Location of Jay, Oklahoma
|• Total||3.34 sq mi (8.65 km2)|
|• Land||3.34 sq mi (8.65 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||1,043 ft (318 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||760.85/sq mi (293.76/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1094183|
Jay is a city and county seat of Delaware County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,448 at the 2010 census, compared to 2,482 at the 2000 census, a decrease of 1.4 percent. Almost 40% of its residents are Native American, thus Jay is home to numerous Cherokee tribal offices and a health clinic for the Delaware District of the Cherokee Nation.
Jay was named for Jay Washbourne, a nephew of Stand Watie and grandson of an early-day Cherokee missionary. The town is the county seat of Delaware County, having won that distinction from Grove, Oklahoma in a special county seat election on December 8, 1908. The 1910–11 Legislature made Grove a County Court Town, and provided for two court terms each year. On June 27, 1911, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled in favor of Jay, and on January 5, 1912, the County Commissioners ordered the records to be moved to Jay. On May 10, 1913 the courthouse in Jay was burned, destroying most of the county records. The post office was established May 19, 1909. Jay incorporated in 1939.
Jay is located at  in the oak and hickory forests of the Ozark Plateau. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2), all of it land. The Cherokee name for Jay is Dlaygvi (Bluejay Place).(36.423906, -94.797831).
Jay is atypical in Oklahoma history because the townsite and layout were located and platted specifically for its purpose as a county seat. It is not located on a river, major road or railway line as were most Oklahoma towns of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Around 1908, the Delaware County Improvement Association hired a survey team to pinpoint the exact location of the center of the county. They pinpointed allotment land belonging to Thomas Oochaleta, a full-blood Cherokee. Since acquiring title to a full-blood's allotment would require a lengthy federal legal procedure, the committee shifted their attention to the allotment adjoining Oochaleta's on the east, a parcel belonging to committee member Claude L. "Jay" Washbourne. As a mixed-blood Cherokee, Washbourne was exempt from the federal policy restricting the sale or transfer of his land. He gave ten acres on which to construct a town. The town was designed, reserving a central block for a courthouse. The committee quickly constructed a frame building and then applied to the U.S. Postal Service for a post office, submitting the required three town names for consideration. The names submitted were "Center," "Jay," and "Washbourne." Postal authorities chose Jay for its brevity.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,482 people, 954 households, and 609 families residing in the city. The population density was 767.2 people per square mile (296.7/km2). There were 1,051 housing units at an average density of 324.9 per square mile (125.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 54.43% White, 0.56% African American, 36.50% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 1.89% from other races, and 6.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.55% of the population.
There were 955 households, out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 28.3% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,875, and the median income for a family was $25,592. Males had a median income of $20,212 versus $17,039 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,700. About 21.4% of families and 25.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.1% of those under age 18 and 22.3% of those age 65 or over.
- Ty Powell, former NFL Linebacker
- Tommy Morrison, former world heavyweight boxing champion.
- Buzz Wetzel, baseball player.
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