McCurtain County, Oklahoma

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McCurtain County
The McCurtain County Courthouse is located downtown in Idabel.
The McCurtain County Courthouse is located downtown in Idabel.
Map of Oklahoma highlighting McCurtain County
Location within the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 34°07′N 94°46′W / 34.11°N 94.77°W / 34.11; -94.77
Country United States
State Oklahoma
Founded1907
SeatIdabel
Largest cityIdabel
Area
 • Total1,902 sq mi (4,930 km2)
 • Land1,850 sq mi (4,800 km2)
 • Water52 sq mi (130 km2)  2.8%%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total33,151
 • Estimate 
(2019)
32,832
 • Density18/sq mi (7/km2)
Congressional district2nd
McCurtain County National Bank in Broken Bow, Oklahoma

McCurtain County is in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,151.[1] Its county seat is Idabel.[2] It was formed at statehood from part of the earlier Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory.[3] The name honors an influential Choctaw family that lived in the area. Green McCurtain was the last chief when Oklahoma became a state in 1907.[4]

History[edit]

The area now included in McCurtain County was part of the Choctaw Nation before Oklahoma became a state. The territory of the present-day county fell within the Apukshunnubbee District, one of three administrative super-regions comprising the Choctaw Nation, and was divided among six of its counties: Bok Tuklo, Cedar, Eagle, Nashoba, Red River, and Towson counties.[5] Previously, In the 1820s, it was a major part of Miller County, Arkansas.

The area was sparsely populated, with no roads or bridges and no towns. Post offices were established at small trading posts along the various trails. Towns began to form when the Arkansas and Choctaw Railway (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) was built across the area in 1902. Between 1910 and 1921 the Choctaw Lumber Company laid tracks for the Texas, Oklahoma and Eastern Railroad from Valliant, Oklahoma, to DeQueen, Arkansas. These roads still served the area at the beginning of the 21st century.[3]

Initially, the county experienced difficulty functioning because of lack of funds. When the Choctaws accepted their land allotments, their homesteads were not taxable for twenty-one years. No roads were built until a decade after statehood. There were no bridges, so ferries carried people and vehicles across the major streams.[3]

The only F5 tornado in April in Oklahoma occurred in this county on April 2, 1982.[6]

Geography[edit]

Spillway at Broken Bow Lake

McCurtain County's location in southeastern Oklahoma places it within a 10-county area designated for tourism purposes by the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation as Choctaw Country.[7] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,902 square miles (4,930 km2), of which 1,850 square miles (4,800 km2) is land and 52 square miles (130 km2) (2.8%) is water.[8]

It is the third-largest county in Oklahoma by area.[3] The terrain of McCurtain County varies from the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in the northern part of the county, to the rich Red River bottoms of the southern part. Sections of the Mountain Fork and Little River drainages lie in McCurtain County. The Glover River originates in McCurtain County and flows 33.2 miles (53.4 km) to its confluence with the Little River southeast of Wright City. Broken Bow Lake was created in 1968 by damming the Mountain Fork River; the River is one of the two year-round trout fisheries in the state. The lowest point in the state of Oklahoma is located on the Little River in McCurtain County, where it flows out of Oklahoma and into Arkansas.[3] McCurtain County is the only documented part of Oklahoma, together with Choctaw County, located within the natural range of the American alligator.[9]

The county also contains the McCurtain County Wilderness Area, a 14,087-acre tract created in 1918 and managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.[10]

Map of McCurtain County, 1909

The county contains the location (Smithville) with the highest annual average precipitation in the state, at 55.71 inches.[11]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
191020,681
192037,90583.3%
193034,759−8.3%
194041,31818.9%
195031,588−23.5%
196025,851−18.2%
197028,64210.8%
198036,15126.2%
199033,433−7.5%
200034,4022.9%
201033,151−3.6%
2019 (est.)32,832[12]−1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
1990-2000[16] 2010-2019[1]

At the 2000 census there were 34,402 people, 13,216 households, and 9,541 families in the county. The population density was 7/km2 (19/mi2). There were 15,427 housing units at an average density of 3/km2 (8/mi2). The racial makup of the county was 70.54% White, 9.30% Black or African American, 13.57% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.34% from other races, and 5.02% from two or more races. 3.09%.[17] were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.6% were of American, 7.6% Irish and 5.9% English ancestry. 94.4% spoke English, 2.9% Spanish and 2.6% Choctaw as their first language.

Of the 13,216 households 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.30% were married couples living together, 14.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.80% were non-families. 25.40% of households were one person and 11.00% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.06.

The age distribution was 28.20% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 26.20% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.10 males.

The median household income was $24,162 and the median family income was $29,933. Males had a median income of $26,528 versus $17,869 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,693. About 21.00% of families and 24.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.40% of those under age 18 and 21.20% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit]

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2019[18]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Democratic 9,674 62.09%
Republican 4,355 27.95%
Others 1,552 9.97%
Total 15,581 100%
Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[19]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 82.7% 9,485 16.2% 1,858 1.1% 124
2016 80.7% 8,656 16.8% 1,802 2.5% 268
2012 75.8% 7,635 24.2% 2,440
2008 73.5% 7,745 26.5% 2,794
2004 67.0% 7,472 33.0% 3,684
2000 63.0% 6,601 35.8% 3,752 1.2% 129
1996 39.8% 3,892 44.5% 4,350 15.7% 1,532
1992 30.6% 3,519 44.2% 5,082 25.2% 2,893
1988 49.6% 4,920 49.7% 4,928 0.6% 63
1984 61.3% 6,381 38.3% 3,994 0.4% 41
1980 45.6% 5,189 52.4% 5,953 2.0% 230
1976 30.9% 3,423 68.2% 7,560 0.9% 97
1972 70.2% 6,441 28.0% 2,568 1.8% 166
1968 32.4% 2,795 34.2% 2,944 33.4% 2,880
1964 33.3% 2,981 66.7% 5,982
1960 45.9% 3,562 54.1% 4,202
1956 36.3% 2,707 63.8% 4,761
1952 32.2% 2,748 67.8% 5,793
1948 14.9% 1,091 85.1% 6,223
1944 21.0% 1,419 78.8% 5,322 0.2% 10
1940 24.1% 2,225 75.6% 6,994 0.3% 29
1936 18.0% 1,119 81.8% 5,089 0.2% 13
1932 9.1% 587 90.9% 5,886
1928 39.8% 1,915 59.8% 2,877 0.4% 21
1924 32.2% 1,669 63.2% 3,279 4.6% 237
1920 40.2% 1,966 53.3% 2,603 6.5% 318
1916 24.8% 795 54.9% 1,763 20.4% 654
1912 27.1% 704 40.7% 1,059 32.2% 838

Economy[edit]

Agriculture and forestry have dominated the county's economy. The dense forests that originally covered the area were cleared and processed within two decades after statehood. The cleared lands then became subsistence farms. Cotton was the main money crop, until the cotton market collapsed during the Great Depression. Cattle raising, as well as production of swine and poultry, replaced cotton farming in importance. Cotton farms in the Red River valley began raising grains and forage instead.[3]

Natural reseeding and active reforestation projects, both public and private, have replenished much of the harvested forest area. This revitalized the timber industry, which is again important to the county economy.[3]

Limestone, sand and gravel are extracted for extensive local use.[3]

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Census-designated place[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Coleman, Louis. "McCurtain County", Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society, 2009. Accessed April 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "Origin of County Names in Oklahoma". In: Chronicles of Oklahoma. Volume 2, Number 1. March, 1924. Archived August 14, 2017, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  5. ^ Morris, John W. Historical Atlas of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1986), plate 38.
  6. ^ "National Weather Service".
  7. ^ "Counties & Regions". Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (Travel Promotion Division). Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  9. ^ "A Look at Oklahoma: A Student's Guide" (PDF). State of Oklahoma. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 30, 2006. Retrieved August 14, 2007.
  10. ^ "McCurtain County Wilderness Area." McCurtain County Tourism Authority. 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  11. ^ "Oklahoma Annual Rainfall and Climate Data". CoolWeather.net. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  12. ^ "County Population Totals: 2010-2019". Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  15. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  18. ^ "Oklahoma Registration Statistics by County" (PDF). OK.gov. January 15, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  19. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 29, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°07′N 94°46′W / 34.11°N 94.77°W / 34.11; -94.77