Muskogee County, Oklahoma

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Muskogee County
Muskogee County Courthouse in September 2015
Muskogee County Courthouse in September 2015
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Muskogee County
Location within the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 35°37′N 95°23′W / 35.61°N 95.38°W / 35.61; -95.38
Country United States
State Oklahoma
Largest cityMuskogee
 • Total840 sq mi (2,200 km2)
 • Land810 sq mi (2,100 km2)
 • Water29 sq mi (80 km2)  3.5%%
 • Total70,990
 • Estimate 
 • Density88/sq mi (34/km2)
Congressional district2nd

Muskogee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 70,990.[1] The county seat is Muskogee.[2] The county and city were named for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.[3] The official spelling of the name was changed to Muskogee by the post office in 1900.

Muskogee County is part of the Muskogee, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Tulsa-Muskogee-Bartlesville Combined Statistical Area.


According to archaeological studies, prehistoric people lived in this area as long ago as the Paleo-Indian period (before 6,000 B. C.). However, archaeologists have made more extensive studies of those people known as the Mound Builders who lived here during the Caddoan Stage (A.D. 300 – 1200).[3]

One of the first Europeans to come to this area was Jean Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe. He was a French explorer and trader who discovered a Wichita village in 1719. By the end of the 18th century the Wichita had been driven away by the more warlike Osage, who used this as their hunting ground. Auguste Pierre Chouteau and other fur traders had established a settlement at the Three Forks. Early in the 19th Century, Cherokee and Choctaw hunting parties made incursions that caused frequent conflict with the Osage. In 1824, the U.S. Army established Fort Gibson on the Grand River to dampen the conflict. The town of Fort Gibson that grew up just outside the fort claims to be the oldest town in Oklahoma.[3]

At the start of the U. S. Civil War, Confederate troops of the Cherokee and Creek Home Guards built Fort Davis, across the Arkansas River from Fort Gibson. Federal troops attacked and destroyed Fort Davis in 1862, driving the Confederates from this area, although a few skirmishes occurred later in the war at Bayou Menard Skirmish (1862), several at Webbers Falls (1862), and the Creek Agency Skirmish (1863).[3]

The county was formed at statehood with land from the Muskogee District of the Creek Nation and the Canadian and Illinois Districts of the Cherokee Nation.[3] A post office named Muscogee had been established January 17, 1872. The official spelling of the name was changed to Muskogee on July 19, 1900.[4]

After the Civil War, the Five Civilized Tribes, which included the Creeks, agreed to new treaties with the federal government. Among other provisions, they ceded their western lands back to the government and allowed rights of way to railroads. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway (also called MKT or Katy) built a line into Indian Territory, near the Three Forks. Although railroad officials intended to build a depot at the site of Fort Davis, the terrain proved unsuitable, so they relocated the depot, which they named Muscogee, farther south. They also began the town of Oktaha 11 miles (18 km) farther south, in the same year.[3]

Other railroads followed, such as the Kansas and Arkansas Valley Railway (1888, later the Missouri Pacific Railway), the Midland Valley Railroad (1904–05), the Ozark and Cherokee Central Railway (1901–03, sold to the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway, Frisco), the Shawnee, Oklahoma and Missouri Coal and Railway (1902–03, sold to the Frisco), the Muskogee Union Railway (1903–04, sold to the Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway [MOG]), and the MOG (1903–05, which became the Texas and Pacific Railroad).[3]

In 1874, the federal government consolidated all of the Five Civilized Tribes agencies into one Union Agency, located just west of Muscogee. In 1889, a federal district court was created in Muscogee. In 1894, the Dawes Commission also established its headquarters there.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 840 square miles (2,200 km2), of which 810 square miles (2,100 km2) is land and 29 square miles (75 km2) (3.5%) is water.[5]

The western part of the county is prairie grassland, while the eastern part rises into the Cookson Hills, on the western edge of the Ozark Mountains. The Arkansas, Verdigris and Grand rivers all converge in the county, causing that area to be called "Three Forks."[3] Webbers Falls Lake on the Arkansas River covers part of the county.[3]

The Arkansas River in Muskogee County. The Webbers Falls Lock and Dam on the river are part of the navigation system on the river, maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


The county seat of the County is Muskogee. All elected officials and county services are headquartered there.

Office Current Officer Since Party
County Commissioner - District 1 Ken Doke 2014 Republican
County Commissioner - District 2 Stephen Wright 2009 Democratic
County Commissioner - District 3 Kenny Payne 2014 Democratic
County Sheriff Terry Freeman 2020 Independent
County Clerk Dianna Cope 2012 Democratic
County Treasurer Robin Boswell 2019 Democratic
County Assessor Ron Dean 2019 Democratic
District Attorney Orvil Loge 2015 Democratic
District Court Clerk Paula Sexton 2002 Democratic


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)67,997[6]−4.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2019[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 70,990 people living in the county. 59.8% were White, 17.5% Native American, 11.3% Black or African American, 0.6% Asian, 2.6% of some other race and 8.2% of two or more races. 5.2% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 16.7% were of American, 8.2% German and 7.3% Irish ancestry.[11]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 69,451 people, 26,458 households, and 18,467 families living in the county. The population density was 33/km² (85/mi²). There were 29,575 housing units at an average density of 14/km² (36/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 63.73% White, 13.16% Black or African American, 14.88% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.19% other races, and 6.43% from two or more races. 2.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 26,458 households, of which 31.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.80% were married couples living together, 13.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.20% were non-families. 26.70% of all households were made up of individuals; 12.30% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51, and the average family size was 3.03.

The age distribution of the population was 25.90% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 93.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.90 males.

The median income of households in the county was $28,438, and the median income per family was $34,793. Males had a median income of $28,670 versus $20,457 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,828. About 14.10% of families and 17.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.00% of those under age 18 and 14.70% of those age 65 or over.


Despite the county being home to a significant Native American population and a wide Democratic registration advantage, the county -- like every Oklahoma county since 2000 -- has avoided the party entirely in presidential elections in the 21st century. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton 62%-33% in 2016, which was a sharp right turn from the far-fetched yet competitive totals from Barack Obama's efforts in the prior two elections.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2019[13]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Democratic 19,164 51.64%
Republican 12,420 33.47%
Others 5,528 14.90%
Total 37,112 100%
Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[14]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 65.9% 16,526 32.0% 8,027 2.1% 528
2016 62.1% 15,043 32.9% 7,977 4.9% 1,196
2012 57.4% 13,404 42.6% 9,952
2008 57.5% 15,289 42.5% 11,294
2004 54.6% 15,124 45.4% 12,585
2000 47.9% 11,820 50.7% 12,520 1.4% 353
1996 35.6% 8,974 51.5% 12,963 12.9% 3,243
1992 31.4% 8,782 48.8% 13,619 19.8% 5,531
1988 44.5% 11,147 54.9% 13,760 0.6% 161
1984 53.9% 14,652 45.4% 12,343 0.7% 188
1980 44.8% 11,511 51.9% 13,341 3.4% 863
1976 40.9% 10,287 58.4% 14,678 0.8% 190
1972 65.7% 15,161 32.0% 7,380 2.4% 551
1968 38.4% 8,707 41.3% 9,377 20.3% 4,596
1964 34.3% 8,508 65.8% 16,330
1960 52.8% 12,403 47.2% 11,082
1956 51.5% 11,057 48.5% 10,413
1952 47.5% 11,810 52.5% 13,040
1948 32.2% 6,592 67.8% 13,860
1944 41.4% 8,280 58.4% 11,679 0.2% 31
1940 42.5% 9,585 57.3% 12,917 0.2% 49
1936 32.5% 6,452 67.3% 13,344 0.2% 33
1932 29.8% 5,351 70.2% 12,621
1928 60.9% 9,972 38.8% 6,343 0.3% 54
1924 45.0% 6,158 50.3% 6,895 4.7% 644
1920 44.5% 5,187 54.7% 6,378 0.9% 99
1916 36.8% 2,532 58.2% 4,004 4.9% 340
1912 36.1% 2,385 55.7% 3,681 8.3% 549


At statehood, the economy was based primarily on agriculture and ranching. The main crops in the county were corn, cotton, and wheat. Agricultural service industries consisted mainly of cotton gins, grain mills, and stockyards. Cotton production declined dramatically during the Great Depression and was replaced by soybeans, wheat, feed grains, and grasses. Truck farming became important during and after World War II, leading to the development of a canning and food-processing industry.[3]

Other economic activities included oil, gas, and coal production, but these activities never reached the levels achieved in other regions. Sand and gravel pits, along with brick and glass manufacturing, developed and remained important employment sources. O. W. Coburn built an optical business that became one of the largest in the nation and employed hundreds of workers. Other industrialists included the Buddrus family, who began Acme Engineering, and the Rooney family who founded Manhattan Construction. State and federal employment has long been important, primarily in education and veterans' services. Light manufacturing and health care as well as social services provide jobs for residents. The town of Taft has two state correctional facilities, Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center for women and Jess Dunn Correctional Center for men.[3]

Steamboats had plied the Arkansas River throughout much of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, dedicated in 1971, opening the Arkansas and Verdigris rivers to year-round commercial traffic and leading to the development of the Port of Muskogee.[3]


Education was a high priority after the Civil War, with schools started by churches, private individuals, and the Cherokee and Creek nations. Higher educational opportunities were offered after 1880 when Bacone College, Oklahoma's oldest, began as Indian University in Tahlequah, but was moved to the Creek Nation in present Muskogee County in 1885. Evangel Mission, a school at Union Agency for Creek freedmen, operated in the 1880s and now houses the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee. A facility for educating visually impaired people opened at Fort Gibson in 1898. Later moved to Muskogee, it became the Oklahoma School for the Blind. Minerva Home, a school for girls in Muskogee, became Henry Kendall College in 1894, which moved to Tulsa and became the University of Tulsa in 1920. Northeastern State University opened a branch campus in Muskogee in 1994.[3]




Census-designated places[edit]

Other unincorporated place[edit]

Notable people[edit]

  • Tom Coburn (b. 1948), lives in Muskogee; served in U. S. House of Representatives (1995-2001); served as U.S. Senator from Oklahoma (1995-2014);
  • Drew Edmondson (b. 1946), was elected attorney general for Oklahoma (1995-2011); ran unsuccessfully for governor of Oklahoma in 2010 and 2018.
  • Edmond Edmondson (1919-1990), served the Second Congressional District, which includes Muskogee County, from 1953 to 1973.
  • James Howard Edmondson (1925-1971), born in Muskogee, served as Oklahoma governor (1959–63) and senator (1963–64).
  • Charles N. Haskell (1860-1933), settled in Muskogee in 1901 and became a leader at the Sequoyah Convention and Oklahoma's first governor in 1907.
  • Robert L. Owen (1856-1947), a Cherokee, served as the U.S. agent to the Five Civilized Tribes in Muskogee. In 1907 he became one of Oklahoma's first U.S. senators.
  • Pleasant Porter (1840-1907), principal chief of the Creek Nation, negotiated the allotment treaty with the Dawes Commission. He served as president of the Sequoyah Convention.
  • Alexander Posey (1873-1908), a Creek poet and newspaper editor in Muskogee, was secretary of the Sequoyah Convention and is credited with writing most of that constitution.
  • Alice M. Robertson (1854-1931), the first woman appointed postmaster of a Class A post office in the United States, in 1920 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She was the second woman in the United States to hold a congressional seat and was the only woman to serve Oklahoma in Congress until Mary Fallin was elected in 2006.
  • Belle Starr (1848-1899), American outlaw; lived in the Cookson Hills in eastern Muskogee County.
  • Mike Synar (1950-1996) served in Congress from 1979 to 1995.

NRHP sites[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Jonita Mullins, "Muskogee County." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  4. ^ Muskogee Phoenix. "How places got their names." Archived July 12, 2012, at June 5, 2007. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "County Population Totals: 2010-2019". Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  9. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  11. ^ "American Factfinder"
  12. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  13. ^ "Oklahoma Registration Statistics by County" (PDF). January 15, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  14. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved April 10, 2018.

Coordinates: 35°37′N 95°23′W / 35.61°N 95.38°W / 35.61; -95.38