In Indian Territory days this section of the country was an important part of the Creek Nation. Some of the most influential Creek citizens resided here, some of whom still have their homes in this part of the state, and some of the most important Indian conferences of the years gone by were here held. Indian historians claim that in 1541, when De Soto crossed the Mississippi River near Memphis and continued his journey westward, he passed through the southern part of this county. As evidence of the truthfulness of this claim, they point to the huge rock in the middle of the Canadian River, known as Standing Rock, as being identical with the Standing Rock described in the Spanish record of De Soto’s Travels. This story has been further authenticated by the claim that not many years ago a skeleton was unearthed near the Canadian River, clad in full Spanish armor. It was in this neighborhood that Albert Pike, the Confederate general, met some of the leading Creeks in 1861 and induced them to join the Southern Confederacy, only a few weeks after the Cherokees had refused to consider his proposition.
The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad reached this neighborhood during the summer of 1872 and the two prosperous towns of Checotah and Eufaula were established, although an Indian settlement had been in existence at Eufaula for many years prior to that period. The old Asbury Mission School, located two miles northeast of Eufaula, was established and maintained for many years prior to the Civil war.
A farmer may find land in this county adapted to any kind of crops he may choose to produce. The fertile valleys of the rivers and their tributaries produce large crops of corn and cotton. Much of the prairie soil is of a silt loam and is capable of producing abundant crops of corn, cotton, wheat, oats, rye, barley, cow-peas, kafir, sorghum, peanuts, Irish and sweet potatoes, -and various kinds of vegetables. The virgin prairies furnish good crops of hay and excellent grass for pasture. Before the land was allotted and divided into small farms some of the largest and best cattle ranches of the southwest were found in this vicinity, the H. B. Spaulding ranch and the Captain Gentry ranch and others furnishing thousands of cattle annually, for the Kansas City and St. Louis markets. Many parts of this county are well adapted to fruit raising, and more attention has been given to horticulture here, than in most other counties of eastern Oklahoma.
Some of the largest peach orchards in the state are found in this vicinity.
A commendable degree of interest is being manifested by the business men of this county in the matter of improving conditions on the farm. Farmers are giving more attention to diversification of crops, and to raising thoroughbred cattle and hogs, than in former years. The McIntosh Farm Bureau, organized some years ago by the bankers of Checotah and Eufaula, has accomplished some good results in promoting the interests of the farmers. The farmers’ boys are bestirring themselves also, as is shown by the fact that they have been awarded several prizes at the State Fair for producing the best crops on acre plots of ground.
Eufaula, in the southern part and Checotah in the northern part of the county, are the largest and most important towns in the county, each having about 3,000 inhabitants. Among the smaller towns which afford good local trading facilities are Hannah, Hichita, Hoffman, Stidham, Mellette, Texanna, Onapa and Rentiesville.
In 1908, immediately following the division of the new State of Oklahoma into counties, quite a spirited contest arose between Checotah and Eufaula over the question of locating the county seat. At the first election held to determine this question, Checotah claimed a majority of the votes cast. The election was held, however, at a time when the streams were high, and the voters residing in the southern end of the county claimed that it was impossible for them to get across the branches of the Canadian River to Eufaula to vote. On this account and because of certain alleged irregularities in the conduct of the election, a second election was ordered and Eufaula was declared the winner. Some bad feeling was aroused at the time, but it soon disappeared and Eufaula was recognized as the county seat.
The county has three railroads, one of them the main line of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, and it is crossed by two international highways, The Jefferson Highway and The King of Trails, which are hard-surfaced through the county.
Source: Benedict, John D. Muskogee and northeastern Oklahoma, including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. 3 v. illus., ports., facsims. 28 cm. Chicago, S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.