Washington County, Oklahoma

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Coordinates: 36°44′50″N 95°58′50″W / 36.747206°N 95.980597°W / 36.747206; -95.980597

Washington County, Oklahoma
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Washington County
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Founded 1907
Named for George Washington
Seat Bartlesville
Largest city Bartlesville
Area
 • Total 424 sq mi (1,098 km2)
 • Land 417 sq mi (1,080 km2)
 • Water 7 sq mi (18 km2), 1.73%
Population (Est.)
 • (2012) 51,663
 • Density 122/sq mi (47/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Website www.countycourthouse.org

Washington County is in the northeastern part of Oklahoma, along the border with Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 50,976.[1] Its county seat is Bartlesville.[2] Named for President George Washington, it is the smallest county in Oklahoma in total area,[3] adjacent to the largest county in Oklahoma, Osage County. It is the second smallest county, by land only size, i.e., not including water.

History[edit]

The Osage ceded their land claims in 1825, and the Federal Government allowed the Western Cherokee to settle in this area in 1828. The 1835 Treaty of New Echota confirmed Cherokee ownership of the land. The area now covered by Washington County was part of the Cherokee Saline District between 1840 to 1856 and the Cooweescoowee District from 1856 to 1906.[3]

The first post office was established in 1859 at the confluence of Butler Creek and the Caney River by James L. Butler. Known as Little Verdigris, the settlement also had a trading post and a school. The Civil War caused most of the inhabitants to move away and the post office closed in 1866. In 1867, the Cherokees sold 157,600 acres to the Eastern Delaware [3]

In 1870, Nelson Carr built a grist mill along the Caney River, which he used to grind seed corn. In 1875, he sold the mill to Jacob Bartles (for whom the town of Bartlesville would be named), who modified the mill to produce wheat flour. Other important agricultural crops included potatoes, sorghum and oats, as well as prairie hay and pecans. Cotton production was attempted in the early 1900s, but the soil proved unsuitable and this crop was soon discontinued.[3]

The first commercial oil well in Oklahoma, designated as Nellie Johnstone Number One, was drilled near Bartlesville in 1897. According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, the industry developed slowly because of communal land ownership by the Cherokees, the lack of crude oil markets, and lack of reliable transportation. Bartlesville became an oil boom town only after 1900, when the nearby Osage County oil fields were developed and railroads were built into the area. In 1900, Phoenix Oil Company built a pipeline from Osage County to Bartlesville's Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway depot, where there was an oil loading facility. Oil was shipped from there to a refinery in Neodesha, Kansas in the same year. Washington County fields were developed soon after.The Bartlesville Field reached peak development during 1904 to 1906; the Bartlesville-Dewey Field in 1905 and the Copan, Canary, Hogshooter, and Wann fields were located in 1907. Several oil companies set up headquarters in the county, most notably Phillips Petroleum in Bartlesville.[3]

Railroads came to this area at the turn of the 20th Century. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway opened a line from Owen to Owasso, Oklahoma in 1899. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad opened a line from Stevens, Kansas to Dewey, Oklahoma in 1901-2 and another line from Hominy, Oklahoma to Bartlesville in 1903–04.[3]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,099 km² (424 mi²), of which 1,080 km² (417 mi²) is land and 19 km² (7 mi²) (1.73%) is water.[4] It lies in the Eastern Lowlands physiographic region, and is drained by the Caney River. Lakes and reservoirs include Copan Lake, Silver Lake and Bar-Dew Lake.[3]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 17,484
1920 27,002 54.4%
1930 27,777 2.9%
1940 30,559 10.0%
1950 32,880 7.6%
1960 42,347 28.8%
1970 42,277 −0.2%
1980 48,113 13.8%
1990 48,066 −0.1%
2000 48,996 1.9%
2010 50,976 4.0%
Est. 2012 51,663 1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 50,976 people, 21,036 households, and 14,123 families residing in the county. The population density was 45/km² (118/mi²). There were 23,451 housing units at an average density of 55.3 per square mile (21.4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.9% white, 2.4% black or African American, 10.3% Native American, 1.1% Asian, less than 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.7% from other races, and 6.1% from two or more races. Five percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 21,036 households, out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 11% had a female householder with no husband present, 4% had a male householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. Individuals living alone accounted for 28.7% of households and individuals who were 65 years of age or older living alone accounted for 12.9%. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 22.8% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.4 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.8 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,816, and the median income for a family was $43,514. Males had a median income of $34,201 versus $22,389 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,250. About 8.70% of families and 11.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.70% of those under age 18 and 7.80% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[6]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 9,619 32.21%
  Republican 16,582 55.52%
  Unaffiliated 3,666 12.27%
Total 29,867 100%

Politics[edit]

Presidential election results[7]
Year Republican Democrat
2008 72.29% 16,457 27.71% 6,308
2004 70.69% 16,551 29.31% 6,862
2000 66.47% 13,788 32.03% 6,644

Communities[edit]

NRHP sites[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g May, Jon D. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "Washington County."
  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 November 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/reg_0112.pdf
  7. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 

External links[edit]