Location of Rattan, Oklahoma
|• Total||4.0 sq mi (10.3 km2)|
|• Land||4.0 sq mi (10.3 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||466 ft (142 m)|
|• Density||60.6/sq mi (23.4/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1097052|
Rattan, Texas—located in Delta County, thirty miles south of Paris, Texas—was named for local postal officer Clarence V. Rattan in 1893. Following Oklahoma's statehood in 1907 a number of Delta County families relocated to the new Pushmataha County, among them Akins, Akards, and Helms. The Delta County family (or families) apparently establishing itself in Rattan has not been identified.
Originally overshadowed by the nearby white settlement of Belzoni, Oklahoma, Rattan did not become economically successful enough to merit its own United States Post Office until December 12, 1910. Belzoni’s success as a farming hub sapped Rattan of much of its potential vitality, and it was not until the latter’s decline that Rattan emerged as the population center of southeastern area of the county.
Prior to establishment of its post office with the name “Rattan”, the area was called Sulphur Springs, Indian Territory. Sulphur Springs, located 3/4 mile south-southeast of the highway intersection of OK 3 and OK 93 in present-day Rattan, was county seat of Cedar County, Choctaw Nation. It was established by the Choctaws’ Doaksville Constitution of 1860 and, in the manner of most Choctaw county seats, served a part-time role as legal and political center. It was never a sizeable permanent settlement and boasted almost no mercantile or retail stores.
County court met on the first Monday of each month and was called Probate Court, even though it was more similar to modern-day county court proceedings than a modern probate court. The court met in a large log house, constructed of long, straight logs, serving as both an Indian Methodist church and court house. The Cedar County Court House was torn down by white settlers sometime after Oklahoma’s statehood in 1907, after which it ceased serving any legal use. The Court House was located about 200 yards north of the Sulphur Springs and 1/4 mile due west of Rattan Cemetery.
The improved Ft. Smith to Ft. Towson military road of 1839 passed along the east side of Rattan (at the water tower, 1.02 miles east of the OK 93 junction with OK 3) after crossing the "Seven Devils" on its way southeast to Spencer Academy and Doaksville. This wagon road was heavily used by the U.S. Army from 1839–48, and remained the main road through Cedar County until the Frisco railroad was completed in 1887 from Ft. Smith through Antlers to Paris, Texas.
Natural resources were key to Rattan’s early growth. Many of its settlers were farmers. Timber, logged in the Kiamichi Mountains north of the community, also fueled growth. A number of logging trams, or railroad lines, were built into the mountains and large camps of loggers and their dependents lived along the tracks for months on end. These mobile, rolling communities were sizeable enough to feature small schools, physicians offices, and general stores. Most of their residents lived in railroad cars which traveled along with the work crews as they logged deeper into the mountains.
Rattan became the Great Depression-era recipient of a handsome public school built by the Works Progress Administration. Constructed of native stone brought from nearby fields, it continues in use today.
During the 1990s Rattan incorporated as a town, and offers rudimentary public services.
School students from Rattan made news headlines during 2000 as they initiated a series of events with international repercussions. During World War II the Moyers area was the site of two lethal air crashes. British pilots operating from a Royal Air Force base in Texas crashed into White Rock Mountain and Big Mountain, killing four crew men. Two planes were destroyed. A third plane crash-landed successfully a few miles northwest at Jumbo.
These events had receded from memory and were generally forgotten until a history class in the Rattan Public School began pursuing information about them. Their research led them to commemorate the events. On February 20, 2000 the AT6 Monument was dedicated in the fliers' honor at the crash site on Big Mountain. Over 1,000 people attended the ceremony, and the story of it and Rattan's intrepid young scholars was carried by the British Broadcasting Corporation and many newspapers around the world.
At this writing Rattan features a café, two or three stores, and several churches. Many residents shop in Antlers, Oklahoma and Hugo, Oklahoma—particularly in the large Wal-Mart store located in the latter town.
More information on Rattan, Sulphur Springs, the AT6 Monument, and the Kiamichi River valley may be found in the Pushmataha County Historical Society.
As of the census of 2000, there were 241 people, 111 households, and 65 families residing in the town. The population density was 60.6 people per square mile (23.4/km²). There were 127 housing units at an average density of 31.9 per square mile (12.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 81.74% White, 12.86% Native American, 1.24% Pacific Islander, and 4.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.49% of the population.
There were 111 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.4% were non-families. 37.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the town the population was spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 3.3% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 24.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 82.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $20,357, and the median income for a family was $29,167. Males had a median income of $30,833 versus $24,500 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,819. About 17.6% of families and 20.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under the age of eighteen and 17.8% of those sixty five or over.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Entry for Rattan, Texas appearing in the Handbook of Texas, available online at http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/RR/hrr6.html.
- George B. Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names, p. 175; Post Office Site Location Reports, Record Group 28, National Archives
- “Harrison Frazier”, Indian-Pioneer Papers, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries; Angie Debo, Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic
- Ibid., “Harrison Frazier”
- Ibid., “Harrison Frazier”
-  Rattan OK Visitors Guide