Pittsburg County, Oklahoma

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Pittsburg County, Oklahoma
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Pittsburg County
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Founded 1907
Seat McAlester
Largest city McAlester
Area
 • Total 1,378 sq mi (3,569 km2)
 • Land 1,306 sq mi (3,383 km2)
 • Water 72 sq mi (186 km2), 5.22%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013) 44,703
 • Density 33/sq mi (13/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Website pittsburg.okcounties.org

Pittsburg County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It was formed from part of the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory in 1907. As of the 2010 census, the population was 45,837.[1] Its county seat is McAlester.[2] County leaders believed that its coal production compared favorably with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the time of statehood. This industry declined sharply by the middle of the 20th Century, and agriculture (including raising livestock) became more important.[3]

History[edit]

The area forms the present Pittsburg county was part of the Choctaw Nation after the Choctaw tribe was forced to relocate to Indian Territory from its home in the Southeastern United States in the early 1830s. Some important trails, including the Texas Road and one route of the California Trail passed through it. In 1840, James Perry established a village called Perryville that became an important stop near the place where the two trails crossed. During the Civil War, Perryville served as an important supply depot for Confederate forces until the Union Army captured and burned the town. It became defunct after the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway (MK&T) bypassed it in 1872, and the remaining inhabitants moved to McAlester. The Butterfield Overland Mail route followed a route through this area.[3]

James J. McAlester moved to the Choctaw Nation in 1872, opened a trading post and married a Chickasaw woman. This qualified him to obtain citizenship rights in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. When the MK&T built its line, McAlester laid claim to the coal deposits in the Perryville area, which he and some partners leased to the Osage Coal and Mining Company, which was owned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad and acquired by the MK&T in 1888.[3]

Pittsburg County was formed on July 16, 1907 as an original county from Choctaw land. County leaders, thinking its coal production compared favorably with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was named the new county after the Pennsylvania city with the "h" removed. Coal mining continued to expand until the early 20th century. Production began to decline after 1920, and never fully recovered. By 1966, the county production was no longer reported.[3]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,569 km² (1,378 mi²), of which 3,382 km² (1,306 mi²) is land and 186 km² (72 mi²) (5.22%) is water.[4] The county's topography is generally hilly to mountainous. The Ouachita Mountains extend into the southeastern portion. The Canadian River drains most of the county and with Eufaula Lake form the northern boundary of the county. The southern part of the county is drained by several creeks that flow into the Kiamichi River and then into the Red River.[3]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 47,650
1920 52,570 10.3%
1930 50,778 −3.4%
1940 48,985 −3.5%
1950 41,031 −16.2%
1960 34,360 −16.3%
1970 37,521 9.2%
1980 40,524 8.0%
1990 40,581 0.1%
2000 43,953 8.3%
2010 45,837 4.3%
Est. 2013 44,703 −2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2013 Estimate[1]

As of the census[6] of 2010, there were 45,837 people, 18,623 households, and 15,389 families residing in the county. The population density was 13/km² (34/mi²). There were 22,634 housing units at an average density of 6/km² (16/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.6% White/Caucasian, 3.3% Black or African American, 13.8% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 7.6% from two or more races. 3.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.4% were of American, 12.7% Irish, 11.3% German, 9.4% English and 7.2% Italian ancestry according to Census 2010.

There were 18,623 households out of which 29.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.90% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.40% were non-families. 27.70% 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 2.40 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.50% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 26.90% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 17.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 101.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,679, and the median income for a family was $35,190. Males had a median income of $28,470 versus $19,886 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,494. About 13.60% of families and 17.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.70% of those under age 18 and 13.30% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[7]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 18,155 69.42%
  Republican 5,272 20.16%
  Unaffiliated 2,725 10.42%
Total 26,152 100%

Economy[edit]

Although Pittsburg county was originally noted for its coal production, agriculture has long been important to the county economy. Just after statehood, farmers controlled 20 percent of the county's land area. The most important cash crops were corn and cotton. By 1960, sorghum had become the most important crop. In 2000, wheat had become the top crop.[3]

Manufacturing became significant when the U.S. Navy built an ammunition depot at McAlester during World War II. It employed 8,000 people in 1945. The U. S. Army took over the facility in 1977.[3]

The Corps of Engineers built Eufaula Lake between 1956 and 1964, which brought tourism, land development and a major source of hydroelectric power.[3]

Politics[edit]

Presidential election results[8]
Year Republican Democrat
2012 69.17% 10,841 30.83% 4,831
2008 68.29% 11,752 31.71% 5,457
2004 59.91% 11,134 40.09% 7,452
2000 52.05% 8,514 46.63% 7,627

Communities[edit]

NRHP sites[edit]

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

References[edit]

  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 f g h O'Dell, Larry. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "Pittsburg County." Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ http://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/reg_0112.pdf
  8. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 

Coordinates: 34°56′N 95°45′W / 34.93°N 95.75°W / 34.93; -95.75