the six U.S. counties that lie entirely within an Indian reservation. (The six counties in descending order of area are Corson County; Osage County; Shannon County, South Dakota; Todd County, South Dakota; Sioux County, North Dakota; and Mahnomen County, Minnesota.) Three other counties, Thurston County, Nebraska; Dewey County, South Dakota and Ziebach County, South Dakota, lie entirely in parts of two separate Indian reservations, for a total of nine counties that lie entirely within reservation territory. Dewey County is also slightly larger than Osage County in area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 44,437 people, 16,617 households, and 12,213 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 18,826 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 67.01% White, 10.84% Black or African American, 14.42% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 6.83% from two or more races. 2.12% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 16,617 households out of which 33.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.40% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.50% were non-families. 23.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the county, the population was spread out with 26.40% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 25.40% from 45 to 64, and 13.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 102.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $34,477, and the median income for a family was $40,784. Males had a median income of $31,148 versus $23,652 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,014. About 10.30% of families and 13.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.30% of those under age 18 and 12.10% of those age 65 or over.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012|
|Party||Number of Voters||Percentage|
|2008||61.86% 12,160||38.14% 7,498|
|2004||58.70% 11,467||41.30% 8,068|
|2000||51.15% 8,138||47.39% 7,540|
Cities and towns 
- † Bartlesville is primarily in Washington County, but part of it extends into Osage County.
- †† Sand Springs and Tulsa are primarily in Tulsa County, but parts of them extend into Osage County.
- ††† Skiatook is primarily in Osage County, but part of it extends into Tulsa County.
- +++ Ponca City is primarily Kay Kounty, but extends into Osage county.
Census Designated Places (CDPs) 
NRHP sites 
The following sites in Osage County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
Adjacent counties 
- Cowley County, Kansas (north)
- Chautauqua County, Kansas (northeast)
- Washington County (east)
- Tulsa County (southeast)
- Pawnee County & Noble County (southwest)
- Kay County (west)
Popular culture 
- U. S.Census Bureau Osage County, Oklahoma.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- On this date in Civil War history: December 26, 1861 - Battle of Chustenahlah (150th Anniversary)
- May, Jon D. "Osage County"], Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
- Dennis McAuliffe (1994), (1994), Bloodland: A Family Story of Oil, Greed and Murder on the Osage Reservation, Council Oak Books, p. 43 ISBN 978-1-57178-083-6
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11.
See also 
- August: Osage County (play)