Washita County, Oklahoma

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Washita County, Oklahoma
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Washita County
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Founded 1907
Seat New Cordell
Largest city New Cordell
Area
 • Total 1,009 sq mi (2,613 km2)
 • Land 1,003 sq mi (2,599 km2)
 • Water 6 sq mi (15 km2), 0.57%
Population (Est.)
 • (2012) 11,622
 • Density 11.5/sq mi (4.4/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Washita County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,629.[1] Its county seat is New Cordell.[2] It was formerly located in Cloud Chief.[3]

History[edit]

In 1883, John Miles leased 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km2) of Cheyenne and Arapaho land to seven cattlemen. However, arguments soon developed between the cattlemen and the tribesmen. In 1885, the Federal government terminated all of the leases and ordered the cattlemen to remove their stock.[4]

The area was settled in 1886, when John M. Seger established a colony along Cobb Creek, and was later named Washita County after the Washita River. Seger convinced 120 Cheyenne and Arapaho to settle near the old ranch headquarters at Cobb Creek. The intent was that "Seger's Colony" would teach these tribes how to farm, using modern agricultural methods.[4]

The Cheyenne-Arapaho Opening was a land run held on April 19, 1892, after the government declared the land available for non Indian settlement.[4]

Washita County is located in that part of western Oklahoma which was included in County H of the Territory of Oklahoma, an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from 2 May 1890, until 16 November 1907, when it was joined with the Indian territory and admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma. The town of Tacola, soon renamed as Cloud Chief, was designated as the county seat.[4]

An election in 1900 designated the town of Cordell as the county seat. It was favored by the majority because it was located in the center of the county. The election result was contested in court. The Oklahoma Territorial Supreme Court ruled in 1904 that the seat could not be moved without Federal authorization. The U. S. Congress moved the seat to Cordell in 1906. When the Oklahoma Constitution went into effect at statehood in 1907, it confirmed Cordell (by then relocated and renamed New Cordell) as the county seat.[4]

In 1948, the nation's first flood control dam under the authorization of the Flood Control Act of 1944 was completed in the Cloud Creek Watershed in Washita County.[5]

The lyrics for 1968 hit song Wichita Lineman were inspired by Jimmy Webb's driving through Washita County westward on a straight road into the setting sun past a seemingly endless line of telephone poles, each looking exactly the same as the last. In the distance he noticed the silhouette of a solitary lineman atop a pole, which he described as "the picture of loneliness."[6]

Geography[edit]

Road map of Washita County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,009 square miles (2,610 km2), of which 1,003 square miles (2,600 km2) is land and 6 square miles (16 km2) (0.57%) is water.[7] The county lies in the Western Redbeds Plains sub-region of the Osage Plains. The Washita River drains most of the county, except that the southwest corner drains into the North Fork of the Red River[4]

Adjacent Counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 25,034
1920 22,237 −11.2%
1930 29,435 32.4%
1940 22,279 −24.3%
1950 17,657 −20.7%
1960 18,121 2.6%
1970 12,141 −33.0%
1980 13,798 13.6%
1990 11,441 −17.1%
2000 11,508 0.6%
2010 11,629 1.1%
Est. 2012 11,622 −0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 11,629 people, 4,599 households, and 3,186 families residing in the county. The population density was 11.5 people per square mile (4.4/km²). There were 5,479 housing units at an average density of 5.4 per square mile (2.1/km²).[9] The racial makeup of the county was 95.8% white, 0.7% black or African American, 3% Native American, 0.2% Asian, less than 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.6% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. Eight percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Ninety-six percent spoke only English and 3.3% spoke Spanish.

There were 4,599 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 5% had a male household with no wife present, and 30.7% were non-families. Individuals living alone accounted for 27.1% of households, and individuals 65 years of age or older living alone accounted for 13% of households. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 23.4% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,331, and the median income for a family was $56,619. Males had a median income of $42,149 versus $31,402 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,781. About 12% of families and 16% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[10]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 3,857 61.66%
  Republican 1,903 30.42%
  Unaffiliated 495 7.92%
Total 6,255 100%

Politics[edit]

Presidential election results[11]
Year Republican Democrat
2008 77.97% 3,724 22.03% 1,052
2004 73.44% 3,705 26.56% 1,340
2000 63.79% 2,850 35.00% 1,564

Communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 35°17′N 98°59′W / 35.29°N 98.99°W / 35.29; -98.99